Agile Marketing 101 and The Zebworks™ Framework set Your Agile Course!

EngagementThe Agile Marketing buzz has been building. I thought it would be a good idea to provide some grounding in the hype. Here is quick agile marketing summary and a helpful guide for those of you who are interested in testing the agile marketing waters: Zebworks, an agile marketing framework that is a practical guide for its implementation. (You can download the Zebworks Guide for free here.)

Anthony Freeling the author of Agile Marketing, How to Innovate Faster, Cheaper and With Lower Risk and one of the earliest writers on the topic of Agile Marketing has redefined marketing to address today’s high speed and changing environment:

Marketing is the process of creating and communicating winning offers that profitably attract customer spend in an uncertain market environment. It does this by:

  • Shaping the market environment through innovation
  • Adapting to changes in the environment, and 
  • Beating the competition

Freeling’s definition forms a springboard into the concept of Agile Marketing. Agile Marketing was developed to address our new changing marketing landscape. A landscape that is experiencing a head-exploding rate of change. 

Agile, on its own, is a management process that dates back to the late 1980’s. And it is one that software developers embraced for the same reasons that it has become appropriate for the marketing discipline. Developers were faced with fast-paced change. By the time they completed their projects, using an orderly sequential methodology, their software products were no longer suited the needs of the customer.

The Agile Manifesto was written to address this environment and to change the way organizations functioned:

  • Individuals and interactions over processes and tools
  • Working software over comprehensive documentation
  • Customer collaboration over contract negotiation
  • Responding to change over following a plan

And Scrum, the most well-known of the Agile frameworks for programmers, brought more shape to Agile. Written by Ken Schwaber and Jeff Sutherland it has become a proven methodology for software product development.

The concept of Agile Marketing borrows from the Agile Manifesto, here is the recently published Agile Marketing Manifesto:

  • Validated learning over opinions and conventions
  • Customer focused collaboration over silos and hierarchy
  • Adaptive and iterative campaigns over Big-Bang campaigns
  • The process of customer discovery over static prediction
  • Flexible vs. rigid planning
  • Responding to change over following a plan
  • Many small experiments over a few large bets

Though a bit repetitive and not as elegantly simple as the original, the Agile Marketing Manifesto makes its point: flexibility trumps rigidity. Validated data trumps opinion.

Theory is lovely, but how do we put this all into practice?

Zebworks was developed in 2010 by myself and the Camarès team. We are a marketing firm that has promoted technology companies for decades and as a result we had been compelled into highly streamlined workflows.

Zebworks was based on that experience as a framework for swift, sustainable a web development leveraging interdisciplinary teams. Highly pragmatic in its approach, Zebworks provided a sustainable approach to web development designed to withstand the chaotic Internet environment. It was delivered in 10 modules totaling 6.5 hours of in depth videos. Later, it came to light that many of the original Zebworks principals aligned cleanly with Agile.  Zebworks has since been expanded to include marketing in general and refined as a framework for Agile Marketing.

Zebworks can be seen as “Scrum” for marketers, but with defined workflows and greater specificity.  Being practitioners working in the marketing trenches, Zebworks is a direct out come of our work. It brings granular specifics and how-to information to the Agile process. 

This Zebworks Guide is free and serves as an overview of the layout and process involved in Zebworks. Subsequent guides will provide further granularity on specific marketing, design and web development projects and workflows.

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