Speedy Doesn’t Have to Mean Sloppy – Agile Marketing

MIT's Solar Car

The need for marketing speed is obvious and not just because customers are global and they buy 24/7/365. Factor in market segment fragmentation – how many ways there are to reach customers (channels, multiple devices) and don’t forget the usual product tweaks/frequent updates, along with new world-market dynamics. Speed? no kidding.

How’s a marketing professional supposed to meet the customer/prospects’ expectations of first-rate, quality, relevant and dynamic product messaging in this will-o-wisp environment?

Try a little Agile with your marketing.

  • Forget “big batch” Market Plans for the year and instead chunk the campaign or market planning into small marketing projects. OK, you really can’t do this YET!   So >>> start by limiting the number of pages in the plan. Fill in the details the further along you go. Now you get the picture!
  • Define the success measurements – decide upfront how you’ll know if the campaign, new web page or video you posted is meeting/exceeding expectations. Use tools like Google AdWords or ROI calculators to do this and do this often.  Be flexible, adjust or fix as necessary, maybe even “can” the project. The sooner you know the results, the better you can allocate your scare resources (people, time, money) to the best performing projects. Congratulations, you now have results based marketing.
  • Failure is an option – learn from it…
…just don’t fail the same way twice. – Jascha Kaykas-Wolff, CMO Mindjet


Agile Scrum Tools – A Tool that Helps Teams Grow?

Andrea Keeble of VersionOne recently asked me a couple of pretty good questions about Agile maturity for teams.

  1. When is it time to move beyond spreadsheets, whiteboards and sticky notes?
  2. Pros & cons of free agile tools (versus high-end ones)?
  3. Is there a need for something in between, which extends visibility beyond the dev team and can easily scale as you grow?

When doing training or client work, I’m also often asked these same types of questions. Most often it revolves around:

“When can we move to a tool? What’s the best tool? Etc etc…”

Let’s discuss a couple of these, shall we?

When to go to an Agile Scrum tool?

I still believe with all my heart that wallboards are king for Agile. Plain and simple. But… as teams scale and departments need better tracking and transparency, tools have their place.

Simply put, the best time to move to a tool is when the following happens:

  1. Communication/reporting is needed to teams and management beyond local teams (geographically disperse)
  2. Dependencies/constraints are part of the environment (dev ops tools are good here too)
  3. When pretty reports mean a ton to management and stakeholders (seriously, sometimes this is a critical piece. If you have beautiful looking reports generated by a system… it totally beats making your own crappy powerpoint deck)
  4. When a team is mature enough to streamline it’s processes and using a tool is more expedient (and valuable) than a physical wallboard
  5. When a team is mature enough that a team is more efficient utilizing a high-performance enterprise tool (but does NOT replace collaboration) Continue reading “Agile Scrum Tools – A Tool that Helps Teams Grow?”

Essence of the Main Thing

The main thing

is keeping the main thing

the main thing

A product launch begins when *everyone* involved can say what truly makes your product outstanding and awesome.

No, that’s not a typo.

I didn’t mean “product launch ends” – because if you begin developing product without clarity on this, no telling when you’ll launch.  Or what will launch.  Or who you should be launching to…


Office Space Shrinking… Good for Agility?

In my monthly magazine subscription to INC. this April’s edition had some interesting reads. One of which stated that based on Sphere Trending from Inforum, it looks like office space is getting smaller and smaller as the years progress.

This could be one of many reasons:

  • We’re going back to factory-style work values (i.e. we’re just cogs)
  • A loss of value of personal space…
  • Management value is diminishing…
  • Real estate costs and corporate budgets for offices…
  • Or… that working closely together in an agile-like fashion is vogue…

Probably it’s none of the above! — We’ve written a lot about open offices and office space before below:

What do you think?

Retrospective 86 – Agile Publishing and Agile 2012 Speaking

How to Use Analytics and Blog Search Tools to Choose Blog Writing Topics

To be a successful blogger and attract more traffic to your blog, you must write about things that are interesting to your readers and that are worthy of being shared.  How do you learn which things are most important to your readers?  Essentially, we are looking for topics that your readers in your specialty will want to share with their friends or business colleagues.

There are several tools that can help us to learn which topics are most important to your readers.  First, we are assuming that your blog is about a highly specialized set of topics.  The narrower the focus the more likely you are to attract dedicated readers.   We also assume that you are posting on a regular basis.  Research shows that bloggers who post at least two to three times a week will build a growing and dedicated readership.

Analytic tools such as Google Analytics or Adobe Site Catalyst track the number of visitors and which key words they use to find your blog through natural search.  Using your site analytics you can see the number of people who visit your site for each keyword.  Go through your analytics results and choose the top 100 keyword phrases that receive the largest number of visitors.  These key words will become the most popular topics that you can write about for your readers. Continue reading “How to Use Analytics and Blog Search Tools to Choose Blog Writing Topics”