How Agile Can Change How Marketers Think, Work, and Succeed

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

In the software world, agile has been around for many years.

It's how software is developed more efficiently and iteratively.

But agile is also being embraced by organizations looking to make their marketing more successful.

Michael Seaton says agile fundamentally changes how marketer think and work. 

It's about making marketing more structured, focused and effective.

It's about giving marketing teams the psychological safety to test and learn without getting sent to the penalty box if they make mistakes.

Hi Its mark evins and you're listeningto marketing here's the thing about market, dynamic,Luid and ever changing. There's no time to rest on your Laura, constantly need to be learning,training and embracing you approaches and that's important, Markee, flexibleand Achi. They need to roll the punches quickly and Semoule, seize newopportunities and turn it on dive. One need the challenges. Many organizations useoutdated marketing management strategies which don't work in analways on digital world. So how should marketers operate so they're, smarterand more successful, while Michael Satan, president of level, see digitalbelieves. The solution is at John Marketing, the most innovative and forthinking companies embrace agility to grow and thrive on today's podcast we're going to takea deep dive into agile marketing and why it's the knee new way the marketinghappens, welcome to Markes Park Michael Well, thanks mark thanks for having theand having the conversation on a draw. So, let's level set, let's start bytalking about how many companies currently manage or operate theirmarketing. Fundamentally, why is the current approach antiquated or thewrong approach, given today's marketing landscape yeah, so that that's great is thenatural leading to how we talked to this to the subject. So, let's say theState of marketing- and I hate the word but I'll use it. It's come Vouga. Idon't know if you're aware of the Vouga environment were in, but the volatileand certain complex and ambiguous environment that we find ourselves inboth a business and marketing level. If we take a classic swat sort of look atthings, and we look at the external factors that are threats that arehitting us, the explosion of choices that we have as marketers today, thefragmented channels and touch points, the the data and the market, that is ontop of everything, that's making it a bit more complex than it's ever been arapid pace of change, the hyper competition, the distraction ofconsumers in the flight for attention. So you know if we situate that in themarketing world, it is no longer the Big Bang explosion of a campaign. It'salways on. We have nice skills and silos that havebeen created were not really good at collaborating, although we should be.We have skills and Hatibi ities that aren't being shared and crosspollinated and by the way, we're trying to deliver customer experience throughall of this and it's the way we manage it. That's really broken, so you know the tachov marketingdiscipline. We need to blend those together. We need to have thisknowledge transfer from everybody who's within the world of marketing thesedays and booster, and then focus as well on the outcomes from a marketingversus just the output, because that's what I think we are so that's what theagility is providing benefits for. Well, let mechallenge you in one of the things you just said. You said that marketing is broken or theway that we manage or strategically approach marketing is broken. Can youelaborate on what you mean by that, because that's a pretty bold statement yeah, so we have antiquated ways of going thot managingthings. One of the things that agility presents us with is you know a backupto the plan over planning. We've been really good in the past at creatingthese big ball plans that are broken by the time we actually go to market within change. We need to adopt, and we haven't built in the flexibility thatwe need, as today's marketers you know, and layer the pandemic on top ofeverything, and if we were slow to change that brought us really quicklyto the point of needing to change, and so it brought into play all theseelements, and now, still to this day, we always on nature of work versus the pointing timeor ten quora projects. We need to balance those things out, so that'swhere it really is eating the TEX. The second thing is that we are focusedagain, as I mentioned, on the outputs...

...of our marketing, and so, where are weactually sitting down and going through getting those customer insight dealingwith them needs and Cretan value for them in the chain of what we do? Ithink one other last point is marketing has been really good at selling and Ithink that's, which is to how we can service our raves customers, ouraudience. So that's another place where I think we need to ship from fromselling at all costs to serving our audience for longer term. You know,What's interesting is that agile in my world, in the the BB Sask world isnothing new and we've been talking about agile development for many years,because it allows companies to iterate experiment test and learn on the fly,what resonates with customers and what doesn't- and it is interesting that,despite the presence of agile and the embrace of Agile, is that manyorganizations haven't applied it to Marketng. Can you explain why? That isthe case? What was born in the software world andin the product management the world, and we saw that you know it was a lie.Twenty thirty years ago, what we were getting out of that world was not greatand so along came agile and I guess the develop sort of the delivery frameworksof Scrim or can den and they started to fix things, and they started to fixthings by orienting the teams to sort of be more economists and deliver thatvalue and do it through, as you mention the increment. So that we can learnalong the way back to you know where white it took so long isbecause these things aren't easy and they take some time. It's not a magic,no quick fix, but we started to see that the productswere getting a lot better in the software world. That comers were beingimpressed by how we were meeting their needs and were you know, delivering onwhat we had promised so there's a lot of you know to back it up where I think this is really situatesitself in terms of its mindset into values and its principles. Truly dry,agility and software got at first and they started to improve things, andwhen we started to look over the shoulder at them and say how did theygo up at that? And so it started to then break out to other areas of oforganizations like H, R, like in to marketing Einfach. It was like tenyears ago that marketing sort of you know shook their heads and said: We'vegot to improved because you know digital transformation kind of hit usfirst and we were going through it, but we realized that we needed to sort offix and mend our ways, but it's taken a while for us to get from. We need tofix this to now where we see it really evolving and starting to be absorbed inMarken, so we've danced a little around the idea of agon marketing. Maybe youcan tack a step back and I don't want you to dumb it down, but I'd like youto explain or define what is agile marketing and what's the differencebetween Agile Marketing and the way that we currently many companiescurrently do marketing. So I'm going to start with it. You know very I'm goingto make it simple, because we can get carried off into the nomenclature andthen to want to hear that in real down that rabbit hole. It really is a bet,organizational effectiveness, and I like to call it modern marketingmanagement in the simplest way to think about it is that it's a ability tochange the way that we think and that we worked and that we share and we getto creating that highest customer value. The power is can mention in the inenmindset and the values and the principles and at the core. If we thinkabout the SWATANTRA, it really puts us in the position of building newinternal strength that you can then take to seasonal opportunities. Put inthis way, it is believe it changes it's transformative because it changes ourbeliefs again about how we move from selling to more service in theircustomers. It changes our behaviors in terms oflooking at the highest value that we can create and put into market andlearn from immediately and the actions...

...that we take also are transformative interms of being more empirical, more iterative and again more transparent inwhat we're doing and how we're driving value and then how we're looking atourselves too continuously improve thing market or some things do a lot ofdark work. Sometimes it works. Sometimes itdoesn't. We need to kind of bring that out in and show people what we do, howwe go about it and how we're learning along the way. I think there's thisnotion that marketing is just that. You know the arts and crafts kind ofdepartment coloring between the lines you put tense works on things. We talkabout stuff in metric that nobody else cares about a side from marketing. So Ithink this is our chance to really start to marry up where we've come fromand where we find ourselves with digital and really put the stamp oflike business strategy and and business out comes on it before we take a deeperdive into a jole marketing and how companies can embrace it. I do want toask you about the rise of data and technology and how they're being usedor how they're being embraced and used by marketers, because my thesis is thata lot of markets have gotten lazy due to technology tools that allow them toscale their work, to extend campaigns to analyze. Just about anythingdigitally, I believe, we've as marketers we've gotten away from beingcreative and iterative and and trying new things and- and I think most of all,and and and this is increasingly something I see on lengthing. A lot isimportant to knowing your customers and serving them in the right ways, withthe right kind of marketing. What are your thoughts on data and technologyand and how they're being used by marketers and what the relationship isto Adja marketing? That's a great question to great set up because itbrings into play a lot of things that had a harking set up to actually do andyou better than we do to day. So you know, let me start off with him moreair cover kind of a statement that we know. We've talked for years and we'veknown each other for a long time in this world about customer centricityand personalization and testing and learning and continuous improvement.And you know I've seen a lot of what goes on and marketing we're just notdoing it. Your question specifically aboutmarketing technology and data. I mean my background why I love the ADONmarketing pieces because it really does go back to my beginnings and marking asa correct marketer at data base marker someone who was involved in CR M andthen took off with the digital piece later on, but yeah we are. I find- andI say this through my experiencing through my teaching, instructing andtraining- that what I see is a lot more people familiar with the technology.They understand the platforms in terms of our skill sets, but they don't havethe marketing discipline behind them to know what they're actually looking todo with it and then on the other side, we have a lot of you know: Marketingthat still is sort of stuck in old ways of thinking without understanding howthe technology and data will work, we're going to marry those two togetherand Adels a really sweet way to do it. Your question, though, is yeah. I thinkwe got lost in the worrying too much about automating everything about itall happening you programmatically or through the Marte Solutions, and Ithink the the complexity of that in making work for the magic of makingwork, I should say, is really understanding marketing. In the firstplace, you don't throw a tools you know at a to as becoming the solution to aproblem that doesn't exist. I believe that the problems that exist formarketers are more upstream understanding. Third, that thequintessential you know your brand you're positioning, the story. You tellyour pulse of action, a great website, a great user experience, and I thinkwhat agility allows us to start to break that down by using concepts likepersonas and customer journeys, a user stories and understanding theincrements of value that we can actually put in front of our customersto learn from. So I really see it as being a really sweet nice tool kit,where we can start to play into the...

...right areas and and gain those insightsthat we've been asking for. We just haven't had the right dominoes fallingin the right order, press to achieve that. As you know, from you know ourrelationship and some of the things that I write about, I I I'm all aboutfirst principles, I'm all about the fundamentals and really being strongaround the key pillars, up positioning and messaging, and knowing yourcustomers and all the good things that underpin successful marketing. One ofthe things that I'm curious about is how, and when should companies approach,Ajan marketing what needs to happen, so they can successfully embrace itstrategically, tactically and as important culturally, because I suspectthat the shift ago May Rub some marketers the wrong way. Given it's anew approach to doing things, let me to find what it's not first, because Ithink there are misconceptions out there, because we hear that it agilityand we think that spin on Gane being flexible, the true power of agilitycomes from it being more of a noun than a verb meeting. You got to be actuallyunderstanding the mindset, the values, the principles and it does take us tothe side a little bit as markers, because marketers just want to playbook. We just want that out Gere and tell us what works and we'll do it.This is not my definition, super easy or everybody would be doing it right.What it's not it's, not reactive or unsustainable, marketing. Everybodythinks the Oreo Dunk in the dark. You know response within two minutes wasagile marketing. That's an element of what padroling can help you with, butthat Anon of itself isn't. You know where we have a millionpriorities coming down the pipe at us. How do we know what what we should bedoing, and by default? How do we also know what work we shouldn't be doing? Ithink that's a that's a huge concept to understand. What's the Max, how wemaximize the value into what a you do and how do we maximize what we're notdoing as well again, the LPIT over in out the outcomes over Ouplis sort ofdecision culturally? This is not a simple thing, meaning that part of what this does is. It createssort of self organizing autonomous teams that are allowed to decide whatvalue what they want to prioritize in terms of delivering to our customers.It doesn't it kind of removes this layer of middle management and hecommanded control. You should be working on this go do that and itbrings it into the team, the team deciding what what what vein need to doto deliver against objectives right now in incremental or iterative fashion.That, then, will build upon our learning validate what we're doing orinvalidated, and then we can move forward with that knowledge in our backpocket. We've known about this for a long time through direct marketing anddatabase market and test and learn, have testing and marking. But we havebeen that great of executing it all the time. I think that's what agilityallows us to do in simple terms is agility. Does it have a lot to do with focus andestablishing and focusing on the key priorities, because, as marketers youknow off the top, you talked about the fact that there are so many options, somany channels, so many things that marketers could do to achieve theirobjectives and to connect with prospects and customers, and it soundslike a John Marketing is a way to add discipline to the process, to makemarketers focus on what is important to the customer. What is important toachieving our goals, as opposed to running off in in a million differentdirections? Is that a simplistic way of talking about the value of a GELmarketing? Yeah? Absolutely so, I think, you're getting a large part of thatequation. It really is a bit at the value that we can deliver and also havea team looks at the work that we to to work on right. What we need to do andvisualizes our work and says what is the most important thing? We can doright now to satisfy the customer in the a house, and we make this easy, andI got about doing everything at once to...

...be selecting those key things and theteam prioritizes what they find the of most value, and it doesn't mean that wedon't align to strategic objectives or lying to what our state holders one oryou know, but it really does put the focus on delivering against thecustomer needs an we do that, as I explain through understanding thebetter in the insights on, and I think that's the discipline it's really goingthrough this world, where we're not guessing- or you know, thinking thatthis is going to be the right thing, we're actually getting into the mind ofthe customer and understanding where they are in the journey of pain points.Their solutions I mean it goes back to clay Christenson in that very simple ly,understand the jobs and the tasks that your customers have and make it assimple as possible and make it easy for them, don't complicate it, don't make it something that they shape theirhead, that it should be as simple as anything example in in my banking days,you know mortgage was the ugly product detail of what people you know had toreconcile with a bat home ownership. We, when we attacked that we thought aboutthe insight, was it's a bat home ownership. We should talk about all thewonderful things that come along with it nowand. By the way we do have amorgage that we can get to you and it's at a great rate, and it's thinking inthat capatol puts it into the marketers head that it's not all about theproduct, it's about the customer and how they can live with our product.Then answer the question about the values and the priorities thatempowered the team to deliver yeah. I does, and I think one of the thingsthat maybe I didn't have clarity on is that is defining agility versusflexibility. Agility is about focusing on what matters. Flexibility is aboutbeing able to turn on a dime and their different concepts when it comes to TadJohn Marketing. Is that correct, yeah? Absolutely? And so you know, I thinkone and I have to have this conversation earlier. I believe it'sreally more of it effectiveness. We get to a thing efficiency later on, but youknow if you're doing the wrong things and you're just making the wrong thingsefficient, that's not going to work out well, so I put sort of theeffectiveness of what you doing and you mentioned earlier and I didn't hit onthis this point. It allows us to be hyper focus. It reduces thedistractions and hopefully the mindset per agility when it's absorbed byexecutive and our leaders they understand their role in this world isthey're the constant source of interruptions and distractions and newpriorities and it sort of invents in them. You know we have an Athoth in theprocess that we're actually going to deliver this value, the more that weget interrupted, the more that we get asked for other things, because we havethis notion that agility is all about flexibility and turning on a dine, andwe want to quash that out of the gates and one of the other things thatagility allows us to focus. The story helps with the focus on is allowing theteam- it's not just a twenty you but psychological safety that they can testand learn, and they won't be. You know, put in the penalty box for doingsomething outside the realm of what the executive thinks is the their opinions or conventions for wherethey think marketing should be or what marketing should be doing. Okay. So,let's assume that your the CEO or the Head of marketing or anentrepreneur- and you like the idea of agile and you're,looking at making your marketing more effective and more focused, and you areready to explore orato embrace a John Marketing. What do they need to do to make sure that they become Ajomarketing, catalysts or change agents? You know what are the keys to taking a concept and turning it into acorporate reality so that an organization can be structureddifferently, can focus on what's important and can become more efficientand more successful from a marketing perspective. Well, you know my companyis invented in work, shopping and...

...training, and coaching so, let's saythat's a in essential piece of it, the unity at going with. But it's more, Iwant to say bit sparking imagination. What is the art of the possible in theways that Nani we've been under the guise of this? You know military tilers,Taylorism, sort of approach to all of our corporate marketing or sorry all sort of corporatestructure and hierches, and- and I mentioned before, the commanded control.This is a radical change, so the first thing is understanding what it is andlike intention before, what it's, not because it is driven by values andprinciples again in the way to think of better work, the way that we now behavewith our work and then the way that we take action with ourselves and our work.So it's understanding that understand the values in the principles that allowus to be more collaborative adapted to change, deliver that value and also beable to be transparent in our work. I think that's one of the huge thingsthat executive is kind of a little weary of like how far does this go and what does it mean in terms of how weoperate now, once the mindset and the it's sort of established and it createsthat err cover for how we can operate differently? You know we start to shift how we thinkabout a waterfall type of a project management approach to you know, weneed to do just enough planning to get us to the next age, because we arestarting to acknowledge that you know the world'sbest plans change you. Five seconds after the project starts, so it is thatshift. It's also this. You know absorbing the work that we actuallyneed to do in determining what again that valuepieces. I think the you know, the other piece is looking at how empirical weget. One of the things in when of the one of the mistakes that we make in bringing in Haddril is thinking thatit's all about a framework like scrum or conboy. Those become themethodologies for which we can deliver, but you know, following thosedogmatically getting somebody who's really good at strum. Bringing them inwith no marketing background is not necessarily the recipe of success, sothere's a lot of elements that need to sort of balance out. I think the key,though, is understanding what it is versus, what it's not and then gettinginvolved in understanding, values and principles, and how that fundamentallychanges how we look at what we do and then approach the change to how we doit. Let's Segue, given that into what you and level see do, how do you workwith organizations like? How do you help them embrace and be successfulwith adjon marketing? Is it workshops? Is it one O one coaching? Is itseminars? What are the different ways that you can then work with a companyto help them with this process? The answer is yes to all the above, solevel see digital is an accredited, has accredited courses with to teach adronmarketing where those participants who get to matial marketing certificates,so that's sort of the back end o where we go with the workshop. What I foundalong the way with delivering the workshops and we go each other for along time- you are, you know I was teaching digital marking strategy andmanagement for quite a while. What I always found mark was that you know youdeliver the training and, if there's no follow up after you really, you knowkind of hits with a bud that people are. They love what they learned, but theyhave no application for it. So, where I take things, as you know, I willdiscuss with companies. Is it's right? It's not right for everybody. That'sthe first step is really talking with leadership and understanding theseissues and problems, and you know, obstacles to overcome in theirmarketing and and then look at because it's not a one size fits all. How canagility help them? So we have those natural conversations. I will come inand do a training in workshop over several days to train the coreexecution team then teach leadership...

...what it means as part of this sort ofpackage that put together each leadership about how to think aboutagility, how they do behave and understand how they can either stop itin its track through being successful or help to reinforce its benefits in tohave in different ways. And then I fought up with ninety days of coachingand the coaching comes into play where the team decides what they're going todo and we pilot something, but it may take two weeks to set it up. You maytake two days to set it up. This is, then, becomes their work to do withcoaching, along the way that I will provide an on going way, and we find isthat we start slow and we built. We don't do everything at once. We sort ofbuild in things that we test and learn. We are being agile in our ADIimplementation of that John Mark. So that's what I that's. What I bring ait's really funny how how fast this stuff does break down right. We go backto old ways of working, and I have to I'm there to sort of remind people thatthis is called agility because we're supposed to be being adroit and itreally changes the way that people think about at their work and about howthey work together. One final question: In terms of how companies are embracingat Jon Market at a time when many people are still working from home, hasthis whole work from home phenomena been a positive or negative influenceon the adoption of that Jon Marketing. It's had its challenges, but we, youknow, I like say Adels not about the tools or the software, but theycertainly helped a lot in the online environment when we're working fromhome. You know these teams work really wellwhen they're co located when they're all sort of know face to base, andhopefully we'll get back to that environment one gate soon, but thereare ways you you can do it online. In fact, I had to take my whole course andbuild it for the online environment. There's a lot of learning, but how youcan make it effective online and- and you know some of the fundamentalchanges that agility brings to how a team operates. Really this reallyfacilitates using the online says, but also one of the detractions in it. A true piece of agility is when we losethat human touch, in that you know working side by side with people andlooking over their shoulder. That's one of the pieces that I hope to get back,and I don't know that any software going to help with that. That's wherethe mindset and behaving with the values of how we workreally steps into play, then a team to jump on zoom for ten minutes as opposedto an hour really to solve a problem and then do a thing to do well. Thishas been great insight in Tajon Marketing, a subject that I didn't knowmuch about before we touch face. So thank you for that. Where can peoplelearn more about you and level see digital people can learn more about levels. YouGadou loan level see digital do com. I have a a newsletter that I also sendout a COB, the digital digital digest that comes out weekly and actually youwere the inspiration for that news letter and then you changed your wholeway of doing newsletters and stuff. I I I'm not on I'm just going to stick withmy knitting on it when I was trying to yeah job with my man with my newsletter, that's that's great and hopefully you're measuring andvalidating your learnings, and it's continuously imgrund for you. So youcan find me an my website. I also teach you university. No, I'm also taking ona entents conversation describe by Itunes spotify for yourfavorite podcast, tap and share by social learn more about how I help yo to beSASS companies in the Fractional Co, Patigian, visor and coach send an emailto mark at market park, co or connect with me on Wi I'll talk you next.

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