UnSummit5 – Agile Marketing, Marketing Technology, and Online Style Guide

UnSummit5 was good; even if Social Media topics dominated the agenda, the content of the topics in many cases was very general bottom-lie-driven marketing relying on all possible channels. Interesting.

The most interesting sessions (from my perspective 😉  ) were sessions applicable to  companies’ marketing organization and function – topics that will probably not be understood by the industry in coming years…  We understand that we are facing (and required to handle) constant change, but what is the perfect approach?

Agile Marketing

Rohn Jay Miller built a great case for application of Agile principles for marketing (it is cheaper…  besides all other advantages), and provided agile and lean marketing resources.

The principle of Agile Marketing is borrowed from Agile Development – replacement of planned approach with heavy documentation with an iterative process where a minimally acceptable working prototype is build with little documentation.

Agile is applied to software development to take advantage of learning during the project.  Agile might have to be applied to marketing because business environment changes so fast, that long-term planning process does not make sense.

Some of interesting points from the presentation and discussion:

  • Think in terms of platforms rather than campaigns
  • Use “Pirate metrics” – revenue/profit, rather than traffic/clicks
  • Nail it and then scale it…
  • Agile fails in technology when people are unwilling to collaborate/communicate and face problems
  • Agile can be used for flexible channels (email, direct mail, digital in general….)
  • Cross-department and cross-skills succeed
  • How to start – start in a very small teams with strong collaboration – grow later
  • BestBuy is using agile marketing

Interesting example of using agile marketing – Flip camera promotions. The camera was originally targeted to mothers – as a cheap and easy way to share moments of their children’s lives. The point of “sharing” was a marketing approach built into the product itself. The problem was that people did not want to post the videos on open internet (at the time the only easy option) – the company created secure upload option – still not forgetting easy sharing features. Then, choice of of the camera’s look…

One of the recommended resources – Agile Marketing Blog; which has an interesting  Marketing Agility podcast.  One of the topics was a conversation with Kristin Hersant, VP Corporate Marketing at StrongMail, who uses agile principles.

My guess, we will be talking about Agile Marketing more rather than less in the future; this is also the approach that might be equally effective in b-to-b than b-to-c.

Marketing Technology

My own discussion happened to be very interesting, but did not lead to any better understanding of the situation or any novel solutions.  Marketers have to deal with technology… it is new, it is inevitable, and different pieces of technology do not nececerely work together… as well as different departments that have to cooperate: Marketing, Sales, IT.

Everybody is having the same experience related to marketing technology and making it work “it is a mess…” pointed out one truly knowledgeable person from the audience.

We discussed some possible solutions:

  • Cross-functional teams to take advantage of specific expertise ( great for individual projects, but would not work for infrastructure projects)
  • Outside expert coming to the company to evaluate infrastructure (similar to what often happening with content strategy)
  • Are there “clusters” of compatible technologies that can work together?
  • Most reasonable: to create an executive level group to collaborate on infrastructure (group includes marketing and sales)

The general conclusion was that at this point of history marketing technology is difficult: IT may be reluctant to change existing approaches, Sales may be reluctant to use new tools, and Marketing may not have enough resources…  However, technology will be a competitive advantage for those companies that will be able to use it…

Yahoo Style Guide

Meg lead an interesting session on finding the voice for our blogs, where she mentioned and recommended Yahoo Style Guide.  It was very interesting to see how experienced bloggers discussed voices of their blogs and the fact that these voices can fluctuate in time…


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