An exploration of Agile Marketing

All thoughts expressed here are either Dwayne's attempts to parse out what Roland is saying or Roland Smart's words form his book "The Agile Marketer: Turning Customer Experience Into Competitive Advantage

How to read this. If it is in quotes ("") then it came from the book. If it is just hanging out without quotes it is Dwayne's personal notes or thoughts.

All copy and HTML hand crafted in vi

sketches that visualize some of the major points of The Agile Marketer session at Mar-tech conference
From a tweet by @KKellyMSU

Part 1: Just the notes and things I highlighted


Reference books

Involver - acquired by Oracle

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Chapter 1

Measure constantly

"The predictive approach measures twice and cuts once, whereas the adaptive approach is constantly measuring while making many small cuts"

"For one thing, the adaptive approaches to development depend on constant feedback from customers to support iteration"

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Chapter 2

Race to the middle

"The fact is that the big guys like Oracle are becoming more agile through a steady diet of acquisitions. And the little guys are getting really smart in building interoperability into their applications. In short, a race to the middle is taking place."

"Marketers cobble together "Franken-platforms" that an deliver amazing results, but that take a long time to deliver value. Worse still, all the technology often becomes a distraction from the fundamental tasks of connecting with customers in a simple, clear and concise fashion."

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Chapter 3

Digital Body Language

"The more a prospect shares about herself during the process the more she gets back in return The more a prospect shares about herself during the process the more she gets back in return from the marketer"

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Chapter 4

Internal comms

"Interestingly, the first principle ("individuals and interactions over processes and tools") is an example of an internal feedback loop that is actually being shortened. In fact, the conform to Agile principles, feedback loops must be implemented on multiple levels.""

"I'm saying that closer internal collaboration and a closer connection to customers is essential, and it's useful for marketers to take a page from development's book on this topic."

How to get started with Agile

  1. Ask around, talk it up.
  2. Appoint or hire an Agile leader.
  3. Create a game plan, assemble your resources.
  4. Complete an iteration.
  5. Share your results.
  6. Return to step 4 and repeat.

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Chapter 6

Scrum: A Service Development Method

"In other words its better to release on time than to delay a release in order to complete more work. When you translate this notion to the context of your list, sprint planning involves drawing a line under the last task that you can realistically perform within a specified time frame. To accomplish this, you'll have to have estimated the time needed to complete each story so that you can add up what is realistically possible within each iteration or timebox"

"The costs of bad predictions"

  1. "It is impossible to gather all the requirements as the beginning of a project"
  2. "Whatever requirements you do gather are guaranteed to change"
  3. "There will always be more to do than time and money will allow"

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Chapter 7


"Moreover, unlike Scrum, Kanban does not prescribe timeboxing. Rather Kanban is constrained by the number of items that can be handled in each development stage at any one time."

"Where Scrum measured velocity (total number of story points per iteration), Kanban measured the average time it takes for an item to progress across the board , otherwise known as its cycle time."

"A Scrum Board is reset between each sprint | A Kanban Board is persistent."

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Chapter 8

Managing C-Suite Partnerships

"We use and an Agile methodology and spend a lot of time one-on-one and with small groups to understand different needs "

We Kanban our Scrum

"At Oracle we even have a services offering designed to help companies implement Agile in the context of our Marketing automation offering."

"In my experience , more marketing projects fit well Kanban than with Scrum."

What is our timeline and review process?

"Regardless of the method you start with, feedback on how it's working will be critical to it's success."

How should e share progress and feedback

"Set milestones at which you'll conduct reviews of the process to share with executive partners. If possible, map these reports to the retrospective with each sprint or cycle"

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Chapter 9

Start Small

"you can't possible transition all projects to an Agile process overnight. Instead it's best to start with a project that allows your team to learn the process while tailoring it to your company culture."

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Chapter 10


"Great marketing requires close alignment with the business people, sales and development."

"Don't be afraid to fail, just don't fail the same way twice."

"Simplicity is essential"

"But wait-don't Start with the cake! Start with a cupcake!"

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Chapter 11


"Alignment is indisputably the goal. But in reality it is the exception and not the rule."

"Recalling the principles of the Agile Manifesto, there is an emphasis on cross functional teams."

"The key is to have cross-functional teams in each business unit and to have cross-functional participation across business units to ensure that the Agile teams stay in sync."

Stacey + Nathan?

"there is often a disconnect between project management's UX design team and marketing's UX design team. This disconnect undermines the company's ability to deliver a consistent user experience."

Respond to feedback

"the process of customer discovery over static prediction, flexible versus rigid planning, and responding to change over following a plan--it's not about having a strategy or plan, rather it's about responding to feedback."

Experience Mapping Journey

"experience mapping, which maps which maps a customer's across all touchpoints, can require time-consuming research and a significant investment. Experience mapping yields insights for product or service enhancement, but it, too, does not fit directly into an Agile framework."

"Experience mapping is marketing's bailiwick"
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Chapter 12

Everything else is cost

"Because the purpose of business is to create a customer, the business enterprise has two--and only 2--basic functions: marketing and innovation. Marketing and innovation produce results; all the rest are costs. "

"So, communication is the first step but not a solution. What's needed are methods and practices that go beyond communication to action."

Oracle ACE Program

"Advocacy and peer-to-peer support communities, such as Oracle ACE Program, give a company's most influential users a platform through which to shape product innovation."

"In other words, although there are usually many options that you could pursue, a good strategy dictates that there are only a few that you will actually pursue."

Dependency Exercise - page 102 hardbound first edition not going to type the whole thing out now.

Zero sum game theory

"In this exercise it is useful to have each participant come up with his or her own rating of feasibility or importance before sharing with the team. By concealing the results in this way, you avoid introducing the form of cogitative bias known as anchoring, in which the first number spoken aloud sets a precedent for subsequent estimates."

"Rather, the document embodies strategic insights and values to guide interpretation on an ongoing basis. It's also much faster to update this document than it is to create it from scratch, a process that is worth doing at least quarterly."

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Chapter 13


"Simplicity is the key, as principle 10 from the Agile Marketing Manifesto states (simplicity is essential)."

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Chapter 14

"To modernize the marketing function, companies must tap into a whole array of customer feedback gathered at multiple levels: direct user feedback, feedback from research, strategic feedback, and feedback that comes in the form of data flowing into your integrated marketing platform."

"Smart buyers are looking for signs that you're agile (even if they don't call it that) because the ability to respond to the market quickly is the hallmark of a successful, competitive company."

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Chapter 15

  1. "Test to discover (pings): These tests are designed to explore new channels or opportunities. Ellis used the example of the game Battleship, where players test coordinates on a grid to see if there is a battleship present at a specific location. If they get a hit, they focus additional fire int he same area; otherwise, they test elsewhere"
  2. "Tests to optimize (A/B tests): These tests aim to improve the effectiveness of content, experiences, or interactions by exposing subjects to slightly different variations. This type of test is also known as A/B testing or multivariate testing."

"Whereas testing two pricing options would have been riskier (unless you were already aware of the underlying psychology), because it does not follow well-known patters for optimizing pricing by adjusting price points to establish thresholds."

"Chestnut and Musk...In practice these leaders are brilliant marketers who have achieved their marketing success by applying Agile. Sadly many such product leaders fail to champion Agile in a marketing context."

Oracle Marketing Cloud Topliners community- research needed

On page 132 there is a very pro gamification breakout section

Converged Media

"Converged characterized by a consistent storyline, look, and feel. All channels work in concert, enabling brands to reach customers exactly where, how and when they want, regardless of channel, medium or device, online or offline. With the customer journey between devices, channels, and media becoming increasingly complex, and new forms of technology only making it more so, this strategy of paid/owned/earned confluence makes marketers impervious to the disruption caused by emerging technologies."

Organic Journeys - page 137 - too much to copy here

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Chapter 16

Collaborative Economy

"Look up Owyang's infographic, the Collaborative Economy Honeycomb, online to see just how far and wide the movement has spread"

What does Servicization mean for us?

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Chapter: Conclusion

Internal vs External communication

on both modernizing and disrupting companies: "They share a common denominator: the view that their communications (both internal and external) are a resource -- in fact, _the_ critical resource -- that must be leveraged to sustain competitive advantage"

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Hero = Oracle ACE??

"We do this by cultivating a relationships with members of our flagship advocacy program, the Oracle ACE program. Members of the program are highly influential technology experts who are outspoken about Oracle technologies. To get into the program, applicants must author technical papers or articles and develop other content that helps the community succeed with Oracle technologies."

Two Minute Tech Tips

"A practitioner might watch one of our "Two-Minute Tech Tip" video interviews that feature ACEs. If they do they'll be more likely to take the next step in the buyer's journey, which is to download trial software or sign up for a cloud trial. goals?

"In reality, buyers typically have more questions during and after a trial than before, and these later-stage questions tend to be more specific. It's at this point that buyers turn to use community for social proof. Buyers in this phase seek three things from the community"
  1. "Confirmation that a community already exists, because no one wants to be the only customer of your product or service"
  2. "Assurance that you are participating, listening and contributing "
  3. "An indication that the community is satisfied with your products or services"

"Customers can receive training and certification from Oracle University, which has its own community."

Transparency As Key

"It's not only because they are digital natives, either. It's also because younger generations -- including millennials -- come to the table with more pronounced expectations of transparency."

Mapping hero to Revenue (not cause -> effect)

"At Oracle, for instance, we discovered that 86 percent of corporate customers that have at least one user actively engaged in OMC Topliners community renew their subscriptions"

Are we answering these questions?
  • "What service-use behaviors are characteristic of potential advocates?"
  • "Do different customer segments exhibit different buying behavior patterns?"
  • "Which content resonates best with which audiences and at which particular points in the buyers journey?"
  • "Which product feature do your most loyal customers use most?"
  • "How does this compare to the features that your most profitable customers use most?"
  • "Which product feature do your most vocal advocates use most?"
  • "Are there correlations between support-ticket creation and user training and certification?"


"This is also why we're working hard to incorporate data from our community platform into our customer experience database (CXD), which is the foundation of our modernization effort."

Topic Scoring

"Topic scoring is a concept developed by the marketing automation world. It's based on user behavior both online and offline. The topic scoring model looks at customer behavior across all data sources -- event attendance, social interactions, website visits, downloads, and so on -- and assigns a score to each activity based on the degree to which it indicates interest in a topic. That score maps to a hierarchy of topics that are relevant in Oracle's business."

Strategy Guide

  1. "Implement the principles associated with the Agile Marketing Manifesto."
  2. "Create discrete marketing services that add value to your customer experience database."
  3. "Integrate with other organizations in an agile fashion (i.e., fostering an Agile transformation) to enrich your customer experience database."
  4. "Look for opportunistic ways to integrate marketing into your products or services."
  5. "Act as the steward of the overall customer experience."

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Appendix 1

What is our plan around?

"Companies need to build a framework that organizes -- and separates -- their marketing content in accordance with the specific business goals each type serves. Such a framework can facilitate the development of a complete content portfolio to address the needs of your prospects and consumers at every stage of the customer life cycle. It is also designed to"

  • "Improve the effectiveness of your content through iteration."
  • "Improve the customer experience by filling gaps in your content portfolio."
  • "Simplify your content portfolio by reducing the overall volume of content and channels through which it is disseminated."

"The content marketing framework is make up of a series of eight exercises:"

  1. "List business goals"
  2. "Define content themes"
  3. "Define personas"
  4. "Inventory channels"
  5. "Define content types"
  6. "Link content attributes"
  7. "Fill content gaps"
  8. "Consolidate channels and content"

"Define Content Themes"

Hero vs Community personas!! -- see page 170

"The layout calls out key themes and the content types that are relevant for this persona, which links them to your content strategy."

Channel Inventory? Inventory Channels.

Content channel vs type

"Define Content Types. The goal here is to list and define the content types that you distribute (or would lie to distribute) through available channels. In my experience, teams sometimes struggle with this exercise because they confuse content types with channels or format. For example, a blog post is not a content type; it's a content format delivered via the blog channel (website). A weekly fashion tip is content type that a fashion retailer might create as a post on its blog but which might also be reformatted as a tweet for the Twitter channel."

Assuming not true at this point in time

"At this point you should have a fleshed-out content grid, along with a set of stand-alone documents that support it."

2 types of content!!

  1. "Reference content that you periodically revise"
  2. "Serial content that builds on themes"

"Thus, it is important to track performance according to content type."

Content strategy general principles

"This second question points to a general principle of content strategy: namely, that each channel and each content type has unique affordance and opportunities associated with it."

Content "Darn It"

"Many companies have a tendency to distribute all content via all channels ("I invested in this content, darn it; I want to its full reward!"). This is generally not a smart approach, however, because channels become less differentiated and less effective for specific personas -- and they generally become cluttered. Plus, you limit your ability to give a potential customer a reason to opt into a new channel that may have greater affordances for engagement."

Need a conversation with Sam

"What's less common is a solution for aggregating data in ways that support the content strategy framework that I've aid out in this chapter. Today, many marketers use shared spreadsheets or wikis to capture data snapshots for content marketing exercises. Unfortunately, as the company developer a full portfolio of content, this can become unwieldy. For this reason, technologies that support content marketing have been a focus area of investment and innovation. At Oracle, for instance, we have a content marketing solution that supports content planning, workflow, publishing, and analytics. In general, such technologies provide workflows that structure how source content is created and sliced and diced into derivative content."

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Appendix 2


"modern leaders need to think beyond their organizational structure and work beyond what is natural in that structure. That's where the Agile team, and the focus on the goal, brings a cross-functional team together. It gives them something to unite around towards that North Star."

Oracle Compendium? What is that even?

Random thoughts while reading this:
  • Yet Another System Fatigue (YAS Fatigue)
  • A question for Heroes and Community "Is there anything we could do to make your life easier?"

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