Agile Marketing Review and Retrospective: 2018


When it comes to Agile marketing, I’m a big believer in Kanban and continuous flow. But the last six weeks of this year can only be characterized as a Sprint here at AgileSherpas. The flurry of end-of-year training has kept me very focused on execution (and more sleep deprived than I have been since my second child was born), but as I prepare for our final client engagement of 2018 I finally have time for a moment of reflection.
I firmly believe that this year marked a major step forward on our collective march towards true marketing agility. And so, in the spirit of Scrum, I want to use the Review and Retrospective format to share some insights from 2018 and where they are pointing for 2019.

Agile Marketing in Review, 2018

According to our 2018 State of Agile Marketing Report, a lack of knowledge was the biggest thing holding marketers back from taking a more Agile approach to their work.
This year, we made it our mission to help bridge that gap.

barriers to agile marketing

Agile Marketing Certifications

The first major highlight on that journey included co-authoring the curriculum for the first internationally-recognized certification in Agile marketing. ICAgile’s Certified Professional in Agile Marketing (ICP-MKG) launched in March of this year, and has since helped many, many marketers improve their understanding of Agile principles in a marketing context. I’m proud to say we were the first to be accredited to deliver the certification, and AgileSherpas has since certified 187 marketers in both public and private workshops. A new course is never perfect, and we’ve taken all the feedback from our attendees very seriously (thank you, attendees!). Every offering gets a little better, and our most recent iteration of the public workshop received a course NPS of 87.5, and an instructor NPS of 100. If you’re interested in joining us in 2019 to become one of this ever-growing army of certified Agile marketers, you can find us in Johannesburg in February, as well as across the US starting in March. Our dates often sell out, so grab a seat at your preferred date soon:

Hitting the Road for Agile Marketing

We also spent quite a lot of time this year getting face to face with Agile marketing teams of all shapes and sizes via private onsite engagements. I personally LOVE these kinds of engagements, because even within the same team people have unique perspectives about their work and its challenges. Over the course of the year our AgileSherpas trainers served more than 800 marketers (and a handful of developers who work with them). All told we hit the road nearly 40 times to visit our clients.

A few more fun stats from our 2018 trips:

* 800+ marketers trained

* 3,674 sticky notes used

* 2,160 origami fish created (and yes, crabs are the hardest to fold)

* Smallest group trained simultaneously: 5-person agency team

* Largest group trained simultaneously: 60 people from across multiple lines of business inside a 200+ person marketing department

Some of the origami fish our clients created this year:

origami agile fish
Yes, crabs are totally the hardest to fold.

An Agile Marketing Retrospective

These are fun and uplifting numbers, but retros are also about finding new ways to be better in the future. If I’m being honest, there are lots of things we’re looking to improve in the coming year. We want to expand our staff to include another full-time trainer (we hope to introduce you to this person very soon!!), because there’s still a lot of work to be done to bridge the Agile marketing education gap. And I personally want to keep pushing the certification conversation forward. For instance: Is the current cert still working for our community? Do we need an advanced version? Do marketing leaders need their own track? If so, do existing Agile leadership certs meet that need? Clearly, we’ve still got a lot of work to do here.

What’s Next for AgileSherpas and Agile Marketing?

For the past few months I’ve been processing all the insight, feedback, input, fails, and triumphs from my past four years as an Agile marketer and combining them into a new book that outlines a customized Agile marketing framework. I cannot tell you how excited I am about this (see below for a visual representation). More on this front soon!

happy dance

We’re also exploring new ways to bring the Agile marketing community together face to face outside of formal training. (If that interests you and you’re not a subscriber to our email list yet, you better get on that. Those folks will get first shot at some amazing stuff next year.) And, of course, we’re already hard at work on the Second Annual State of Agile Marketing Report alongside a fantastic partner who shares our vision for changing the way marketers get work done. (Follow me and/or AgileSherpas on Twitter if you want to take the survey and/or see the results.)

Finally, not to toot our own horn, but IBM recently cited the 2018 report in their predictions for 2019 marketing trends, so it's becoming a big part of how people see the Agile marketing movement. You can also review last year’s results and start your betting pools for where the new results will move. (Other people are betting on this besides me, right?)

You ARE the Agile Marketing Movement

Thank you for being a part of the Agile marketing movement in whatever capacity you are (just reading this article counts too). This is an amazing, transformative, and occasionally really hard time to be a marketer. Let’s keep supporting one another as we make our profession better, however that ends up looking. I really, really, really hope to meet you in person in 2019. Because you, my friends, ARE the Agile marketing movement. Go get it.
cheers to you