SprintZero: Growing The Agile Marketing Movement 

SprintZero was a gathering of 35 marketers in San Francisco in the summer of 2012. The event helped to create the widely covered Agile Marketing Manifesto, and was the inspiration for both the San Francisco and Boston Agile Marketing Meetups.Here’s some of the backstory of this important event, as told by someone who witnessed it firsthand.

The Start of a Movement

Frank Days and I had been running the agility marketing podcast for a couple of years here in Boston. Jim Ewel, one of our listeners, decided to reach beyond the airwaves and find out if we’d both be up for a meeting when he was in Boston. Jim and I met at the Starbucks in Harvard Yard in January of 2012, and we had a great conversation. Jim is ex-Microsoft, and was providing consulting services on agile marketing at the time. He suggested we put together an event similar to the famous 2001 ski lodge for developers that produced the agile manifesto. I agreed, and so we started working on SprintZero.

Where To Hold The Event?

We decided on San Francisco, primarily because there was a big marketing event in San Francisco at the same time, which meant some speakers from HubSpot were already going to be in the area. We knew Jascha Kaykas-Wolff from MindJet, and he proposed hosting the event. We also had a panel discussion on agile marketing at the San Francisco event, I wrote an article on MarketingProfs that really picked up the number of RSVPs, and Jascha reached out to some of his contacts in the bay area. To document the event, we also invited journalists from CMO.com and marketingpowered.com.

The Agile Marketing Manifesto

Meanwhile, Travis Arnold from Missouri started to gather and compile all of the Agile Marketing manifestos that had been published in the previous 2-3 years. Travis did an amazing job, sorting through everyone’s posts, collating each bullet point, and categorizing them so we had a short list of items to consider. We used Travis’ list as a basis to drive the discussion at SprintZero.

SprintZero Schedule and Discussions

The day kicked off with 101 discussions in the morning, Jim Ewel gave a rousing keynote, then we closed the morning with a panel discussion.
In the afternoon we had a workshop to construct the Agile Marketing Manifesto. Jim Ewel led the discussion, and thirty-five marketers attended the event and contributed their ideas. The group also attended a panel discussion at the accompanying marketing event at nearby Fort Mason.

Results From SprintZero

Four meetup groups formed after the end of SprintZero. They started up in San Francisco, Boston, LA and Seattle. The last two fell by the wayside, but once San Francisco really launched in September of 2012, it went from strength to strength, and now has over 3,800 members. Boston stayed small for a few years, but was re-energized in 2015. It’s now grown from 175 members to over 580 in the last year. Last year I interviewed Nick Muldoon, one of the co-founders of the San Francisco Agile Marketing Group. Boston has been inspired by the San Francisco group’s approach of focusing on marketer’s problems. Their meetups explain how agile can help support and resolve the issues facing marketers, from digital marketing transformation to MarTech to all of today's marketing issues. The Agile Marketing Facebook group also formed before SprintZero to help manage the conference, and the group now has over 1,300 members.


john cass agile marketing

About the Author: John Cass is the Director of Marketing for OnSource and the Co-Founder of the Boston Agile Marketing Meetup. Follow him on Twitter @johncass.