Well, some big news. In amongst the lockdowns last year my publisher Kogan Page asked me if I'd be interested in following up my first two books on agile transformation with a third book focused more specifically on the application of agile principles to marketing. The result is Agile Marketing: Unlock Adaptive and Data-driven Marketing for Long-term Success which I'm delighted to say will be published on 3rd April in the UK and Rest of World, and 26th April in North America.
So why have I written this book?
Digital technologies have generated new possibilities, rewired multiple industries, originated new models, and dramatically changed customer interaction, behaviour and routes to market – but great marketing is still great marketing. My favourite definition of it comes from the UK’s Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM):
‘Marketing is the management process responsible for identifying, anticipating and satisfying customer requirements profitably’
American marketing theorist Richard Bagozzi described the discipline as an organised system of exchange – the business gains revenue, profit or some other gain in exchange for the benefits that are provided to customers by the product or service. The fundamentals of this, and of good marketing, have not changed (as an example of this Tom Roach wrote an excellent piece late last year on the key principles of marcomms effectiveness that will always be true including the importance of reach, attention, creativity, distinctiveness and emotion).
Yet the context for how we deliver these essential elements has changed. And changed significantly. Whether through the fragmentation of channels, the revolution in the role that data and technology plays in the discipline, or the powerful shifts in customer experiences, targeting and measurement, digital has changed how we identify, anticipate, and satisfy customer needs and how we derive benefit, profit and return. At the same time the horizontal nature of customer experience, the growth of service innovation and design, and the rise in product management and thinking within organisations is creating increasingly blurred lines between areas of practice that generates both challenge and opportunity. These contexts have been compounded by increasingly uncertain, complex and unpredictable environments, and have only been accelerated by the pandemic.
My contention in this book is that it has become essential for marketers to respond to these shifts with greater agility and adaptability and yet whilst expertise, roles, the use of technology, and elements of practice have evolved, much around the structure, process, workflow and mindsets that marketing teams deploy to execute marketing strategy and realise objectives has not fully kept pace with this change. Over the last decade of working with multiple global organisations on agile transformation programmes I have witnessed how challenging but rewarding this journey can be.
I believe this is a real opportunity for the discipline to work alongside other functions in new ways that can amplify the value delivered to the organisation. This book is not about challenging or rehashing classic marketing theory but instead it is a pragmatic view on how marketing teams can apply key principles, practices and mindsets that have grown up with digital to facilitate greater responsiveness and adaptability. It is about how data can be placed right at the heart of marketing practice to support better decision-making, continuous iteration and optimisation. It is marketing execution that is fit for purpose for a rapidly changing world.