With nothing more than a jet engine and a parachute strapped to his back, Yves Rossy, Jetman, flies across the English Channel, above the Grand Canyon and among the Swiss Alps.

What does this have to do with Agile Marketing? As it turns out, quite a bit.

You Have to Adapt; You Must Improvise

At the 7:45 mark in the video, the interviewer asks Yves what he does to keep fit for these flights. Yves answers “I don’t do special physical training. Just, I try to keep my mobility through new activities.” And he goes on to describe how he recently took up kite surfing. Later in the video, he says “you need to be agile and also to adapt really fast”. And again, “I have to adapt to something new. That means improvise.”

To be good marketers, we must take the same approach as Yves does to flying. We keep our marketing muscles fit by trying out new activities, new methodologies, new techniques. At the same time, we must be agile and adapt really fast to changing marketing conditions. And we must improvise.

Always Plan B

Yves recognizes the dangers of flying with nothing but a small jet wing and a parachute. He reduces the danger by, as he says, “Always plan B”. He has not one but two parachutes, which he says he has used over 20 times. The wing has four engines, and if one fails, or even two fail, he can recover. He also approaches something new (like launching from a cliff rather than an airplane) by taking it step by step, making sure that with each step he learns how to reduce the risk of the next step into the unknown.

“I have the approach of a professional pilot with the respect of a pioneer.”

As marketers, we must also always have a Plan B. We must be prepared to fail, and approach the unknown with the professionalism and experience of a commercial pilot but also the respect for what might go wrong of a pioneer. We can take new things step by step, with each step extending our knowledge and reducing our risk.

What’s Next for Jetman?

Yves didn’t stop after his first successful flight. Even after crossing the English Channel, conquering the Grand Canyon and flying among the Swiss Alps, he continues to have goals and set new challenges. He wants to train a younger pilot so that he can do formation flying. He wants to launch off a cliff.

So to as marketers, we must set new goals: increase our market share, launch new products, improve our net promoter score. We must always have new goals in mind.

What do you think?

Jim Ewel

I love marketing. I think it’s one of the most difficult and one of most exciting jobs in any company. My goal with this blog is to evangelize agile marketing and help marketers increase the speed, predictability, transparency, and adaptability to change of the marketing function.