Agile Marketing executiveLet’s say you want to transition your marketing group to use agile marketing principles and methodology – how do you sell the idea to senior executives?

You might ask yourself, is it necessary to sell agile marketing to senior executives? Absolutely!!! Without the support of senior executives, agile marketing becomes just another project management tool, and you’re missing out on at least 50% of the value of the agile marketing approach.

Two Approaches

There are two approaches to selling agile marketing to the C-Suite, the positive approach, extolling the benefits of agile, or the negative approach, outlining the dangers of not implementing an agile approach. In my experience, fear motivates better than promises, but you’ll need to decide which approach works best for your organization.  The approach I’ve outlined below takes the negative approach, but you can easily flip it if you’d like to take the positive approach.

Slowness Kills – On the highway, speed kills, but in business, it is slowness that kills.  Companies that are slow to respond to competitive threats, companies that are slow to respond to customer complaints, companies that are slow to change when something is not working – these companies fail.

Agile marketing addresses the need for speed by proceeding in a series of rapid sprints, reviewing at the end of each sprint what worked and what didn’t, and adjusting as necessary. Agile marketing also acknowledges the need to set aside resources to respond to the unexpected – whether the unexpected is driven by customers, competitors, or current events.  As the agile marketing manifesto might put it, we value responding to change over following a plan.

Misalignment Kills – nothing destroys a marketing effort than misalignment with executives or the sales staff.  If not aligned with management and the sales team, marketing focuses on activities and metrics that have no value to the rest of the business.

Agile marketing encourages alignment by beginning each sprint with a Sprint Planning meeting.  Management and sales outline the results that they’d like to see; marketing sizes the tasks and the budget required to achieve these results, and a negotiation occurs before the sprint takes place.

The tools and processes of agile marketing also encourage greater communication with management and sales, so there are fewer surprises and a greater understanding of marketing’s contributions.

Lack of Engagement Kills – Marketing departments that get out of touch with their customers soon lose their way. Imagine driving down the highway at 100 miles per hour and closing your eyes – the result, whether driving or marketing while out of touch, are likely to be a crash and burn.

Agile marketing encourages customer engagement and researching the market by “getting out of the building”, in Steve Blank’s phrase.  The agile marketer values engagement, intimate customer tribes <a Scott Brinker’s article> and numerous small experiments over a few large bets.

Why Agile Marketing? If asked by someone from the C-Suite, why agile marketing, the simplest answer boils down to just three words:




How about you? Have you had to sell agile marketing to senior management?  How did you do it?

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.