Agile marketing: making sense of it from a student’s perspective

As I’m writing this post, I realize that this is me thinking out loud. If you enjoy what you’ve read at the end, feel free to ask questions, make comments, and let me know if I have any gaps that need filling or if I’m completely off-base.

I’m an MBA in Marketing candidate. I’m finally done with all of my core finance, accounting, and economics courses. I’m now diving into nothing but marketing and international business.

I’m also a Certified ScrumMaster, Kanban board user, and overall big fan of the value that agile brings and the values that it espouses. Therefore, I’m trying to think about what I’m learning in the agile context, and I find that there are already some conflicts.

The big group project for this class is to create a marketing plan. In week 2, we are diving deeper into what comprises a marketing plan. The template that we’re using contains many sections such as company summary, marketing summary, SWOT analysis, product offering, marketing mix, and other items.

The attitude of this class seems to be to take a one-year, two-year, and five-year look at the company. My inner agile is screaming at me: how the heck do we know what’s going to happen in five years??? Is it worthwhile to prognosticate? Or is it better to set up a system that allows you to sustainably adjust to change?

I think there’s great value in doing the analyses that the marketing template asks of us if you are just starting out or if you really need to step back and take a hard look at everything. Let’s say I’m just starting out. Once I have all of these ideas on paper, my inner agile is telling me (not screaming at me this time): now you can learn, inspect, and adapt. If I keep going through the learn-inspect-adapt cycle, I’m pretty sure that I have a chance of being able to update the marketing plan regularly.

If I keep a good cadence and sustainable pace with updating the marketing plan, then the long, hard looks involved with the SWOT analysis among other things won’t need to be done annually or more frequently, right?

One other thing that I noticed: in the template, it said something along the lines of “look for trends; trends are long-term and fads are short-term.” Does that mean that you dismiss any pattern that you notice that hasn’t been happening for very long? Or should I merely dismiss things like the new Harlem Shake because I know in my gut that it is a fad? If you are doing frequent, incremental adjustments, then many patterns can become short-term. Are they really any less important or actually fads?

I love what the agile community as a whole has taught me and shown me. You’re making my homework more difficult than the university intended it to be. For that, I thank you.

Looking forward to your feedback.

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