Outdoor Speaker Series: Agile Marketing for Consumer Brands

Andrea Fryrear, Giannina Rachetta, Chiara Travia, and Greg Parris standing outside, smiling for a camera.

“‘Agile marketing’ is admittedly a sexy buzzword, but it’s one that actually lives up to its reputation.” - Andrea Fryrear

The July event in Mindgrub’s Outdoor Speaker Series brought together four marketing experts to demystify agile marketing and to share actionable lessons based on their experience with their own successful agile transformations. 

Read on for tips and thoughtful takeaways.


  • Andrea Fryrear, Founder of AgileSherpas (Moderator)
  • Giannina Rachetta, Product Marketing Manager at 3M
  • Chiara Travia, Senior Lead, Global Marketing - Connected Fitness at Under Armour
  • Greg Parris, Manager of Project Management, MINDBODY

On defining agile marketing

“Agile is not about destroying the marketing plan. It’s about accepting there has to be some flexibility built into your plan.” - GP

“It’s about the mindset. The culture change. An organization that adopts the agile mindset has a different way of looking at things, one that is focused on the customer, on learning and improving, and moving away from perfectionism.” - GR

On planning

“If you make a plan for January through December in the August prior, you’re going to fail. You need to reduce that outlook and leadership has to buy into that. You aren’t slacking - you’re being realistic.” - GR

“If you were to sit at the beginning of the process and say you know where you want to be at the end of two quarters, and you map out every step along the way, you’re missing out on all the data you don’t know. It’s about taking the marketing plan for 2019 or 2020 or whatever, and taking it only as far as you realistically can, and realizing that it’s a platform and foundation for what you’re going to build.” - GP

“The beauty of being able to work in an agile work environment and having those digital products and these teams is that we're able to use these quick test and learn opportunities to help impact long-term planning.” - CT

“You don't just throw out your annual plan. You still need to know what the future might look like. It's just a matter of testing into it in a smaller way.” - AF

On teams and agile roles

“Everyone needs a specific role on a project. Sometimes there are too many cooks in the kitchen and it can be frustrating.” -CT

“The key to agile marketing is to focus. That’s how you reduce the scope of what you’re working on and produce value. It comes down to that focus. If you’re focusing for those two weeks on project A, that’s where you show up every day.” -GR

On applying agile in B2B vs B2C environments

“We found it’s easier to test with our B2C audience than B2B. We get better feedback on how our messaging is performing in the market. In B2B we have to be more mindful and put in more effort. With consumer marketing, it’s easier to test.” - GP

“At the end of the day, I don't see that much difference between the two. I think there is great value for B2B. B2B you do engagement communications. Agile is a way to organize how you work and how you prioritize your tasks. That works really well for B2B.” - GR

On taking the first steps in an agile transformation

“First and foremost you need a support team, and you need your objectives and goals. How do you want it to be laid out? The first blueprint you create doesn’t have to be the final one, but it's definitely the first step in mapping everything.” - CT

“It was easier for us to just show instead of telling. We were able to compare task completion time for agile vs non-agile teams. The most important thing I can tell you is to go about this in an agile way. If you start with one or two smaller teams who can understand the principals, start there. We took a three to four week marketing deliverable turnaround time down to seven to ten days.” - GP

“It’s a lot of evangelizing your concept at the beginning, reiterating and reiterating. It’s theoretical in the beginning because you don’t have a lot of proof. When it proved itself is when I got into a rhythm of showing my work.” - GR

On agile marketing small businesses

“Agile marketing makes sense for companies large and small. The key to remember is there is no wrong or right way to approach agile marketing. Within our organization, different marketing teams implement agile in different ways. For a smaller team that might be implementing a kanban board, which helps visualize and keep track of multiple priorities.” - GP

“I was doing agile on my own, and I was doing it successfully. If you have the mindset that this is something you want to explore, size doesn’t matter at all.” - GR

“I'm an entrepreneur and it's basically me in my home office most of the time. I have a personal kanban board that I run everything through. If you're a team of one, the same principles can help you get more done in less time. If you are looking for a next step, I recommend a book called Personal Kanban, which is all about running your whole life on a kanban board.” - AF

On staying on-brand

“You're going to have to become a bit more comfortable. If I'm sending an email to 5,000 or 10,000 people and I know that only 20% or 30% of them open the email, why am I going to stress out about something being slightly off brand? Is that worth slowing down the email being deployed?” - GP

On downsides to agile marketing

“You’ll feel like you’re giving up some control. If you’re someone who has to have control over every step of the process, you may want to look at other options.” - GP

“The downsides are more in your own mindset. As marketers, we are used to being type A and juggling many different projects, and zeroing on the color and shade of something. You have to allow yourself to try experiments - small, controlled experiments. If you don't, you'll have a hard time being successful in this mindset.” - GR

On favorite agile marketing tools

“Jira. It’s very visual, which helps my visual eye as a marketer. Some of our team members use the Microsoft version. Highly recommend exploring a license to a tool.” - GR

“The main takeaway is if you pick one tool that only shows your work one way, you have to be committed to that one way for a long time, and training your team to look at it and using it that way. Bear in mind some people don't like looking at it in the way you do like a list.“ - GP

“Jira and Slack. With Jira, you can tag specific users and have the ability to keep people accountable. Slack for constant communication and the sharing of ideas.” - CT

“Trello if you’re a small team and you want a free, out-of-the-box tool.” - AF

On an elevator pitch for agile marketing

“Spend 6 months planning the work, or get to work.” - GP

“It’s not going to be easy, but you're going to learn each step of the way. Having a lot of patience and transparency and communication is the most important thing.” - CT

“Today's marketing is about customer experiences. Customer experiences could change in a very rapid way, and we don’t have the luxury we used to have with print media. If you want to stop seeking perfection, and start iterating, then you’re going to see results.” - GR