Hacking Marketing – Book Review – A primer on Agile Marketing

Hacking Marketing – Book Review – A primer on Agile Marketing

It is all over the web how cool agile marketing is and how it is going to solve all our problems (not). I have also read about it here and there, yet I kept searching for a source which is, while remaining simple enough, could give me a clear overview of the why, what and how of agile marketing. I think I have found it with Hacking Marketing written by Scott Brinker, the author of the ChiefMarTec blog.


I like the fact that the primary aim of the book does not seem to be outright popularizing agile marketing, but rather giving you a picture of what is happening in marketing these days, how new trends are shaping the way marketing needs to be managed and it brings answers to this issue.

This is very important for me, because I believe with this approach many of the misunderstandings around agile marketing could be clarified. The key message at the first part of the book is that marketing needs to adapt faster, thus decision making needs to be more rapid. It is not how much more you are doing, but how fast you can adapt and make choices for that.

Agile Marketing myths busted

As I mentioned, a lot of things got clarified for me through this book. Most of them I could feel or sub-consciously understand before, but reading Hacking Marketing could make them chrystal clear. Some of my important revelations:

  • You can not answer your challenges by simply doing more. You need to speed up your decision making, as the book says metabolism, not purely the amount of output you generate.
  • Agility does not equal chaos, actually on the contrary. It is supposed to ensure short bursts of focused work. Focused being the key here. Decision has to be made on this focus and hopefully mostly undisturbed.
  • Focusing on smaller user stories and sprints of work does not mean there is no strategy behind. This point is slightly connected to the above, stating that agility can really be achieved through structure not through being random.
  • Minimally Viable Product (or Service) got clarified for me. MVP has to work and provide great customer experience it may just have limited functions or on the back end of things you need to work more. MVP should never sacrifize on how the customer will feel and experience your product, a point often missed.
  • With this I’m moving to the next point: the focus of today’s marketing should be the experience of the customer. You adapt your product to that. You make sure there is no friction in using the product. If all that exists your product will work, because whoever uses it will want to use it and would not want to leave it for anything else. Experience sells your product.
  • Managing marketing in a fast changing world is not only about generating more ideas, but also having the ability to maintain and scale your existing and already working products or processes.

What else?

There is more to this book, espcially tackling more about managing marketing innovation and balancing operations with generating new ideas. I like how it is splitting core funtions to innovation and how workload and resources might be allocated among these. Also there is some mention on the kind of marketing talent you should be bringing in and nurturing in your organization.

The book is giving a very good conceptual understanding on new ways of marketing management, though what I have missed are actual real work examples. I would love to see how those tools and principles mentioned are being actually implemented in real companies. I know this topic is worth a separate book, but this could really make it the ultimate go-to-guide when it comes to managing marketing in a digital world.

Despite this small shortcoming would I recommend this book? Without hesitation! So if you have any interest in agile marketing and looking for clearing the clouds around it, do read it.

Disclaimer: The Amazon link above in this article is an affiliate link, so I might earn a bit of commission if you purchase the book following it.

Leave a Reply