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Agile Marketing: Introducing the Book of Swagger

  |  July 6, 2011   |  Comments

A tool that helps marketers turn their results into stories that connect with others in their organization. Final part of a three-part series.

In "Reporting: The Agile Marketer's 'Flop'," we introduced you to the communication challenges that an agile marketer faces as they drive new learnings through an organization. "The Agile Marketer's Story" introduced some tools on which communication can be built. In this final installment, Rose Holston introduces us to a unique tool that helps us turn our results into stories that connect with others in our organizations.

C-Suite Inspiration

The "Book of Swagger" was inspired by a C-suite mindset: how best can an executive understand and share what their teams are doing? One marketer found a novel answer to this question. Korye Logan is head of digital marketing for a company in the health industry. He sought to empower his CMO with a quick and clear way to understand the complex work his team did. So he created a binder filled with copies of work product: research, personas, wire frames, web pages, analytics, etc.

The CMO can grab this binder at any time to review work, discuss it, and share it with others. He has immediate access to all the work his digital team is producing via his "Digital Marketing Book of Swagger."

Urban Dictionary's definition of "swagger" is "how one presents him or her self to the world. Swagger is shown from how the person handles a situation. It can also be shown in the person's walk." Logan seeks to give his CMO a confident swagger about digital marketing. This requires good planning and work, but also giving his CMO the ability to quickly communicate complex digital marketing methods to a broad audience.

Through the "Book of Swagger," this CMO is aware of what his digital team is doing and why - and is empowered to share this with others at a moment's notice. Logan is a Texan and carries the swagger that naturally comes with being one. He knows his team is doing good work. Now that they document this work in the "Book of Swagger," his CMO can carry a confident swagger about his team's digital marketing innovations.

Our Champion - The Agile Marketer

Those of us who remember the feeling of watching Sylvester Stallone running up the museum stairs in Philly in the movie "Rocky" can imagine what our agile marketing champion strives for in their daily work. This feeling of movement is essential, as our champion needs support from mid-level managers and the C-suite in both information and resources to be successful. It's not about being told what to do, but rather what outcomes are expected. Understanding measurable goals directs the daily activities for our agile marketer.

L.L. works for an Austin, Texas-based company that has been in the auto collision repair industry for almost 60 years. She manages the online marketing for multiple locations, and after four months of being trained as an agile marketer, L.L. is just beginning to feel like a champion. L.L. fills the roles of both management and implementer, managing the activities and goals for other team members as well as jumping in herself to ensure the quality of work being introduced. Her perspective has changed over the past four months in the amount of effort required and the need to have clear goals defined.

Mid-Level Managers: In the Hot Seat

Remember that our mid-level managers attempt to understand C-suite objectives and are responsible for allocating the resources to achieve them. They are a bridge between the C-suite abstract mind and the literal mindset of the implementers. The needs of mid-level managers in terms of the "Book of Swagger" are still evolving. It would be ideal if every practitioner were able to come into an engagement, delve into their communications toolkit, and easily identify the goals of the organization as defined by the C-suite.

Anatomy of Your 'Book of Swagger'

In describing his work, Ernest Hemingway said, "My aim is to put down on paper what I see and what I feel in the best and simplest way." Wikipedia's definition of "simplicity" includes, "It usually relates to the burden which a thing puts on someone trying to explain or understand it."

The aim of the "Book of Swagger" is to be simple:

  • A prologue. A short narrative that sets the stage for the story. Statistics and web analytics define a baseline from whence we came (the past) and where we are today (the present).
  • Conflict and resolution. Talk about the drama of "wins" and "revelations" as the team completes scrum after scrum.
  • The future. Your communications toolkit becomes the basis for looking to the future. This is where your "Book of Swagger" illustrates the wins and losses that feed our mid-management and C-suite folks with information that helps to set the agenda.


Every marketer could benefit from their own "Book of Swagger," but the reality is that not all are ready. Finding the champions within a complex, multi-layered organization where communication flows haphazardly, in many cases, is your greatest challenge. Most projects will start and finish, but a few will clearly fall into a separate category. Seize the day and help them and yourself learn how to make change that is meaningful.


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Brian Massey

With 15 years of online marketing experience, Brian has designed the digital strategy and marketing infrastructure for a number of businesses, including his own technology consulting company, Conversion Sciences. He built his company to transform the Internet from a giant digital-brochure stand to a place where people find the answers they seek. His clients use online strategies to engage their visitors and grow their businesses. Brian has created a series of Web strategy workshops and authors the Conversion Scientist blog. Brian works from Austin, Texas, a place where life and the Internet are hopelessly intertwined.

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