Two-and-a-half years ago, when Michelle Peluso joined IBM as svp/CMO, she took her marching orders from Ginni Rometty, IBM’s chair/president/CEO.

“Know your values,” Rometty insisted, “but be willing to change everything else to constantly be essential and be relevant.”

It was a right-time, right-place, right-message combination for Peluso. As CEO of Travelocity (2002–2009), Citi’s global chief marketing and internet officer (2009–2013), and CEO of Gilt (2009–2016), she was a powerful proponent of agile marketing, an approach that traces its roots to software development and relies on the collaborative effort of self-organizing, cross-functional teams.

And IBM, under Rometty, has embraced the agile fundamentals of adaptive planning, evolutionary development, early delivery, and non-stop improvement – all leading to rapid, flexible responses to an ever-changing marketplace.

“As marketers, we're on a mission more and more to make sure we understand the physics of every dollar we spend,” Peluso told delegates at the Association of National Advertisers’ (ANA) 2018 Masters of Marketing Week.