Marketing operations is the heart and soul of every successful marketing team and with digital services available today, managing it has never been easier.
As we all know, success is driven by value. The success of any business is determined by how much value it delivers to its customers, and the success of the groups within that business is determined by how much value they deliver to the organisation as a whole.
Today, marketing groups are being asked to deliver more value to their organisations than ever before. In their December 2016 study, global research firm Gartner found that marketing budgets rose to an average of 12% of company revenue worldwide. These results marked the third consecutive year of marketing budget increases in response to today’s data-driven, digitally-led environment. Within this environment, running a successful marketing program can prove difficult. Marketing strategy execution is becoming very complex, as customers expect omni-channel experiences on their own terms.
Simply throwing money at the problem usually doesn’t work, at least not in the long run. Traditional solutions such as hiring specialised resources or multiple agencies to cover all marketing needs can become very expensive and it’s not a sustainable towards achieving marketing success. However, the operational side of marketing has never been more connected, helping to deliver an effective marketing strategy and driving customer relevance. Refined operating models allow scalable, personalised marketing strategies. In other words, marketing operations is the engine behind a marketing group’s success. It is the heart and soul of every marketing team, enabling value creation for the organisation and ultimately for its customers.
While the size of marketing operations may vary based on any given organisation’s industry, size and degree of automation, there are some common traits and considerations across successful programs:
1. Understanding that marketing does not operate in a silo – this is the WHY. The purpose of the marketing group is to drive the bottom line of the organisation as a whole. A marketing operations program should set the organisation up for success, identifying its objectives and translating them to measurable marketing goals. It involves organisation-wide collaboration, research and reflection around what is working, what is not and what needs to change.
2. Bringing method to the madness – this is the HOW. Teams should clearly outline the strategies and tactics that will lead them to achieve their goals. Create a plan for the year that maps out a timeline of procedures so no one gets confused.
3. Thinking critically about WHAT goes into the plan. The plan should identify executions, ideas on how to bring marketing strategies to life. For example, how will customers be tied to data and technology for a personalised marketing experience? Executions require connecting people, connecting diverse data and connecting
4. Remembering that it’s always about the customer – this is the WHO. Everything within a marketing operations function – whether strategic plans, tactical executions or performance measurements – should be connected to an understanding of who the audience is. If marketing is out of sync with its target audience, content, timing and methods become irrelevant to the customer and chances are that the marketing team and the organisation at large will not be very successful.
Whether you are an established mid-market or enterprise company looking to integrate a modern demand-generation approach, don’t underestimate the importance of laying a strong marketing operations foundation. Doing so requires a significant upfront investment of time and resources to establish current states, goals, positioning, etc., and there is always the chance that business goals will change and require pivoting. However, conducting the initial strategic thinking around marketing operations can make executions throughout the year as seamless as possible. Spending the time and resources needed to build the foundation will allow your organisation to make better decisions and scale faster in the future.
Best of all, with digital services available today, managing marketing operations has never been easier. Your marketing operations can be automated and personalised, leveraging the capabilities of today’s technologies and data to optimise the marketing function from end-to-end.
In doing so, marketing teams are able to deliver the most value to their organisations, helping them find success in their markets and gaining competitive advantages.