Article

Mike Owen
Mike Owen 26 February 2016

Marketing Operations

As it is widely accepted that over 67% of a customers’ buying journey is online, it is clear that to impress potential customers, content from marketing and sales has to be consistently great and the machinery that delivers it has to function properly and seamlessly.

It also needs to be delivered at the right time and in the right place. Meanwhile, the sophistication and variety of that marketing machinery is continuing to grow explosively.

The core problem or frustration has been how to manage all of this and yet still show clear ROI and cut costs while improving customer engagement. This has led to the rapid emergence of marketing operations as the governing role so that different interrelated operational responsibilities can be effectively managed in a coherent manner.

Obstacles within the organization

The previous cornerstone of marketing strategy of 1:1 marketing has been the holy grail, however the mantra of ‘a single customer view’ may still be a little way off due to organizational ‘silo’ structures and lack of transparency with departmental and agency partners hindering progress.

Forrester states in the paper, Predictions 2016: The New Benchmark For Brand Management: "In 2016, few marketers will be able to build digital bridges to individual customers that would allow the collection and real-time analysis of continuous data and then context-relevant delivery of a personalized marketing or product experience. Marketers will advance towards 1:1 marketing through personalization of the customer experience, but it will be a gradual process."

Instead marketers will seek out solutions where marketing ROI can be demonstrated, measured and streamlined to cut costs and speed efficiencies. Marketing operations is the new kid on the block to bring these efficiencies where process, technology and people come together to deliver marketing effectiveness.

In a recent paper , McKinsey’s David Edelman and Jason Heller gave credence to the fact that driving efficient marketing operations could deliver up to 25% improvement in marketing effectiveness through ROI and customer engagement metrics.

Harness the ‘right technological fit’ for the organization

Getting the right technology, processes and people will be essential for success.

As McKinsey points out, to get marketing operations right, is not just about getting the ‘best’ platform technology but it is more about getting the ‘best‘ technology fit for the organization.

To choose the right fit will need a consideration of the following:

  • Cultural will and governance
    In order to apply the best fit technology to drive the success of marketing operations there needs to be a coming together of the operational marketing strands. There needs to be an interdepartmental motivation to make it happen to collaborate effectively.
     

  • Greater flexibility and easy integration options
    By considering a flexible agile technology, organizations can take advantage of easy integration with legacy systems or quickly change according to moves in the marketplace. Platforms can equally be provided as on-premise, SaaS or hosted environment.
     

  • Advanced tools for marketing operations
    Above all, it needs to be advanced to provide the tools for marketing to operate in. This may need the ability to actively engage with customers across different channels, languages and regions.
     

  • Process development and automation
    It is also about analyzing and automating the right processes, for the organization to improve efficiencies and to help develop the right customer experiences.
     

  • Improved Collaboration
    Technologies can help to get partners and departments onside through improved collaboration and transparency. In addition, better agency/partner governance will ultimately deliver a better and more creative product. Time spent on wasteful and untimely issues will be diminished.

As Scott Brinker from ChiefMartec.com has commented: “I’ve said before that he who controls the software controls the marketing. If you add on top of that control of data, control of budget accountability, control of best practices, and control of cross-silo marketing and sales visibility and coordination, marketing operations may very well become king.”

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