How You Can Conquer Better Performance with Marketing Ops


How You Can Conquer Better Performance with Marketing Ops

Our friends at Allocadia break Marketing into two integral parts: Doing Marketing—the execution of tasks and deliverables—and Running Marketing, which is the operational and performance aspects of Marketing.  Clearly you need both to have a productive and successful Marketing organization that meets the rising expectations of your leadership team. Research by Deloitte finds that CEOs expect their Marketing leaders to drive revenue growth, own the customer experience, dig in to data-based insights, operate in real-time, and master metrics that matter. To realize the performance targets of the organization, your leadership team wants Marketing to perform better.

To meet these rising performance expectations of the leadership team, Marketing must address its processes, systems/tools, data and analytics, alignment, and accountability.  Hence the increasing role of Marketing Operations (MarketingOps).

What does a Marketing Ops function provide? At a bare minimum, your marketing operations function should help you improve your performance in three primary areas:

  1. Better decisions
  2. Better infrastructure
  3. Better accountability

How?  First, by driving the processes for transforming data into insights and improving your planning process.  Second, by identifying and implementing the required systems and tools to maintain consistent implementation of processes and driving effectiveness and efficiency initiatives. Third, by leading the charge on performance management and measurement from selecting the right metrics and developing dashboards. For many organizations, the role of Marketing Ops has expanded beyond campaign automation and financial governance to driving alignment, accountability, and agility, especially within marketing organizations serving as value creators.

Marketing Ops Performs Six Key Roles for Best-in-Class Marketing Organizations

With marketing performance management (MPM) moving to front and center, the role of Marketing Ops now often encompasses (in no particular order).

  • Performance measurement and reporting
  • Campaign analysis and reporting
  • Technology and automation and pipeline management
  • Budgeting and planning; financial governance and reporting
  • Data management
  • Workflow process development and documentation
  • Project management
  • Strategic planning
  • Organization benchmarking and assessments
  • Customer, market, competitive intelligence, research, and insights
  • Analytics and predictive modeling
  • Talent and skills development

There are 6 key roles for Marketing Ops function among the value creators (in priority order):

  1. Customer, market, competitive intelligence, research, and insights
  2. Analytics and predictive modeling
  3. Data management
  4. Campaign analysis and reporting
  5. Budgeting and planning; financial governance and reporting
  6. Organization benchmarking and assessments

Source: VisionEdge Marketing/ITSMA MPM Study

The Marketing Ops in these organizations champion and orchestrate six A’s of marketing performance management: alignment, accountability, analytics, automation, alliances and assessment to transform Marketing into a Center of Excellence.

Let’s briefly examine each of these and the role Marketing Ops plays.

  1. Alignment: We know with statistical significance that BIC marketers take a different approach to aligning Marketing with the business. They connect marketing activities and investments to business results, and take their alignment efforts beyond the sales function. Marketing Ops in these organizations facilitate the alignment process. They oversee the development of a customer-centric marketing plan that ensures that the marketing investment portfolio supports measurable marketing objectives that will have a direct impact on the business.
  2. Accountability: BIC marketers have a framework for establishing the metrics to measure and report on Marketing’s value, impact, and contribution. They know which outcomes and metrics matter to the leadership team. Marketing Ops drives the development of the framework and key performance indicators (KPIs). They manage the mechanics of measurement, perform the analysis, and publish the performance results. Marketing Ops translates marketing metrics into an actionable marketing dashboard that the leadership team and the Marketing team can use to make strategic, tactical, and investment decisions.
  3. Analytics: In today’s fact-based environment, data and analytics are table stakes. Marketing organizations must be able to quickly synthesize data and gain actionable insights. Marketers need the analytical muscle to build and use models to make smart investments and strategic decisions. Marketing Ops constructs and maintains an environment that enables Marketing to better use data and analytics.
  4. Automation: The technology available to help Marketing measure and report on performance is extensive and growing. From marketing resource management to business intelligence to data management systems to reporting platforms to scenario analysis tools, Marketing Ops selects, deploys, and manages the automation and technology infrastructure to support the department. The deployment of a technology infrastructure, training, and change management falls under the auspices of Marketing Ops and serves as the big “I”—the infrastructure that Marketing needs to guide decisions, improve its capabilities, and prove its value.
  5. Alliances: Much has been written about the need for Marketing to form strong, more explicit, alliances with Sales, IT, and Finance, as well as with the service and product functions. Marketing Ops is the conduit between Marketing, Sales, Finance, and the executive team. It forms and manages these alliances so everyone on the team is “rowing in the same direction.” As part of its work, Marketing Ops should craft the operating level agreement that serves as the “rules and roles of engagement” for each of these partnerships and ensures that the liaisons from each group are included in appropriate meetings and decisions.
  6. Assessment: Continuous improvement is at the heart of assessment and benchmarking. It can only be achieved within a culture where there is genuine concern, dedication, and a willingness among management and employees to improve. While the marketing executive sets the direction and vision for the team, Marketing Ops conducts the benchmarking and assessments to determine and set performance standards.

Five Guidelines for Improving Your Marketing Operations

Ready to expand the role of your Marketing Ops or enhance its capabilities?  There’s no way to do tackle everything at once.  Start by insuring your Marketing Ops can help you nail these five fundamental capabilities:

  1. Use SMART. Work from specific, realistic, measurable objectives that are written down. It it’s not written down, it’s not there. Have a plan, work your plan.
  2. Target. Precisely identify your highest potential market segments. Establish key opportunity and accessibility criteria so you can compare market segments on an apples-to-apples basis.
  3. Customer-Centric: Map your potential customers buying and journey process.You should be able to identify the sequence of decisions a typical prospect goes through to decide whether to buy your product or service. This process should be based on observable behaviors and serve as the basis for your marketing and sales activities. This step requires strong data and analytical muscle and being able to translate data into actionable customer insights.
  4. Focus on ValueBest-in-Class marketers are value creators. Move away from being a service provider and momentum for serving as a value creator.  Track and report on how long it takes and how much it costs to create a customer.
  5. Manage Performance. Develop an actionable dashboard of marketing measures that are tied to your managements’ expectations about marketing.  Ensure marketing is aligned with the company’s business outcomes and strategies. Process is the foundation for alignment—and one of the critical complaints with marketing is that it lacks alignment with sales, finance, R&D and the business. Your marketing ops serves as the depot for defining and establishing processes that facilitate alignment. A marketing operations function should ensure that the right processes are in place to support performance management and measurement.

Marketing Ops enables Marketing to become more effective by developing and managing the processes for setting performance expectations, monitoring progress, and measuring results. By creating or expanding the Marketing Ops role and skill set to include performance targeting skills and process and technology optimization, as well as strategic capabilities to drive change, your Marketing organization is better able to meet your C-Suites performance expectations.

Download the Marketing Operations: Enabling Marketing Centers of Excellence white paper to learn more about how to establish or enhance a marketing ops function in our organization.

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