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Marketing Operations facilitates knowledge sharing, an enduring repository of information and greater decision-making based on fact, as opposed to hunch. PROBLEM #4
The best creativity comes from many brains working together in collaboration. A consequence of age of "individual contributor" director is constrained creativity. When entire creative burden falls mostly on one outbound marketing person, ability to think out of box can be severely impacted. Creative synergy results from many minds thinking as one. SOLUTION
Marketing Operations enables creative process to benefit from synergy of team. PROBLEM #5
Failed supplier relationships
Most successful companies can point to strong, long-term marketing supplier relationships as integral to their success. Likewise, a pattern of failed supplier relationships is often an indicator of marketing department failure, rather than poor vendor performance. Unfortunately, companies that have had consistently bad relationships with outsource suppliers often react by seizing control and bringing everything in house. While this strategy may provides illusion of control, it lets marketing managers deflect blame for failures, rather than teaching them how to manage their outsource suppliers by taking responsibility for results. In addition, this strategy won't scale with growth of organization. SOLUTION
Marketing Operations helps set realistic expectations and mutual accountability between suppliers and organization, increasing effectiveness of outsource partners by empowering them to act as an extension of internal team. PROBLEM #6
Lost discretionary budgets
Use it or lose it. Misuse it and lose it anyway. Many corporate marketing departments are leaving discretionary budget on table or allocating it to wrong initiatives. This discretionary marketing budget "Catch 22" occurs because:
• It's very time consuming to manage budget effectively, especially in companies with broken financial systems • Each marketing spend-decision creates more work for one-person or small-team marketing department in terms of project management, measurement, supplier management, etc. • Doubt persists about ability to successfully justify expenditure to management • Focus is instinctively on high-visibility marketing activities and C-level executive "requests" over fiscal management (marketing people are more inclined toward marketing than finance) SOLUTION
Marketing Operations facilitates implementing system support infrastructure and financial management discipline needed to protect precious marketing budgets. PROBLEM #7
Narrow marketing mix
Many companies align their fate with success of too few marketing programs. Whether it's lead generation, public relations, trade shows or advertising, over-reliance on any one particular program can derail a company-especially if a key program unexpectedly loses momentum. In meantime, programs that could have had strong leverage never get a chance to prove their mettle and are forever relegated to "B" list. SOLUTION
Marketing Operations puts means in place to launch potentially high-value marketing programs that would never otherwise get out of starting gate.
The Bottom Line
In a nutshell, Marketing Operations is an organization's best bet to: • Ensure that success can be measured and replicated • Leverage systems and processes to enable consistently excellent performance • Encourage great marketing departments to stay together • Allow marketing organization to flourish, despite unexpected, but often inevitable, loss of a key employee.
Gary M. Katz, APR, is president and CEO of CommPros Group (www.commprosgroup.com), a Santa-Clara, Calif.-based firm that provides marketing operations services to help companies leverage their marketing investment, plus a variety of outsourced marketing program management services to support lean marketing departments.