Corporate marketing groups - especially bandwidth-challenged small-to-mid-sized departments - can be so focused on tactics and fire fighting that they jeopardize their marketing investment. There is a tendency to overreact to events, to tackle symptoms rather than underlying fundamental problems and to jump at opportunity to please boss. Many times, this kind of tactical knee jerking may be fatal. Without great marketing, companies won't flourish, especially those in highly competitive markets. Yet chaotic nature of emerging or dynamic growth companies and tendency to place marketing burden on too few individuals is a setup for failure. Promising companies may be left in dust, or at least handicapped at starting gate. Marketing Operations is emerging as an important discipline for improving performance and measuring ROI in admired technology companies (like Intel, IBM and Amazon) who have refined and fine-tuned their marketing organization with an operational focus. Given demands that these organizations face today, an innovative approach is central to solving critical issues like results measurement, bandwidth constraints and creativity limitations, and building value-added outsourced supplier relationships and effectively managing budget. Many of best practices, efficient processes and systems approach from large company Marketing Operations can and should be applied by emerging companies that are serious about their marketing investment. Here's why: PROBLEM #1
Today, more than ever, corporate marketing departments need to justify their existence. The need to measure results is unavoidable. However, instincts and skills that make an outbound marketing practitioner great-action-orientation, verbal and written acuity, persuasiveness, ability to build strong relationships-often don't translate into an ability or willingness to scientifically and objectively evaluate success. Add in broken systems and organization's unwillingness to pay for marketing evaluation, and it's no surprise that many marketing departments are unable to define meaningful success metrics. SOLUTION
Marketing Operations ensures that right processes are in place to establish meaningful metrics at front-end of marketing process, enabling measurement of success at key intervals, and as each program concludes. PROBLEM #2
The prevailing attitude of "doing more with less" can leave key people discouraged, overwhelmed, near burnout, and eventually, circulating their resumes. The consequences for organizations are costly mistakes, high turnover, and collapsed programs when key people leave, and missed opportunities to leverage "ugly-stepsister-Cinderella-in-waiting" programs that never get off ground because of a lack of ownership.
Marketing Operations addresses these resource limitations by ensuring workload is effectively allocated, roles are clearly defined, interdependencies are understood, team members feel satisfied with their jobs and programs and additional resources, whether through additional headcount or outsourcing, can be successfully justified to executive management. PROBLEM #3
Sketchy institutional memory
Marketing is dependent on accurate information, a historical view into past successes and failures, and ability to recognize patterns that link seemingly unrelated data points. Unfortunately, knowledge in many marketing organizations is scattered all over company. It's in heads of individual workers, on shelves, on people's hard drives, in long forgotten filing systems. When people leave, a big piece of organizational knowledge goes with them. Information loss is a huge productivity killer for marketing teams. Lost insight that must be regained or reacquired wastes previous marketing investments.