Marketing operations tend to be the last thing executives want to dive into. We get it. Diving into the weeds of how stuff gets done certainly doesn’t have the same pizzazz or sex appeal as diving in on something like a Super Bowl ad.
If you’ve ever thought, “I don’t care how it happens just get it done,” you are not alone. Unfortunately, this mindset can be the difference between transformation and the same old results.
In my last blog, I dove deep on why we need to address marketing operations. Addressing exactly how driving transformation in your marketing results can be achieved through operational excellence- and what building blocks must be in alignment to maximize your team’s potential results.
Smart CMOs (the ones leading their industries and out-maneuvering competitors) are leveraging marketing operations to evolve their marketing initiatives – to make them more efficient, competitive, profitable and accountable. Companies big and small that have implemented marketing operations disciplines will almost always see an immediate boost. But where to start?
3 Ways to Get Started with Marketing Operations
1. Establish Proper Processes
Without established marketing operations processes, the marketing machine will fall apart. Companies need to constantly strive to define and refine these fundamental processes:
- Lead Management — Step-by-step process for qualifying, tracking and continuously evaluating leads as they move through the sales funnel. Without it, your sales team is prioritized ineffectively, impacting your bottom line.
- Reporting and Analytics — Defines what data is available and required, KPIs, how data is turned into insights, and ultimately who reports what info to whom. Sounds simple enough, but many companies are decentralized, making the capability of pulling comprehensive reports difficult (or even impossible). Remember the old adage “If you don’t know your history, you’re doomed to repeat it”.
- Data Management – While the marketing team needs to be a provider of new data, they should also be properly trained to make sure data imports are correctly synced with CRM systems. Incomplete or incorrect data is certain to negatively impact buyer engagement.
- Campaign Development – Any campaign with multiple touchpoints (ABM, Nurture, Events, etc.) needs a solid process to carefully coordinate every step, from concept to design, development to testing, to deployment, reporting, and optimization. Without it, you’ll never get to your destination.
- Content Development – As they say, content is king. But creating and managing content development requires a streamlined process that addresses content calendars, owners / subject matter experts (SMEs), updates, engagement tracking and reporting. And most importantly relevance. – without it, you just become another contribution to the background noise… fast.
2. Enable Technology & Measurement Tools
Technology and measurement tools are the foundation of marketing operations. Ideally, these tools will help today’s CMO continuously optimize their efforts, scale results and ultimately justify their marketing budget (at least, in theory).
- Social Media Marketing — Consider this a major component of any marketing plan. Not all social media channels are alike – or appeal to the same audience. You’d be wise to create an appropriate strategy for each channel. Technology tools like HootSuite (while the UI isn’t the cleanest- the functionality is great) can help companies manage strategy and stay on target.
- Marketing Automation Platforms (MAP) – Companies like HubSpot or Marketo offer management systems for inbound marketing, allowing them to attract and nurture prospects with personalized and targeted content that helps drive conversion throughout the buying cycle, or Customer BuyWay.
- Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software – Tools like Salesforce, Sugar, etc. help you keep a central store of data for all your customer interactions that can help deliver qualified leads, customer insights and should also integrate with other MAP and email technology tools.
- Web Analytics – Most marketers are at least somewhat familiar with web analytics tools such as Google Analytics and Adobe Analytics. Other tools like Webtrends offer higher end functionality for more advanced companies.
- Email Marketing – Still one of the easiest ways to communicate directly with mobile customers and prospects. And companies like MailChimp, Constant Contact or Emma don’t require a big investment in software or technology. But remember, you want a dialogue, not a monologue, so use wisely.
3. Invest in Change Management
Change is part of the continuous improvement process for any growing company but can be met with resistance and resentment if not handled properly. Here are four positive ways that companies can successfully streamline their organizations without causing undue stress.
- Lead with the Benefits – Change can be hard, so make the payoff positive.
- Have a Clear Process – Team members need to know how the change is going to take place and what their roles will be. Pilot new initiatives with best practices MaaS providers, upskill your team over time (9-18 months to build muscle memory for your team).
- Provide Proper Support – Provide team members the skill development and training support they need.
- Refine – For any change to be sustainable, it must be available for positive team feedback.
Marketing Operations might seem difficult, but when companies get it right, the efforts are worth the reward.
If you want to learn more about marketing operations, and you’d like to see examples of how industry leaders are approaching their marketing systems, check out this exclusive preview of Dave Sutton’s new book “Marketing, Interrupted.” You can order using the button below.