How To Soar Higher With Marketing Ops

Increased choices, channels, and competitive proliferation have changed the way companies and customers engage with each other.  As a result, many organizations are designing new approaches in order to be able to pilot themselves successfully in this modern environment.

PwC’s Global CEO Survey found 72% of organizations have, or are planning to have, significant change programs to capitalize on global trends and address customer growth and retention. It turns out, however, that only about a third of the CEOs who participated in this study believe that their Marketing organizations are prepared to respond to these changes.

Rising expectations from CEOs for Marketing to help navigate the potential turbulence and generate faster growth has required CMOs to transform their Marketing organizations into more adaptive entities.

Those who are doing so most successfully are employing agile processes to improve their speed, predictability, and accountability while satisfying customer needs, enhancing customer experience, solving business problems, and continuously creating value.

How Do You Become Agile In The World of Marketing?

Workfront asserts that agile “is a tactical marketing approach in which teams identify and focus their collective efforts on high value projects, complete those projects cooperatively, measure their impact, and then continuously and incrementally improve the results over time.”

The powerhouse of agile is the iterative “inspect-and-adapt” approach to development that works to significantly reduce both costs and time to market.  It does this by encouraging experimentation to gain frequent and measurable “feedback loops” that can be used to quickly maneuver in accordance with changing market conditions.

However, for your Marketing to really take flight and last the distance all the functions of Marketing must travel and maneuver together in a disciplined, synchronized, predetermined manner.  This type of formation flying requires processes, skills, and capabilities to capture, manage, and analyze data, derive insights, evaluate performance, and then report and share results across teams.  Marketing Operations (Marketing Ops) serves as the CMO’s wingman and acts as the agile conduit between Marketing, Sales, Finance, and the executive team.

Marketing Ops develops and implements the processes and systems necessary for Marketing to power business results.  It does this by facilitating Marketing’s use of data, analytics, process, and technology to make strategic decisions related to customers, the market and products, and course corrections.

Soar To Best-In-Class Status With Agile Marketing Ops

In the beginning, Marketing Ops emerged due to the need for a “more transparent, efficient, and accountable view of Marketing”.  Since then, with the proliferation of MarTech and the increased pressure from the C-Suite, Marketing Ops has emerged as the cockpit through which Marketing proves its value to the business.

For the last 16 years, VisionEdge Marketing has measured the changing role of Marketing Ops with our annual MPM Benchmark study.  Through this study, we have learned that what separates the Marketing Ops of the Best-in-Class (BIC) Marketing organizations is their focus on alignment, accountability and agility.  In these organizations, the Marketing Ops role has expanded beyond MarTech or program implementation.

These BIC Marketing Ops teams activate Marketing and serve as the control center for the organization by developing these five critical traits:

  • Rapid decision-making and execution
  • A high-performance culture
  • Ability to access the right information at the right time
  • Accountability and credibility
  • Teams that can flex

The research reveals that the skills and processes of Marketing Ops among high performing Marketing organizations now include the following (in no particular order):

  • Performance measurement and reporting
  • Campaign analysis and reporting
  • Technology, automation, and pipeline management
  • Budgeting and planning as well as 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

With these processes and skills, Marketing Ops pilots the planning, performance management, resource management, tools, and workflow required to support the entire customer experience.  As the role of Marketing Ops continues to expand, where can Marketing Ops best serve Marketing and the overall business?

Marketing As A Center Of Excellence With Marketing Ops

Businesses in pursuit of agility and excellence create and implement Centers of Excellence (CoEs).  A Center of Excellence refers to a team that provides leadership, fosters best practices, facilitates research, and enhances the skills needed to drive business results.

If we think in these terms, Marketing Ops emerges as the best steward for a Marketing organization steering itself in the direction of becoming a CoE.  Yet, the research shows that fewer than 20% of marketers leverage best practices when it comes to engaging Marketing Ops.

Are you wondering whether your Marketing Ops is among the 20%?  Assess how well your Marketing Ops excels at each of these five critical competencies:

  1. Organizational Alignment And Value:  The degree to which your marketing ops functions ensure Marketing is aligned with the organization’s initiatives.
  2. Performance Management: The extent to which your Marketing Ops function assists with establishing performance targets and reporting on results.
  3. Data And Processes: The capabilities of your Marketing Ops team to assess and build operational processes, data management processes, and measurement processes.
  4. Systems And Tools: How well your Marketing Ops function facilitates the infrastructure (the data, systems, and tools) that the Marketing organization needs.
  5. Marketing Skills And Proficiency: How well your Marketing Ops anticipates and builds the capabilities related to market and customer analysis, planning, program development, execution, and reporting.

These capabilities provide Marketing organizations the wind needed to lift the organization toward its intended trajectory path.  You can start by leveraging Marketing Operations as a means to transforming Marketing into a CoE with these five areas:

  1. Financial Management: Enable Marketing to adjust plans as needed over time and to see the impact of dialing spending up and down.
  2. Plan Development and Execution Alignment: Avoid developing your annual plan in a silo.  Marketing Ops should bring the work of those who plan and execute programs and those who run the business together to ensure direct line-of-sight and metrics selection.
  3. Workflow And Process Management: Gone are ad hoc communication events that lead to inconsistent results, frequent re-work, and last minute adjustments.  Marketing Ops defines the best practices for workflows, measurement, reporting, and data management between Marketing managers’ activities and external service providers.
  4. Asset Management: Marketing Ops implements systems to manage all of the organization’s digital assets that are often scattered across several media silos in a secure asset library with attribute tracking, graphical views, and version control.
  5. Metrics And Report Management:  Simply collecting data is of limited value.  Without the right metrics and actionable Marketing dashboards, it is difficult to make course adjustments or assess what works and what doesn’t.

By enhancing the role of your Marketing Ops function, you can help the entire organization take flight and soar past the competition by making better data-driven, customer-centric decisions.

When this change occurs, Marketing becomes more effective, more credible, and more influential in the business.  Enable your Marketing Ops team to control the important levers that activate your Marketing organization so you can generate and demonstrate Marketing’s value and serve as a Center of Excellence.  Are you ready to take off with this new approach?