A rising field within the traditional business-marketing framework, Marketing Operations is an organizational approach to creating demand for products and services. Acknowledged 15 years ago by research firms such as IDC and Sirius Decisions, it focuses on end-to-end marketing optimization—from planning and budgeting to global execution and analysis—using tools, databases, automation, and technology.
Closely linked to demand generation, Marketing Operations is generally responsible for marketing performance measurement, strategic planning and budgeting, process development, professional development, and marketing systems and data management, in alignment with Sales, Business Units, and Finance.
Responsibilities of Marketing Operations
The general purpose of the Marketing Operations function is to increase marketing efficiency and to build a foundation for excellence by reinforcing marketing with processes, technology, and metrics. Some of its key responsibilities are below.
- Capture and disseminate marketing information to the organization: from performance metrics, data or strategy/planning, initiatives and budgets, to systems and processes that help generate this information in a systematic, predictable fashion.
- Drive visibility into marketing organization and its productivity.
- Guide the marketing organization to become a value center by pulling together various business functions to better meet revenue opportunities
- Manage the front end of lead flow, to optimize the campaign and create impact on revenue
- Enable the implementation of processes to support metrics, lead flow, and continuous improvement
Efficient Marketing Operations with Effective Data Management
Data is Marketing’s vital asset, perhaps as vital as its people. The quality of a Marketing campaign depends on the quality of the data that it has on its customers, service providers and its own operations.
To build efficiencies in Marketing Operations, organizations need to effectively implement data management that lead to a streamlining of the marketing processes at both the operational and campaign level, reduce waste, and drive higher revenue returns. Below are ways on how to do this.
Align Business Objectives with Marketing Execution
Companies need to put rigor in quantifying business objectives into marketing performance indicators (e.g., brand awareness, market share, leads, customer satisfaction, etc.), allowing them to align and fine-tune their marketing mix to achieve these objectives, monitor if the objectives are met during the execution of marketing activities, and how these are affected by the changes in market trends and competitive activities.
Create a Standard, Enterprise-wide Online Planning Template
Companies need to establish a database for a standard, enterprise-wide online structured document of all information on a marketing plan. This will enable the consistency of information, improve collaboration among authors of the strategic plans, create transparency with management, and automate reports on the effect of the marketing strategy to the marketing objectives, channels, segments and products.
Set-up an Integrated Online System to Track Marketing Budgets
A single, online centralized system that integrates financial reporting with operational planning tools enables a company and its marketing group to properly track marketing budgets. This will significantly reduce time spent on tracking budgets from planning, to controlling, to updating. Because of the visibility and availability of current financial information across relevant functions, marketers can immediately track where the money is being spent and provide flexibility to adjust budgets and strategy for optimum effectiveness.
Standardize and Automate Workflows
An online tool that defines uniform processes and templates enable efficient communication between different internal stakeholders, external service providers and the marketing team. A tool that manages workflow will enable marketers to capture and communicate marketing briefs, track project timelines and assign work to external partners.
Provide a Centralize Repository of Marketing Assets
Marketing assets like product and advertising photos, marketing collateral, logos, etc., are often scattered across several online and offline sites across the marketing environment when executing a marketing activity. Having a centralized repository that houses all of the company’s marketing assets, with controlled access to employees and partners, will dramatically enhance search for and reuse of existing assets, resulting in huge cost and time savings.
Communicate Accurate Brand Expression
Implementing a collaborative environment allows marketers and external suppliers to contribute brand related content and result in the organization’s ability to access the most current visual identity elements. The brand’s strategy and essence, and creative guidelines to the marketing team and partner agencies to ensure the consistent and accurate brand expression.
Facing Challenges with the Right Tools
A highly competitive global market, advances in technology pushing the speed of information, shorter product life cycles, simultaneous global product launches and increased focus on multi-channel, integrated campaign management are challenging organizations to run efficient and measurable marketing processes. However, with rigorous planning, combined with the right technology, organizations can dramatically improve marketing efficiencies through effective data management, enabling marketing teams to focus more on strategies and innovations to sustain competitiveness in the market.
Anthony Powell is a data management specialist and has been working for different organizations. He writes on different developments in the field of date management and how it can help companies to grow.