Want to develop a strong marketing operations function?

Here are three key considerations for success.

Before detailing the core elements when considering the marketing operations side of the business, we should first explore the differences between marketing strategy and marketing operations.  Many organizations have built the structure of their marketing team to support the development of a marketing strategy.  Marketing strategy should be considered as the front end of a comprehensive plan – defining who the target customer or prospect may be, how best to reach them and what information to convey to them. It’s the back end –   the execution of the strategy -  that often times falls short.  This is mainly due to the lack of structure, processes and analytics which are all core to marketing operations.

Let’s take a deeper dive into each of these three factors:

1. Structure – Bring structure and organization to the execution of your marketing strategy.  Manage your content and messaging to ensure your comprehensive plan is just that – comprehensive as well as cohesive.  To use a common expression – make sure the left hand knows what the right hand is doing across all the marketing channels.  

2. Processes – Although you may have a solid strategy around who you want to target, how you want to reach them and what you want to say to them, do you have processes in place to ensure you are delivering on what you are communicating to the customer?  Establish best practices for sharing your plans and messages across the organization – specifically with the sales and operations teams to ensure they can deliver on the messages being conveyed. Additionally, outline processes for providing feedback on what these teams hear from customers.  They are the first line of defense to customers and should be in constant communication with marketing by providing further visibility to the customer, allowing marketing to fine tune their strategy based on this feedback.   Lastly, make sure you have outlined processes on the front end for what data you plan to collect on the back end in order to measure results.

3. Analytics –Data, data, data!  This cannot be stressed enough.  Dive into the data you have collected (through the processes you established) to do the analysis and measure the effectiveness of your marketing spend.  Having a strong structure and processes in place makes understanding what worked and what didn’t work much easier, allowing for the team to analyze the data and make educated decisions on how to fine tune the plans.   Simply put - maximize your marketing spend by analyzing data and refining your plans.

The world of marketing is heavily dominated by right brain individuals – inviting left brain marketers to join the conversation will help establish a strong marketing operations foundation and change the way marketing organizations think and operate.

Amanda Utz

Amanda has nearly twenty years of experience driving change for senior executives at start-ups, private equity-owned businesses, and Fortune 500 companies. She has successfully managed transformational projects across strategy, marketing, sales, and operations for leaders at Coca-Cola, The Home Depot, MasterCard, Discover, Mannington Mills, The Impact Partnership and Veritiv.

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