If you think Marketing Operations is one-dimensional, think again! By any name — marketing transformation, or marketing organizational efficiency and effectiveness — it is a young field with plenty of value to create for fellow marketers’ career success and satisfaction, and for getting more done with current resources — and expanding resources for the future.
Here are 10 ways Marketing Operations can create value for your marketing organization, and for your company, customers, and other partners and stakeholders:
1) The Automator
This is the view of Marketing Operations (MO) that is most prevalent, primarily due to the MO label used widely by vendors of customer relationship management, digital marketing, content strategy, and campaign automation technologies. The Automator oversees the selection and deployment of software that helps marketers reach out to customers, keep track of who said and did what and when, and guide prospects and customers toward purchase, repurchase, share of budget expansion, and engagement with the brand.
2) The Quantifier
This role has been essential in marketing organizations for the past 20 years as CFOs have emphasized accountability for budgets and other resources. The Automator and Quantifier often go hand-in-hand as technologies make it easier to count click-throughs and other digital body language, as well as sales conversions and other behaviors and revenue paper-trails across the customer life cycle. Marketing-qualified leads are particularly important for attributing the marketing organization’s value to the sales organization. Marketing dashboards and metrics of all types are the specialty of the Quantifier.
3) The Modeler
Predictive analytics is the Modeler’s domain, creating what-if scenarios for campaign strategies, customer segmentation, and many complex marketing decisions. The Modeler’s work can specify real-time customer management choices as well as sophisticated brand choice models, competitor reactions, and various insights to guide growth in revenue, market share and other objectives.
4) The Optimizer
Agile marketing is a favorite technique used by the Optimizer, where rapid iteration of a process, with customer feedback, allows improvements toward optimizing it. Agile marketing is rooted in agile software design methodology, and agile innovation is in widespread use among R&D (research and development) departments. Agile marketing is not to be confused with the phrase “marketing agility”, which refers to the marketing organization’s ability to accommodate emerging market opportunities.)
5) The Chaos Minimizer
Fire-fighting and expediting are sometimes the Chaos Minimizer’s modus operandi. But that’s a never-ending treadmill. Project management, facilitation, and resource tracking are ways to minimize chaos across the complex spiderweb of activity in a marketing organization. The Chaos Minimizer creates processes and policies that improve line-of-sight across marketing efforts, metrics, systems, data, people, and commitments. This role is sometimes referred to as Marketing Guidance.
6) The Social Butterfly
People make decisions and create value, regardless of automation and other modernizations. As such, the Social Butterfly makes a point of helping marketers with similar challenges, or working on similar projects, or with similar customers to come together for a meeting of the minds. The Social Butterfly facilitates conversations and sharing of data and best practices, as well as post-mortems and repositories for lessons learned. Knowledge management, organizational learning, and change management are common tools for this role.
7) The Customer Conscience
Revenue targets can obscure the well-being of the reason marketers exist: customers! The Customer Conscience helps marketers align what they do to match customers’ preferences and natural rhythms across the customer life cycle and customer experience journey. Conscientious efforts can be made to ensure mutual value in every customer engagement effort, and trump self-serving methods with customer-centered methods. This role drives omni-channel consistency and prevents policies and processes that are nonsensical to customers, including premature releases and launches that confuse customers and put undue strain on the service organization, not to mention erosion of trust and customers’ efficiency.
8) The Connector
Data and processes that transverse the customer life cycle and all of the marketing groups, both internal and external, are the focus of the Connector. End-to-end flow, closed-loop communication, and hand-off smoothness can be architected for improved user experience of customers and marketers alike, as well as other partners and stakeholders. Most things are managed vertically, with specialization, in an effort to be efficient. Yet business happens horizontally, so strong connections between data and processes and work groups — from the customer’s viewpoint — are keys to greater success.
9) The Resource Expander
There are always more ideas than money, so budget management, business case development, and marketing supplier management are often important responsibilities of Marketing Operations. The Resource Expander can minimize duplicated expenditures, expand awareness and use of existing assets and contracts, and leverage many of the above-described roles to make precious resources stretch further. Developing alliance internally and externally is another method to augment marketing resources. This role can create stronger relationships with those who hold the purse strings, and by speaking their language and demonstrating strong stewardship, expand future budgets and support.
10) The Strategic Opportunist
Charisma and business savvy are hallmarks of the Strategic Opportunist, applied to the annual operating plan, portfolio development, marketing strategy and plans, alliances and channels, competitive moves, messaging and outreach, and engagement both externally and internally. The less sophisticated Strategic Opportunist may be a bit manipulative, but the masters balance short-term and long-term well-being, mutual value, and collective interests. Organizations that have mastered marketing accountability, alignment to stakeholders, scalability, and organizational agility are the best habitats for Strategic Opportunists to help marketing careers and organizations thrive. This is often the value creation role most visible and appreciated by the C-team.
Which role is best? They’re all needed. If you implement a subset you’re leaving money on the table, unrealized value creation for job satisfaction, career enrichment, and mojo-enabling across the entire marketing organization. Super Ops, a combination of all of the above, should be your aim.
That’s too much to bite off for a couple of Marketing Operations staff. Yet you probably don’t need multiples of ten to achieve Super Ops. The best route to take is to weave many of these capabilities into every marketer’s work routines and know-how, with strong facilitation of the rest by dedicated Marketing Ops positions. Efficiency and effectiveness cannot be optimized in a vacuum or outsourced.
A strategic roadmap for Marketing Operations can rapidly build these ten roles in your marketing organization. The potential value creation of these roles may have been a nice-to-have yesterday, but now, and in the future, the companies with Super Ops will be the winners.
Photo purchased under license from Shutterstock.
by Lynn Hunsaker, President of Marketing Operations Partners