Marketing is important. Heck, behind every successful business there seems to be a strong marketing team (isn't that how the saying goes?) So what makes good marketing teams tick? Their operations. Here's 3 reasons why the secret to your marketing success lies in your marketing operations.
1 - An Activity-based approach to marketing - Let's take a step back for a second. A marketing organization is your marketing department or the marketing agency hired to help you do marketing. Marketing operations is a measure of how efficient they are at getting things done. Naturally, marketing organizations and businesses measure themselves on conversions, leads, sales and other scoreboard-based goals. Additionally though, successful marketing organizations measure their costs per activity, tasks completed per month and marketing cycle times. The world's largest businesses pay extremely close attention to cycle times. At McDonalds that's the time it takes you to get in line, order your Big Mac and get out the door. Find a way to shave a few seconds off of McDonald's cycle time and they'll probably hire you on the spot. The world's smartest marketing organizations are always looking for ways to get campaigns implemented faster as well and reduce their cycle times. Let's forget about the scoreboard-based goals for a minute. How efficient is your marketing organization at getting things done? The great marketing organizations we've seen are very good at putting in the time and know how to get a campaign running A to Z in the most streamlined way because they track their activities and tasks. There's an old adage in sports that games aren't won on game night, they are won in the months and weeks leading up to it in practice. Marketing is no different. How your marketing organization operates tells you a lot about their ability to get those scoreboard based goals. Don't expect Steph Curry to lead the league in 3-pointers made if he isn't shooting hundreds of them in a gym by himself.
2 - Allow marketers the time to market - Think about what a marketing organization does - generate business opportunity. There are hundreds of ways to do that and some are probably more effective than others. The only way marketing organizations know which tactics work best is to try a few. As we know, most marketing organizations are measured by leads, awareness or opportunities generated. As such, they track how well their campaigns do so they can easily show a positive ROI to their customers or their bosses. In fact, it wouldn't be a shocker if marketing organizations totally shifted to a cost-per lead model sooner rather than later. This pressure on marketing organizations to deliver leads and results means they need to focus on marketing and not tasks. Good marketing organizations know what they do well and rely on partners that may handle parts of implementing marketing tactics cheaper, better and faster than they can internally. Doing this keeps their cost to run campaigns down and improves the throughput of their organization. The marketing organization continues to use its most valuable resources on making tactics and coming up with ideas while third-party marketing support organizations help them quickly implement their ideas.
Confused? Let's say your company is running a charity event. You may need a website built, event streaming, decorating and photography during the event. Sure, a marketing organization may be able to do all those things in house, but that doesn't mean it should. If your people are too busy setting up A/V equipment or navigating the trials and tribulations of building a website it means your best players are not out there selling tickets, drumming up sponsors or generating interest in the event. Ultimately, anyone can build you a website....not everyone can sell the event your putting on. That's where successful marketing organizations put their people - at the heart of what matters.
3 - Agile Marketing Is The Future - Marketers need to work faster than ever. Their lead times are shrinking and the pressure to implement campaigns has never been higher on staff at marketing organizations. Let's go back to the example of building a website. Our company, Computan, serves as the back-end marketing support team to close to 100 marketing organizations. Below is a graph outlining how the speed to launch website has changed in the past 5 years.
Yes, marketing budgets continue to increase, but the cost to produce marketing campaigns has decreased. This puts pressure on marketing organizations to improve their marketing operations with less money. In the graphic above organizations in 2010 may have paid five-figures for a website that took 4 months to develop. Today, a comparable website could be made in less than a week for under $1000. Further, marketing organizations need to be able to change the material it produces on the fly and on demand if they aren't serving their purpose. Think about how startup software companies work. They may be a bunch of kids working on a product, rolling it out to users and then changing the software on the fly based on user feedback. Top marketing organizations are taking the same agile approach to marketing and are able to drive huge results even when their teams are small (as outlined in this ebook on agile marketing).
The infographic below further explains how the modern marketing operations model works for marketing departments and marketing agencies.
About the Author:
Sajeel Qureshi is the Vice President of Operations at Computan. Computan helps short-handed marketing departments and marketing agencies get more agile by providing them affordable and reliable back-end support. He has a degree in business administration from St. Bonaventure University, and an MBA from Eastern Illinois University