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Moblizing Marketing Ops: Interactive Web 2.0 World

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Marketing Operations to-date has focused primarily on marketing automation, return on marketing investment, and work flow management. Here's how to take it to the next level, with much stronger …

Marketing Operations to-date has focused primarily on marketing automation, return on marketing investment, and work flow management. Here's how to take it to the next level, with much stronger impact on all of Marketing's stakeholders internally and externally.

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  • 1. Marketing Operations 2.0: MObilizing Marketing for a Web 2.0 World By Gary M. KatzWeb 2.0 has transformed how most organizations do marketing from the outsidein. It provides us with: • New channels and tools to more efficiently reach our audience • A collaborative platform to engage and dialogue with customers and other stakeholders • A greater focus on organizational integrity and transparency (often due to external scrutiny)Marketing Operations (MO) is the yin to Web 2.0ʼs yang.It provides: • New initiatives and tools to strengthen operational muscle and agility • A holistic framework to mobilize cross-functional alignment and accountability behind Marketing strategy • A greater emphasis on organizational integrity and transparency (ideally due to a proactive desire to align external messaging with performance, before the organization is scrutinized)While Web 2.0 provides the state-of-the-art external transportation system (thelatest version of the Information Superhighway), MO provides the internaltransportation system and supporting infrastructure. This includes: • The entire vehicle – including the engine and other subsystems (the means of transportation) • The highways, roadways and bridges (the integration elements) • The traffic controls, signals, rules of the road, law enforcement (marketing/brand governance) • Mechanics equipped with testing, calibration and alignment tools to maximize the vehicleʼs performance (optimization) • Driverʼs education and training (competency development) • The roadmaps and navigation resources to get from here to there (strategic direction/shared vision)You get the picture.No surprisingly, savvy executives are embracing MO because they see how itcan help them (the navigators) and their program managers (the drivers) to plotthe optimal course to reach their destinations in the new world of Web 2.0.
  • 2. Defining Marketing OperationsAs a relatively new discipline, itʼs important to have a common understanding ofwhat we mean by Marketing Operations. Hereʼs my companyʼs definition:Marketing Operations is a comprehensive, end-to-end operational disciplinethat leverages processes, technology, guidance and metrics to run theMarketing function as a profit/value center, growth driver, change catalystand fully-accountable business.MO reinforces Marketing strategy and execution with a scalable andsustainable enabling infrastructure. In addition, MO seeks to nurture acollaborative, well-aligned ecosystem, both within and outside the Marketingdepartment, to drive achievement of enterprise strategic objectives.A key vision for Marketing Operations is to help transform the Marketing functionfrom a service organization (think marcom shop or tactical vehicle) to a vitalstrategic partner to the CEO and the rest of the executive team.To accomplish this lofty objective, MO needs to help Marketing substantially raiseits game. Hereʼs how: • Convert insight to value • Accelerate the Sales and Buying process • Scale the Marketing function for growth • Deliver the enterprise strategic agenda • Maximize customer profitability • Demonstrate measurable Return on Marketing
  • 3. Convert Insight to ValueMany companies are guilty of under-investing in their marketing intelligence.Even those organizations that invest heavily may lack confidence in the integrityof the data or data source. Knowledge gaps are prevalent, as insight tends tostay in the field. Disagreement over how to interpret a “fact” is the norm. Often,because executives donʼt hold one another accountable to explain theassumptions underlying their thinking processes, the modus operandi is “gut feel”and seat-of-the pants decision-making. Power and authority tends to rule the day,not necessarily the best business case.MO uses tools such as gap analysis, win-loss analysis, SWOT analysis,competitive and industry benchmarking, surveys and customer advisory boardsto document key lessons, anticipate market/customer shifts, benchmark againstbest practices, better understand where customers are in the buying cycle andcreate innovative, customer-driven products and services. We need to be morethan a data aggregator. We need to be a key center of business intelligence forour enterprises – an integral resource to empower them to make the bestdecisions possible, to become learning organizations. Accelerate the Sales and Buying ProcessMarketing is typically vested with generating sales leads, but often is seen asguilty of providing Sales with unqualified leads. The result, according to SiriusDecisions, is that only 20% of the ”leads” from lead generation programs arefollowed-up by Sales, 70% of which are disqualified. Shockingly, 80% of those“disqualified” leads buy anyway, within 24 months – from the company, or worse,a competitor.A key role of MO is to ensure that the campaigns and sales tools Marketingdevelops are geared toward enabling Sales to help its customers to buy. Wemust actively work to align the prospecting, selling and buying processes. Weneed to take ownership of lead nurturing – proactively identifying and addressingthe “low touch” prospects that are not ready to buy today and need to be nurturedthrough the sales funnel. Tools such as lead scoring methodologies andautomated permission-based lead nurturing systems and processes enableSales to focus on “high-touch,” ready-to-buy qualified leads. We can also applythis same nurturing strategy to the customer reference challenge. We can build apipeline of qualified customer references that support both Sales and Marketingrequirements and ensure that our customer reference assets are a renewableresource. By providing this type of value, MO can help the Marketing-Salesbrotherhood become a true partnership, rather than an antagonistic relationship.
  • 4. Scale the Marketing Function for GrowthAs companies grow, they tend to become increasingly complex, and,correspondingly, inefficient. This tends to lead to poor resource utilization, siloedthinking, duplication of efforts, ineffective knowledge transfer and a variety ofother ills.MO must tackle this challenge by conducting regular ʻhealth checks” to determineinvestment leverage areas, uncover inefficiencies and define a prescriptive or“shared vision” (depending on the need) roadmap for change. It is incumbent onus to take responsibility to manage what seems like “unmanageable complexity,”using all the tools at our disposal as appropriate: charter definition, roles andresponsibilities clarification, rules of engagement, process mapping and design,business cases, best practices documentation, knowledge management, centersof excellence and, of course, marketing automation. Iʼve listed marketingautomation last on purpose. Most companies lead their Marketing Operationsefforts with marketing automation (CRM, campaign management, MarketingResource Management, dashboards). The tough lesson learned is thattechnology is a means, not an end in itself, and that the most successfulmarketing automation deployments are holistic in nature. They are specified andbuilt from a comprehensive understanding of the enterpriseʼs knowledge, itscross-functional processes, its culture and its business objectives. Itʼs our job toensure that marketing automation investments are embraced and utilized –through executive-level sponsorship, education, socialization and enlistingstakeholder champions and data stewards. Delivering the Enterprise Strategic Agenda:Marketing has a significant opportunity to play a more influential role at theenterprise strategy table. In order to do so, we need to align our priorities withthe enterprise strategic agenda.Through methodologies such as messaging alignment, building shared purposeand vision, and marketing governance aimed at helping the organization “live thebrand,” we can play a vital role in linking strategy to execution. Perhaps mostimportantly, through education and socialization to achieve buy-in for newMarketing initiatives, we can catalyze change both in- and outside Marketing toovercome employee ambivalence, confusion, resistance and passive-aggressivebehavior that can be unintentionally or consciously transferred to customers,partners, press, analysts and other target audiences. In short, MO can raise thestature of Marketing from a perceived cost center and a resource drain to avalued strategic partner.
  • 5. Maximizing Customer ProfitabilityThanks to the level playing field the new Internet provides, customers arebecoming more sophisticated than ever. As a result, itʼs continually moreexpensive to entice new customers in the midst of exponential fragmentation ofadvertising technologies and venues. Companies that can retain high-valuecustomers have great advantages in cost reduction, market share, price premiumand profitability compared to those companies that focus on customer acquisitionalone.Some of the approaches used in MO to optimize customer profitability includeCustomer Lifetime Value and Customer Franchise Value calculation; capturingVoice of the Customer through advisory boards, user groups, blogs, surveys,complaints and other forums; mobilizing customer-facing resources to meetcustomer expectations; and refocusing resources to win back at-risk customers.A key part of our value proposition is linked to how well we contribute towardshelping our enterprises to retain its best customers and give them the bestcustomer experience possible. Demonstrating Measurable Return on MarketingMost executives view the ability to demonstrate Marketingʼs value, the return onMarketing, as the Holy Grail for MO. Over the past decade in particular, companyexecutives have demanded, with growing intensity, clarity in the return oninvestment related to marketing expenditure. In many companies, this has putMarketing in a defensive position to prove its value to the organization, toquantitatively select marketing projects with the highest expected return, and toprove the necessity of funding its marketing strategies and staffing levels throughcompelling business cases – often with a short-term orientation.MO is vested with overcoming this challenge through strategies such as metricsdefinition; linking CEO-level goals and to activity-level goals via a cascadingmethodology; identifying and tracking leading and lagging indicators throughdashboards and balanced scorecards; tracking and managing individual andteam performance; and fine-tuning forecasting with predictive modeling. Byputting operational focus on the measurement process, MO enables Marketing tobe more accountable and in better control of its charter, its resources – andultimately – its destiny.
  • 6. The Potential Impact of Marketing Operations in OrganizationsSince it is still in its relative infancy, Marketing Operations is often viewed in alimited way – as a service organization or an efficiency vehicle or “the processpolice.” This narrow view of Marketing Operations reinforces and perpetuates thestatus quo of Marketing. What we need is a new modus operandi for Marketing,and a holistic, strategic approach to Marketing Operations can be the vehicle tochange that MO.Itʼs hard work and weʼll be challenged to unlearn some of our old ways ofthinking, but a new MO for Marketing in organizations holds great promise forexecutives and marketers alike.If youʼre a marketing professional: • Youʼll be in a stronger, less vulnerable position when budgets are scrutinized • Youʼll be part of a learning-oriented environment where youʼll develop the fundamental skills and enabling infrastructure to operate effectively, stay accountable, and benefit from Marketing Operations-driven improvement programs, such as new competency development • Youʼll be happier, better utilized for your unique talents and more motivated to stay with your organizationIf youʼre a CMO, youʼll be blessed with: • An injection of left-brain thinking into the typically right-brained Marketing function • The means to shift your enterpriseʼs priorities from short-term fixes to long- term strategic initiatives, increasing your likely tenure. • An operational partner – a Chief of Staff – that is solely focused on optimizing your scarce resources, making course corrections, measuring results, and winning enterprise-wide supportIf youʼre a CEO: • Your cross-functional teams – Marketing, Sales, IT, etc. – will work in greater collaboration and alignment, mobilizing your resources • Your employee turnover and, consequently, your customer churn, will decrease • Your Marketing function will contribute more substantially toward your top- and bottom-line growth, achieving your enterprise strategic agenda and helping you win in the market
  • 7. Resistance is futile. Itʼs in your best interests to fully embrace a holistic, strategicview of Marketing Operations today. No matter what role you play in yourorganization, MO is the best means to navigate toward your personal, team andenterprise goals in the new world of Web 2.0. ###