Is Your Marketing Organization Ready to Change Its MO?


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Marketing Operations (MO) is an emerging discipline with the potential to significantly increase performance and accountability in complex marketing organizations. It leverages a strong front-end infrastructure to reinforce marketing strategy and back-end programs and tactics. This article identifies the characteristics that signal your organization's readiness for MO.

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  • A great way to really see where the 'low-hanging-fruit' is, as well as what would provide the 'biggest bang for the buck' is the MO:DNA assessment, which takes the questions in this article to the next level with beautiful analytics that tell the story convincingly to stakeholders. Building buy-in is half the battle. I like the approach at
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Is Your Marketing Organization Ready to Change Its MO?

  1. 1. 06 white paper white paper delivering the customer experience Is Your Marketing Organization Ready To Change Its MO? By asking some simple questions, you can gauge how well your department is performing and whether changes are needed. i t can sometimes be difficult to • My company is midsize or larger If you checked at least half of those state­ determine whether your company • My company’s marketplace is dynamic ments, your company is a great candidate is ready to implement “Marketing and highly competitive to benefit from the power of Marketing Operations.” As described in “7 • My company’s marketing has evolved Operations. Deadly Sins” (also in this chapter), into a complex and multidimensional Marketing Operations (MO) is an emerging function MO rEADiNESS: WHErE DO discipline with the potential to significantly • My company has a significant marketing YOu FEEL THE PAiN? increase performance and accountability in budget If your company is feeling some pain, complex marketing organizations. It lever­ • My company has a diverse mix of pro­ you’re probably acutely aware of it. Arriv­ ages a strong front-end infrastructure to grams and resources are funded to ing at an accurate diagnosis, however, reinforce marketing strategy and back-end reach a breadth of audiences (segments, requires a careful examination. Before dig­ programs and tactics. sales channels, internal and external ging into the specifics, first consider the This paper identifies the characteristics stakeholders, etc.) general health of your marketing effort. that signal your organization’s readiness • My company faces government and Does marketing currently receive wide for MO and answers these questions: What regulatory compliance pressures recognition for its strategic leadership does that organization look like? What are • My company’s marketing processes have and bottom-line contribution? Is market­ its primary pain points? What is its vision evolved to the point that they are no ing in complete alignment with your for the future? What pressures are driv­ longer well-coordinated or even well­ company’s strategic goals and other key ing it to consider undergoing substantial understood functions? Can marketing clearly measure change? • My company values best practices but its success and demonstrate ROI to your lacks process, technology and metrics to executive team? MO rEADiNESS: achieve them Marketing Operations is specifically A CHECkLiST FOr • My company is pressuring marketing designed to address these corporate YOur COMPANY to assume a more strategic role pain points: To see if your company is a good candidate • Within my company, many believe that • Marketing is focused on firefighting and for MO, check any of the following charac­ marketing must deliver greater value for tactics rather than on strategy teristics that apply: the company’s investment • Marketing experiencing difficulty mea­ suring ROI and demonstrating value, by Gary M. Katz, Marketing Operations Partners causing it often to be on the defensive, needing to justify its role and contribu­ gARy M. KATz is cEO of Marketing Operations Partners ( and commPros group, tion to C-level executives and investors Inc. ( He is a 20-year marketing veteran with extensive experience directing • Marketing success tied to other corporate marketing, strategic planning, change management, lead generation, public relations, inves­ groups that have different or even tor relations and employee communications programs. conflicting goals p176 Perform: The Marketing 2.0 StandardPME_Ch6_final.indd 176 5/1/08 4:19:20 PM
  2. 2. • A corporate environment that fails to Characteristic Organizational Pain Desired Vision support collaboration and, consequently, loses opportunities for synergy Substantial marketing investment Unmanageable complexity, difficulty Marketing optimizes resources (resources, programs, budget) demonstrating ROI, marketing on defensive to deliver substantial ROI • Employee defections that jeopardize • Leverages processes, technology and best practices continuity, place institutional knowledge to spur productivity, knowledge and expertise at risk and contribute to sharing • Utilizes dashboards and metrics high customer churn to make informed spend • Marketing processes that too often con­ decisions • Is recognized by C-team for its strain internal efficiencies and effective­ accountability and ROI contribution ness instead of enabling them Dynamic, competitive market No or disappointing growth, super-growth, Marketing aligns with other functions • Poor coordination of shared processes high customer churn, high employee turnover to take responsibility for: • Nurturing sales funnel across functions • Revenue targets • Innovation process • Difficulty assimilating and integrat­ • New market penetration ing programs, systems and resources • Customer experience obtained from corporate mergers or Under media or regulatory Compliance pressure, impact of change on Marketing partners with Quality, Finance, scrutiny for: SOX compliance, media magnifying glass IR to meet compliance requirements acquisitions, leading to duplicated effort, • Shareholder confidence • Maps key processes loss of momentum, lack of focus and • Supplier to government • Documents best practices • High-profile industry • Applies LEAN, Six Sigma and other resistance to change methodologies • Demonstrates ROI through KPIs, dashboards, etc. If you can relate to two or more of those M&A integration challenges Duplicated efforts, loss of continuity, Marketing leads M&A and other statements, your organization may be • Actual or pending “everything needs attention” syndrome, change initiatives in enough pain to embrace Marketing difficulty getting buy-in for change • Communications leadership initiatives • “Walking the talk” Operations. More tactical than strategic Firefighting, CYA behavior Marketing is valued strategic partner to CEO and C-team MO rEADiNESS: WHAT’S YOur ViSiON FigurE 1 Assessing MO Readiness OF MArkETiNg’S CONTribuTiON? In a perfect world, marketing operates as sures to make systemic changes because function, moving it past stubborn barriers a very creative, fast-paced, results-driven it has not been delivering on its vision to unprecedented levels of performance function that stays close to the customer and has consistently failed to achieve its and success. Leveraging the discipline and and its other stakeholders. It is not only operational goals. rewards of an MO approach places market­ aligned with the enterprise’s strategic ing in the perfect position to influence agenda but also helps define it. It leads the MArkETiNg OPErATiONS: strategic decisions and help increase cor­ customer experience and innovation pro­ THE bOTTOM LiNE porate revenue, decrease costs and sustain cesses. It is well-integrated with other Bringing the benefits of Marketing Opera­ high levels of customer and employee corporate functions and takes full advan­ tions into your marketing function should satisfaction. In short, Marketing Operations, tage of the power and discipline of a be considered an evolutionary process. when thoughtfully implemented, has the strategically designed Marketing Opera­ MO is both a serious commitment and a potential to transform a “marketing func­ tions infrastructure. great opportunity. Like all change initia­ tion” into a “marketing powerhouse.” The MO infrastructure builds into the tives, it requires careful and comprehensive marketing function the processes, technol­ thought and exacting implementation. MO rEADiNESS: ogy, guidance and metrics required by an Key players in marketing and other cross­ MAkiNg THE ASSESSMENT efficient operation that delivers outstand­ functional organizations, such as sales and By this point, you probably have a good ing value on a consistent basis. Such an product development, need to be invited idea whether it would be worthwhile for MO infrastructure enables informed deci­ into the process early on and need to stay your company to learn more about Market­ sion making, accountability, sustainability, involved to achieve stakeholder ownership ing Operations. But it’s also true that it can visibility, teamwork, strategic thinking and and buy-in. be tough for marketing insiders to have repeatable best practices execution. The effort, however, yields impressive a clear and objective view of their own A marketing organization is ready to rewards. As Figure 1 shows, Marketing operation. That’s where professionals can think seriously about embracing MO Operations has the power to reposition help assess your organization’s readiness to when it feels internal and external pres- and re-energize a company’s marketing move forward with a new MO. n p177PME_Ch6_final.indd 177 5/1/08 4:19:22 PM