How to Build Effective Marketing Operations

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Marketing departments have evolved very quickly with new channels and content being created all the time. Some companies, maybe including yours, create thousands of pieces of content every year, which are distributed across more and more channels, to feed more and more campaigns as well as keeping the ‘always-on’ marketing fresh. Companies strive to put customers first and serve their needs, so internal structures have changed and adapted around this insatiable two-way content machine. Customers don’t only consume content differently; they also communicate in new different ways and create their own content about your brand, in a constant flow. Companies have to continuously re-invent the way they operate to stay ahead and even to cope with this.

However, have the processes caught up with this new ways of working?

One of the consequences of this evolution of the marketing department is an increase in the number of disciplines, the atomisation of marketing skills, technology and capabilities required to respond to customers’ needs, and with this, often an increase in silos within the department.

The need for effective marketing operations to hold and link it all together has become so strong that we have seen a huge rise in marketing operations roles over the past couple of years. They become the “glue” of a marketing department with their main characteristics being great organisation, communicators, diplomatic, and with enough gravitas to command respect to get teams to perform, on time, with great quality, within budgets. Their key responsibilities are to integrate across the silos, break down barriers to open up communication, improve planning tools, implement the right technology and to build new processes that fit around the people and their day to day work, rather than trying to fit people around obsolete processes.

How well companies navigate this marketing evolution will depend on how well they can improve their marketing operations and integrate the customer into the heart of all their operations. Processes need to be designed to optimise output, rather than bolted together as new consumer insight and new channels have been developed over time.

Creating effective marketing operations make business sense. Sloppy or inefficient operations can lose a global company vast sums of money every year.

Our advice:

Firstly you need to understand your existing processes, structures, tools and technology. Once you understand what capabilities you currently have, you can start to visualise where you want / need to be in two or three years to stand out from your competitors.

To help you to frame where you want to be, review your customer experience. Do you have a full overview of your customer journey? Are you building customer feedback and insight into your marketing processes as well as team and agency appraisals, or is it a once a year thing that sits on a shelf? What should your customer experience look and feel like? Re-engineer your processes based on your vision and the customer needs, not on yours.

Ensure new processes and systems eliminate duplication which wastes time, money and energy. Do you have more than one copy writer in more than one department? Eliminate the duplication of effort by doing integrated briefing sessions to kick off to gain alignment, hold regular group reviews of the integrated plan, have dashboard updates on display, use project management software, and make individuals and teams accountable for outcomes as well as improved communications and the overall effectiveness of the process.

Mind the cultural gap. Implementing game-changing marketing operations that are based on customer needs may require a cultural change within the company and the marketing department. We suggest being clear on the Why, the What for and the How for any new processes and ways of working will affect the individuals from a company and personal point of view. Make sure any changes are built bottom up and galvanised by the brand purpose. Invite people in to participate and co-create. Allow the organic ways to develop as well as the structured framework. And, finally it’s the small incremental changes that add up over time; don’t rush it.

If this all sounds like hard work and you are wondering how to improve your marketing operations, how to build more effective processes, or how to roll them out effectively across your marketing department; Flock knows how to do this across large, global, complex organisations such as yours, and we would love to discuss how you could benefit from doing it, and how we could help. Contact us here.

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