The Value of Marketing Operations


[This blog was written by Flock Freelance Consultant, Dwain Thomas]

There is a buzz happening within the marketing community where Marketing Operations is being discussed. These discussions include where Marketing Operations sits within an organisation as well as how these team members will function within each area of the business. Many of the business drivers are being led by innovations in technologies such as DMPs, automated marketing software solutions and evolved CRM platforms which are helping to define and develop a single customer view. These technologies are providing a detailed view of the customer journey across all channels and are helping marketers to adjust their business propositions, develop value propositions, budget for marketing spend and other technical investments needed to maintain market leadership or gain additional market share.

The quickly evolving innovations in technologies are challenging businesses to identify which technologies are needed and the adoption and education required to affect change within their own organisations. The business will need to conduct a gap analysis on current skill sets within the business and help to define what is delivered internally and what new talent is required. Specialist skills across a number of areas will need to be on boarded to augment the existing team skills. The impact of new technologies within many sectors include compliance issues for data security, management and strategy as well as the development of audience based segmentation models used in targeting key audience groups.

Some of the challenges facing both global organisations and UK businesses are based on organisational structures and autonomy in local markets. The delivery of Marketing Operations across global organisations means an evolution to organisational structures, ways of communicating internally and sharing of ideas using digital asset management and other platforms for teams collaboration. It is important to identify and reward those individuals and teams which are adopting and succeeding with these new initiatives.

We have interviewed senior level Marketing Operations professionals in the financial services and FMCG sectors to better understand what the issues facing corporate leadership in integrating these new ways of working within their businesses. The definitions and role of Marketing Operations differs depending on the company, but in reality the core deliverables are the same. These areas are comprised of efficiency, processes and enablement. A strong Marketing Operations department becomes the hub of the company, where people, processes, measurements metrics and goals are all brought into alignment with the main business goals.

But a very large component of the success of Marketing Operations lies in where this business component sits within the business. One area where our Financial Services client highlighted an issue was with the roles and responsibilities of Marketing members within the organisation. Most are not focused on delivery and tend to not want to be involved in implementation and delivery.  The differentiator is the separation of strategy lead propositions and the delivery of these campaigns within an organisation. One of the main objectives of Marketing Operations is to provide a high quality support level to the strategy leads in order for the business to continue to innovate and develop new customer centric campaigns without having to focus on the delivery of these campaigns.

From the interviews we conducted, it is imperative that there is a top down approach and ultimately reporting line into the CMO. The goals from this level is to educate the wider team on the benefits of Marketing Operations as well as integration of this new way of working into the operational structure through communication and rewards programmes.

The basics of where the Marketing Operations sit within the overall business structure is firmly within Marketing, and reporting into the CMO office will enable the business to communicate effectively with clear reporting lines and less confusion on roles and responsibilities within the team members.

The main business objective is the focus on the core priorities. All activities must link back to these business drivers and align and integrate across all areas of the business. Our blog, The Power of One, maybe an interesting read.

The role of the Marketing Operations team are scalable and can be augmented with freelance or consultants when there is a high level of demand for the team deliverables. The feedback from the financial service sector is that budgeting and ownership of performance metrics clearly sits within the Marketing team and not with the Marketing Operations functions. The FMCG team have a modified approach which is to make a dual responsibility between strategy and delivery to encourage efficiencies and great customer experiences are aligned in the very beginning of projects.

During our recent engagement with Ebay Global Group, Flock worked collaboratively to deliver a new customer experience journey roadmap, more specifically, Flock were asked to help define marketing technologies which will assist the business to drive better customer engagement, improve business efficiencies, campaign effectiveness and increased traffic numbers.

Flock defined the four pillars of business change management they were looking to address. This included people and internal processes, the overall customer experience, all areas of data and current and future martech requirements for a hub based centralised delivery team. Our recommendations for future investment in technologies were designed to embrace not only traditional technical platforms but to encourage disruptive thinking where social and other channels could be harnessed for maximum efficiencies in ongoing customer acquisition strategies. Read more here, and see what our client said below:

Great job achieved throughout these weeks from Flock. Their commitment, proactivity and efficiency in delivering precise, documented and relevant content while adapting to eCGs style and was great. The deadlines were tight with a lot to achieve in so little time, but the Flock team demonstrated high levels of flexibility and provided us with precious insights that will definitely help us shaping the whole project and making the next eCG digital martech transformation happening.” – Philippe Capelle, Digital Marketing Manager, Ebay

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