More and more companies are now separating the marketing responsibility into Strategy and Operations.

But why? Dwain Thomas, our Strategy and Innovation Director, digs deep.

The delivery of effective marketing campaigns starts with a robust strategy but ends with efficient delivery and successful measurement and analysis.

Internal Marketing teams are focused on understanding all the elements which are relevant to their target audiences, crafting the right messages to be delivered at the right time through the right channel to drive sales or other conversion metrics. A big remit.  

However, not all members of the marketing team are interested in the delivery of these strategies through to the implementation phase. Hence the rise and rise of Marketing Operations as a function and the increased profile and role of Marketing Operations Director (MOP) – a role that’s rapidly becoming as influential as the Head of Marketing and the Marketing Director.  

Strategy drives brand, Operations manages delivery

The business environment for marketing professionals is more complex and complicated than ever. Today’s marketing functions manage a growing number of channels and customer touch points – on and offline. 

These touch points cross over an increasing number of internal areas within the business and require increasingly technically sophisticated skills in strategy, front end and back end systems alongside internal processes.

These teams have defined KPIs and they are expected to deliver higher than previous ROI. To deliver better ROI, campaigns need to be delivered seamlessly, efficiently, on budget and on time. This is one of the primary goals of the Marketing Operations team.    

Mapping customer journeys 


Many of the business drivers are being led by innovations in technologies such as DMPs (Data Management Platforms), 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 rapidly evolving innovations in technologies are challenging businesses to identify which technologies are needed and the adoption and education required to effect change within their own organisations. 

Mind the gaps 

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. 

To stay relevant, many businesses will need to conduct a gap analysis on their current skill sets, and define what is delivered internally and what new talent’s needed. It may be that specialist skills across several areas will need to be onboarded 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. 

Today, tomorrow, beyond  
 
We spoke to senior level marketing operations professionals in the Financial Services and FMCG sectors to better understand 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 the core deliverables are the same. These areas are comprised of delivering efficiency, adhering to processes and enabling a strong Marketing Operations department to become the hub of the company, where people, processes, measurements, metrics and goals are all brought into alignment with the main business goals.

One area where the 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-led propositions and the delivery of these campaigns within an organisation.   

At the heart of the business, focused on delivery  
 

One of the main objectives of Marketing Operations is to provide high-quality support to the strategy leads to enable them to continue to innovate and develop new customer-centric campaigns without having to focus on delivery.  

From the interviews we conducted, it’s imperative that there is a top-down approach and ultimately a reporting line into the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO). The CMO has a vital role to play in educating the wider team on the benefits of Marketing Operations as well as integrating this new way of working into the operational structure through communication and rewards programmes. Reporting into the CMO office ensures effective communication and clear reporting lines, and less confusion around roles and responsibilities.  

As well as people, it’s important to audit current marketing tech stacks to identify areas where the business is looking to utilise data insights and emerging channels to provide a better customer experience across all channels – on or offline. 

An unswerving focus on delivering core business objectives 

And that’s the key. In both retail and financial services, we found a common thread: a commitment to effectively delivering core business objectives. More than ever, it’s essential that all marketing activity links back to business drivers and is aligned and integrated across all areas of the business. 

Of course, there needs to be flex and agility within the MO model – it needs to be scalable and, when there’s a high level of demand for deliverables, added to with freelancers or consultants. 

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 has a modified approach which is to make a dual responsibility between strategy and delivery to encourage efficiencies and great customer experiences, which are aligned at the very beginning of projects.   

We’ve worked collaboratively with clients to deliver new customer experience journey road maps, but specifically to help them define and identify marketing technologies which will help their business to drive better customer engagement and improve business efficiencies, campaign effectiveness and increased traffic numbers. 

We’ve partnered with change management too, including 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 are 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. 


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Dwain Thomas