Marketing operations can be roughly defined as the elements of marketing that allow it to run effectively and efficiently, including functions such as analysis, budgeting, project planning and reporting. As one international marketing operations consultant has described it, it’s “an injection of left-brain thinking into the typically right-brained-heavy marketing function.”
With the rise of new technologies that improve both analytics and collaboration, the capability has arrived for marketing organizations to refine processes to a razor-sharp edge. For Agile teams especially, the iterative feedback loops that define a technology-driven marketing operations process are particularly effective. Of course, this requires the right tools and for them to be used properly, but we’ll get to that later. For now let’s look at how process can revolutionize how your marketing team operates.
Constant analysis and innovation
A static marketing operations process might see marketing given a quarterly target of attracting 2,000 marketing qualified leads (MQLs), in order to contribute $20 million to revenue. However, if the metrics governing the funnel progression from MQLs to sales qualified opportunities are found to be badly off-course, targets and focus will need to be changed, along with an investigation into why the leaks in the funnel are occurring.
Modern Agile teams, on the other hand, can rely on constant performance analytics so their targets are never a quarter or year out of date, which means that reactions and innovations can be strategized and implemented the moment it’s realized they are necessary.
Embracing automation of processes
One of the greatest improvements that increased IT capability has brought about for marketing teams is the ability to automate thousands of tasks that previously took time, effort and planning. Apart from making reporting and email reminders more efficient, automation can streamline something as crucial and commonplace as parsing loyal from lapsed customers and strategizing different approaches for each.
For example, if a customer has purchased eight times in a quarter or hasn’t at all for a quarter, they can automatically be targeted with custom-created responses to either reward their loyalty or seek to re-engage them. In a myriad of ways, automation has drastically changed the way marketing works forever.
For Agile teams, the goal is not necessarily to have “fully optimized” processes, but rather to build processes that can react and adapt to real-time data. In fact, a so-called fully optimized marketing operations process will get outdated very quickly, if not immediately. With the feedback possible from integrated business intelligence tools like those from SAP or Oracle, marketing processes can now be created that enable Agile teams to react to opportunities as they arise rather than straitjacketing them until a problem is identified.
Strategic prioritization of work
With Agile marketing operations, teams are focused on flexibility and reaction speed, but also on having a clear pathway to achieving goals, however adaptable it has to be. It is this ability to prioritize work depending on the dynamic shifts in resource usage and stakeholder requirements that defines the modern operations process.
Though processes can often be deemed to be slow, bulky and requiring excessive documentation, modern marketing operations processes are built around Agile philosophies and give managers and team leads the ability to prioritize task scheduling so as to maximize resources and efficiency.
Project management tools and software are the drivers of much recent innovation in terms of the capabilities they have given to marketing teams, whichever way they want to work. With Clarizen’s suite of programs, Agile teams can create workflows and dynamic workspaces which utilize their operations processes and give them the flexibility they need to succeed. To find out how Clarizen can make your marketing more Agile, talk to us to organize a free demo.