Optimizing the Marketing Operations (MO) Function

Optimizing the Marketing Operations (MO) Function

Part 1: Where are YOU on the Marketing Operations Maturity Model?

It’s no secret traditional marketing is waning as changing customer behaviors and cloud technologies inject a new sense of purpose and business alignment into the discipline. Marketing is driving this change and responsible for operationalizing these strategic shifts. The basic charter of a MO group is to improve the efficiency (doing things right) and effectiveness (doing the right things) of marketing to meet financial goals such as ROI and contribution to pipeline and revenue. As MO rapidly matures, this basic definition must include the strategic impact of an effective MO organization. I predict that the companies with mature and strategic MO groups will gain a competitive advantage in their market. They already are!

Let’s look at what is driving the critical need for this function and then examine a maturity model. Be ready to assess where you are today.

What is Driving the Rise of the MO Function?

As I reflect on the market forces empowering the rise of the MO function, I see three critical contributors. The first is the enormous amount of pressure CMOs are experiencing to produce ROI from marketing investments especially in terms of revenue and profit. The CMO Report (2017) stated that over 80% of CMOs are feeling this pressure from their senior management teams and/or boards, yet less than a third actually report any financial metrics.

The second driving force is the fact that the customer is now in control – Forrester calls this the Age of the Customer – I call it the Age of the Digital Customer. We live in a digital world where most anything a customer or a prospect wants to know is one or two clicks away online. According to the Customer Executive Board, our prospects and customers are 70% through their buying journey before we even have a clue of their interest.

The third driving force is the extraordinary growth in the number of technologies now available to marketers. In May 2017, Scott Brinker unveiled his latest MarTech count – over 5,000 technologies. And marketing is buying this technology at a healthy clip. Gartner estimates that by the end of 2017 the CMO will have a larger IT spend than a CTO.

Taken together, this holy grail of influences – CMO accountability, age of the digital customer, and the number and spend on marketing technologies – create the foundation for the dynamic growth of a new function in marketing, i.e. MO.

The Maturity Model – Where are You?

MO as an organizational capability is still in its infancy, but rapidly maturing. As such, it is characterized by many variations and a set of best practices that are still forming. Looking at MO as an organizational capability is key to its full adoption by an organization. I define an organizational capability as the skills, processes, tools, and technologies used by people in an organization to drive meaningful business results. A capability is developed over time through, training, education, process optimization, applied expertise, experience and demonstrated results in a particular discipline.

At this time, I am seeing aspects of MO being outsourced due to lack of skills in-house, but there is a tremendous appetite to take this all in-house because it is so key to marketing’s revenue success and for driving company growth.

Based on my research in working with clients and other companies, I have created a 4-stage MO Maturity Model. As you review the model, think about where you are and where you need to be.

The four types of MO groups (MOG) are Efficient, Effective, Hub and Strategic.

  • Stage 1: Efficient MOG: Focuses on the use and integration of current technologies as well as addressing data hygiene issues. This type of MOG may also be an execution arm for campaigns and is very focused on the tools and getting them into place. Typically a very small team, members are considered “button-pushers”.
  • Stage 2: Effective MOG: Focuses on using best practices and key processes to improve overall MO effectiveness. This type of MOG is also focused on data, metrics, and reporting. At this stage of maturity, the MOG optimizes all key processes. Unicorns live here.
  • Stage 3: HUB MOG: Acts as the nucleus for disparate groups including all parts of marketing (field, product, etc.), sales, the customer, IT and finance. This type of MOG provides insights and consulting that help guide and improve business results. Unicorns live here.
  • Stage 4: Strategic MOG: Includes a much broader set of functions such as the voice of the customer, demand generation/demand center elements and has Revenue Marketing type of accountability. This type of MOG gives the CMO a seat and a voice at the table. Unicorns rule here.

Five Key Take-Aways

No matter what size company you are, no matter what industry you are in, the role of marketing is forever changed because of a new level of marketing accountability, the age of the digital customer and the pervasive set of new marketing technologies. Let me leave you with 5 key takeaways.

  1. MOGs will continue to grow as a distinctive and strategic organizational capability. Get on board or get out of the way. MOGS is here to stay.
  2. MOGs will serve as a key integrator for sales and marketing. The collaborative role of integrating process and technology will enable an improved working relationship.
  3. MOGs will be a catalyst for change. Nothing changes an organization like technology. And, when that change happens along with a business orientation, it’s all positive change.
  4. MOGs will enable marketing to act more like data scientists. Marketing will begin to incorporate more left-brained thinking using data and in the process, run marketing like a revenue center, not a cost center.
  5. MOGs will allow marketing to become THE expert on the customer through the collection and analysis of online digital behavior. MOGs has access to invaluable data about client behavior, 24 x 7. Analyzing this data creates an up-to-the-minute understanding of customer needs and responses.

Are you ready to start driving revenue? Access the Rise of the Marketing Operations Function Interactive White Paper here.

Previously published in MarTech Advisor 9/9/17.

About Debbie Qaqish
Debbie is a nationally recognized thought leader, innovator and speaker in Revenue Marketing with more than 30 years of experience applying strategy, technology and process to help B2B companies drive revenue growth. She is the author of the award winning book – “Rise of the Revenue Marketer,” Chancellor of Revenue Marketing University, and host of Revenue Marketer Radio (WRMR). Debbie has been at the forefront of the marketing automation phenomenon, first as a beneficiary, and now as an advocate and expert. She is a frequent speaker and writer on topics related to Revenue Marketing transformation, leadership, change management, sales and marketing alignment, ROI, content, organization, talent and marketing operations. She coined the term “Revenue Marketer” in 2011. As a principal partner and chief strategy officer of The Pedowitz Group, Debbie is responsible for developing and managing global client relationships, as well as leading the firm’s thought leadership initiatives. Debbie is also PhD candidate and her dissertation topic is how the CMO adopts financial accountability in an e-marketing environment.

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