Why doesn’t Marketing Operations work?
By Kimberly Prescott
It is well-known that driving a marketing operations department often results in a feeling of being in the hot seat daily, working tirelessly for what seems like crumbs, and driving change that is seemingly impossible. While all of this may be true, there are some key strategies you can utilize to help ease the pain. Below are five strategies that can turn the marketing operations team from struggling to thriving. There will still be days that seem never-ending but employing the below strategies can make those few and far between.
Have a clear vision. As a leader of marketing operations for any organization it is important to have a clear vision of where you want to take the team, how they will get their and how all that aligns with overall business objectives. It is important to write down a plan of action. Write down and co-create a clear vision with your team. Make sure you have executive buy-in. Then, go to work.
Evangelize the vision. Now that you have a clear vision, it is important to share this with other departments so they know what you are up to, how it will impact their job function and what type of support you will need moving forward. For example, when I did this with a global company, I shared with procurement my vision and how fast we had to move to get everyone within the MOPs team worldwide trained so that we could do all the other strategies we had planned. I tied this to the impact on revenue and corporate goals. This, in turn, got the procurement team excited to help us get the process streamlined for the training PO we needed.
Execute on the Vision. Work the plan and make sure not to get lost in the daily grind of requests that come in. Have a clear prioritization process for those daily requests and ensure 90% of your time is spent on items that directly impact the vision.
Ask good questions. When people come to you, and they will, with urgent requests, ask questions. What is it for? Why do you need it so quickly? What’s the impact? Be realistic, allow yourself to set realistic expectations and don’t be afraid to say ‘NO.’
Create internal communication channels. It is important to have regular checkpoints with internal stakeholders. There are several ways to approach this. From my experience, the cadence and credibility of these sessions is of utmost importance. The following were the items we committed to and never missed:
Weekly team checkpoints with Weekly trajectory reports also shared with sales ops
Monthly newsletter of upcoming projects/initiatives and who would benefit, also one article educating others about marketing operations
Quarterly business reviews with pre-agreed to KPI’s. Why is pre-agreed to KPI’s important? Well, here is a good case in point. When I first started as a leader in marketing operations, I ask my boss to review with me the KPI’s they were measuring on a regular basis. As a result of asking this question, I realized these were KPI’s resulting in very little outcomes. For example, one was how many emails were sent. Who cares? How about conversions, lead trajectory, movement to opportunity? I quickly arranged a meeting with my boss and his boss to delicately share another perspective with math on a whiteboard. I shared the difference in the impact. I asked one question: What would you rather have a million emails with only .033% click rate or 100,000 emails with a 10% click rate. They quickly realized that I did have a point and we should re-evaluate the metrics by which marketing operations was graded on.
By employing the above five strategies, it can create less friction within your organization when you try to get things done, improve your relationships with other departments, and enhance your ability to produce results. Remember, never give up. It’s a daily battle, but it’s worth it.
P.S. If your team needs some support executing or creating the vision, feel free to reach out for a complimentary consult.