How marketing ops can deliver value to the C-suite
Contributor Peter Ladka recaps a presentation at the Martech Conference in Boston on the processes and capabilities that will help marketers consistently prove the value of marketing's contribution to the organization.
Having the right marketing stack is just one component of a successful marketing operations department in your organization. Having great people and executing a best-in-class process completes the three circles of the martech Venn diagram for success.
Marketing ops departments are often bogged down in one of two scenarios: (1) There aren’t any clearly defined processes to follow, or (2) there is a set of antiquated, overburdened processes that stifle or kill progress.
At this week’s MarTech Conference in Boston, Laura Patterson, president of VisionEdge Marketing, addressed these challenges, delivering a presentation on Tuesday on “How to implement best-in-class processes, the foundation of your marketing operations.”
“Marketing ops must deliver value to the C-suite and a sure way to do that is through a team that operates on best-in-class processes.”
Marketing ops personas
There is a clear correlation between the quality of marketing op’s contribution to overall business success and the quality of the processes they follow to execute marketing initiatives, Patterson said. “Marketing ops teams can be broken down into three personas: value creators, sales enablers and campaign producers,” she said.
These personas have a corollary impact with the C-suite. In a formal study Patterson and her team performed on the impact of differing personas and the C-suite, the value creators received a grade of “A.”
As you move to sales enablers, executives rated that persona closer to “B” for their impact on the overall organization. Campaign producers were rated “C” through “E” and were often regarded as cost centers rather than revenue influencers within the organization.
Metrics vs. KPIs
Once you’ve identified these personas, a clear pathway to increasing the impact of marketing ops within an organization is to review and refine the department’s processes. When making the effort to refine those processes, it’s best to “start with the end in mind” and identify true KPIs (key performance indicators) so that processes are targeted at delivering the desired business value.
It’s not uncommon for an organization to be confused about the difference between organizational metrics and KPIs, Patterson said. Measuring operational metrics can be helpful in improving the overall performance of the organization.
KPIs must have a direct and identifiable impact on a critical business value and should be manageable in number to allow for a more focused approach to business improvement. As an example, Patterson referred to a multibillion-dollar metal fabrication company with a marketing ops department that focused on 16 KPIs for measuring performance.
Effectiveness and efficiency produce excellence
“Marketing ops enables effectiveness and efficiency within a marketing organization,” Patterson said. She pointed to personnel personas and KPI-driven thinking as guideposts for developing effective processes and procedures within marketing ops.
Having the right people, and performing the right processes toward the correct goals or KPIs, produces the excellence the C-suite needs. When marketing has a dependable team operating with predictable processes, it enables marketing to have the type of grade “A” impact that’s desired on the overall organization.
Revenue influence vs. cost control
When a marketing organization can effectively influence revenue creation, the C-suite’s confidence in marketing is raised, and they stop looking at marketing as a cost center. You’ll hear fewer conversations of cutting budgets and finding cost-saving measures as mandates from executive management.
The C-suite will seek and expect a strong process-driven marketing ops department to help the entire organization drive business value through influencing revenue.
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