Marketing brain trust: specialist roles, software and marketing operations
How are marketing departments changing with the emergence of specialist roles and software in marketing operations? Our brain trust of three marketing experts discusses.
This article originally appeared in The Identity Issue, our October/November issue of Marketing mag.
James Charlesworth, CEO, Simple
Think Netflix, Uber, Amazon… no waste, no bloat and efficient, top-to-bottom optimisation of the customer experience. Increasingly, this is being designed and informed by data-driven experiments rather than random brainstorms.
We’re also seeing agile work practices become much more common in marketing, which marketing ops and their technology platforms need to support.
Across the board, marketing must upskill in more iterative, test-and-learn processes and data analysis. Marketing is always on. Work cycles are shorter. Teams need to be more responsive. At the same time, marketing technology budgets are rising by about 20% a year in Australia, so marketing technology and software is a critical tool in the marketing operations arsenal.
But on average, we see brands using about 17 different software solutions, so marketing ops and technology specialists are also looking for ways to simplify their processes to get the most out of their marketing tech stack.
The background is that marketing at its core is being disrupted by the shift of power to the customer, who can leave your mobile site and go to a digital start-up competitor within a micro-moment if they have a crappy experience.
This is why marketing ops is becoming so critical: marketing teams need that laser focus on effectiveness, efficiency and data, so that the team can quickly capitalise on what’s working, change the things that aren’t working and still deliver seamless end-to-end customer experiences across all channels.
Papinder Kailesh, director of business consulting, Aprimo
The growing number of marketing software solutions puts pressure on marketing teams to generate more content and push out campaigns faster. Marketers must get a handle on costs as soon as possible, but managing the increasing volume of content and tracking costs is difficult without streamlined processes.
To be competitive, marketers need instant visibility into their content and financial data, the ability to easily search and associate content with their original campaigns, and track expenditure. Without this, they can’t effectively share information and leverage their knowledge across the organisation. This is where marketing operations software can make a real difference to their day-to-day operations. Unlike other marketing software, it consolidates and stores content and financial data in one place.
The infiltration of marketing technology means teams must learn new ways of operating. They have to master a multitude of systems requiring varying degrees of expertise. To be able to operate and optimise the various software solutions, senior marketing executives and operational marketers need to train and retrain in an evolutionary process.
Senior marketing executives develop the marketing strategy and provide an overview of marketing activities, while specialists operate the plethora of software solutions daily in order to execute campaigns. Senior executives must understand the power and capability of these solutions to extract the most value. Then they can work with specialists to optimise the software and maximise their marketing efforts. This lets executives maintain a strategic focus while mobilising their teams to operate more effectively and efficiently.
Innovative organisations are restructuring to create cross-functional teams in an effort to unlock the potential of individuals beyond their defined roles. By breaking down silos and old, worn-out attitudes towards single- minded roles, and by mobilising teams and accelerating the process of iterative thinking, companies can foster greater efficiency, scalability and agility. But they need to move quickly to avoid being outmanoeuvred by the competition.
Working collaboratively simplifies communication, shortens decisions cycles and provides opportunities to reduce costs and maximise return on marketing investment.
By syndicating capabilities, knowledge and resources across the organisation, marketing content can be repurposed and reused as much as possible. Improved task management also helps to reduce repetition. Together this minimises costs and any waste of time and resources.
Organisations without an effective marketing operations system will increasingly struggle to manage the growing data and content volumes and quickly fall behind the competition.
Jadanne Dare, senior marketing manager, digital marketing, Adobe ANZ
What I hear most from our customers, and from my own experience in my role, is the increased focus on data to deliver customer insight and to enable real-time decisions. The goal of marketing is no longer about delivering best practice programs. Now, it’s about having enough insight into the customer experience to enable quick and agile delivery to market. The need to be closer to our customers is increasing the importance of the marketing operations function and the software that underpins marketing practice.
For organisations where the software is integrated and on one platform, the operations role is becoming more customer-centric and forward-looking. Data being brought together across channels is enabling a complete view of customer behaviour, therefore showcasing insight into the customer’s experience.
Marketing operations roles in these scenarios are working with the business to drive competitive differentiation through predictive patterns and modelling. Where the integration of data streams is seamless, the marketing operation function is creating
new opportunities for business growth and responding quickly to competitive threats. In more advanced organisations, data scientist and marketing analyst roles are being hired as a hot commodity to interpret the data and test market insights.
For those roles where data interconnectivity across software platforms is an issue, marketing operations roles can be very internally compelled, focusing more on helping marketing practitioners execute. In these environments, marrying together data sets can be a very manual and slow process. Whether it’s putting together multiple lists to generate a target persona database or marrying together the data points from a cross-channel integrated marketing program, the marketing operation function quickly becomes the ‘fixer’ of
the marketing team.
In these organisations, marketing operation roles focus more on what has been delivered and less on where the new opportunities lie. When marketing software platforms are interconnected, it provides the operations function insight to focus less on what is in the rear-view mirror and more on what lies ahead for customer experience.
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