Invest in Operational Foundations to Achieve Impact in our New Marketing World

This spring was one that we weren’t expecting in the marketing world. We all spent time meticulously planning campaigns, events, and organizing budgets to support our 2020 goals, and in what seemed like overnight, everything changed. Marketers were forced to quickly pivot not just plans but goals and teams as well.

For many marketing teams, the shift to a fully remote workforce as a result of COVID-19 is uncharted territory full of new challenges. Different time zones, external distractions and limited resources are some of the factors that we are coming to terms with while attempting to run the business as usual.

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With more changes coming every day and so many moving pieces to consider, marketers need to quickly and efficiently make the best possible decisions for their teams and their company.

With stay at home orders and social distancing implemented across the world, events have been an acute challenge. On average, marketers allocate at least 21% of their marketing budgets to in-person events. Beginning in March, many marketers were forced to quickly evolve their in-person events and seminars into completely online experiences. This shift left all of us scrambling to pivot and execute a new game plan, while keeping audiences engaged and avoiding missed targets.

Straying from an established plan is never easy, but those marketers who had an operating system for marketing, such as Marketing Performance Management (MPM), had the control and visibility to transition marketing spend from in-person events to digital. This allowed them to not only ensure that every campaign dollar was accounted for but provided digestible, real-time analytics so they could optimize future programs.

In my role I’ve been speaking with tons of marketers who are facing these concerns, whether that’s a fear of accidental overspending, teams unknowingly duplicating efforts, or a lack of consistent KPI measurement. While many of these challenges are exacerbated by the current economic climate, the need for nimble marketing investment practices is something that savvy marketers have been embracing for years.

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One example of a large-scale company that saw a drastic improvement after restructuring their operational foundation is Signify, formerly known as Philips Lighting. Before implementing a consolidated marketing management software in 2017, Signify’s marketing team juggled countless Excel sheets and Powerpoints with teammates overseas, lacked a unified measuring system and did not have a clear baseline to use as a foundation for their efforts.

Simple reporting tasks took days to accomplish, which resulted in hours of valuable employee time wasted. Signify’s marketing executives reached a tipping point and came to the realization that a new strategy had to be implemented to not only save money but to better utilize the efforts of their teams.

Over the past three years, Signify’s Marketing Excellence team invested in MPM along with a number of other tools in their martech stack, which helped them increase marketing ROI by over 30%. With Allocadia, the thousands of Signify marketers developed consistent taxonomy and a global ROI methodology. With a strong marketing strategy and new processes in place, Signify was prepared to manage potential uncertainty with a clear and efficient plan, allowing the team to make real-time adjustments and lift overall performance.

Signify is just one example of how the investment in an operational foundation is helping improve the way marketing organizations function, and ensuring they can weather unexpected challenges. I believe it shouldn’t take a complete shift of the economy or a string of global events for marketing teams to step back and find areas for improvement.

In a market where there are more than 8,000 marketing technology options available, it’s confusing for companies to know where to start when they start to make improvements. But as all aspects of business operations are being reviewed with a critical eye, marketing’s discretionary budget is often the first to be evaluated. The ability to quickly pull accurate KPIs, streamline workflows, shift resources and collaborate effectively not only provides senior stakeholders with proof that programs are running successfully, but clearly articulates the marketing team’s contribution to the bottom line.

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