5 Ways Marketing Operations Improves Marketing ROI

By Mirko Holzer, CEO of BrandMaker

A lot of marketers don’t get into marketing to run operations. They get into marketing because it’s different from “operational fields” like engineering, supply chain management, finance, or even accounting. One of the last things most marketers want to do is to spend hours and hours thinking about operational issues. But perhaps it is their view of “marketing ops” that is holding them back. A huge opportunity is missed, particularly as there’s significant ROI in marketing operations.

In an era of modern marketing, the marketing ops function has grown up quickly, whether or not we have taken notice. No longer the backwater of the department, marketing ops is taking a central role in the intelligence, development, and management of the marketing function. Today, it is central, and it is strategic. It is the difference between marketing organizations that are functioning smoothly and responding to marketplace challenges and opportunities and those that are not.

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An independent research study commissioned by BrandMaker found that marketing ops has become the top priority for marketing leaders in 2021 with 62% of marketing executives reporting marketing ops was a priority, ahead of key areas such as brand building and lead generation. 

The findings give a clear view that marketing ops is now seen as a core function, essential for a modern marketing organization to operate with agility and efficiency. This clarity is important as marketing leaders develop programs to ensure that marketing spending, technology, and processes are managed to deliver maximum business impact. 

Without agile marketing ops marketing leaders may miss new growth horizons and huge opportunities which become lost in chaos, misunderstandings, misaligned activities, unmanageable workload and missed KPIs.

Here we explore five ways marketing operations can deliver greater ROI for marketing organizations. 

  1. Run Marketing like a Business

It is vital for marketing to concentrate on activities that fuel the pipeline. Having visibility on marketing performance and the ability to quickly shift budgets to what works best will create the agility needed to achieve this.

By combining technology, data, marketing, and analytics, marketing ops allows marketing leaders to understand how marketing initiatives impact the brand, customer growth, and revenue generation. Marketing ops enables marketers to run marketing like a business with reliable ROI analysis. This means marketing leaders can assign marketing budget and team resources to the most effective marketing programs. 

  1. Improve Campaign Planning and Management

A brilliant creative campaign that ticks all the boxes in one market may be a complete failure in another due to different cultures, outlooks, and ideas. It is a significant challenge for global organizations to adapt and localize campaigns across markets and regions to attract a local audience while retaining the campaign’s key messages and concept. 

BrandMaker research found that a staggering 90% of marketing teams believe their struggle with global campaign coordination impacts their marketing programs. 

In addition to managing campaigns across multiple geographies, coordinating the work of stakeholders and agencies via a single point of information and direction is also crucial to global campaign success and delivering ROI.

Marketing ops enables the ability to know what works and what doesn’t, to learn fast and fail fast, to update the marketing plan on a dime, and then push those changes throughout a global organization so everyone is on the same page and can successfully execute as a cohesive, coordinated team. This drives ROI through speed-to-market with new campaigns and content and being able to share campaign assets across regions and product lines.

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  1. Respond to Changing Market Demands

Global marketing teams face increasing pressure to plan and implement effective programs while navigating today’s fast-changing business landscape. To succeed, marketers need to think differently, react immediately, and execute campaigns quickly.

This requires both agility and effectiveness. Global marketing teams must collaborate from anywhere, and be supported by systems that enable automated workflows, visibility, access to content, and real-time results, all from a single platform (one version of the truth).

In the BrandMaker study, the majority [94%] of marketing executives reported that inefficient marketing ops and workflows are barriers to effectively responding to changing market environments. Ops can increase marketing’s ability to respond to market changes with agility. Freed from operational inefficiency, marketers have the power to finally do things like bring products to market faster, deliver more relevant messages, and become a brand that consumers value and appreciate.

  1. Optimize finance and budget management:

Marketing leaders continue to face mounting pressure to improve financial management for marketing plans and initiatives. This includes planning budgets, managing costs throughout an entire budget cycle, tracking the ROI of dollars spent, measuring the effectiveness of marketing campaigns, and quantifying marketing’s impact on business objectives. 

Marketing ops can help improve the ability to track investments through the marketing process allowing businesses to become more agile and competitive. A comprehensive marketing financial management solution can enable budget and spending transparency, increase the firm’s understanding of marketing ROI, improve marketing alignment with the firm’s CX strategy, and connect marketing initiatives across the organization with teams such as accounting and procurement. Having this financial and strategic information at their fingertips enables CMOs to engage with CEOs and CFOs at an executive level to enable the entire business strategy to advance. 

  1. Contribute to the creativity and fulfilment of the team

Put simply, inefficient ops that consume skilled people’s time in mindless, repetitive tasks wear them down. If 2020 has taught us anything, marketing teams need to remain agile and flexible, which is difficult if you are relying too heavily on outdated marketing processes.

As the pace of change in global markets continues to accelerate, marketing ops is becoming more closely aligned with the creative function of marketing than ever before. Why is this? While marketing needs to deliver authentic and captivating campaigns, those campaigns depend on the efficiency and agility of operations to get to market first with an omnichannel experience that drives easily trackable ROI.

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