Successful brands are relying on strong collaboration between Marketing and Operations.
At least that’s what I learned from working with highly successful and rapidly growing brands like Brooklinen, THINX, Peak Design, and Oiselle.
I work closely with our customers to understand their day-to-day workflows and objectives. We regularly conduct customer feedback interviews and consult our users on what to build next to help them achieve their goals.
Through this practice, it’s becoming more clear that across verticals and product categories, these hyper-successful brands all share one thing: a tight and efficient two-way feedback loop between their Ops teams and their Marketing teams. Under the collective goal of delivering exceptional customer experiences and uncovering revenue-driving initiatives to fuel their growth, they operate as one unit (or at the very least two closely related business units) to effectively execute.
Beyond the traditional Marketing tech-stack, savvy Marketers are looking to their ops teams as an invaluable contributor and source of knowledge to inform and drive effective revenue driving initiatives.
Working in unity: setting up an effective feedback loop
What does an effective feedback loop look like?
Your Operations Team Is the Closest Team to the Heart of Your Business: Your Inventory. That Means That They Can Tell You a Great Deal About Your Customer’s Purchasing Behavior. Leverage Them.
They have the day-to-day insight and in-depth knowledge of your customer’s purchasing behavior across your multi-channel business. A well equipped Operations team will have a pulse on top-movers, slow-movers, geo-based performance, your best and worst performing channels, what’s expected and when, timelines, and cost.
There’s a wealth of knowledge that can spark promising ideas for effective product bundling, pricing strategies, geo-based promotions, and an overall better understanding of your customers and their engagement behavior.
Involve Your Ops Team Early and Establish Clear Goals Collaboratively.
On the execution side, initiatives like pop-ups, mystery boxes, loyalty programs, and pre-order campaigns are great. But, these take quite a bit of operational set-up, depending on their operational tech stack. Involve the team early, establish clear expectations and goals collaboratively, and work backwards from the launch date to set timelines.
“First thing I do is make sure we’re crystal clear on ‘why’. Sometimes content or marketing will come up with something that requires ops. So aligning on the goal and ask. Only then can we give it proper timelines and work backwards from the go-live date.”
— Nisreen Hasib, COO, Unbound Babes
Operations is a complex art of balancing timelines, costs, and processes against time and market demand. Involving the ops team early puts your marketing campaigns in a much better place to achieve maximum performance. After all, none of your campaigns to drive sales would mean anything if you can’t deliver the products you promised to your customers.
Test and Learn
Learn from past experiments, share data, and continue to evolve the process. Take THINX, an exploding brand in the women’s hygiene space, for an example. In the early days, they experimented with a pre-order campaign. While the marketing campaign was a success in driving brand awareness, it was an operational headache to execute on.
After a careful holistic analysis of the entire initiative from marketing to ops, the team determined it wasn’t the best path for them considering the overall ROI. Instead, they continued to explore other alternatives to drive profit, and today, they are at the forefront of disrupting a 36 billion dollar market.
Relay Back Campaign Performance, and Conduct Post-Mortems with Your Operations Team
True “effective-ness” of any initiative or campaign through the lens of revenue and profit can only be assessed once final, true cost is considered. You could run a successful, revenue-driving campaign, but if that required you to expedite shipping to meet customer demands, or mark-down products to move inventory, you may still end up as an overall loss.
Conduct post-mortems with your ops team to fully understand the impact your initiatives are having on the company bottom-line. Document these, learn from them, and continuously iterate on processes and timelines. Even a successful campaign has opportunities to tighten execution to maximize profit.
This is a continuous process. Highly successful brands have a perpetual cycle of knowledge sharing and collaboration between marketing and operations to create unforgettable customer experiences and uncover new opportunities.