As marketers, we love getting creative. We’re often at our best when we’re using the right side of our brain to dream up new campaigns, produce thought leadership pieces or develop innovative digital experiences. And let’s face it, most of us would choose a brainstorming session over a resource planning meeting.
But it’s also important that we don’t neglect the less glamorous elements of marketing, and fail to use those logical, ‘left-brained’ skills, like planning, forecasting and measuring our campaigns. Because you can’t simply rely on creativity to deliver standout marketing campaigns, you also need to know that the plans you put in place will deliver against your strategic objectives and ensure you get the results they need. This means you need to ensure that everything is running smoothly ‘behind the scenes’, maximising your marketing impact by optimising your marketing operations.
Marketing operations (or ‘marketing ops’) cover all of the processes, technology, data and people that keep your campaigns on track and help your team to perform to the best of their ability. Basically, they are all the things you do as a marketing function to ensure that your campaigns run smoothly.
If you’re looking for an efficient, happy and high performing marketing team, then you need to focus on these areas of your marketing operations:
Forecasting future capacity
It’s vital to ensure that your team has the capacity to deliver results, which involves detailed forecasting for months in advance against your top business priorities. We recommend plotting out the projects you will need to deliver over at least the next three to six months to meet your goals, and estimating the amount of time each of your teams will need to allocate to each project, week by week. Cross-functional impact is key – how are other departments plotting these campaigns into their schedules? What is the impact outside of your function? Your sales team will need to have the resources to follow up on your marketing-qualified leads, for example, to ensure you stay front-of-mind. By prioritising planning and considering cross-functional capacity, you can keep your campaigns running smoothly, and delight your senior team by delivering on time, every time.
Briefing your teams effectively
We get it – sometimes, your to-do list is so lengthy that it can be hard to find the time to write comprehensive briefs for your team before they start working on a client campaign. But it’s vital to ensure that every member of your marketing team knows exactly what is required of them, from the overarching campaign objectives, to the deadline they need to work towards. Taking the time to provide everyone with a brilliant brief before they start work can help them to nail their part of the project the first time around, and reduce time spent on amends further down the line. It could also help you to hold onto top talent within your team, as it can be frustrating for them to have to make reams of amends to their work due to dodgy briefs. Check out our guide to building brilliant briefs to find out how to refine your briefing process to ensure your stakeholders get what they’re looking for from your team.
Optimising your marketing technology stack
Marketing technology – ‘martech’ – can make many aspects of campaign delivery easier, from keeping track of campaigns to staying connected as a team when you’re working remotely. With the right martech in place, your team should find it much easier to do their jobs well and connect to customers, which is sure to boost your customer satisfaction rates as a result. So talk to your teams and your stakeholders about where they could most benefit from some tech support. Perhaps your sales team could use an email automation tool to make staying in touch with customers simpler, for example, or your web team could benefit from an SEO tech solution. If your current martech stack has some gaps, it might be time to invest in a new solution.
Empower your team, excel for your customers
Planning out your capacity, writing cross team briefs and reviewing your tech solutions might not be as exciting as brainstorming new campaign ideas. But unless you have the processes, tools and people in place to deliver on your team’s creativity, you’re not going to be able to deliver optimum results. So if it’s been a while since you reviewed your marketing operations, take some time to ensure you’re getting the basics right. Your team, customers – and your stakeholders – will benefit from your efforts.
Why not check out our report now, which surveyed our B2B audience on all things marketing operations, and lets you know where you stand, and how to improve.