SalesTech Star

Marketing Operational Efficiency is a 2021 Business Critical Issue

By Mirko Holzer, CEO of BrandMaker

Marketing excellence is too often held back by outmoded manual processes, lack of inter-team and inter-group visibility, and different versions of the ‘truth’ – be it budget, metrics, status or ownership. The impact of these shortcomings has been heightened during the Covid crisis. Operational excellence and business agility across all business functions including marketing is no longer a ‘nice to have’; it is business critical. 

Global marketing organizations are having to create 2021 campaigns, plans, and budget that will have the ability to adapt toa fast-changing go-to-market landscapes built-in; so that they can effortlessly re-calibrate their pipeline creation strategies as needed — in days rather than weeks or months. The pandemic has underscored the need for a new age of efficient marketing. This means marketing that is better aligned with business strategy.

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The recent BrandMaker Pulse survey showed that marketing operational efficiency remains the cornerstone for marketing teams to provide high-quality customer experiences. It also highlighted the need for marketing operations systems and technologies to get everyone in the organization moving in the same direction, enabling marketing teams to respond to new challenges and opportunities.

Conducted in October to capture 2021 priorities among global marketing leaders, the Pulse revealed that marketing will look vastly different next year. Here we explore the findings of the Pulse and what they mean for marketing leaders in 2021.

Doing More with Less 

Efficiency and ROI are top of most marketing organizations’ agendas for 2021, with 50 percent of global marketing organizations stating they will need to achieve more with the same or less budget than 2020, and 60 percent of respondents reported a greater demand for quantifiable ROI on marketing budgets. Marketing leaders (70 percent) also stated the improvement of campaign management as a budget and ROI priority for 2021. At the same time, only 5 percent of respondents expect an increase in their 2021 budget over 2020.

The challenge is that marketing leaders can only demonstrate value if they have factual data to map the results of their marketing efforts to their organizational goals. But this is easier said than done. Marketing departments need to ensure they have their house in order before they can demonstrate their value.

In 2021, MarketingOps will play a crucial role in the day-to-day functioning of marketing departments because it enables measuring, analyzing, and reporting on marketing activities so improvements can be made to increase return on investment.

Avoiding the Spreadsheet Quagmire and Improving Workflow & Collaboration 

Most marketing executives (65 percent) in global marketing organizations demand improved marketing workflow management for faster reviews and approvals and real-time transparency on status across in-house teams and external agencies. 65 percent of respondents want to be freed from mundane marketing tasks that they believe should be automated by now, and almost half (45 percent) want freedom from spreadsheet madness. 

Wherever possible, organizations need to avoid the spreadsheet quagmire where marketeers find themselves reviewing and updating spreadsheets to share with other team members who then copy and paste and consolidate data manually. This approach typically serves to burn up valuable marketer time in administrative rather than strategic or meaningful execution. Organizations that do not have marketing technology systems with tracking and measurement tools to give visibility into the entire planning, budget, and execution process will find themselves slow-footed to respond to changing market needs.

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Marketing Operational Maturity on The Rise

The fact that 75 percent of global marketing organizations plan to increase operational efficiency investments is timely and critical for success, considering that most companies have not achieved marketing operational maturity. 

A quarter of respondents give their marketing efficiency a grade F stating an over-dependence on spreadsheets, poor collaboration and workflow tools, and difficulty accessing and sharing content, budget, or project status. Just 10 percent of respondents gave their marketing efficiency a grade A where they have easy integration with CRM and ERP functions, enjoy real-time visibility and control of budgets, people, and marketing assets.

Marketing Operational Maturity frameworks are available to help marketing organizations determine their marketing operations’ current situation, how gaps can be closed, and how marketing organizations can achieve digital, automated, and integrated platforms for marketing ops. 

Hybrid Office/Home Working is Here to Stay

Hybrid work from home will prevail in 2021, with 65 percent reporting that they want to continue working from home and meeting in the office for workshops/team meetings because face-to-face collaboration is essential. No one said they want to return to the office full-time.

There are a few implications for marketing leaders. First, they need speed, agility, and collaboration, even though the marketing team is distributed remotely. Rather than spend hours or days on conference calls assigning new tasks to far-flung team members, marketeers need to streamline project management across multiple geographies, stakeholders, and agencies via a single point of information and direction. Marketing operations must work in a more digital way to keep things running. 

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Furthermore, with many target customers having more time to consume marketing content at home, they are getting fatigued by all the marketing messages they see online. This means marketers must deliver engaging and relevant content.

Final Thought

Marketing operational efficiency can mean the difference between success and failure. As we move into a challenging 2021, I’m convinced that organizations with the right marketing operations systems will ultimately help their businesses weather the storm and come out stronger on the other end.

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