Train for The Marketing Marathon with Marketing Operations [Mind the Gap Series]

As a modern marketer, you have more on your plate than ever before. Not only are you still responsible for print, television, and web campaigns, but your responsibilities today have expanded to include supporting:

  • Richer experiences. Forrester declared earlier this year that “it’s the end of advertising as we know it.” In this new era, CMOs and marketing leaders must instead move to drive conversational, intelligent relationships with customers (not those annoying TV ads and auto-play online video ads). [i] 
  • Omnichannel delivery. First it was the mobile phone and tablets. Then it was eReaders, smart watches, and digital displays in stores. Today it’s voice-assisted devices and IoT – enabled devices like smart washers/dryers and refrigerators. What’s next? You must prepare to deliver on-brand experiences across these channels, that take advantage of each channel’s unique characteristics.
  • Personalized connections. Forrester Research claims that 78% of US online adults have chosen, recommended, or paid more for a brand that has personalized an experience or service.[ii] That’s because customers today are inundated with messages, and to get their attention, brands must provide personalized, relevant, and contextual experiences.

Think Like a Runner to Close the Brand Experience Gap

Too many brands we speak with try to close the brand experience gap by focusing on delivery. They invest only in marketing technology solutions that deliver experiences across channels. They focus just on the look/feel of personalized experiences. They focus on how to deliver across channels. Don’t get us wrong…that is still incredibly important! But delivery is only half the story.

Focusing just on the delivery of experiences is a bit like a runner showing up to a marathon with all the right gear—the right shoes, shorts, and bib—but having done none of the right training to get there. Much like a marathon runner, marketers need to do a lot of behind-the-scenes work before they begin the race. This is where marketing operations comes in:

  • Planning. Marathon runners don’t just show up to races: they plan months and even years in advance. Similarly, marketing takes adequate planning and scheduling to ensure that we’re delivering the right experiences to the right customers, at the right time.
  • Investing. Marathon running takes investment—mostly a time investment, with many 5 AM wake-up calls. Marketing investments are made of time, people, and money. Marketers need to make sure they have insight into spend so they can make it to race day with enough time, resources, and money left in the bank.
  • Collaborate. Most marathon runners don’t train alone: they are part of running groups or even have running coaches. Marketers similarly have a high degree of collaboration. While a VP or marketing leader may be ultimately responsible for the end result, there’s a whole cast behind the scenes that need to work together and seamlessly collaborate to get experiences out quickly to market.  
  • Manage. During training, there’s a lot for runners to manage, like nutrition and training schedules. Similarly, marketing is a delicate balancing act. Among other things, you must have transparency into where activities are at all times, what content should be used, which content you have the rights to, and who is working on what marketing activity at any given time.
  • Results. At the end of the race, runners get their all-important time. Whether it’s a PR, marathon qualifying time, or a mediocre result, runners use this to influence their future training. They either do more of the same or adjust their training plans. Similarly, marketing professionals must focus on metrics. Did the marketing activity have the desired outcome? And did the collaborative process, scheduling, planning, and content all work the way you expected?

We at Aprimo believe that focusing on marketing operations—the behind-the-scenes work of marketing—is critical to marketing success. To support these goals, we focus exclusively on providing solutions that support marketing budgeting, workflows, asset management, and partner distribution.  

To learn more about marketing operations and how to bridge the gaps in your marketing department, check out our blog series & on-demand webinar!


About the Author

Anjali is a product marketing director at Aprimo, and looks after the strategy, go to market, positioning, and messaging for the Marketing Productivity, Plan and Spend, and Digital Asset Management products. Prior to joining Aprimo, she spent 8 years at Forrester Research where she covered the marketing technology, eCommerce, and digital agency spaces.

Anjali Yakkundi

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