- Companies are having to make quick shifts in programs, processes, and systems due to the pandemic
- Marketing operations professionals have a unique skill set to streamline processes, enable agility, and mine insightful data that are critical to making fast decisions
- This pandemic is forcing a digital transformation that marketing operations is equipped to direct
Whether you’re reading Steve King’s The Stand, watching the Walking Dead or listening to Blue Oyster Cult’s “Don’t Fear the Reaper,” it’s likely we all have one thing in common: We all see ourselves as the hero of the story — the one to overcome hardships and lead others through an impossible situation to a better way of living.
In today’s current events, marketing operations is well positioned to be that protagonist. Here are five ways your marketing operations team can steer your marketing function through these troubled times and establish your organization as the model for others to follow:
- One: Re-engineer your marketing processes for an agile, distributed work environment. Let’s face it, we don’t have the time for long, drawn-out processes that take 18 months to deliver. We have to act fast, or we won’t survive. Organizations have to assess the situation, make a decision, act on that decision, and manage the change with empathy. Many organizations are turning to the tried-and-true agile methodology used in software development to test and iterate on deliverables faster, with more alignment and with better results. Marketing operations professionals have the knowledge and skill set necessary to coach marketers on how and where to execute quickly in an agile environment.
- Two: Orchestrate the replanning process. Acting quickly does not mean you throw planning out the window.In fact, acting quickly on the right activities requires diligent and thoughtful planning. Now’s the time for your company to evaluate existing business objectives and target markets and determine where to shift gears. Marketing operations has the analytical know-how to assess markets, performance, and predictive models; knowledge about data structures and workflows; and the ability to rearrange project plans and resources. With this knowledge and access, marketing operations can quickly get the right information in front of the right people within the organization and coordinate transformation across the organization in an aligned fashion.
- Three: Simplify the leading indicators used to understand the state of the business. Don’t assume performance indicators you’ve always relied on to determine growth are going to be quick enough to capture the disruption. Also,don’t assume your predictive models are still accurate given the environment has changed. Double click into the data you have available, connect the dots to your market intelligence, and be sure you’re looking for what your customers are doing and feeling. Marketing operations is likely the team that has access to the marketing data points, and now is the time that the company is depending on you to assess the data, share the insights, and recommend actions.
- Four: Use data to inform your audience and persona maps. Sure, you have persona maps, but are they still valid in today’s environment? Your organization is going to have to reevaluate target audiences depending on economic indicators, meaning the reliance on your marketing contact and account data is more important now than ever before. With most of the population working from home, you’ll have to prioritize first-party intent data to understand what your customers and prospects are doing. Data management, discipline, and governance are critical and something marketers are looking to marketing operations professionals to deliver.
- Five: Assess where you can “trim the fat” and where you need to double down on investments for reemergence. Whether your company makes masks and gowns for the healthcare industry or provides cruise ships with fruits and vegetables, you’re going to see a slow-down somewhere — simply because EVERYONE’S supply chains have been impacted by this pandemic. Marketing operations has visibility to budgets and access to standardized technologies that no one else has within the organization. Now’s your time to assess where you can save, what you need to re-direct, and what you can’t change. You can start by assessing your technology. Is there technology that is sitting idle and has not been fully adopted yet? Now’s the time to shift resources to the places that need it most. Is there technology that can help you redeploy resources and processes in an agile environment to the newly defined target audiences? Plan to ramp those up. Build a roadmap of what you can drop and what you need to maintain and acquire to be ready for the post-pandemic emergence. Marketing operations has the knowledge and technical skill set to lead the digital transformation that is happening right before our eyes — and the company is depending on those skills to survive.
Now is the time for marketing operations professionals to shine. Our organizations are depending on us.
If you need help on how to get started, or if you just need a confidence boost to take the bull by the horns and step into that leadership position, the Forrester SiriusDecisions Marketing Operations service analysts are here to help. We have deep domain subject matter expertise in any of the five steps above.
Contact your account manager so that we can make you the hero of this story!