Summit Europe 2016 Highlights: Designing Global and Regional Marketing Operations
- High-performing B2B orgs depend on their marketing operations functions to drive growth by creating efficiency across marketing
- Marketing ops works best when it spearheads alignment across the organization, acting as the CMO’s right hand
- Many orgs aren’t sure where region-based ops teams fit in, resulting in resource and competency gaps that compromise effectiveness
High-performing B2B organizations depend on their marketing operations functions to drive growth by creating efficiency and effectiveness across marketing. But for large organizations, the interplay between global and regional marketing operations responsibilities is inherently complex, and often ill-defined. As SiriusDecisions analyst Ross Graber advised in his session today at Summit Europe 2016 in London, “Neither global nor regional teams can successfully do it alone. Success depends on apportioning responsibilities and defining points of interlock.”
Ross began by providing the audience with an overview of the scope of B2B marketing operations. “Marketing operations activates marketing strategy,” he explained. “This function applies insights to drive decisionmaking, establishes the technology roadmap and creates plans for growth.” He emphasized the critical role this function plays in facilitating interlock, noting that “Marketing operations works best when it spearheads alignment across the organization, ideally acting as the CMO’s right hand.”
So, where do region-based operations teams fit in? As it turns out, many organizations aren’t sure, and fail to value this team – considering it a low-impact service role – which results in resource and competency gaps that can compromise effectiveness. Although global and regional operations teams are equally important, they have different priorities and challenges. “Best-in-class B2B organizations draw clear lines of responsibility between regional and global teams while maximizing interlock efforts,” Ross told the Summit audience. “Global operations’ need for consistency must be balanced against regional needs of local markets.” He then detailed each team’s particular responsibilities within each of four core marketing operations components:
- Accountability: Global operations drives the organizational reporting framework, while regional operations drives in-region analysis and understanding. For example, global focuses on supporting the CMO and global production, and regional focuses on supporting local leaders and regional production. The teams share tasks such as goal setting and analysis and interpretation. A key to success in this component is a coordinated approach to socialization and local support.
- Infrastructure: Rely on regional operations teams for local expertise to drive strategic decisionmaking. While global oversees the technology roadmap, data policy and standards governance, regional manages local policy, legislative insight, cultural sensitivity and tech deployment. The teams share responsibility for tasks such as data stewardship and administration. Success in this component can be attributed in part to regional teams that formally gather, prioritize and represent local feedback.
- Enablement: Relevant enablement work concentrates on big process and project initiatives identified and governed by global marketing operations. For example, global is responsible for managing the initiatives it identifies and developing training, while regional takes care of local process governance and process troubleshooting. Both teams work on refining scope and delivering training. Successful global teams identify and reconcile regional variations early on, and then sell regional teams on the merit of the initiative.
- Planning: Regional operations must serve as the “voice on the ground” in all planning forums, providing global with insight needed for in-region success. While global is in charge of the budget and planning process frameworks, regional manages the in-region budget and in-market customization. Shared across teams are plan communications and socialization, education and support. A key to success in this component is a global framework that reflects balance of worldwide support with in-region priority.
In closing, Ross cited four characteristics shared by leading marketing operations organizations: strategic focus, formalized interlock, bi-directional communications and reasonable labor division. “Use existing process models to precisely define and reach agreement on responsibilities owned and shared by global and regional functions,” he advocated. “Marketing leaders should ensure a balance of organizational resources to provide global and regional capability, emphasizing the strategic nature of marketing operations.”