As the Director of Marketing Operations, staying on top of what’s happening in the industry is simply part of the job. While everyone else can stay focused on their smaller slice of responsibilities, you have to be knowledgeable about the different factors what make up the whole and how they all relate.
That’s a lot to balance. But, your ability to help all the other teams and individuals in your marketing department stay connected and optimize their work to ensure you all receive the best results can pay off big.
To help you focus on execution so you can achieve those big results, we’ve collected some of the most important trends in marketing operations you can put to use at your organization.
- Shift to getting more out of your technology, instead of just getting more tech products.
Marketing technology is exciting. You can understand how so many of the different departments in your marketing organization clamor for new products that look and sound great. But if those products don’t integrate well (or no one’s yet done the work of figuring out how to integrate them), then they’re making your team more ingrained in their silos.
Part of your job is making sure everything going on in your marketing organization is connected and working to support the other parts of the whole. Your technology products should be helping you achieve that, not detracting from that goal.
Do an analysis of the technology your marketing teams are using now. Determine if there’s significant overlap in the features different tools offer. Check to see which martech platforms are compatible with your other marketing products.
You may find that you can get rid of some martech products altogether (getting some of your budget back in the process). Or, you may find that there are functionalities you need that aren’t being delivered and you need to purchase new technology. And you’re very likely to find that you can get much more out of the technology you have if you start making sure that everything that can be integrated is.
- Marketing reporting is evolving away from spreadsheets.
For the rare few in the world that really love their spreadsheets, this may be a disappointing turn of events. For most marketers though, it feels like a huge step up.
You can now trade in spreadsheets for comprehensive marketing dashboards that can be customized to provide the particular information each team member needs. Marketing dashboards provide a visual display of marketing data that makes it easier to turn numbers into meaningful insights. And a powerful enough marketing dashboard tool can help you make connections between all the different types of marketing data you have.
Marketing performance management software goes beyond just providing intuitive dashboards into allowing you to see how the results of your individual marketing activities relate back to your goals, your larger marketing plan, and your revenue. It enables you to easily connect the dots to finally see the full customer journey so you know which marketing activities and CTAs consistently lead prospects to take the next step.
Spreadsheets don’t do any of that. Better reporting will help everyone in your marketing department do their jobs and make it easier for you to demonstrate the department’s value to the c-suite. So there’s no benefit to hanging onto your spreadsheets as we move toward 2017 and beyond.
- Push for greater integration with other departments.
You’re all working toward the same ultimate goals. There’s simply no reason for sales to stay away from marketing, or marketing not to be in regular contact with customer support. When all the different customer-facing departments start working together and sharing relevant data, everyone benefits.
Customers get a more consistent brand experience across all departments and channels. All departments gain a better understanding of customers and increase their chances of delivering the right message based on who each prospect is and where they are in the buyer’s journey. And that all adds up to more sales and revenue. Everyone wins.
- Shift to ongoing marketing plan optimization.
If you currently create a marketing plan once a year and then don’t bother revisiting it until the next year, you’re missing opportunities for continuous improvement. Real-time marketing analytics make it possible to see what’s working and what isn’t paying off day by day, so you can make changes for the better as you go.
Ongoing data-driven marketing planning has helped marketing organizations get up to 27% of their budget back by showing them where to cut expenses that aren’t paying off so they can funnel that money toward the marketing campaigns that are working.
- Marketing delivery that’s customized to context.
Different customers have different priorities, and the same customer will benefit from different information at various points in the decision-making process. You can’t send out one marketing message to everyone and hope for the best. You need the means to tailor the information you’re providing based on what you know about the prospect.
Marketing technology now makes it possible to focus in on which marketing activities work best for different personas and business types. Journey mapping allows you to stay on top of where a prospect is in their buyer’s journey. When you combine all the data you have on your prospects, you end up with a much clearer picture of which marketing messages to deliver at which moments to get the results you want.
- Address challenges to marketing enablement.
Some of the innovations that come with new marketing trends and technology are exciting, but they usually mean new training and education for already busy marketers. Making sure your marketing organization stays on top of implementing the marketing trends of the day matters, but making sure your employees don’t get left behind is equally important.
You need to be active in ensuring that your current staff gets the training and education they need to evolve along with the rest of the department, and stay aware of any gaps in knowledge that should be filled with new hires. As marketing changes, new positions will inevitably need to be created and old positions will start to require new skill sets.
Good marketing today involves plenty of technology and data, but it’s still more about people than anything else. Make sure you have the right tools, the right plan to use your tools well, and a staff that’s willing and able to put all the other resources you have to good use.Icon made by Freepik from www.flaticon.com is licensed under CC BY 3.0