The 3 Paths to Marketing Operations Maturity


Strategy, collaboration, innovation, creation. These are some of the reasons senior marketers we spoke to went into marketing in the first place. Many told us that they were out to change the world – to over-achieve, to engineer fantastic programs and make an indelible stamp on the profession.

When we then asked how their careers and ambitions had unfolded, a perspective emerged, especially from those in charge of global marketing organizations. They expressed a grudging realization that the mechanics of marketing, the operations, is a beast that eats time, and must constantly be fed, and refuses to scale. That this beast consumes the precious time needed for strategy, collaboration, innovation, creation. Time, of course, is a scarce resource which is not replenishable.

We’ve found what it takes to tame the beast, shrink its appetite for time, and regain that human element. It’s called Marketing Operational Maturity.

Operational maturity fuels marketing agility

This concept of Marketing Operations Maturity holds great value, because it is the underpinning of marketing agility. Enterprise marketing ops reaches maturity when it is able to fully leverage and orchestrate technology to maximize its contribution to marketing. The greater the maturity, the greater the agility of marketing, and agility is perhaps the best asset to have in uncertain times (like now).

We’ve found that there are three distinct stages of ops maturity, which the return to the organization increasing stage by stage. Here’s a glimpse of what fully mature operations looks like:

  • Stage 3: Fully-Integrated marketing stacks that deliver real-time visibility and control of marketing functions as well as integration with functions outside of marketing (SFDC, Oracle, SAP, etc.)

Most global marketers we know report that they are at either stage 1 or 2:

  • Stage 1: Numerous individual stand-alone processes with few integrations and minimal workflow integration.
  • Stage 2: Individual processes clustered into multiple modules with some integrated functions, basic financial integration, and management dashboards.

Each stage has a direct operational impact and, as operations mature, this leads to an indirect tactical impact and finally to strategic impact. Lest this seem overly academic, here are some of the results that clients of ours have achieved up to:

  • 50% reduction of the cycle times of standardized jobs
  • 60% reduction in the number of project cancellations
  • 30% decrease in agency iterations
  • 45% reduction in approval lead times
  • 30% reduction in time spent on producing materials
  • 13% increased productivity / capacity
  • 5 % increase in profit margin due to better allocation of marketing resources

How to get there from here – 3 paths

Our research, conversations, and experiences show 3 distinct paths to operational maturity. Each path is distinguished by each company’s initial and primary pain.

Budget / Performance Measurement

Budget optimization is the goal, but the organization is flummoxed by the overwhelming complexity, long delivery times, and errors inherent to the current system. Spreadsheet after spreadsheet means wasted time and frustration. These organization are on the hunt for:

  • Real-time calculation of ROI from credible metrics (and, one source of the truth)
  • Rapid and reliable reporting of spend, impact, and ROI globally, regionally, and locally

Workflow Effectiveness

Increasingly, marketing requires relief from time-consuming, error-prone, mind-numbing repetitive tasks to bring the human element back into marketing. For many, this is aspirational, as outdated and generic workflows miss the linkage between process flow and marketing output.

Global Asset Distribution

Many times there is a disconnect between campaign management, content development and asset distribution, and many times this is caused by the limitations of a DAM situated in a silo. The organization needs to step-up and meet the need for clarity and control of the global distribution of tested, effective and brand-compliant marketing assets. They are looking for:

  • Visibility and management of asset development and delivery in each market in real time.

Where is your organization?

As the ancient poet Horace said over 2021 years ago – Carpe Diem (seize the day). There’s no time like today to get your organization on firmly the path to increased and more effective strategy, collaboration, innovation, creation, and agility.

We’ve developed three tools that may help you drive this digital change in 2021. Each is yours for the asking.

1. Find out more about marketing operations maturity, and the recommended way to move from stage to stage. It’s all in our recent whitepaper The Next Evolution in Enterprise Marketing Operations,

2. Please make use of our Marketing Maturity Map, an online interactive tool to help marketing ops teams agree on the maturity level of their organization, where they want to go, and the priorities for getting there.

Use the Marketing Maturity Map to:

  • Assess the importance to you of each of the seven dimensions of marketing operations maturity and your current performance
  • Identify where your operations migration should begin
  • Learn about the three paths to operations maturity
  • Share and compare assessments with team members to create a consensus.

Plus, if you’re a multinational marketer with significant operational issues BrandMaker would like to offer you some guidance on digital transformation.

3. Access our new report: BrandMaker’s 3 Priorities for Global Marketers in 2021 to understand more about the challenges and opportunities for providing high-quality customers experiences, streamlining low-value, labor-intensive work, and embracing agility to meet the realities of marketing post-pandemic.

And please tune in next time when our blog post will take a deep dive into the specific operational, tactical, and strategic benefits of Marketing Operations Maturity.

Dunja Riehemann By Dunja Riehemann

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