Adding Agility To Your Marketing Operations

by David Voorn
30 May 2013

Whatever your role is in marketing, you must have noticed the ever increasing complexity of running campaigns. 

Keeping up with the new world of consumers who view, read and curate content across multiple devices and multiple mediums is becoming more and more challenging. When asked about their top strategic goal* over 31% of marketers said it was “improving their operations” - ahead of the 30% who mentioned “having relevant conversations with the customer”. With, nearly 25% recognising the need for better measurement of their marketing activity. *

If you dig deeper into this insight, it makes a lot of sense: by being more efficient in the way you operate as a marketing driven organisation, you need to respond in a real-time manner to grasp those increasingly rare moments where consumers interact with your business, brand and product in a bid to solve a particular problem.

The proliferation of channels and explosion in data is making every marketer’s job harder and subsequently business hours have gotten longer and often stretch into evenings and weekends. So anything that helps to manage complexity, reduce workload and increase efficiency has to be good news. That is where a marketing resource automation solution comes into the mix.

What is marketing resource automation?

Within the marketing process itself, there is a critical need to ensure correct protocols are being followed, that assets are exploited as efficiently as possible, and that management can get an insight at any moment into the state of play of everything marketing is doing.Marketing resource automation (MRA) provides an automation suite which combines process management - to ensure the right creative assets have been used or that approvals have been granted - with metrics that show how budget has been deployed and what exposure has been created.

Problems with the status quo

Some of the most common complaints voiced by marketing teams facing a rapidly evolving landscape are:

  • Campaign planning is time-consuming and inefficient Without adequate systems to keep planning on track, marketing initiatives take too long to initiate and involve too many people. That means campaign turnaround and cycle time takes far too long, which threatens a timely launch. And with lean marketing operations teams stretched thin, there’s little available bandwidth to get ahead of the next crisis.
  • Compliance is difficult to manage Many organizations still rely on the same systems that have been in place for decades: cumbersome paper-based manual reviews; meetings that lack an audit trail; or email approval threads that rely on a sender to track individual comments and responses. As materials sit in in-boxes, it’s a recipe for bottlenecks when it comes time to review campaign creative. When comments are finally received, last-minute re-working is often needed since input wasn’t given at the right time or accuracy was checked late in the process.
  • No standardized processes to manage job requests - the lack of a consistent or formal process for managing marketing job requests, especially across campaigns and regions, can cause confusion and misaligned expectations. Pressed for time and stressed by due dates, many marketers become reactive order-takers and push more work to agencies without having time to prioritize based on whether the job request maps to corporate objectives.

Key elements of marketing resource automation

Today’s organizations tend to compartmentalize their marketing challenges. While operations are tending to their own task list, marketing managers are in a separate corner, struggling to craft a unified message. Meanwhile, the counterproductive battle between online and traditional channels further saps the effectiveness of your overall marketing efforts. Sound familiar? Each silo ends up creating its own distinct solution to what should be shared problems. Not surprisingly, the result is less than ideal efficiencies, a sluggish inability to adapt to changes in the marketing landscape and higher costs all around.

You can’t innovative if you’re still manual

Deploying an MRA solution allows marketing to automate all of the processes used within online and offline activities. It ensures that every campaign is properly accounted for, approved and populated with appropriate assets. Marketers can integrate their organisations, get control of budget and spend, eliminate internal silos with streamlined workflows and execute innovative omnichannel campaigns to drive measurable returns on investment.

  • Workflow - Introducing workflow to the marketing department immediately improves project management, with online reviews and approvals that allow working documents to be accessed and amended regardless of format and content type.
  • Account for marketing spends – An MRA provides complete budget accountability from purchase order to invoice, allowing the business to track spend against forecast and identify where burn rate is accelerating or lagging.
  • Streamlined collaboration - Collaboration is enhanced by through better linking of disparate teams involved in the planning, development, execution and measurement of campaigns, both inside the organisation and in external agencies.
  • Tracking and reporting benefits - Continuous feedback is required to achieve optimal performance from marketing investments. Performance Analysis offers a comprehensive set of tools to deliver insight into marketing operations and investments. Performance Analysis includes real-time reporting that allows marketers to see up-to-the-minute information on marketing programs including financials, project status, staff utilization and results. Executive dashboards provide at-a-glance views and reports tracking key performance metrics for a specific user, department or division.

Marketing is used to measuring the inputs it creates - the key metrics deployed by the function are around impacts, opportunities to see, ratings, etc. What it has not historically taken account of are its own inputs - the time spent by individuals on specific tasks by type, expenditure on creation of collateral defined by product, channel, territory, for example. Bringing standard accounting practices used in other professional services to bear on marketing not only aligns the function with its peer groups in an organisation, it releases value that has been locked up in the performance of repetitive, non-value adding tasks.

Do you currently manage, track and account for your marketing activity?

Find out more how Salmat's marketing solutions can help your business and call us on 1300 725 628.

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About the author
David Voorn
Production Manager – Customer Experience

David has over 15 years’ experience in digital media production and management. During this time he has been involved in digital marketing, social media, e-CRM, email marketing, content management, web design and audio production for websites, film, television and emerging media platforms. David lead the transformation and optimisation of NRMA’s digital marketing program consisting of a series of highly targeted digital publications including; Travel, Motoring, Youth, Online retail, Community, Franchise and B2B.

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