Fortify Your Marketing Center of Excellence with Process and Technology

Organizations are adopting agility best practices as a way to respond faster to changes in the internal and external environment in productive and cost-effective ways without losing momentum.  An article in Forbes revealed that 70% of the companies that were on the Fortune 1000 list a mere ten years ago have now vanished – unable to adapt to change. The article reinforces the importance of agility. Forrester defines business agility as “the quality that allows an enterprise to embrace market and operational changes as a matter of routine.” For an organization to be agile its infrastructure, that is its processes, systems, and tools, need to be designed for agility.

Organizations in pursuit of agility and excellence create and deploy the concept of a Center of Excellence (CoE). A Center of Excellence provides the necessary leadership to foster best practices, facilitate research, and enhance the skills needed for a focused area to drive business results. A Marketing CoE is characterized by its ability to improve internal business processes, customer-centricity, market leadership, and market innovation.

The Demand Metric and VisionEdge Marketing report, entitled Marketing Performance Benchmarking Study, has explored how well Marketing organizations exemplify or function as a CoE.  Over the course of the 15 years of the study, three performance-based marketing personas have emerged: value creators (those marketers who receive a score of 90 or greater from the C-suite for the ability to prove their value, impact and contribution to the business), sales enablers (who receive an 80-89), and campaign producers (the balance of the scores).  The research has found that Value Creators are almost six times more likely to operate as a CoE as are Campaign Producers (Figure 1).  Almost half of Value Creators exemplify the principles of, or function as, a CoE, whereas less than 20%of Sales Enablers and less than 10% of Campaign Producers do so.

Figure 1: Almost half of Value Creators marketing organizations exemplify the principles of, or function as, a Centers-of-Excellence.

In delving deeper into the study results, we’ve learned that one of the capabilities that separate Best-in-Class marketers from their peers is how they approach performance management.  These marketing organizations take a highly disciplined approach to operations.

There is a link between marketing’s designation as a CoE and the presence of a Marketing Operations (Marketing Ops) function (Figure 2).  Over two-thirds of Value Creators have a marketing operations function, but only half of Sales Enablers do, and less than half of Campaign Producers have implemented this role.

Figure 2: Over two-thirds of Value Creators also have a marketing operations function.

The marketing ops function enables marketing to leverage two key capabilities necessary for a CoE’s success: process and technology. At its most fundamental level, a CoE is working to create world class standards and models that drive and achieve business results, encourage innovation, and leverage proven techniques and methodologies. Typically the processes, systems, tools and skills necessary to link marketing to business outcomes exist within the Marketing Ops function. It is their responsibility to track and report results in order to improve and prove marketing’s value.  In short, Marketing Ops helps run the Marketing function as a fully-accountable business by building the processes and managing the systems.

Technology plays a critical role in enabling Marketing Ops to accomplish its task. In their “Realizing the Promise of Marketing Technology” study ITSMA defined marketing technology as “the software for improving marketing and sales processes to achieve business objectives.” Marketing technology enables marketing to create growth and generate value faster and better.  It allows marketing to master analytics and prioritize and focus on finding, keeping, and growing the value of customers while proving and improving its value.  Marketing technology is an expansive and expanding landscape. It can take on a life of its own.  How do you keep it manageable and navigable? Place Marketing Ops at the helm.

Marketing organizations aspiring to transform into a Center of Excellence to enable business agility need to strengthen their operational capabilities.  This means your Marketing Operations function needs to be more than where you house your technology or run your campaigns, it needs to be hub of your CoE.  Learn more about Marketing Operations: Enabling Marketing Centers Of Excellence and Marketing Technology: The Power Tools for Optimizing Performance and Agility.