So what is a well-defined marketing process and operating model (including collaboration platform) and why do you need one? To find out, please read on.
Random Acts of Marketing
Before we dive in I am reminded of a post I read recently, 9 Tips to Stomp Random Acts of Marketing & Social Media!, by Pam Moore. It her article, she describes random acts of marketing [RAMs] thusly:
“An attempt to drive revenue, grow market share, increase brand awareness, grow community, or other business benefit that is NOT integrated, can not be easily measured or justified and does not integrate with other marketing and business tactics.”
“We have all seen them. They show up in the conference room, board room and client meetings. They wind up smack dab in the middle of projects. Teams get side tracked by them. We see them eat our time, ROI, budget and free time.” Moreover, she cites a condition that I’ve experienced all to often when marketing teams are driven by a list of RAMs. “They always lead to lost return on investment (ROI). They rarely offer benefit in the form of brand awareness, community growth, relationship nurturing or anything positive. The false sense of accomplishment often felt when crossing a RAM off the list is short lived,” points out Moore. She refers to lists of RAMs as RAMMIES.
Whatever you want to call them, lists of marketing actions or tasks that don’t connect to an integrated plan or that do not follow the correct sequence are not a healthy thing for you the marketing leader or for your organization.
Survival of the Fittest
Without an agreed to marketing process and operating model for your organization, you are exposed to being driven purely tactically, if not randomly as Ms. Moore suggests. This is not a sustainable model for marketing, and especially for you. As a marketing leader, you want success, not survival. Purely tactically driven marketers usually end up struggling to survive. Trust me, I’ve been there and it is not a happy place.
So give yourself a fitness test for marketing leadership success [Clue: if you answer any of the following questions with a negative, this article is probably written for you.]
Marketing Fitness Test [Answer Yes/No]
- Do you follow a scalable marketing process, or one that is built on operational consistency and repeatability?
- Do you and your team operate on the basis of accountability, meaning that you set SMART goals and have role clarity (goals, objectives, KPIs).
- Does your organization employ a market-driven approach to product and/or service strategy and execution, e.g., one that is value- & segmented-aligned, and voice-of-the-customer driven?
- Can you honestly say that your marketing team has achieved a state of efficient execution; that is, cross-functional alignment and maximum velocity & yield, specifically from a demand creation perspective?
If you answered yes to all of the above, you are in a rarified “zone” of marketing proficiency. So don’t feel too badly if you answered no, especially to question #4.
Integrated Marketing Can Also Be Agile
Some executives have suggested to me that an approach to marketing that involves a significant degree of strategy, planning and reporting can be too “heavy” and not “agile” enough for their organizations. After all, they need to “move fast,” particularly around demand creation. My response to them is typically to ask whether they can measure the ROI from their marketing spend. Once I can help an executive focus on ROI, which is not hard for most, I then engage with them on the notion of their top corporate initiatives, and how those are or are not supported by specifically defined objectives for marketing. And importantly, how marketing’s performance will be measured against those objectives.
See where this is going? The conversation is leading the executive down the path of planning! However, once you start this conversation you are strongly advised to be in a position to finish it. So you need to have your marketing planning ducks in a row. And your approach to marketing planning and operations needs to be both integrated and agile at the same time.
A Best-in-Class, Integrated Marketing Process and Operating Model
If you are looking to jumpstart an approach marketing operations, planning and execution, I have two solid resources for you. One is a presentation of mine on slide share that literally lays out a process and operating model for integrated marketing planning and execution that is best-in-class. Consider it to be a cookbook for marketers who want to raise their game, particularly in a medium to large organization.
The second is a resource center I recently came across containing numerous documents and white papers on integrated marketing.
Finally, please feel free to engage with me directly if you feel the need for practical advice and experience on this topic.
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B2B Go-To-Market Readiness Checklist Item #4: A Well-Defined Marketing Process and Operating Model