5 Core Marketing Operations Processes to Master
In last month’s blog post, we covered the final elements of an organizational structure for a center of excellence marketing team. Next stop in our Revenue Marketing journey is to address the fundamental marketing operations processes we need to run a demand generation function efficiently and effectively.
If you are lucky enough to have a marketing operations function at your organization, then you know that an important part of their job is in defining, documenting and refining the core processes that keep the machinery of marketing running well. Let’s narrow the discussion to the top five processes, and cover each of the five in more detail in subsequent posts.
5 Marketing Operations Processes to Rule Them All
Why do we even need marketing process? A process defines a series of actions taken so that we can achieve a particular end. It helps ensure, but not guarantee an outcome that meets our quality goals. With that in mind, here are my top five processes that a marketing center of excellence requires:
- Lead management
- Reporting and analytics
- Data management
- Campaign development
- Content development
Yes there are many others, and if you feel one of these five should be ousted in favor of something else, please share what that is, and why in the comments below.
1. Lead Management Process
The lead management process outlines the steps for tracking and reporting on leads as they are created and move through a funnel, becoming qualified or disqualified, and eventually passing through any lead development representatives to sales or channel partners.
A typical lead management process includes the following components:
- Definition of a sales ready lead
- Definition of the various lead statuses in the CRM defined funnel
- Design of the lead processing, routing, and related notifications
- Design of the lead scoring algorithm
- Development and agreement to a service level agreement between sales and marketing
- Establishment of funnel metrics
(To learn the Proven Success Formula for Lead Management, download here.)
2. Reporting and Analytics Process
The reporting and analytics process defines who will report on what, when, and for whom. Where will they get the data, and how will the reports be made available? Before you rocket your eyebrows to the ceiling and slam me for stating the obvious consider that the resources for doing reporting in mid-sized organizations are usually limited, and so often the function is decentralized. I.e., many marketing field offices report on their piece only. And without some defined process, templates, definitions, rules, and hand-holding your ability to roll up the reports will be either laborious or impossible.
Reporting and analytics process components:
- Data sources: defined for all the different data or activity types
- Report frequency: report timing based on the decision making needs related to that data
- Owner assignment: Identifying authors and the folks who run the reports
- Standards: Report presentation norms for different types of reports
- Media: to be used for delivering and presenting reports (CRM, MAP, Excel, BI, PPT, etc.)
- Distribution: How to subscribe, unsubscribe, access reports
- Modifications: Who to call to get new or modified reports
- Archival: Where all past reports be housed
3. Data Management Process
No this is not solely the job of IT or sales operations. It absolutely includes marketing as both a customer of the data, and a provider of much new data. The best way to corrupt a perfectly fine CRM database is let an untrained person in marketing, with no process, do a 100K contact data import into their marketing automation platform and have it sync over to the CRM. From a marketing perspective here are some of the basic components:
- List import process and designated, trained, importers
- Rules for all forms (required fields)
- Normalization guidelines for lists and form data
- Governance — defined authorization for what marketing can and cannot do
4. Campaign Development Process
I.e. they are multichannel, have lots of touch points, offers, landing pages, ad copy, graphics, emails, etc. To coordinate this and launch flawless campaigns you need a defined campaign development process that outlines the roles and expectations for every player involved. Your campaign development process, however simple, will probably contain these stages and definitions for how the campaign transitions from one stage to the next:
5. Content Development Process
Content operations is responsible for the optimization of all things content including strategy, ideation, storage, curation and measurement housed in a central location and supported by a content operations platform such as Kapost. A core value of content operations is the streamlining of content development and production. The content development process is likely to have components such as:
- Content calendar: location, owners, updates, communications, and alignment to campaign calendar
- Subject Matter Experts (SME) identification, documenting their expertise, preferred medium and availability
- Content architecture: lists and management of all the things that have to be developed in addition to the core content in order to promote it such as email, landing page, and blog copy; graphics, ad copy, display ads, etc.
- Requirements for content engagement tracking and reporting
So those are my top five Revenue Marketing processes. Would you prioritize something else higher than one of these? Are you attending to all of them today? If you are missing one or more of these, here is the priority order I would recommend for getting basic coverage in all of these areas:
- Tackle lead management first. It doesn’t have to be perfect, but if you don’t have some process here how can you track marketing influence on revenues? If you cannot show marketing impact on the bottom line yet, nothing else is going to matter.
- Tackle data management as soon as you can. Once you start the reporting you will see all the holes in your existing processes, and the quality of the data. With poor data all your campaigns and content will be for naught. This is not a one time effort, it is a discipline. Put the processes in place to keep the data clean and monitor and report on data quality regularly.
- Reporting and analytics. Don’t expect what you don’t inspect, right? Put in place the basic reporting to help your marketing managers make better decisions and spend your program budget wisely. Do not start with the marketing vanity reports.
- Get going on a simple content development process. New, great content takes longer to develop than most folks realize. Start the content calendar immediately so you can line up the resources and get specific content development into their quarterly goals!
- Treat campaigns just like you would product development. Create a product development lifecycle for campaigns, train some project managers specifically for doing multi-channel campaign project management. If you are at a larger firm, get a traffic manager to help with all the content – don’t burden the campaign project managers with it. If you want flawless campaigns, train up a core team in the campaign development process, and direct all campaign work to them.
In the next post on our Revenue Marketing journey we will discuss the lead management process in more detail, why the single funnel view is wrong and under-reports the true influence of marketing on revenue. As always, I welcome your insights in the comments section below or email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Kevin Joyce is VP of strategy services for The Pedowitz Group. He's a marketing executive with 34 years of experience in high tech, in positions in engineering, marketing, and sales. In the past 16 years Mr. Joyce has worked with many companies on their revenue marketing and demand generation strategies. With a unique combination of marketing skills and sales experience he helps bridge the gap between sales and marketing.
Mr. Joyce has successfully launched numerous products and services as a Director of Product Marketing at Sequent, as a Director of Sales at IBM, as Vice President of Marketing at Unicru, and as CEO at Rubicon Marketing Group. He has been VP of Marketing Strategy with the Pedowitz Group for more than six years. He holds a BS in Engineering from the University of Limerick, Ireland and a MBA from the University of Portland. Connect with Kevin on LinkedIn or email him at email@example.com. Download TPG’s new white paper: "TPG ONE: A New Approach to the Customer Journey."