Take a minute to think about this thorny marketing operations issue: how much of your team’s marketing activity is really aligned with your strategic goals?
For one of Simple’s clients, the answer had been 20 per cent. That’s right: 80 per cent of their marketing activity was off-brief, misaligned or fell wide of the target in some way.
That’s a lot of re-writing of briefs and re-creating of material; it’s a lot of wasted or misdirected time and effort; and it’s a lot of work that probably never saw the light of day.
It probably also amounted to a whole lot of frustrated employees.
1. Ensure my team is always on-brief
The need to ensure all activity is aligned to a brand’s corporate objectives, to maximise the impact of every marketing dollar, and minimise wastage, is one of the top reasons marketers decide they need a marketing operations, or marketing resource management, platform. (At Simple, we refer to it as marketing performance management – but more on that later…)
There are real costs associated with failing to get everyone on the same page when it comes to strategic objectives.
If 30 per cent of marketing costs are invested in developing the creative concept – a typical proportion, according to Accenture – that means at least 25 per cent of the marketer’s budget in the above example was wasted.
That’s before you start counting production and media spend.
The degree of difficulty multiplies when marketers operate in multiple markets, in satellite offices, and internationally.
It’s easy to see, from that, why marketing operations – the management of people, processes and technology in marketing — is a growing area of interest, employment and investment for brand owners, and why it has spawned technology platforms aimed at helping marketers minimise the complexity of their working environment and get campaigns to market efficiently.
2. Get on top of approvals
Another of Simple’s marketing clients had a close call when a controversial marketing campaign that had somehow slipped through the usual approval processes almost made it to market.
A key aim of implementing our MPM system was to ensure it couldn’t happen again.
Aside from the social outcry and negative press a campaign gone wrong can generate, there may be steep fines to pay if your material falls foul of regulators.
Tightening up the marketing approvals process, guaranteeing legal compliance, and getting visibility over all their marketing activity is another key reason many marketers implement MRM or MPM systems – and one of the most common reasons they come to Simple.
It’s difficult for CMOs to get a picture of all the activity they have in market, particularly at large corporations, where there are large numbers in play at a given time.
There’s also a pressing need to ensure processes are in place that can convey mandatories – such as strategic objectives – to newcomers.
Turnover among marketing staff can be fairly high in big departments, and properly inducting new team members before they start working on campaigns can easily be overlooked in the rush to get work out.
If your MPM system even helps your team write better briefs (and as we all know, when the brief is right, the work is more likely to be on target) – you’re half-way there.
And once the creative development has taken place and proposed work has been uploaded, the right approvers – including legal and compliance – are invited to approve or send the work back with revisions.
That way the CMO can always tell what progress has been made on a given project.
No more verbal sign-offs in hallways, post-it notes stuck to a print-out and left on someone’s desk, confusing meetings or phone hook-ups with unclear outcomes, convoluted email trails or voice mails that go astray.
MPM systems also create an audit path so that if a campaign goes off-track, you can see exactly who approved it, or where it all went off the rails.
3. Never run out of budget again
Imagine never having to tighten your belt because your finance guy told you you’re tracking over-budget.
And wouldn’t it be great to get rid of that spreadsheet you probably use to track your spend at the day-to-day operational level.
Imagine if you could dynamically monitor whether your campaigns are on budget as your team works through the process of getting a project to market.
Now imagine being able to see what you’ve spent by channel, by campaign type, by region – all the key metrics that are important to your business.
This is another key reason CMOs sign up for an MPM platform.
4. Get the most out of my creative assets
Having all your brand’s intellectual property at your fingertips, in your own digital asset management library, for your team to use or adapt as required would be nice, wouldn’t it?
No more expensive requests to agencies to access your own material, and no time wasted waiting for them to respond.
Now imagine if you had access to all the campaign assets released internationally for your brand, and your team could search for the type of material you’re after: brand, acquisition, retention, even point of sale collateral.
Global alignment suddenly becomes much easier.
And so does maximising your investment in creating awesome marketing materials by getting the best use out of them.
5. Measure team productivity and performance, and improve it
Most marketing teams track at least some metrics relating to how their campaigns are performing in market.
But very few measure the efficiency of their internal processes and teams.
With such a high proportion of marketing costs incurred in the creative development stage, just eliminating half of the wasted time and work that can occur can deliver big benefits – a cost saving of between 10 and 25 per cent is not uncommon.
When your MPM platform gives you a picture of where the recurring internal bottlenecks are, and helps you streamline your processes to manage or avoid these, you can increase your speed to market while reducing costs.
You can also see how well your team members are performing.
And when campaign results are included, you can finally develop a full picture of where you should be investing your resources in terms of people, marketing activity and channels to market.
This is marketing resource management – reinvented, and it’s the best way to ensure you’re running an efficient, high-performance marketing team.