The 3 Critical Elements for Effectively Scaling Your Marketing Operations
When organizations we work with feel ready to expand their programs and capabilities, we often see a tremendous amount of planning and investment in the MarTech stack—but not a parallel investment in the people and processes that will utilize the stack. Many view MarTech as a magic bullet, ignoring other critical elements that can make the technology deliver on its promise.
Investing in technologies alone can put strain on an underdeveloped MarkOps team. This can result in decreased efficiency—for lead generation campaigns and in reporting and optimizing those campaigns for better ROI—and underutilization of your technology investments.
Scaling and maturing your MarkOps team requires a holistic approach that aligns the right people, processes, and technologies to the business objectives that originally drove the need to scale. These three elements rely on each other to properly execute their individual functions to achieve their common goal—treating them as wholly separate entities can cause unwanted ripple effects that can leave a MarkOps team no better off, or in a potentially worse situation.
Let’s explore when and how to effectively scale your MarkOps team.
Identify and align your operations strategy with stakeholders
The first step in maturing your MarkOps team is to have an end-to-end understanding of your customer lifecycle to define and ideally anticipate service requirements. We recommend Investing in a Demand Center—it sounds intimidating, but it’s essentially a strategic resource that can cross-functionally work with marketing and sales teams to understand and map the customer journey by funnel stages and KPIs.
An effective method to break down planning for growth and scale is by identifying a list of key priorities for the three elements of properly maturing your MarkOps team.
- People – do we have the bandwidth and know-how to execute the org-wide strategy?
- Process – Are current processes scalable? Can some processes be automated? Do we have insight to triage what works/what doesn’t?
- Technology – Can our current tech stack accomplish our goals, or can we articulate gaps to identify what tools to add? Do we have internal resources to onboard new tools and tie the new tool’s output to original business objectives?
This checklist will serve as the foundation of your scaling process and help to ensure you expand in line with your business priorities and capabilities.
Assess your in-house expertise to align the right people to the right tools
Once your team has mapped the customer journey and related KPIs across the operational, analytical, and strategic levels, the next step is to define what tools and processes will enable you to achieve them. You can then strategically populate your team—through reorganization, upskilling, or new hires—with technologists, administrators, and other requisite technical skillsets to execute on your strategy.
MarTech investments make up 26% of marketing budgets—but marketers utilize only 58% of their marketing technologies’ capabilities due to lack of planning and execution resources.There are several ways to address identified resource gaps. Understanding where the most immediate needs lie within your team will streamline the process of filling these gaps.
Upskilling your existing team is often a more cost effective alternative but does not address the inevitable lag in education and implementation of those new skills. On the other hand, adding headcount can help tackle bottlenecks and delays in execution but at considerable cost and some delay, given necessary recruitment and onboarding processes. If you choose this route, it’s wiser to seek out candidates already familiar with your marketing automation technologies. This will allow new team members to hit the ground running and require a less training.
Outsourcing to managed services is another option, especially as your team sets out to quickly and cost-effectively mature your MarkOps function. Bringing in the proven expertise of a team like Fjuri for a Day One impact can help your organization sprint through critical transformations without the impediment of onboarding new FTEs or a time lag for upskilling existing staff.
For example, one client’s demand generation function had added a revenue marketing discipline while adding product lines and expanding core product offerings. The leadership team saw a need for strong governance to properly transition processes to centralized services and drive desired business outcomes through new global digital marketing programs.
In order to address this structural change and mitigate the resulting increased complexity of marketing programs, Fjuri developed a governance model to streamline their campaign execution process. The proposed solution involved a) a centrally governed audience management system and b) technology that supports automated journey management across products and business segments.
Track results to validate decisions that fulfill your original vision
It’s important to note that there isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach to scaling MarkOps. Scalability is not an exact science; it’s about paying attention to where you currently are, where you want to be, and if the decisions you’ve made for MarkOps will bridge the two.
As you start, you’ll have a process plan that aligns to your initial goals and expectations. But don’t consider those factors to be locked – embrace a “test, learn, and iterate” approach to continuously improve your MarkOps function. If you forego this process, you won’t have clear insight into the ramifications of your decisions, and your results will likely diverge from your original vision.
Proactive communication across your organization is especially important during the maturing process, so that your team receives advanced insights into evolving business requirements and takes steps to address those changes appropriately. During the maturing process, the danger is to lose sight of original ask that lead to the exercise. Continually measuring results against a constant yardstick of your original goals and vision prevents you from wasting valuable resources on mission creep.
The leader of these discussions and decisions should be someone who understands your business’s marketing and broader business objectives and can be proactive in ensuring your MarkOps team has the tools and processes necessary to deliver to meet expectations.
Ultimately, a MarkOps team that is equipped to fully utilize your MarTech stack and sustain your critical business processes is a must-have in today’s environment. Through the strategic use of hiring, continuing education, and managed services, you can ensure that your team is ready for the task.
Above all, don’t forget this is a thoughtful, iterative process, managed by people. The process will flex and scale, lead in unexpected directions and reveal new insights—and you should let it, while still adhering to the controls we discuss above. And of course, if you don’t yet have a plan or want to see if your goals are realistic or achievable, you can contact us to get started.