5 Tips for a Great Introduction to Marketing Operations
By Jodie Byass
Introducing a marketing operations (or marketing resource management, aka 'MRM') system to your organisation takes a bit of planning. This is because there are usually many stakeholders, both from within and outside marketing, that will need to use your chosen tool if your organisation is to get the full benefits.
Some of these stakeholders will use it all the time. Others will only use it occasionally. But to get the full range of benefits of any marketing software, it’s important that it is universally adopted – at least by your marketing team and anyone who signs off on your marketing activity.
To ensure strong adoption, your users need to understand why your organisation is implementing your chosen technology, as well as how to use it.
So what are the essential factors that are crucial for a great introduction to marketing operations or marketing resource management systems?
1. Quantify the problems and set measurable objectives
If you’re going to ask your entire team to use a new tool, they need to understand why they’re doing it, as mentioned. To answer that question, your marketing organisation needs to clearly define the problems that led you to consider the new technology.
It’s easy to nominate things like ‘The wrong campaign went to market’ or ‘It takes ages to get legal approval’ or ‘I just spent weeks trawling through everyone’s email inboxes to complete an audit’.
But it’s crucial to quantify these claims so that you have some starting benchmarks against which you can set objectives, show improvement and measure success – even if they’re estimates. For example, if you know it took about 3 weeks to get legal sign-off for your past 3 campaigns partly because they included out-of-date disclaimers, you can set an objective to reduce campaign lead times, a target of improving that legal turnaround time to 2 weeks and look for ways to eliminate the factors that cause those delays. You might look to automate assigning disclaimers within your marketing operations platform, for example.
Once you’ve done this, you can clearly explain to all related stakeholders how introducing the system to your business will be beneficial.
2. Set it up for success
It’s not hard to throw a few campaigns into a marketing operations platform, do some amendments in the tool and get sign-off. But unless you’ve documented, streamlined and standardised your marketing process, it’s not going to do you much good.
A crap process is a crap process, whether it’s completed in your platform or not. In fact, often an software implementation will simply bring to light the process issues your organisation is experiencing.
If one approver holds up a lot of activity because they’re too busy to approve things in a timely fashion, simply sending approvals to that person in an marketing operations platform won’t remove the bottleneck. On the other hand, establishing a tiered approval matrix that means that person is only approving exactly what they need to approve, and nothing else, will go a long way towards solving that particular problem and assigning the right level of responsibility throughout the organisation.
3. Mandate use
There’s no question that if the marketing lead team is happy to give you verbal sign-off to launch a campaign, it’s going to be faster than going through a process in your platform, no matter how intuitive and easy-to-use it is. But what happens if something goes wrong? How do you know where it went wrong? And how do you avoid that problem happening again?
System use should be mandated from the top of your marketing organisation, including capturing all approvals, among other things, or its value as a risk management and customer experience management tool will be affected.
Some marketing team approvers simply won’t approve a campaign until it’s in their tool. Other marketing teams take a more mechanical approach: they use their platform to generate the unique campaign identifier or job number that enables users to commission any work from marketing.
Whatever your approach, support from your executive team is important for widespread adoption.
4. Train, train, train
With any martech tool, a sufficient budget needs to be allocated for training. And because of the high turnover in marketing teams in general, that training may need to be repeated at regular intervals.
That doesn’t mean going back to your vendor every time. If you train up super-users, or champions, from among your best and most willing users, you can enlist their help to train others – particularly ‘light’ users such as approvers or stakeholders that only make occasional requests of marketing.
5. Celebrate your wins
Circling back to point No.1, if you’ve defined your problems, set benchmarks and established objectives for what you want to achieve from your marketing operations or marketing resource management implementation, make sure you measure the outcomes against these.
And importantly – don’t forget to communicate them to your team. Everyone should know why you need a tool, how to use it, and the benefits it generates.
Don’t forget to acknowledge the short-term wins, which could be as simple as increasing compliance, reducing your error rate or decreasing approval times.
Your platform should be able to generate this and other data to help keep you on track and ensure yours is a high-performing marketing organisation.
As with any martech implementation, it’s important to set realistic expectations going in. But marketing operations technology can deliver a wide range of measurable improvements in the first six months alone. Just ensure your team invests the planning up-front to make your introduction a smooth one, and you’ll ensure your marketing organisation gets maximum benefits.