What a Marketing Operations Consultant Does for Your Business

A Marketing Operations consultant can spend his or her career designing, implementing and improving marketing performance and business results.

But what exactly do they do? Or what should they do to drive the maximum impact in the least time?

To answer these questions, we gathered lessons and best practices from several Johnny Grow marketing operations consultants.

They provided clear evidence that the biggest results are created from a short list of capabilities.

So, before you consider hiring one of these resources, consider the below advice from a group of seasoned experts.

What is Marketing Ops?

But first some context.

If you google "What is Marketing Operations?" you will probably find that almost every definition advises it is an umbrella term that describes the people, processes, and technology that enable the organization to effectively operate.

That's accurate but so broad it's not really helpful.

To make this operation (also referred to as MarkOps or MOps) wildly successful you have to focus on a small number of capabilities that drive the biggest impact.

For most companies, those capabilities are strategy execution, process optimization and technology automation.

Marketing Operations Capabilities

But any seasoned marketing operations consultant will advise these capabilities are still a bit broad. So, below are the best practices that these professionals regularly use to help clients get the maximum value in the shortest time.

1

Strategy Execution: From Planning to Action

The CMO or executive team will create the strategy. But without relentless execution it's just wishful thinking.

A good strategy will articulate a clear vision. MOps staff then need to engineer the actions to achieve that vision.

That requires a roadmap and continuous measurement.

The roadmap is best delivered with a Go-to-Market Plan. This plan will bring tactics and resources to the actions that deliver forecasted results.

But recognize that the challenge with plans is that they seldom go according to plan. That's why real-time performance measurement is needed. Digital dashboards are the best tool for the job. They put focus on the most important marketing operations KPIs and deliver the right information to the right person at the right time.

Marketing Dashboards

Also recognize that information must advance from being merely interesting to inducing action for dashboards to be effective.

The are six best practices to make dashboard data actionable:

  1. Make the metrics highly visual and interactive in role-based views
  2. Align departmental performance metrics with the most important company outcomes
  3. Display reporting metrics alongside target goals or industry benchmarks for context
  4. Shift from lagging to leading key performance indicators (KPIs)
  5. Allow the data to be interrogated, manipulated and used for predictive analytics, and
  6. Link reporting variances to recommendations such as Next Best Action or a Playbook.
2

Process Optimization

Consultants also help clients optimize business processes. This accelerates cycles, reduces errors, increases efficiencies, improves service levels, reduces costs and supports scale. Highly efficient repeatable processes become your intellectual property.

But just about any marketing consultant will share that most companies need some business process redesign to achieve these benefits.

They will also advise that business processes optimization is a three-step progression. You have to simplify, streamline and automate; in that order.

There are many processes to consider. Things like gathering buyer insights or customer intelligence. From our experience, processes that often offer the biggest upside include lead generation, campaign management, lead management and sales and marketing alignment.

Two of the best methods to simplify and streamline processes are Universal Process Notation (UPN) and Agile Value Stream mapping.

UPN is a good starting point for processes that are not yet simplified. A UPN example is shown below.

Universal Process Notation

A UPN process map is a hierarchy of diagrams. You can drill down to show more detail. This enables each diagram to be kept to 8–10 boxes and still able to describe a broad scope or complex process. There is no limit to the number of levels you can go down.

Agile Value Stream mapping is another method that is particularly well suited to improving business outcomes.

It calculates business process efficiency by measuring Activity Time (value add) and Wait Time (non-value add) for all the steps in a process. It then divides Value Time by Non-value Time to show an efficiency measurement.

This is really helpful in identifying bottlenecks and non-value-added steps. Oftentimes, it doesn't just reduce non-value-added steps or tasks, but completely eliminates steps or tasks that don't add value to the outcome.

Agile Value Stream Mapping

When doing business process design with clients I always discover two things – activities that can be done in less time and activities that can be eliminated. The latter delivers the most significant time savings and productivity improvements.

Regardless of method, we generally like to map business processes pursuant to the American Productivity & Quality Center (APQC) standards. This is a widely adopted and universal process design specification. It also facilitates things like industry benchmarking and system integration projects.

Once you have simplified and streamlined processes, it's time to apply technology for automation.

Workflow tools are the go-to technology. They are usually either external Business Process Management (BPM) apps or workflow tools within your existing Marketing Automation Platform (MAP) or CRM application. These tools sequence and automate steps to make processes consistent and repeatable.

3

MarTech

Many marketers struggle with data siloes, fragmented software apps and systems that are not integrated.

A smarter approach is to assemble a strategically designed MarTech stack. This can replace ad hoc and piecemeal systems with a holistic application portfolio. An example built on a 3-tier architecture is shown below.

MarTech Stack

A good MarTech stack is built on a solid foundation that begins with Platform Solutions. These platforms deliver far more capabilities than loosely integrated best of breed apps.

The three most important platform solutions are the MAP, the CRM platform, and the Customer Data Platform (CDP).

The use of fewer apps that do more things will also facilitate end to end business process automation, decrease system integration and consolidate data siloes for easier and more effective reporting.

And because platform solutions generally have ecosystems of integrated third-party apps they facilitate extensibility which helps future proof your technology investment.

A smartly designed MarTech stack creates a competitive advantage as it defines an overarching architecture that blueprints the applications needed to succeed in data management, process automation and information reporting.