Marketing ScalabilityI was fortunate enough to chair the Marketing Operations track again for the 2007 Henry Stewart conference in Los Angeles, my fourth time in this role over the past three years (and I just agreed to do it again for the NY event in May 2008.) While still relatively small (about 70 participants in the audience at the peak) and still a “ugly stepsister” to the Digital Asset Management Conference, the MO side has definitely made significant strides. I can remember not too long ago, the MO (then known as MOM) track was pretty basic and there was precious little experience to share. This time, we all enjoyed some fascinating and insightful case studies from companies such as Cisco, Nortel, Sprint and Burger King, as well as panels on Marketing Performance Measurement and Marketing Operations Management experience that included speakers from eBay, Fandango, HSBC, Seagate, Cisco WebEx and others.

I’ve been collecting presentations from the conference, which I will summarize and post in the Marketing Operations Partners’ Resources’ section over the next few days. Today, I’ll share a few highlights from presentations by Michael Gerard, Director of the CMO Advisory Practice for International Data Corporation, and Rob Redford, VP Relationship Marketing for Cisco, who until recently was running Marketing Operations.

Marketing Operations: Maintaining the Momentum, presented by Michael Gerard, Director, CMO Advisory Practice, International Data Corporation

Gerard reports that the key focus for marketing leaders this coming year is striving for alignment. IDC gives companies a B+ for alignment within marketing, B- for alignment within companies and a C for alignment with the market. To improve these grades, IDC says MO must continue to dirve process innovation and continuous improvement.

IDC has also advanced a useful definition of Marketing Operations Staff, which follows:

“Internal staff responsible for developing and orchestrating the processes and systems required to enable efficient and effective marketing, More specifically, marketing operations staff members are responsible for developing and managing the processes to ensure smooth operation of strategic planning, financial management, marketing performance measurement (including dashboard development), marketing infrastructure and overall marketing excellence.”

IDC also shared that companies are typically devoting 2–4% of their total marketing staff to Marketing Operations: an average of 2.6% in Services companies, 3.6% in Hardward companies and 4.5% in Software companies. A higher percentage implies greater complexity. The average MO ratio for companies in IDC’s Marketing Leadership quadrant is 4.9 %, compared to 2.8% in the other three quadrants.
Get the complete IDC presentation here.

The Marketing of Marketing Operations: Repositioning Your Ops Team as Strategic, presented by Rob Redford, VP Relationship Marketing, Cisco

Redford, who just finished a stint as Cisco CMO Sue Bostrom’s Chief of Staff, acknowledges that process is viewed by creative marketing types as a four-letter word, but feels MO is in a unique position to blend the “art and science.” He believes the best place to start is by leveraging data and analytics, but the key is to focus on insights. In addition, MO leaders should:

* Explicitly show the connection between activities and strategic company goals

* Over correct and over-communicate to be perceived as strategic

* Understand that behavior change is often the key to success or the seed of failure

* Carefully assess how much change your organization can tolerate

* Strive for a directionally correct strategy over an ideal one

* Deploy new tools if the value proposition is considerably greater than the perceived learning cost, allows a seamless transition from old to new and provides a very shallow learning curve

* Devote a majority of their time to determining who to influence and how to influence them

* Act as enablers not enforcers (no process police please)

* Build a community to help implement change

Get the complete Cisco presentation here.

by Gary M. Katz, Founder and Chairman at Marketing Operations Partners