The liaison role of Marketing Operations was emphasized throughout the second day of the recent Marketing Operations & Technology Summit. Scott Brinker, renowned blogger of ChiefMarTech.com, brilliantly pointed out the dichotomies we face — left-brain or right-brain, top-down or bottom-up, centralized or distributed, intuition or analytics, inbound or outbound, and so forth — are actually false dichotomies. It’s not a matter of either/or, but rather, integration of so-called opposites, and that’s a necessity that Marketing Operations (MO) needs to embrace. The unicorn metaphor emphasized how hard it is to find people with the right mix of talent and experience to lead or liaison the false dichotomies.
A panel highlighted marketing technology successes and nightmares, with examples and advice from Tony Ralph of Netflix, Mark Verone of Gogo Wireless, Stephan Steiner of SAP, Saad Hameed of LinkedIn, and Mark Mankin of Tata Consulting (formerly of Toshiba). The panelists emphasized the need for MO to conduct due-diligence in preparing people and processes well ahead of technology deployments, and tending to this trio of needs on an ongoing basis.
In her enlightening presentation on customer journeys for lifetime value, Carol Buehrens of ICW insurance group pointed out the clumsiness of overlapping touch-points such as welcome letters to new customers simultaneously from marketing, sales, service, and operations. The relative “brilliant colors” of the customer journey at its beginning “fade to gray” all-too-often with hand-offs to operations and service. To manage the customer life-cycle for maximum lifetime value, MO has a big opportunity as a liaison between groups in the company, to make the “brilliant colors” consistent across the customer journey. Carol’s book, Happy Raving Customers, was available for complimentary download during the second day of the Summit.
In birds-of-a-feather groups, lively discussions on bridging the marketing talent gap and elevating Marketing Operations to strategic impact were opportunities for attendees to learn from one another. Tim Mixon of Dell, Doug Milliken of Clorox, and Michael Moon of Gistics provided some great insights on marketing talent needs and solutions. In both cases, change management skills surfaced as keys for MO success. Facilitating connections between tools, efforts, resources, and strategies and tactics is seen as a critical capability for the future of MO.
The theme of MO as liaison continued as DoubleClick talked about marketing measurement efficiency through unified marketing stacks, and Ian Hopping of Percolate described opportunities for real-time marketing content consistency and efficiency.
Tying together the conversations up to that point on metrics, technology, and customer experience, Lynn Hunsaker of Marketing Operations Partners focused on a few simple yet profound concepts that can set up MO for success. In all our excitement about automation, big data, predictive analytics, and performance measurement, it’s all-too-common to overlook some of the basics. One of these is the connection between big-picture lagging indicators that stakeholders see and in-process warning signal leading indicators that can be acted upon before stakeholders see their results. Attendees were challenged to broker leading indicator emphasis among their fellow marketers’ dashboards and performance goals.
Champagne and sparkling cider were special treats provided generously by Kim Johnston of Unify Square and Liz Allen of At Home, in a fireside chat moderated by Gary Katz of Renesas. These Chief Marketing Officers described their career paths which included significant MO roles at Symantec and The Gap. Summit attendees enjoyed this capstone to a full-day of learning, and the opportunity to discuss the advantages that MO skills provide as a career path toward general management responsibilities.
“Speed dating” with event sponsors was a lot of fun, with some lucky raffle winners of generous gift cards. Small-group mixing made it easy to get acquainted with most of our fellow attendees, and we look forward to continuing the fascinating discussions that we started at this inaugural summit.