marketing opsYes, we’re in the worst economy most of us have seen in our lifetimes. The hope of a new President has faded somewhat as the reality of the hole we are collectively in becomes more starkly apparent. It’s no surprise that many companies (and the marketing staff within them) have become frozen, afraid to act, waiting for the uncertainty to just go away.

Now is the best time to remember the old proverb, “when the going gets tough, the tough get going.” It’s how we deal with adversity that in the end defines us. The smart companies continue to market “in the trough.”

Okay, enough of the cheerleading. Let’s get a bit more practical.

In the past few years, companies have begun to figure out the importance of Marketing Operations as a means to run more strategic, accountable, profitable Marketing organizations. Smart companies realize that Marketing Ops done right is not a cost center, but a highly-profitable,long-terminvestment.

Now more than ever, companies need to optimize their Marketing resources. But better efficiency alone is not enough.Cost-cuttinghas its rightful place, but increased effectiveness is a key goal of MO as well. For example, excellent MO is about creating new profitable opportunities for enterprise. These opportunities don’t come by accident or by trying harder, but by improving an enterprise’s capacity:

  • Its knowledge of the market, competitors and customer buying motivations to innovate, differentiate and create sustainable demand for its products and services
  • Its ability to scale the marketing function through process, technology, best practices and smart resource allocation to get the most out of its people and be poised to seize future opportunities
  • Its ability to learn from experience to maximizedecision-makingability and increase agility in a constantly changing global economy
  • Its development of increased competency in its people so new capabilities are either groomed in existing staff or acquired through future recruiting
  • Its ability to mobilize support for newenterprise-widemarketing initiatives that advance its strategic agenda
  • Its ability to sustain and grow marketing investment so it can stand out from the pack not just during the best of times but during a downturn

Think of Marketing Operations as the circulatory system for the Marketing function, which, in turn, might be considered the heart of your enterprise. If the blood flows freely through the veins and arteries, you have a healthy Marketing system and, by extension, a healthy company. Excellent MO promotes health not just in the Marketing function, but in Sales, Customer Experience, Engineering, R & D, Finance, you name it.

On the other hand, if the blood flow is stifled from high cholesterol or some other inhibitor, the overall system becomes sick over time. You may not notice the symptoms for years (or decades, if you’re lucky), but the illness is sure to come.

So stop holding back. Steel your resolve. It’s time to move from paralysis to action. Marketing Operations is your best bet to make sure that your Marketing function — and your enterprise — is healthy and fit for the long haul.