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  • Writer's pictureGeoff Linton

Optimize for Enablement: Walk Before You Run

A common question that we often hear from senior marketing executives is “what should we do next?”. Well, that depends on your current state of tech, internal capabilities and overall business goals.

Some companies have figured it out. According to a Mckinsey report, part of the secret sauce for high performing organizations is a strong technology endowment. McKinsey observed that leaders who have a high proportion of executives who are tech savvy are proactively refining their Martech stack. As a result, these digital leaders execute at much faster speeds than their competitors.

However, the reality for a majority of organizations is that their tech stack is a work in progress and their processes are a bit outdated. As a result, the biggest day-to-day challenges are competing operational priorities and fielding tactical support requests. IT groups have tons on their plates and are trying to balance new tech platforms, more data, plus an explosion of new apps. IT departments are getting squeezed with extra work and they are running on the proverbial marketing operations hamster wheel.

If your organization is already stretched getting the day-to-day done, there must be a better way. Go back to first principles and design a more simplified system that is better aligned with your new strategy.

Below are three main ways to innovate & optimize marketing operations (Digital Transformation Domain #5) while also building a better CX than your competition (Digital Transformation Domain #2):

1. Streamline existing processes. To start, re-engineer your current processes to make them more efficient, smoother and faster. Standardize key processes and remove unnecessary steps to make your existing processes smoother.

Example. A large Fortune500 bank observed that time to execute their seasonal campaigns was steadily increasing and costing them extra agency fees. Through process mapping interviews and cost-time profiling, we discovered that the campaign management process had become bloated (with extra steps added by various employees) and the bank wasn’t adhering to their approval processes (too many unnecessary changes). Working with professional engineers who also had business backgrounds, we streamlined the process to make it 14% faster and less resource intensive. Their overall campaign execution was smoother with a steady flow, and less stop, start & wait.

2. Integrate Automation. The objectives of automation are to free up people-resources and eliminate manual errors. In marketing environments, the typical strategy is to automate manual, low-value repetitive work, freeing up resources to work on higher-value activities. If your organization does not specialize in, or have capacity to tackle automation, then this is a great opportunity to outsource to experts that can help.. There also are now a number of easy to use tools that help non-technical marketers useApplication Program Interfaces (API’s) to connect data sources. Complex data management should be automated ETL (Extract Transfer Load) programs such as Hitachi Pentaho ETL or other similar enterprise-grade applications.

Example. By using an automated ETL for our Telco client, Tekside’s data team executes complex business rules against the client’s data automatically in minutes versus 2-3 days of manual processes. Automation has the added effect of better precision as it eliminates the chance of manual mistakes.

Remember: automation doesn’t have to be complicated and there are lots of opportunities for marketers to automate individual steps or entire processes.

3. Find a better method. Reframing a challenge and thinking holistically can often lead to a solution that gives your organization a competitive advantage.

Example. Our Tekside team supports a cross-section of agencies. In the world of always-on, MarketingOps needs to monitor and orchestrate lots of moving parts, processes, messages, and interactions in real-time. One of the challenges with old computer monolithic code is that it is cumbersome to fix and requires significant time to test. Many leading software Developers are rewriting code using a microservices architecture, where the steps are broken up into well defined micro programs. If a problem occurs in an application then Developers only need to address the snippets of code in the micro program.

Remember: as Einstein once said, “the definition of insanity is doing the same thing and expecting a different outcome”.

Leaders strive to constantly get better and find a better way! Be flexible & bold. Embrace some new opportunities but avoid the allure of new things, just for the sake of having something new! There always should be a business justification.

Marketing today incorporates an integrated system of data and tech. At Tekside, we work with agencies and clients who want to execute faster and better. They often realize they can't get there while they’re stuck on the hamster wheel. But it takes new thinking in 3 transformation phases: Phase 1: Big rethink on strategy, Phase 2 Enablement & Reconfiguring, Phase 3: Activation.

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