Digital marketing is a double-edged sword for B2B marketers making it a bigger part of their marketing mix. On the one side, digital is more targetable, addressable, and measurable than traditional channels like advertising, promotions, and tradeshows. Online, marketing now has more data to help them “know” more about prospects and buyers. On the other hand, the options available in the marketing mix have exploded and executives want to hold marketing more accountable for program results and campaign spend. Given these turbulent times, marketing challenges increase exponentially and marketing automation moves from a “nice to have” to “essential” investment. But technology implemented without a clear understanding of process typically gets many marketers into hot water. Face it, many of us have tremendous experience running campaigns and programs, but little experience with the change management needed to move process from ad hoc to repeatable and disciplined.
The August quarterly MOCCA meeting looked a little closer at the marketing operations community experience implementing process. Brenda Kring, Director of Demand Generation for CyberSource (who hosted the meeting) and Membership and Content Chair for the MOCCA steering committee, presented the results from the July association survey on marketing process. The audience then listened to a panel share their stories on how change management impacts processes, automation, applications and people and talk about the specific challenges each experienced rolling out automation. The conversation and questions reinforced for me how minor a role technology selection plays in operationalizing marketing and how automating poor process only results in long term problems.
Here are a few of the findings from the survey that stood out:
1) Process is important, but not approached in a systematic way. Of the 36 members who responded, 2/3 said they only apply process rigorously in a few key areas. Just 6% said they had a “very process-oriented culture” where they worked. Of those who implemented process, 2/3 said they did not use a formal methodology or defined their own as they went along.
2) Top management must push change. 44% of respondents said the key factor that led to a successful implementation top executives drive change from the top. 30% said getting stakeholder buy-in was essential. This underlines how people is the essential ingredient in change management, and marketing is no exception to this rule.
3) Marketing operations wants more accountability in process change. Almost 80% of respondents said their experience with process change was neutral or unsuccessful. Integrating accountability – making sure folks adhere to the new process or changed state – was the change 29% of respondents said they would make in retrospect. (This would also relieve executive management from spending times getting the troops lined up and marching in the right direction.)
(A few statistics about this group of respondents: 72% hail from the tech industry, 61% are in firms over 1000 employees, and 53% work at companies that earned $1 billion or more in revenue — so a very interesting sampling, especially to my research.)
If you’d like to see more information about the survey, check out the MOCCA and look up the Q3 meeting. I’d be interested to hear what you think are the top issues that keep marketers from implementing process successfully. What do you think achieves – or holds back – success in marketing process automation and change management?
(Disclosure: I back-dated this post to correspond closer to the timing of the meeting. Sorry folks, just so much to do!)