Marketing Operations and Operational Process blog series
Series introduction: Marketing Operations is a complex mixture of people, processes, and technology all working together to prove - and improve - the value of marketing to your company, your customer, and your employees. While the technology and people components of this “Marketing Operations Triangle” get a lot of attention, Operational Process deserves much more focus as a driver of value. In this blog series, we’ll be giving it the attention it so richly deserves.
At its most basic level, process maturity simply means getting smarter about the day-to-day elements of all of your operational processes. By growing your process maturity, you’re able to (1) do more of the right things and (2) do them better with the same or fewer resources. At the end of the day, marketing maturity means building know-how and capability around your operational processes, enabling you to get more out of your marketing investment.
In this post, we’ll be exploring in-depth how you can understand and grow your organization’s maturity around operational processes.
Understanding your current maturity level
There are some obvious indicators of immature processes, recognizable by anyone:
- If you haven’t documented your processes, that’s a clear indication of immaturity. Why? It's almost impossible to replicate a process unless it's documented in some way - and you want repeatable processes to be able to drive value. So, a mature process is documented and executed according to plan, then results are tracked in order to measure success/failure in reaching your goal.
- If you have a lot of manual processes, that’s another sign of immaturity. We see immaturity a lot with data processes. Marketing and sales might both rely on multiple software systems to store and use prospect and customer data. About one-third of B2B companies today rely on manual processes to move data between tools.
We recommend that, for MOPS in particular, you should be deploying well-trained people and enabling technologies/tools to boost your process maturity.
Foundation of process maturity: knowing your why
Every process must have a business purpose and goal behind it. Every maturity journey should begin with that goal in mind and then plan for a multi-layered, staged approach to achieving it.
Document which problems you’re trying to solve for with every operational process, how you’ll measure success, how enabling technology aligns to your business objectives, and who's accountable for each process.
It’s also essential that you’re assigning someone to be accountable for each process. We often attack process immaturity with an honest RASCI exercise: Responsible, Accountable, Support, Consulted, and Informed. It’s a fairly simple exercise, but it’s critical that everyone impacted knows what’s expected of them to get the job done, and that they’re held accountable for their role in the process (and improving it).
Measuring process maturity: 4 levels
Here at Sojourn, we work with a lot of clients who have different levels of maturity in their operational processes. We help them understand where they are in their process maturity journey, determine where they want to go next, and then help them get there. We have a methodology to determine process maturity that contains four distinct maturity levels.
Detailed below are the different maturity levels, from beginning to advanced, with the indicators of each:
Beginning/Foundational Maturity Level: You’re at the beginning of the journey, with a long way to go, but at least you’ve started.
- You have a recognized operational model that defines how marketing “does” marketing;
- You have documented a campaign execution process;
- You have a documented change management process for marketing only.
Low Intermediate Maturity Level: You’re starting to see what’s possible and are growing your maturity from the foundational level.
- You have widely-adopted templates and best practices;
- You now have a change management process that’s cross-functional, going beyond marketing;
- You have a campaign cost-tracking process in place.
Intermediate Maturity Level: You’re upping your game around operational processes and adding more capabilities.
- You are using data to continuously measure operational workflow, errors, and performance;
- Your operational data now powers your planning and helps you identify issues before they turn into big problems.
Advanced Maturity Level: You are adding real value to both marketing and the overall business with a mature level of operational processes. You can also prove and improve the value of your operational processes with data.
- You have optimized processes that create a competitive advantage for your business;
- Your continuous improvement efforts are effectively part of your culture.
Grow your maturity
As the four maturity levels clearly indicate, each “growth spurt” needs to be built atop the prior level of maturity. You can’t skip a level, since each one supports the next one.
As in life, you build process maturity by trying things, building capacity, learning from your mistakes, and asking for help when needed.
We’ve taken clients from foundational maturity to intermediate in a few years, working with them to build more automated processes and drive adoption of standardized approaches to campaign management (we'll share a customer success story in a future post). Maturity takes time, but you need to know where you are today and where you want to go next.
Like growing your overall Marketing Operations maturity, growing maturity around operational processes requires a careful and dynamic blending of people, technology, and (yes) processes. We can help you locate where you are now and help you draw a roadmap for getting to where you want to go next.
Do you want to drive more value for your company? Your customers? We can help you evaluate and grow your Operational Process maturity - reach out to start the conversation.