Your clients--event planners, restaurant owners, and other caterers--can order any food in any quantity at any time. Sometimes they pre-order for a large event far in the future. Often, you find out on Tuesday they need it for Thursday. They can walk up and order a single plate of food to go. (Make that Now, please!) They can order any cuisine in any combination from appetizers to desert. They always want the latest fad food. (Make that Paleo diet! Now, please!) Your clients are very fickle; they make last minute changes, without regard to how long it takes to make a proper sauce. They don't listen to your advice or care for your gastronomical experience (Yes, Hollandaise sauce on the sherbet. Now, please!) But they do hold you accountable for their success. You have some really sophisticated kitchen gadgets, but no time to set them up properly or train your cooking staff. So your crew whisk by hand, aren't trained on the new ovens, and yet have to cobble together a mind-numbing array of techniques to cover the breadth of cuisines ordered. Speaking of which, order-tracking happens across several systems that aren't integrated--so you print out at each step and re-enter by hand. On top of all this, you are only as good as your last meal: because your clients are all food critics! A couple of bad reviews and you and your crew are in hot water, defending your lives with no proof that you are "adding value."
No thanks, you say! But if you run a mid-to-large marketing department, you already have this job.
The rapid innovation in everything from web engagement to marketing automation, analytics, big data, SEO/search, business intelligence, social media, video, content marketing, and whatever was released while you read this list ... is creating inefficiencies faster than you can snuff them out.
Marketing is a labor intensive activity.
Errors and delays are costly, both directly and as missed market opportunities. Inefficiencies mean higher costs and lost revenues. And they can't be solved solely by adding more, smarter people. Even the best professionals need an organized environment, infrastructure, and process to do the cooperative work of marketing.
Organizational capability is equally important for talented people.
So what's the result without it?
- Marketing inefficiency--marketing is a game of critical masses and tipping points. There is a point below which you are better off doing nothing, because you are not getting the reach and lift you need to make a difference. This is where inefficiencies kill even great concepts.
- Under leveraged systems--with no time or plan to properly integrate systems, make them user friendly, and train users on them, the end result is Underutilization. If you pay for a marketing automation platform, but don't actually run nurturing programs, you may be an Underutilizer.
- Insufficient data visibility--manual processes and poorly integrated systems mean there is no end-to-end visibility of data. Those two classic aphorisms should be ringing in your head now: "but you don't know which half" and "you can't improve what you can't measure."
- Inefficient change management--rather than being handled by a rapid response, curve balls like a new marketing channels or integrating an acquisition merely add to the inefficiencies and further slow everything down.
Underpinning all this inefficiency is technology.
Well, that's not fair. Technology doesn't kill inefficiency. People do. Two elements are lacking as we absorb all this technology. First, we don't add greater technology management capabilities into marketing organization. Second, we don't educate marketers on how to use new channels and tactics within a strategy.
In other words, our People, Processes, and Technology are out of balance and can't handle our marketing aspirations. How to balance them? The answer lies in moving marketing technology from ad-hoc to strategic management. This doesn't mean losing agility. (You probably only think you are agile now anyway). Just the opposite, it means deliberately creating agility.
Next up, we'll cover topics on doing this in the real world.
For now, check out resources around MarTech and Marketing Operations & Technology Summit.