Monday, May 21, 2007

Marketing Operations in the Silicon Valley: Addressing CMO Challenges

By Adrian Carol Ott

CMOs of large Silicon Valley companies are confronted with significant challenges including:
  • Globalization: Synchonizing messaging and market activity across continents.
  • ROI: Faced with a maturing technology industry, CEO's are demanding greater ROI on their marketing invesments.

  • New Marketing Technology: The advent of new technologies has enabled unprecedented interactive dialogs with customers. New technologies must be implemented.

  • Stakeholder Agreement: Coordination with regional marketing groups, and stakeholders in product business units and sales constitutes a major task.

Marketing Operations Emerges

As a result of these demands and others, many Silicon Valley CMOs have commissioned a marketing operations organization to tackle these challenges. Originally designated to create metrics and dashboards for accountability, leading companies are increasingly treating marketing operations as a key foundation to the marketing function.

"Marketing operations ensures marketing is run as a business," states a VP of Marketing Operations at a major Silicon Valley firm, "We strive to enable the marketing organization to be streamlined in day-to-day processes so they have time to think, focus on the customer and to innovate."(1)

In many business-to-business focused firms in the Silicon Valley, marketing operations is combined with the sales operation function to promote integration of the two groups. Although organizationally integrated, the purpose of marketing operations as we will describe in this article remains the same.

Introducing the 5Ts of Marketing Operations

Based on our work with clients, and in our research, we have found that marketing operations is an emerging dimension to the marketing mix. Enabled by new processes and technology, it goes beyond the 4Ps (i.e. Product, Price, Place, Promotion), and 3Cs (i.e. Customers, Competitors, Corporation (2)), to fully round out the marketing mix. The 5Ts of Marketing Operations™ are:
  • Total Strategy
  • Techniques & Processes
  • Tracking & Predictive Modeling
  • Technology
  • Talent

By approaching marketing operations across these dimensions, CMOs have an integrated approach to enable marketing worldwide. Let’s describe the 5Ts in more detail:

Total Strategy: This area involves strategy development in the product portfolio. It is not uncommon for large high-tech companies to have seventy-five or more products in their portfolios, some have hundreds. Managing investments and priorities across the portfolio is paramount.

Techniques & Processes: How should information flow most effectively across the marketing organization worldwide? How do we make decisions? What are our governance processes? What is our roadmap for marketing processes next year? in 3 years?

Tracking and Predictive Modeling: How do we make marketing more accountable? How do we measure campaigns and ensure better predictability of outcomes?

Technology: How do we implement technology across the globe to enable effective customer dialog, demand generation and measurement? What are the business requirements for IT? How does technology support the marketing and sales process roadmap for the next 3 years?

Talent: How do we ensure our marketing personnel are trained and enabled to work with new marketing technologies and processes? How can we enable them to make the right decisions based on analytics and campaign scorecards?

The Future of Marketing and the 5Ts

The 5Ts have a deep and significant impact on customer relationships. For example, by implementing integrated technology for demand generation and customer database access, regional marketing personnel can now build innovative campaigns on top of a marketing operations infrastructure. By tracking the success of a campaign, companies will realize better customer targeting and ROI; they learn from prior successes and failures.

The 5Ts add a critical foundation to the marketing function enabling marketing operations to support Silicon Valley CMOs to tackling contemporary challenges and to integrate with sales operations. It is dramatically transforming the marketing function and is changing how marketing will be conducted in the future.

© 2007 Exponential Edge Inc., All Rights Reserved

The Author: Adrian Carol Ott is CEO of Exponential Edge Inc, a strategy consultancy that assists global corporations to grow and innovate through market assessment, go-to-market planning, and strategic partnering. She also serves as Chair of the Harvard Business School N. California Alumni Marketing and Sales Roundtable. The Roundtable is a forum that explores issues and trends faced by senior executives in the Silicon Valley and Bay Area Business Community.

(1) HBS N. CA Marketing & Sales Roundtable, "Marketing Operations: How It Will Transform Marketing Forever", Panel Discussion with VP's of Marketing Operations from Symantec, Cisco, BEA, and a consumer packaged goods expert, June 20, 2006
(2) It is recognized that the 3Cs have been used in other forms and described in different ways. For example, we have heard "Communication" used as a "C". Our description is what appears to be most consistent in literature based on the author's research. Other forms could be substituted for the 3C's and have the same effect. The goal is to avoid debate on this element in this article as it would take it away from the central topic.

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