It’s been months of crisis communications, program pivoting, marketing adjustments, and resource realignment. MOPS everywhere are feeling the strain— budget reductions, hiring freezes— yet workloads show no sign of slowing.

Call it our “new normal” or call it a time of opportunity, but the bottom line is it’s not business as usual. Not all organizations (or marketing operations leaders) will survive; the companies who are achieving profitable growth are the ones challenging the status quo and adapting their marketing operations to changing business conditions.

What are the top four adjustments marketing operations must make as we head into a new budget year?

1. Efficiency vs. Productivity

Now driven by necessity, efficiency is all about getting the same amount of work done with less staff. Productivity, while similar to efficiency, focuses on achieving higher output with the same resources. In today’s economic environment, it’s not an efficiency OR a productivity discussion; it’s BOTH. More is expected of smaller, “streamlined” teams, but the team’s output must also increase in order for the organization to grow.

Most employees want to be productive, but the organization too often gets in their way. Our research indicates that the average company loses more than 20% of its productive capacity — more than a day each week — to what we call ‘organizational drag,’ the structures and processes that consume valuable time and prevent people from getting things done,”  cite Michael Mankins and Eric Garton, partners at Bain & Company and authors of the book, Time, Talent, Energy.

What constitutes “organizational drag” in marketing operations? The inefficiencies of campaign execution— the back and forth of collecting materials, hunting down approvals, the endless revisions— you know the drill. Or how about an unorganized Marketo structure, and the wasted time spent finding programs and making updates. Neither of these examples is a good use of skilled Marketo talent, which eventually leads to job dissatisfaction. And I don’t need to tell you how employee turnover slows output.

Adopting a productivity mindset can be challenging, but the marketing operations executives who do, experience a tremendous payoff. According to Mankins and Garton’s research, it suggests that “the best companies are more than 40% more productive than the rest. And this difference in productivity results in significantly higher profits — operating margins 30%–50% higher than industry peers — and faster growth.” Compelling, to say the least.

2. Organizational Agility

Though the past few months may have felt like time standing still, the truth is everything in our world is getting faster. Social media, Slack, 24/7 device connectivity— information travels quickly, and we’ve grown to expect immediate responses. As a result, organizational agility, or the combination of speed and stability, are table stakes for businesses right now.

Let’s break down the definition of  “organizational agility,” as it’s more than departmental nimbleness or speed to market with a new product. Rather, “organizational agility” is a three-fold objective:

  • A structure that provides stability and scalability
  • Redirecting people and priorities to projects that have an impact
  • An ability to respond quickly to rapidly-changing conditions

When an organization is truly agile, all teams are working towards common objectives, with staff resources aligned to support them— this holds especially true for marketing operations, whose skills and deep analytical insights are even more valuable in this economic climate.

What to watch: make sure your team isn’t buried in minute tasks, taking them off projects that have true impact. Ways to free up your MOPS resources: reducing campaign deployment times, the end of long production and program build times, empowering teams and enabling technology—  all of which accelerate your ability to talk to customers, understand their behaviors, and adapt your lead management and demand generation models and demonstrate measurable ROI. The more marketing operations can spend time identifying purchasing trends and subtle buying indicators, the greater the impact on an organization’s financial performance.

3. Cost-Effectiveness

In an economic downturn, when budgets are tight and resources are constrained, it’s even more important that your expenditures achieve maximum output at a lower cost compared to the alternatives. To truly evaluate the cost-effectiveness of a service or technology, place a monetary value on the benefits of the purchase vs. the expense of the alternative. Automating a process vs. continuing with a manual approach and hiring more staff is one such use case example.

Any input comes with a cost, whether that be the cost of the technology or the staff time spent on the same activity; however, the output will be dramatically different. Knowing your options, the costs, and the expected returns will help to evaluate ROI and the direction you need to go. Additionally, many SaaS products include cost calculators to assist in your evaluation.

Aside from the monetary cost, the opportunity cost should also be discussed and considered— or the potential opportunity you are foregoing when choosing one alternative over another. Marketing operations leaders make opportunity cost decisions every day — the decision to centralize or decentralize campaign execution and the resulting impact of each; hiring vs. outsourcing; and of course, the classic challenge of speed vs. quality vs. cost in building your marketing operations infrastructure. When economic conditions change, the opportunity cost should be reevaluated and adjusted as needed, to keep your organization moving forward.

4. Peace of Mind

Finally, let’s not forget the sanity factor— knowing your campaigns are deploying without errors; guardrails are in place to prevent mistakes from lack of skills; your Marketo instance is set-up according to best practices. In a world where uncertainty and stress abound, peace of mind is taking on new meaning and importance. Professional peace of mind builds your confidence, enables you to think more clearly and make better decisions, and ultimately allows you to be a better leader.

Remember too, your staff experiences similar job-related stress. According to a Workfront study, approximately 80% of marketers feel stress from being overloaded and understaffed. Add in the pressures they may be feeling from the pandemic isolation and/or changes to your team structure, and it’s only natural job performance may be impacted. Structure and guardrails provide security for employees, not to mention added insurance for the brand against costly errors. Additional structure may be needed for your team during this time.

The Cause and Effect of World Events

As challenging as this past year has been, the reality is we cannot control what happens in the world around us. Undoubtedly, there will be more pandemics and our economic crisis will likely worsen before it improves— as a result, 2021 budgets will be tight. While none of us has a crystal ball for the future, we can control how we respond to our new realities.

At Perkuto, we’re marketers too— we feel your pain and also experience the difficulties of confidently moving forward, amidst the uncertainties. That’s why we’ve developed new solutions and capabilities to support our marketing operations community, and help organizations thrive in our new environment. Each of these options is where we see organizations struggling the most, and is designed to deliver maximum marketing operations efficiency, staff productivity, organizational agility, and peace of mind. We recognize that for some, abandoning traditional methods for new ones will be difficult. At the same time, we firmly believe in our new normal, our processes must evolve.

Automated Campaign Execution

Campaign requests aren’t going away, and your staff is already operating at full capacity with projects waiting in the wings. Your options are to hire or automate.

Since launching Jeto self-serve marketing platform in 2019, Marketo customers have reported 50-90% savings in process efficiency, the ability to reallocate staff resources to higher impact projects, and improvements in overall staff morale and stress levels. Now, we’re pleased to expand Jeto’s capabilities, launching a flexible Marketo email and landing page editor to easily edit creative assets completely outside of Marketo, without HTML or coding skills.

Automating campaign execution is a “low-hanging fruit” – it’s not difficult to implement, it’s cost-effective, and is quickly adopted by team members. Discuss how Jeto can work for your specific needs.

Proven Marketing Operations Architecture

From our work in over 1,500 Marketo projects, the most common comment we hear from marketing operations professionals is the uncertainty of their infrastructure and the desire to get up to speed quickly.

In direct response to this need, we’re pleased to launch one of the industry’s only pre-built programs for core marketing operations functionalities. No need to reinvent the wheel or second-guess your approach; our Marketo experts have removed the hard work and guesswork of building a world-class marketing operations infrastructure. Best of all, our entire SCORE Architecture is pre-tested and guaranteed to be error-free or it’s free.

Expanded Marketo Integrations

Connecting technologies expands your capabilities and opens up entirely new possibilities for marketing operations. Consider the advanced insights Sub-Zero, an industry leader in premium appliances, gained by connecting Marketo to Adobe Analytics. Enabling a dynamic and flexible solution to listen for subtle purchasing indicators has enhanced traditional approaches to lead scoring plus brought more relevancy to the sales process. A great example of an innovative vision that positively impacted the bottom line.

Continuing with this theme, we’ve expanded our tech integration services and we’re now the only Adobe partner offering Marketo integrations to SAP C4C. With the newly released connector, organizations running SAP, second in market share in the worldwide CRM market, can now unleash the power of Marketo in a much more direct way. Additionally, Perkuto continues to provide Marketo integrations to Salesforce, number one in CRM market share, along with Microsoft Dynamics, and Adobe Experience Cloud. Share your vision and we’ll bring it to life.

Next Steps For Marketing Operations

There’s no doubt about it, 2020 will be remembered as a year of disruption, isolation, and personal and professional challenges. But you can also make it the year you tried something different and made a positive impact.

What happens from here is anybody’s guess; however, we can all agree it’s not business as usual. As you prepare budgets and marketing plans for 2021, remember the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, “Today, our very survival depends on our ability to stay awake, to adjust to new ideas, to remain vigilant, and to face the challenge of change.”

To learn more about any of the offerings mentioned in this article— Jeto, SCORE Architecture, Marketo integrations— or even to inquire about Marketo run and operate services, contact Perkuto. We have certified Marketo experts and Solutions Architects on staff to help you regain peace of mind and control of your situation.