Long gone are the days of The Big Idea from The Big Ad Agencies. Successful marketing is based on ongoing customer experiences. Any well-respected company knows that now. But CX does not happen haphazardly. Every company, small to extra-large, has to be strategic about every facet of customer engagement and how it operates in order to have their marketing tactics to be successful.
A strategic approach requires an inquisitive process. Tell me what you want to accomplish, not how. Major eye roll when our shiny creative white knights call out “wouldn’t it be cool if…” Sure, it would be, but how is that strategically aligned with our customers’ experience and will it drive engagement? If that question can be answered, then the next is how will we execute? Enter marketing ops in their suit of armor (to be discussed later).
Companies are focused on trends and technology in marketing especially as it relates to social media, as I’m sure you’ve heard. And I would argue that trends and technology are synonyms at this point. Even strategic marketing roles boast that qualified candidates should be in tune to said trends. But, it is really pointless to apply trends and technology for the sake of trends and technology if the strategy does not make meaningful connections to align with your products or services. Look at the influencer trends on the decline or VR stalling without proper strategy.
A strategic approach to marketing tactics requires innovative and connected experiences as the cornerstone of today’s CX plan. Falling trees in empty forests do make sounds, but they are not heard. It’s a huge waste of marketing time to not strategically reach your audience. And the worst part is if your audience receives a bad strategy message… shame, regret, wasted money. So listen to your marketing strategist people!
Shout out to all the marketing strategist out there who fight the good fight. And for you, the reader who does not have a dedicated person or team to run your marketing strategy, here is one big (loaded) question: Who is your customer and what do they do?
Your customers may take on a lot of varying profiles which fractures into exponentially more aspects of their routine. Customer journey mapping is the manifesto of marketing strategy and operations. Laboring over the details of where your customer eats, shops, apps, visits (digitally or physically), etc. including their interactions with your potential competitors only shapes a solid strategy. But brace yourself, it’s an undertaking and a fluid process. Because just as you might find yourself finalizing a strategic approach to connecting with your customers, political, environmental, social, economical shifts happen and the connections need to adapt. Keeping up with the strategy of connecting with your customers is a strategy onto itself within your org. Strategic stall is real.
And of course, marketing operations. How I love thee. Ever wonder how a lunch-break search of engagement rings turned into ads on your news feed for honeymoon destinations? Marketing ops. If the strategy is to target and retarget people in a certain point of a consideration set in their daily lives, then the marketing ops plan is to program your strategic marketing accordingly. Boom, Bora Bora booked.
With organizations running an average of 90 cloud-based marketing services, according to CMSWire, marketing ops has become essential to programming initiatives as well as conducting ongoing data analysis of the strategic effectiveness. I always default to marketing teams as “building a house” analogy – the strategist plan where to build, the operations team engineer how to build (and maintain), and the creatives design against the plan. Creating before strategy and operations is a futile exercise and does not yield a solid foundation for your marketing mansion.
Underestimating the importance of both functions in your marketing organization is naive and even worse executing without strategy and operations will only be successful by accident. A former colleague coined it best that marketing strategy and marketing operations is the yin and yang of any marketing team.
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