HomeBlog The Marketing Operations Team: A Demand Creator's Best Friend

The Marketing Operations Team: A Demand Creator's Best Friend

January 29, 2015 | By Julian Archer

  • Effective demand creation efforts require a.comprehensive and disciplined use of data and process in all phases
  • Demand marketers should work with marketing operations to build an effective market segmentation data strategy
  • The demand team needs measurement support that articulates linkages between tactics, programs, campaign objectives and revenue
A few years ago, the marketing team that I was privileged to be a member of came together from across the globe to meet for an annual kickoff. One of our team-building exercises required each of us to document for how long in an average week we interacted with fellow team members. It was an interesting study on a number of levels, but one aspect that stood out was that every marketing director’s pivotal relationship – irrespective of business unit, country or industry – was with the marketing operations team. Talk about a spider web! Marketing ops were our “go-to guys,” as they were considered the conduit to effective demand creation efforts Our recent series of forums in Amsterdam and London discussed the importance of this relationship. My colleague John Donlon and I led sessions that showed that effective demand creation efforts require a comprehensive and disciplined use of data and process in all phases, from planning to results measurement.

Here are three of the topics that got the discussion moving:

Whom to Target

By clearly identifying an offering’s demand type and the best segments for maximizing conversions and revenue, marketing can ensure that precious budget is spent generating demand where there is the highest likelihood for success. Even if broad segments have been pre-selected by another department or a central team, local and regional marketers owe it to themselves and their sales teams to prioritize those segments for their own specific geographies. We recommend conducting a relative targeting exercise that looks at both internal and external factors. Compare the current viability of potential targets to determine which have the greatest propensity to purchase. In parallel, work with marketing operations to build an effective segmentation data strategy, limiting the number of segments to a manageable number. Do not try to cover every possible data field and lose sight of the end goal, which ultimately is to help you drive more leads and business.

How to Create Demand

Marketers start by developing personas for all relevant buyers, which puts increasing pressure on marketing operations to ensure that marketing databases and supporting technologies (e.g. marketing automation, Web content management) are capable of segmentation based on personas and buying cycle stage. When demand creation efforts move toward creating campaigns and messages that address the needs of the buyer, they should implement an integrated campaign framework that identifies and addresses customer business needs and leverages the understanding of the buying process. This requires the execution of a balanced set of marketing programs, which asks a lot of the marketing operations team to help define and report effective measurement approaches. The demand creation team needs measurement support that articulates clear linkages between tactics, programs, campaign objectives and revenue.

How to Measure Tactic Mix

To define the marketing tactic mix within programs, place your target audience at the center of everything you do. Map the influencers (people, content, customer experience), including each influencer’s degree of influence. The influencer map will vary by demand type, persona role and stage of the buyer’s journey but will be crucial to guiding decisions. People still ask us what is the best tactic to drive revenue and how to measure the results of that tactic. The marketing operations team will tell you that in the complex world of b-to-b marketing, a multi-touch approach to attribution is needed. Associating one or several tactics with revenue and pipeline is an uncertain process, and the benefits may be a mirage. This requires a shift in focus from justifying individual tactics to exploring which combinations and sequences of marketing touches are predictive of successful outcomes. Demand creation must be closely aligned with marketing operations to ensure alignment with other core functions (e.g. sales, product marketing, finance), effective application of best practices and processes, and clear definition and measurement of marketing return and value. This alignment must be maintained across all elements and phases of demand creation, from the selection of target markets to the creation of campaigns and the measurement of results.

** Registration for the SiriusDecisions 2015 Summit, to be held May 12 - 15, 2015 in Nashville, TN, is now open! This year's conference, themed Outperform: Strategies for Intelligent Growth, will focus on effective ways to grow and outperform in today's competitive marketplace. Register today!

Julian Archer

Julian Archer is a Senior Research Director of Marketing Operations Strategies at SiriusDecisions. He has more than 25 years of international b-to-b demand creation experience within corporate and pan-European field functions. Follow Julian on Twitter @julianarcher