Operational Excellence Is The Difference Between Inefficient Execution And Streamlined Output At Scale
Marketing in the digital age is more complex than ever. Marketing strategy requires more complex thinking, organization, and coordination to bring together the many parts included in multichannel marketing outreach. Execution within and across channels is multilayered and accumulates many separate deliverables and steps to complete setup. Combined, marketing strategy and operations create significant complexity that is the normal day-to-day for marketing organizations.
While the typical complexity is daunting enough, imagine if every time your team executed within and across channels they encountered issues and delays that hindered their ability to work efficiently. Imagine if those issues and delays began to compound across marketing campaigns in your pipeline. Perhaps things get so bad that your marketing team is no longer able to focus on what matters most because they’re busy chasing issues and spinning in circles trying to rectify delays.
Does this sound like your marketing team? Don’t be embarrassed if it does. The reality is that this happens to many marketers. Fortunately the solution is simple. Place an importance on operational excellence and your issues will soon disappear.
Operational excellence is the difference between inefficient execution and streamlined output at scale. Marketing Leaders make operational effectiveness a priority in their organizations because it is the foundation of any high-achieving marketing team. Only with sustained operational excellence can marketers focus on what matters most – achieving business outcomes.
Use a Single Infrastructure To Simplify Marketing Operations
If you’re leveraging multiple tools of the same kind across different teams, using more agencies than you can name, and executing the same types of work several different ways, it’s time to rationalize your marketing operations. Do you really need different tools that do similar things? Wouldn’t it be easier if you only had to train and manage a small fixed group of agency partners versus a wide unwieldy group? Wouldn’t it be easier for all team members to follow the same single process?
Less is more when it comes to effective marketing operations. The more you can downsize tools, agencies, and process, the more you reduce operational complexity. Your target should be the minimum set of tools, agencies, and process required to do what your team needs to do, at the scale they need to do it – that’s it. By simplifying your marketing operations down to a single infrastructure that is shared across the team, you reduce the time required to manage your operations and free your team from battling a multitude of unique and ever-present issues.
Keep Templates Consistent and Easy To Locate
Different templates for the same type of work and different versions of the same template are another low-lift, high-return area marketing leaders focus on improving. Consistency is critical to operational excellence. Using different templates for similar things across your team, or within individual projects, requires that team members invest time and energy into understanding how to use the template before actually using it to progress work products. Eliminating multiple templates in favor of a single template creates consistently and clears the way for team members to focus on higher priorities; saving time and boosting efficiency.
The best way to bolster the use of a single template across your team is to centralize the template. By assigning responsibility for the template to a single person that sits at the center of your marketing organization, you create governance that keeps the template consistent; along with a single place everyone on the team can find it.
While centralizing a template wrangles in multiple versions of the template, it does not eliminate the need to update the template from time to time. It’s fair to assume you’ll need to update the template when your business, strategy, or technology changes. Having the template centralized allows you to better manage updates and rollouts across the team; further simplifying operations.
Train People Specific To Their Roles
If you’ve played organized sports before, you’ll recall that practice is tailored to each team member’s unique role on the team. Teams typically break apart into small subgroups so they can learn and develop skills specific to their role. Specialized training by role is what enables the team as a whole to perform at a high level. Each and every person knows exactly what to do in the field of play.
Training for marketing operations in your organization shouldn’t be any different. Marketing leaders understand different roles require different training and develop training plans accordingly. They treat all roles as equally important and make sure that each and every person receives the right training to perform their job at the highest level.
Training materials, cheat sheets, and other documentation is also developed and delivered by role to provide each person the tools they need to succeed. This small but distinct difference in how marketing leaders train has a significant impact on the performance of their marketing operation, leading to less issues, delays, and points of confusion in the execution of marketing campaigns.
If you find that your marketing strategy is on point, but your team is struggling to execute it, it’s in your best interest to assess your marketing operations. If you find that you’re not operating efficiently and effectively, placing a priority on operational excellence will help you close the gap.
Simplifying marketing operations to a single infrastructure across the team will reduce the complexity and issues that occur during execution. Revisiting and centralizing templates to ensure they don’t morph from one to several variations further streamlines day-to-day operations. Completing focused training by role to ensure the team is knowledgeable of practice and process is another important layer to help your marketing organization become a well oiled machine.
Follow these three simple guidelines and you’ll soon understand why marketing leaders prioritize operational excellence in their marketing organizations.
About John Fildes
I grow the bottom line by connecting marketing to business strategy. By leveraging powerful positioning, content marketing, and client insights, I help CEOs drive qualitative and quantitative results at scale.
I've built an amazing network of incredibly talented people over the years. What I've appreciated most is those who have invested in me, mentored me, and helped me become the talented professional I am today. I pay it forward by doing the same for other high performing professionals and entrepreneurs.
All views are my own and not those of my current or prior employers.