Why operations disciplines are a strategic imperative for marketing success

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Business has only two functions – marketing and innovation.“

Peter F. Drucker

 “How can this be true?” exclaimed an operations colleague of mine. “You’d think the only thing that’s important in a company is marketing!”

 It’s easy to misinterpret his quote. Drucker’s full quote sheds light on his meaning:

Business has only two functions – marketing and innovation. The purpose of (that) business is to create and keep a customer.”

 As competition increases everywhere and technology injects an unprecedented rate of change into business, the adage that everyone is in marketing and sales is increasingly true. A friend recently asked, “With all the new digital tools, is marketing becoming an marketing becoming an IT job?” (That sends shudders through most marketers who are typically non-technical people!)

 But I believe marketing is moving in two directions around its core competency: increasingly geared toward new digital media and technology, but also recognizing the need for a strategic operational approach to marketing.

 Many CMO’s are straddling the marketing – IT divide with new roles that either reside in IT or marketing. And many CMO’s are adding the role of “marketing operations”.

 It’s happening just in time. The very technologies that bring unparalleled measurement and the ability to deeply engage with customers are ushering in a level of complexity that only a multi-disciplined team can properly execute.

 The challenge is that two countervailing forces are at work: technology is commoditizing more and more brands and the magnitude of information that customers use in selecting a brand illuminates the lack of differentiation. By some measures, this forces all companies to become service companies. Increasingly, only the customer experience can differentiate a brand. (One of the best business ideas of the recent past has been to “Think of your product as a service.”)

 So today, even durable goods need customer service people. For example, an electronics manufacturer may need a customer service center to help the consumer set up and use the new product. That brings a common challenge when it comes to marketing. Increasingly, the brand encompasses the front line employee.

 For example, a bank can implement marketing plans fairly quickly and have an impact on the market. But if frontline employees only received an orientation, read about the plan in a company newsletter, the best-intentioned, best-designed effort is a prescription for failure. It becomes “marketing’s job” and the employees who are integral, see themselves as outside observers of ‘marketing events’.

 That has a leveraged effect. Frontline employees in a service environment are the second thing a customer experiences. The first is typically a compelling promise made through marketing communications. The customer looks at the brand based on that notion. But they experience the brand based upon the people that are part of the service delivery.

 You can see the dilemma if the customer experience is thought of as a series of transactions independent of marketing efforts, versus a holistic process.

 Today, the best marketing is comprised of operations, IT, and marketing disciplines. Bringing it all together creates a powerful business paradigm that differentiates brands, elevates customer satisfaction, increases employee motivation and generates healthy profits.

 How will you bring marketing, IT and operations together as partners in your company?

 

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Companies, which can integrate fluid processes between operations, IT and marketing, have a competitive advantage. Marketing must promulgate a detailed view of the customer and their buying dynamics on a cross-company, cross-discipline basis to form the strategic foundation. Once a common and clear view of the customer is established, a remarkably engaged and agile workforce will come together around both mission and goals.

By: Douglas K. Foster | Principal NovaLex Consulting

 About NovaLex Consulting:

 NovaLex, Latin for “new plan,” is a strategy and marketing consultancy that assists companies seeking to ignite or accelerate growth. An enterprise of self-described “marketing architects,” NovaLex combines art and science – deep data analytics for targeting with data mining for powerful creative branding to drive growth.

The proven methodology, “Precision Consulting,” generates a disproportionate return on each marketing dollar invested. NovaLex provides a team of seasoned executives and through collaboration with clients, delivers a performance-based growth “blueprint” to achieve exceptional results. NovaLex team members have won multiple American Marketing Association EFFIE Awards for sales effectiveness, a Gold Lion at the Cannes Film Festival and have elevated the business of every client served.

 For more information, visit us at www.novalexconsulting.com or call 214-395-5153

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