You are not alone
Even as you can clearly notice (and we did too) that marketing operations are not a widely discussed topic, nearly every marketing team is looking into how to organize itself better. Basic challenges are general for every vertical or team size:
- How to keep track of changes?
- Is it possible to improve the visibility of processes and progress?
- Where to store info and materials?
- How to navigate everything?
- Can we decrease time on calls or looking for stuff?
- Why should everything be reported?
We were actually wondering how are marketing teams approaching these challenges, therefore we performed small research across our network.
How are others doing it?
Even though the source group was not insanely big, we wanted to be sure to diminish any bias of the platform where we will ask the question. Therefore we shared this question on Facebook, LinkedIn and in direct discussions.
The question was – What tool, system or solution are you using to share info and keep track of your marketing activities?
|Solution||Source: Twitter||Source: Facebook||Source: LinkedIn||Total|
|Project management tools: Asana, Jira, Trello etc.||9||40||19||68|
|Google Drive, Sheets, Docs etc.||14||4||10||28|
|MS Teams, Sharepoint etc.||1||9||0||10|
|MS Excel and e-mails||0||0||3||3|
|Something different, better.||0||0||0|
Interesting thing is, that Radek Duha, our CEO & Founder made the same research in 2018 and the results were basically copied what we’ve seen 3 years later! And based on our daily discussion with CMOs and other heads of marketing departments it did not change even this year.
What does it say about the state of marketing operations?
It’s clear that there are not many differentiated approaches. Interpretation can be as follows:
Worst case scenario – “I want to make my life harder”
A combination of MS Excel and e-mail is a solution that can hardly keep the information up to date and if anything increases time lost searching for files and messages.
“We want to communicate better, but don’t know how”
MS Teams and Sharepoint make it a little bit easier, but things will still lack a lot of context and will get any info obsolete quite fast.
You still need to reach out to people for updates or somebody needs to be in charge of maintenance and will easily fall into the trap of reporting instead of pushing marketing forward.
“Let’s improve things, but hide and seek is a fun game”
Google Drive and Sheets will allow much more active collaboration and were the easiest step to improve marketing operations in the last 5 years.
The issue is you will always end up with an ever-growing number of files, confusing or hard to navigate structure and your team members will keep losing track of files or links to them. That means a very often great amount of time invested in searching for something that you remember was created “somewhere”.
And let’s not go into the topic of files on personal drives instead of shared ones. Been there.
Current best scenario – “There must be a way to solve this”
Project management tools seem at the first glance an ideal solution. It’s definitely the most progressive one and actually solves part of the needs.
You can store a lot of info in one place, keep it up to date in a collaborative manner, track progress and share files. Though keeping track of data and a holistic overview will be still hard to get.
The main challenges will always be that:
- Project management tools are often chosen by other departments within the company based on their needs
- They are not made specifically for marketing, therefore you will be bending structures and features and it will often collide with other purposes those features have
- You will spend a lot of time filling them with information and data to see any value back instead of seeing an immediate impact
What does the future look like?
There is an obvious trend that marketing teams are getting aware of the need to communicate better, organize themselves in one place and have a single point where anything can be found.
The need for task tracking is mostly subjective, as companies spend so much effort to find the best marketers with high skills. Those people do not need to be controlled but rather guided with overall strategy, values and structure.
No marketer wants to lose time, especially on repetitive work without impact or unnecessary searching, because that is time they can spend on what they love and what they are good at – marketing.
Even though some project management tools are trying to answer at least part of the needs of a marketing team, it will never be their focus and it will always need to follow the basic structure they already have.
Key to an ideal solution
An ideal marketing platform (or marketing operations platform) needs to respect how does marketing and marketing teamwork:
- respect both strategic and tactical levels (but the tactical level is usually handled within specialised tools)
- create a single source of truth where info can be stored in a unified structured manner
- keep work with data and analytics close to their heart for both a holistic overview and progress insights for each campaign and channel
- create immediate and pro-active value for both the person in charge and specialists as well
A place for all story makers
All marketers are telling a story, through which they want to share a message, gain trust and make an impact (which of course often means ROI and growth of the brand). This research some time back was the final push for us to create such a place. Because the points mentioned above are coming both, from personal experience as well as feedback from marketers across the market.