Business processes have adapted to a remote work culture. Even if your organization has shifted to a hybrid or even back to an in-person structure, there are no doubt aspects of your job that involve collaborating with others online. The Marketing Operations field specifically employs individuals with unique technical skills where collaboration, planning and delivery are exclusively managed within software.
Studies have shown that individuals stay with one company for less time than they have historically, so implementing software and processes that allow your employees to collaborate online and continue to serve as the source of truth through people transitions is truly the key to your company’s survival. Implementing a project management tool for your marketing operations is not a ‘nice to have’, it is a business critical system that all organizations should work hard to optimize & automate in order to keep their organization running smoothly.
What role should a PM Tool play in supporting marketing operations?
A project management tool should be used as the central, single source of truth.
A PM tool helps eliminate siloed conversations and repetitive/manual processes and brings teams together under an optimized system with visibility across departments. In this age of evolving technology, people are overwhelmed with the various avenues of communication, especially during a work day. Between email, instant messaging apps, live doc comment functionality, meetings, message boards, etc- there are so many threats to critical information being lost in translation.
This cross channel tool is where everyone in your organization can reference real time status updates, project timelines, and communications, all organized in a workflow that makes sense for your unique business processes. Marketing Operations teams specifically rely on collaboration between team members and separate departments so having one tool that aligns everything is key.
Why should companies seek to optimize their PM tool to support marketing operations activities?
A Marketing Operations team is one of the most collaborative departments within an organization. If there is a lack of processes and organization, this can foster a toxic culture stemming from individual priorities and self proclaimed fire drill emergencies.
For a specific example, picture this scenario. Jamie, a new campaign manager, receives a request to build a webinar program and send an invite email for an upcoming event. The event is next week and the invite needs to launch tomorrow, although copy and images are currently being finalized. Since she has to wait for final content, Jamie moves on and spends the rest of her day following up with other requestors who are missing various requirements for their campaigns or who have questions about timelines and send dates. Jamie logs off for the day but checks back in after dinner to see if the missing content is available since she was notified that this request is top priority from leadership to send the invite out asap. Jamie gets confirmation on content and quickly finishes the email build late that night and sends it off for approval. The next morning, Jamie logs on extra early to check on the email approval and receives the green light with just one minor copy change. With a quick update, light self-QA, the email is scheduled just in time for the 8:00am send deadline. Does this sound familiar? To some, this might sound like a once in a while exception. To others, this is likely their daily routine. This lack of defined processes and daily fire drills causes burnout and leads to Jamie leaving the job.
Instead of this company’s bottom line benefiting from Jamie’s skills as a certified marketing platform expert, they are utilizing her expertise to ‘follow up’ and ‘circle back’ to missing content and rushed deadlines. By implementing a proper project management tool and optimizing the processes across departments, you can quickly build a positive culture of collaboration and retain your valued employees. Not to mention the increased campaign velocity that comes with better resource management.
When is it important for companies to optimize their PM tool for marketing operations?
Marketing Operations teams can start small, and maybe you don’t need robust workflow management software if you’re a one woman shop. But as soon as there are greater than two individuals working towards accomplishing a common objective, there needs to be alignment on goals, timelines, deliverables, etc. And this is where a PM tool comes into play. If you’re on a Marketing Operations ‘team’, aka- more than one person, a project management tool in some capacity is a necessity. The level of complexity in which you optimize the tool is a different story, but acquiring the tool is step one.
How should companies configure their PM tool to ensure it is able to support MOPs?
Due to the nature of the Marketing Operations department and the interdependencies from other teams, it’s important you identify a dedicated PM tool admin who has authority to make content strategy decisions for your organization. It’s also recommended that you develop a ‘power user’ group that encompasses an individual from each department that uses the tool. This will help build those collaborative relationships and continuously streamline the process from beginning to end, benefiting everyone.
It is also important to dedicate time to build out a robust intake process/form. This should consist of mandatory fields and drop down options for all request categories. You can build in logic to surface other mandatory questions based on the request category and selections. The goal being that the marketing operations team has everything they need to get started once the request is submitted.
PM tools are extremely customizable and you can tailor them to meet your unique business needs. Whatever you decide the end to end process looks like, it’s important to keep in mind the buckets for execution and ideally automating processes and tasks for each:
- Intake / project set up
- Build / architect
- Test / review cycle / QA
- Go live
Who should benefit from a PM tool for Marketing Operations?
It’s obvious that the four pillars of the marketing operations organization will directly benefit from implementing an agile project management tool. But it really advances so much further than that. Your entire organization as a whole will reap the benefits of an efficient, cohesive productivity software. When everyone is armed with the information they need to do their job effectively, the entire company profits from that output.
When there is synergy within the marketing operations process, there is logical campaign planning, proper resource allocation, deadlines executed on time, brand consistency, collaboration between teams, visibility for leadership, clear expectations, and the list goes on. The Marketing Operations team executes deliverables that directly interact with a business’ customer base. It’s no doubt that a broken process or lack thereof is translated into a deliverable in one way or another. It’s imperative that you set your teams up for success which starts with ensuring the entire process is managed efficiently within a project management tool. If you’re interested in learning more about implementing a robust PM tool tailored for your marketing operations team, please reach out to our experts at Etumos.