Real business pain-point solutions and how to save time and money
As your Marketing Operations team grows, the processes leveraged by Campaign Specialists need to scale with it. Existing inefficiencies that seem “manageable” today can become resource drains of the future as your request volume grows. So here are 5 real-life pain-point examples of the most common time-consuming challenges we see today in Campaign Operations, how quickly those can diminish limited resources, and tips on how to avoid these in your team.
“We’re late! We just need to get this done- we can worry about the process and templatization later.” Sound familiar?
Unfortunately, constantly focusing on “just getting it done” can prevent your department from scaling later. Yes, creating documentation can be tedious, and enforcement of these processes can feel neverending. Still, there is an actual cost and drain on resources to not putting in place systems and processes.
Here are five of the most common Campaign Operations inefficiencies we’ve seen, along with real-world examples of how rapidly these inefficiencies drained resources and how to solve them.
Inefficiency 1: No intake process for email campaign requests
This first inefficiency is something that most teams don’t put in place until they are already scaling. However, even small-to-medium-sized teams could benefit from thinking through how intake may work in the future.
A Campaign Operations or Marketing Operations team member received an email requesting “just a quick email build using the attached copy” and is told “just make it look like the one we sent last week!”
But as the team scales, what was once manageable and innocuous requests now may be ambiguous – the person who built the email last week may not be available to build the one requested this week and, therefore “just build it like we did last week” may require digging around in the marketing automation platform (MAP) to figure out just what precisely that email was.
There could be time wasted in back and forth with the requester to figure out what they are referencing or because they’ve left out some critical information in their “quick” email request.
Suppose you don’t fix the in-take process early in developing your Marketing Operations team. In that case, you risk situations like what we’ve seen: Being scaled enough to have a global team but not having the processes that allow easy work across timezones.
For example, an EMEA team asking for an email send with no details, no copy, and insisting it needs to go out “tomorrow BST time.” If your team is US-based and unable to clarify needs before their end-of-day, it will cause that email send to be missed.
Create a request form that includes the required fields your marketers must provide before the request goes to the Campaign Operations team early in developing your Marketing Operations team. The more information you can collect before the build, the more streamlined the process will be and the more back-and-forth questions you’ll eliminate. Your intake form can be simple at first and develop more complexities as your team scales, but consistently using an intake form will pay off dividends as you scale to being a global marketing team.
Inefficiency 2: Unclear or undefined Service Level Agreement (SLA) within your Organization
We tend to see this inefficiency creep into teams because, as a small team, you have more flexibility to communicate 1:1 with marketing teams asking for campaign builds. So while we see lots of teams develop SLAs, enforcing them sometimes isn’t done because it’s easy to discard strict SLAs as a small team. But creating good habits can ensure that marketing and Marketing Operations teams, as they start to specialize and differentiate, work well together and finish things on time.
A Campaign Operations or Marketing Operations team member once again receives a “last minute” build and accommodates the marketing stakeholder for the third time in the week, dropping what they are doing to begin building. Unfortunately, halfway through the build, they discovered that the requested segmentation made it more complicated than expected. They had to return to the marketing team member and say they could not complete it in time.
As your team scales, getting requests in on a standardized SLA/turnaround schedule is vital to ensure that requests can be quickly and efficiently received, processed, and turned around at any time. Both parties should have clear expectations that align so that marketing knows when their campaigns are going out, and Marketing Operations has time to properly build and QA what they are doing.
Build out a reasonable set of SLAs once you get to the point where you have requesters and builders and your teams are differentiating. This may seem like an early part in your journey to specialization, but creating SLAs and then having conversations about them as you optimize other areas of Campaign Operations is the best way to set everyone up for long-term success.
Inefficiency 3: No program templates / reusable or pre-configured campaign flows
Now we’re starting to get into inefficiencies that can create a higher risk of error. We often see this inefficiency in small Campaign or Marketing Operations teams that just haven’t had the chance to think back and think about larger-scale efficiency, but it’s almost always where we see these teams create errors.
A Campaign Operations or Marketing Operations manager gets a request (usually from someone who knows enough to be dangerous) that says “Oh hey, can you just clone this campaign and send it with these tiny edits? The same audience, you know the drill. Thanks!”
This may be the most efficient way to create repeated campaigns at a smaller scale. Still, as request volume on the ops team grows, there is more opportunity for errors to occur and for essential pieces of information not to be copied over. Cloning over last week’s webinar program is all well and good until you forget to change the broadcast dates because you didn’t see they were in the past.
As your team scales, you may improve how you create campaigns or segment audiences that need to live in a centralized program template library. That way, these improvements will cascade to all programs of the same type from now on. You are also at risk of not clearing out static lists, forgetting to update utm parameters, or even passing something out of QA that is wholly wrong because the text is close-but-not-quite what it was when this program was used previously.
To start building a program template library, schedule a planning session with the marketing team to discover what campaigns are scheduled for the upcoming month, quarter, or year. Then you can ascertain which of these campaign types should be made into a program template.
Cloning the program template will likely save your Campaign Operations teams time (sometimes cutting production time in half!), but it will also reduce the risk for errors as your cloned-out program templates will have very clear blank tokens and things that need to be filled in. It will be more obvious where text errors reside and easier to ensure a proper QA process.
Inefficiency 4: No documentation and/or standardization
This inefficiency is understandable but can create difficulties in bringing new hires into the team. If you don’t have documentation on how campaigns are built and haven’t standardized how everyone is building, you risk being slowed down by a key team member leaving or being unavailable.
When volume is low, and the Campaign or Marketing Operations group is small, having one or two people on the team who know everything and have it all “in their heads” will seem good enough. But now, think of what happens when you add a new team member or some of your processes change.
Your original two folks who developed a lot of the processes are spending precious time explaining processes to the new hire, or they have to repeat themselves often on how to manage through process changes because the original process and the new process weren’t written down.
One example of this we see a lot involves segmentation. Often there will be a crucial marketing or Marketing Operations team member who understands the fields commonly used for segmentation.
If the Campaign or Marketing Operations team member who is unfamiliar with the data structure is trying to set up a segment that, say, excludes records unqualified by the SDR team, but has no documentation on the field that is used to do that, the campaign send could be delayed if the knowledgable team member is out.
Creating solid documentation around how campaigns are built and launched, emphasizing segmentation and the fields that drive your routine segments, will allow your Campaign or Marketing Operations team members to proceed with their build with more autonomy and confidence. You will be able to get new team members – or agencies – up to speed faster, and you won’t be reliant on what information your friendly neighborhood MOPs manager can keep in their head.
Inefficiency 5: No QA & Approval Processes or lack of enforcement of those processes
This inefficiency can create considerable risk to any size team, but definitely as your team scales. It’s much better to work out reasonable QA versions of these processes as soon as you start to grow and differentiate your Campaign Operations team (don’t forget to work them into your SLAs) so that you don’t create a situation in which your team is bypassing quality control to get campaigns out the door faster.
Your Campaign or Marketing Operations manager quickly finished an email campaign that should have been deployed in an hour. They get it scheduled, it goes out, and then you get the dreaded email from the VP noting a typo in the text.
Now, hopefully, you aren’t in a situation where your VPs are in the habit of copy-editing your marketing emails (that doesn’t scale either!), but this inefficiency is where the rubber meets the road in terms of ensuring that the marketing you are sending out is of high quality.
At scale, without a robust and clear QA and approval process, we’ve seen our clients accidentally send emails meant for a highly targeted list to the entire database. A big MOOPs!
Documentation doesn’t have to start by being a huge time investment. First, create a simple QA checklist that the people building emails and campaigns can use to QA each other’s work. But if you build it, make sure your QA team uses it. Ensure you incorporate whatever QA process you develop into your SLAs, including turnaround times, as you negotiate with your marketing stakeholders.
While there is a considerable time investment upfront to create program templates, SLAs that work for everyone, intake processes, QA & approval processes, and checklists, in the end, it will save you and your team time, money, and headaches.
This can feel like an overwhelming process, but if you start thinking about how your Campaign Operations team will operate at scale when you are smaller and make the time investments in developing these processes up front, the time will pay significant dividends as you scale such as:
- Save time per build
- See faster turnarounds
- Have the bandwidth to process more requests
- Increase alignment between internal teams and stakeholders
- Reduce pain points
If you’re unsure where to start or too strapped for time, contact our team to learn how our Campaign Operations experts can help you lay the foundation a scalable Campaign Ops processes. No matter what marketing automation platform you use– Marketo, Hubspot, Eloqua, or Pardot, we can help!