There is a lot of good content out there these days about conversational marketing and what it takes to be 'remarkable' in a conversational age. This morning, on Mashable was a great post on Finding your Social Media Purple Cow. And while developing robust brand content and deep connection with customers remains important, we rarely talk about how critically important operations is becoming as a marketing discipline. What do I mean by operations?
- Repetitive consistent marketing performance
- Theory of constraints or other type of process flow analysis
- Process standards - including decision-making frameworks and metrics
- End-to-end systems that integrate with ERP & HR systems
Here is the thing about operations. It was developed as a discipline to take a complex problem and make it repeatable - think about assembly line as an example. For large companies it is much more important to have consistently good marketing than to have big swings in marketing. In the broadcast era, marketing operations were artificially simplified because you could access a huge volume of customers through a relatively small number of channels. It allowed everyone in the value chain to get a little operationally lazy. You didn't really need to expend all that much effort to either control costs or find different ways to interact with customers - it was more the law of averages. However it also generate some content that was wildly successful and some that fell completely flat.
The complexity of marketing has exploded now that people are switching more of their media consumption to the highly fragmented web environment. Now, you can easily test which content plays well or not with a small slice of the audience before you take big risks with your entire market. Finding your customers and interacting with them efficiently requires a lot more operational discipline - including applications, processes, measurements, and various different roles.
Marketing will always require good content but using the internet allows you to see exactly how changes to content change the behavior of your customers. If you are not thinking about stealing some supply chain resources from the big manufactures - or military ops staff - to help you with marketing, you should be. And yeh, they may not be your super fun creative types but they will help you drive revenue higher and reduce costs significantly.
Who is your operational super-star or are you struggling to do it yourself? How do you think about your marketing process flow? How stardarized are your processes? Can you all march in the same direction at the same time?