February 27, 2009

Marketing Optimized

At the recent 2009 Aprimo Summit in San Diego, Aprimo’s CMO Bob Boehnlein gave a great presentation on the Marketing Optimization Model. Then later in the conference, the topic was further analyzed and discussed in a breakout session. The Model gives marketing departments a great way to determine where they are, a defined path for improvement and a plan on how to get there.

Just as manufacturing has ISO 9000 and accounting has Six Sigma, marketing now has an explicit roadmap for increasing productivity. While this is Model is relevant in any economic climate, it rings especially true now in helping companies to do more with less and be prepared to take your industry by storm for when the economy recovers (and it will).

The Marketing Optimization Model has four unique stages and it is leveraged off the fact that you have, or are looking into, a Campaign Management (CM), Marketing Resource Management (MRM) or the full Enterprise Marketing Management (EMM) software suite.  As I guide you through the stages I would encourage you try to figure out which stage your company is in.
Here are the four stages of Marketing Optimization:
This is the first stage where most companies begin and many currently reside. In this stage processes are manual and information is not kept in one location. Few processes are clearly known or defined and if the processes are known, they are not defined on paper. Marketing departments send thousands of internal emails per month reviewing and updating collateral, time sheets are kept on excel spreadsheets and the marketing department’s year objectives, plans and strategies are stored on a team member’s local computer. Though the year’s campaigns are planned around the year’s objectives they are not logged against the objectives and if the department happens to divert from the objectives set, it is unknown why. Excellent campaigns, including emails are produced, but the results are not logged and the ROI is usually not as clear as it could be.  Another side of Ad Hoc is the marketing department has a budget but usually does not have good control and insight into their marketing spend and labor costs.
This is the second stage and a huge stepping stone to full optimization. In this stage processes are documented, marketing team members are aligned with processes and assigned tasks through automation. Objectives, plans and strategies are documented clearly and campaigns are tracked against them.  Hours of time are saved and with clear processes in place, the marketing department is now able to leverage these repeatable processes. You may also have installed and configured the financial module and now have your marketing spend aligned with your budget. The marketing department now has a way to track campaign results and calculate ROI. Contact history is being written to your contacts and shows links they have clicked on. An important part of this stage is user adoption and a change management plan is being executed. Though you may just have completed the first phase of your software implementation, you are already seeing the benefits and able to calculate your beginning ROI. With all your successes and lessons learned logged and analyzed, you are able to repeat what works and improve items that do not.
What a great stage to be at – your users are now comfortable with the new software and may have started thinking outside the box on new ways to use the software. Marketing team leads and managers are using reports to optimize the team member’s time and talents and reports are helping to align objectives, campaigns and costs. Your marketing budget is a well oiled machine and you are able to calculate ROI per campaign. Since the marketing team is able to build on repeatable processes and successes, you are probably seeing your campaign ROI increase. You are feeling close to having the agility you need to face any challenges or economic crisis that comes your way.  This is where you’ve turned the corner and no longer are you working for the software, the software is working for you!
Can you imagine life without the internet, Word, Excel or Adobe? Could you effectively add value to your team without these tools? This is the Optimized stage. Your marketing department can’t imagine doing their job without their MRM or CM software. Costs are kept low, processes are efficient, users are being utilized to the best of their ability. Reports that are run paint a clear picture of exactly what is happening in the department and with all this knowledge, managers are able to be agile when change is required. At this stage the original ROI goal you set when you started down this investment of an EMM project has far exceeded your expectations.

The Marketing Optimization Model is a great tool to help marketing departments become more efficient. Use this tool to set a large goal and to set all the stepping stone goals along the way. Do not expect that within eight – twelve months you will go from Ad Hoc to fully Optimized, but it is reasonable to expect that within that timeframe you will go from Ad Hoc to Repeatable. Thank you to Bob Boehnlein at Aprimo for bringing this model to the marketing world!! May we all be OPTIMIZED in the future!!