Busy corporate marketing groups can be so focused on tactics and fire-fighting that they jeopardize their marketing investment.

The tendency to overreact to events, tackle symptoms rather than underlying fundamental problems and jump at the opportunity to please the boss can prove fatal. Crippled marketing efforts can leave promising companies in the dust, or at least handicapped at the starting gate.

Admired technology companies (like Intel, IBM and Adobe) are leveraging Marketing Operations to improve performance and measure ROI as they refine their marketing organizations using an operational focus. Marketing Operations is an emerging discipline that increases efficiency and drives consistent results in marketing-focused organizations. It builds a foundation for excellence by reinforcing marketing strategy with metrics, infrastructure, business processes, best practices, budgeting and reporting.

While Marketing Operations is uniquely suited to tackle marketing's most challenging problems in Fortune 500 companies, you don't have to be an Intel or Adobe to benefit. Here are the seven deadliest marketing sins that plague companies of all sizes and how Marketing Operations addresses them.

Problem #1: Ill-defined metrics

Today's corporate marketing departments must justify their existence. The need to measure results is inevitable. However, the instincts and skills that make a corporate marketing professional great—a bias toward action, verbal and written acuity and a talent for relationship-building—often don't translate into an ability or willingness to scientifically and objectively evaluate success.

Broken systems and the unwillingness of the organization to pay for marketing measurement also conspire against the effort to define meaningful success metrics.

Solution: Marketing Operations ensures that the right processes are in place to establish meaningful metrics at the front end of the marketing process, enabling success measurement processes at key intervals and as each program concludes.

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image of Gary Katz

Gary Katz is chief strategy officer of Marketing Operations Partners, a consulting firm that helps marketing organizations become value centers through accountability, alignment, and agility. He is also CMO of the Marketing Future Forum, dedicated to bridging silos in marketing teams, organizations, and supply chains.

LinkedIn: Gary Katz

Twitter: Gary M Katz