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The Three Ps of Marketing Operations

by Laura Patterson  |  
May 18, 2010

Marketing performance measurement and management (MPM) remains among the top-three priorities for chief marketing officers and VPs of marketing, CEOs, COOs, and CFOs, according to the ninth annual MPM study from VisionEdge Marketing.

The findings reveal that Marketing as a function knows what it needs to do and has established mechanisms for MPM, but many organizations remain challenged by the lack of the following: systems and issues associated with data collection, key performance-management processes, well-defined metrics, and reporting systems.

Those challenges create a cascade effect that impedes Marketing from what it ought to do (effectiveness). So when Marketing instead focuses on what can be done, it may not be working on the things that would enable it to adequately contribute to the business, hence reducing marketing return on investment.

A solid MPM practice optimizes marketing activities, thereby making measurement more relevant and allocating marketing resources more appropriately.

One step that goes a long way toward enabling MPM is to operationalize Marketing. Creating a marketing-operations function ties analysis with performance management.

For Marketing to fully achieve MPM maturity—or even take it to the next level—the role of, and skills within, the marketing-operations function at a minimum needs to address three Ps: planning, process, and performance management.

Marketing Operations Defined

Adding dedicated resources to a marketing organization by creating a marketing-operations role is essential to improving effectiveness and efficiency. Marketing-operations personnel specialize in performance management, which includes data, analytics and measurement, financial management, strategic planning, marketing-resource management, and marketing-skills assessment and development.

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Laura Patterson is president and founder of VisionEdge Marketing. For 20+ years, she has been helping CEOs and marketing executives at companies such as Cisco, Elsevier, ING, Intel, Kennametal, and Southwest Airlines prove and improve the value of marketing. Her most recent book is Metrics in Action: Creating a Performance-Driven Marketing Organization.

Twitter: @LauraVEM

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  • by Brian McGuire Sun Jan 29, 2012 via web

    Laura, great article. I would add that clearly identifying the inputs to and outputs from our processes is crucial for this "P." We can create the best operation, but if our inputs (from internal and external suppliers) are inconsistent or don't meet our needs, then our processes will struggle to produce the outputs our business needs. It's a page right our of Six Sigma and, as described awhile back (, I've used the SIPOC chart from the Lean Six Sigma toolbox to help enhance understanding around the process "P" of Marketing Operations.

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