We all know the joke, developers spend ages automating a task that would take a fraction of the time to actually do. There is certainly some truth in this meme.
BUT WHY DO WE DO IT?
All joking aside, there is some logic behind it and us Marketing Operations people could do worse than taking on some of that mentality. You might not be able to predict how many times you will have to repeat the same task again and from what point the automation will start to pay back. What you do know is that long before this point has been reached attention fatigue will have set in. And that means mistakes.
By templating, even a small section or part of a task, it means you never have to start at the beginning again! You never know, maybe you will have to do the task 100 times or more meaning your efficiency saving is repeated 100 times over. Just as importantly, mistakes are much less likely this way, saving time in the long run but also meaning error fixing is easier and improvements can be built in incrementally! Marketing Ops teams everywhere know that details are important. Incorrectly set up Marketing Programs mean a lot of extra manual work to fix reporting or lead flows. So how can we as marketers automate these processes? How can we avoid this wasting of time?
USE A PLATFORM?
Our Demand.Center platform is designed for this purpose. The core concept is “never start at the beginning again”! Whether it is Email templates, Landing Page templates, or even post-campaign reports much of Marketing Operations and Campaign Production can be very repetitive and all those tasks can be automated and templated through the use of the Demand.Center platform. This will not only be more agile and responsive but also able to keep up with the current trends.
HOW DO I GET STARTED?
But you don’t always need a new Platform to start automating. It is a about a mindset of making processes repeatable and then aiming to automate as much possible. This is a key trend in businesses in general and in marketing ops even more so:
It will help us all in becoming more efficient, more accurate and precise. Many tools we have that are commonplace also allow for automating the tedious stuff. Here are a few that save me hours every day!
- Excel PowerQuery - you don’t need to be a Data expert to delve into this awesome feature of Excel. You can store simple processing steps such as moving/ hiding columns, filtering values, and sorting. The bigger the data set the easier the data manipulation.
- Jira Automate - while every company has its task management platform of choice the configuration and automation of task creation make this a real time saver.
- Slack Integrations - OK so not technically an automation platform, the integration between the MS Office and Slack makes file sharing and collaboration really effortless. While we are all working remotely this and other integrations makes it the place to go for starting the Templating/Automation journey.
WHERE SHOULD I LOOK FOR EFFICIENCY GAINS?
Bringing it back to the Marketing realm, the Marketing Automation space has reached saturation and all organisations now have something in place. But just because we are all fairly familiar with Marketing Automation functionality, doesn’t mean we should stop in our quest for increased productivity, efficiency and improved data quality and insight. Here are some key questions you need to ask yourself if you want to keep up with the pack;
- Do I know where and how my Marketing Ops Team is spending their time?
- How much time are field marketers losing by navigating “the process” instead of building that funnel?
Now that you know the answers to the above you can see how urgent it is to improve on these processes and how efficiency gains can be made through automation. To start off with here are some of the most common processes that should be templated and automated as much as possible:
- Data Uploads
- UTM Parameters
- Campaign Creation
- Brand Control
- Webinar end-to-end deployment
- Campaign Reporting
But this list is not exhaustive. We in Marketing Ops have a difficult and exciting challenge in keeping up with the latest trends. The last thing we want is to waste time on following and maintaining repetitive processes. And that is why you should be looking to Template where possible, offload the heavy lifting to bots and automated workflows and share these process/improvements with the wider organisation. This will make your marketing function not only more efficient, but it will also allow you to become more strategic.
Written by Dan Petersen – Digital Marketing Consultant, CRMT Digital