Unveiling the Missing Piece: Is Marketing Operations the Hidden Ingredient in Customer Experience Management?


In the realm of Customer Experience Management (CXM), brands have long emphasised the significance of technology, data, and content. However, amidst this focus, a vital element often goes unnoticed or underrepresented: Marketing Operations. In this blog we’re going to delve into the world of Marketing Operations and consider whether now is the time it is given more focus and how tools, such as Adobe Workfront, can help unlock its true potential.

The Rise of Technology, Data, and Content

In recent years, brands across industries have placed substantial emphasis on technology, data, and content as key drivers of successful CXM. Investments in robust marketing automation platforms, data analytics tools, and engaging content creation have become the norm. While these elements undoubtedly play pivotal roles, it begs the question: has Marketing Operations received the same level of attention and investment?

The Neglected Hero: Marketing Operations

Marketing Operations is the backbone of successful CXM. This function focuses on optimising and managing marketing processes, systems, and resources to drive efficiency and effectiveness in alignment with overall business objectives. It’s the relentless pursuit of improvement. Constantly finding quicker, more effortless, and more resilient ways of achieving desired outcomes.

The primary goal is to streamline and enhance marketing activities by establishing standardised processes, improving workflow efficiency, maximising resource utilisation, and facilitating cross-functional collaboration to ultimately enhance the overall customer experience. High performing Marketing Operations means creativity and innovation are never constrained; instead, they are given space to flourish. Marketing teams should treat operational debt - inefficiencies that cause drag to output - in the same way that development teams treat technical debt; constant, rigorous review and sustainable action to remove friction.

Efficiency and Effectiveness: The Benefits of Marketing Operations

By giving due attention to Marketing Operations, businesses can reap significant benefits in terms of efficiency and effectiveness. Efficient processes lead to cost reduction, improved employee experience, more effective resource allocation, and streamlined workflows. Marketing Operations helps eliminate bottlenecks, reduces duplication of efforts, and enhances collaboration across teams. When operations are finely tuned, marketing teams can dedicate more time and resources to strategic activities that directly impact customer experience.

Put another way, by operating effectively your people spend less time ‘filling the gaps’ and instead are empowered to realise their gifts, develop, and apply their talents to reach their full potential and generate business value.

Measuring Marketing Operations

Successful teams have operational metrics embedded into their measurement framework, which should be across three main axes – quality, cost and speed.  Quality metrics will normally focus on the uplift from marketing endeavours; example KPI’s are conversion rate or average order value. Cost is about how expensive it is to achieve those aims, such as cost of acquisition or the overall department P&L. The speed axis represents how long it takes marketing teams to deliver outputs.

Marketing teams that operate successfully will output higher quality work (and make fewer errors), reduce cost of each activity through efficiency and increase the speed of output: ultimately enabling businesses to get more from their budgets.

Examples of specific Marketing Operations KPI’s are campaign production time, marketing spend allocation, resource utilisation, and cross-functional collaboration metrics. By establishing clear benchmarks and tracking these metrics, businesses can gauge the efficiency and success of their Marketing Operations.

Unlocking potential with technology - Adobe Workfront

Merkle and dentsu are not exempt from the need to focus on Marketing Operations. To help us achieve operational excellence we utilise technology, specifically Adobe Workfront at an enterprise level, to help us allocate resources across a large array of client engagements and internal endeavours, manage project delivery, and produce content and marketing campaigns as a service for our clients.

Acquired by Adobe in 2020, Workfront is a leading work management platform that offers a suite of tools designed to optimise marketing operations. Its capabilities include workflow automation, resource management, project tracking, and real-time collaboration. Adobe Workfront empowers marketing teams to achieve higher levels of efficiency and effectiveness.

Fortunately, the market is buoyant with similar tools, such as the Atlassian suite (Jira, Confluence & Trello), that also offer rich functionality to aid businesses and provide that all important business intelligence. We predict capability and adoption of these tools to increase rapidly as cost pressures continue to bite. The need to derive value will mean only partial use of their functionality will no longer be an option.

Why now is the right time to put laser focus on Marketing Ops

In today's economic climate, cost reduction is a key priority for businesses. By shining a spotlight on Marketing Operations, organisations can identify areas for improvement, streamline processes, and ultimately achieve cost efficiencies. Furthermore, by investing in technologies like Adobe Workfront, businesses can position themselves for success in the realm of CXM.

If you would like to discuss how you can embed best practices within your marketing operations or how technology can help accelerate your journey, please get in touch with our team at Merkle.


Daniel Cooper, Head of Platform Enablement, Merkle