11 Signs Your Operations Are Undermining Your Marketing Efforts

Laptop with data from operations and marketing
Photo by Lukas Blazek on Unsplash

More than ever marketing teams are under the microscope to deliver and drive revenue growth. But marketing hinges not only on carefully crafted strategies, creativity, digital marketing technologies, and marketing metrics analysis but also on seamless organizational and operational structure and models for marketing to be effective. When operational inefficiencies rear their heads, they can significantly hinder marketing efforts, undermining your brand's potential.

Here are eleven signs that your operations may be sabotaging your marketing endeavors:

1.  Lack of Proper Budget Allocation for Authority and Empowerment

While holding your global integrated marketing team accountable is essential, without granting them the budget authority to allocate and prioritize omnichannel investments, the effectiveness of your campaigns may lack the necessary resources for success.

Your global integrated marketing team has day-to-day metrics visibility of all marketing activities across the marketing organization and channels that support a campaign initiative to determine where to best invest your marketing budgets. Without an operational model of objective cross-functional, marketing channel metrics analysis and centralized budget allocation, global integrated marketing functions are at the beck and call of those empowered with budgets in a siloed operational model to spend based on their own agenda vs. towards a cross-functional integrated effort.

2. Unclear Scope of Responsibilities

Ambiguity between global marketing and regional marketing can create confusion and inefficiencies in resource prioritization and utilization, particularly when it comes to digital marketing that crosses the boundaries of borders and regions. It’s essential marketing organizations define the structure of responsibilities so global and regional marketing initiatives and spend are working complementary vs. conflicting.

3. Inability to Align Sales and Marketing to Solutions

If your organization aims to transition from marketing point products to holistic solutions but sales isn’t operationally aligned to address the customer needs with a solutions sales approach, marketing efforts may fall flat due to a misalignment between messaging and sales execution.

Sometimes there isn’t time afforded to enable the entire salesforce to be trained on solution selling and you need to consider a sales overlay team. Marketing needs to be operationally aligned with sales not only to deliver pipeline but the right pipeline based on the sales organization structure and direction.

4.  Ineffective Account-Based Marketing (ABM) Implementation

Attempting an ABM strategy, let alone an ABX strategy, is a futile initiative if your sales compensation or team isn’t set up to with strategic accounts by territory.

Marketing can also invest heavily in a MarTech stack to support a digital target account model but the sales organization doesn’t embrace the digital technology.

Furthermore, if the digital marketing and field marketing teams aren’t aligned on an ABM model across 1:Many, 1:Few, and 1:1 marketing and who does what, it can create hiccups in the progression from 1:Many and 1:1 conversions toward your strategic account endeavors.

And don’t forget the channel’s role with strategic accounts also isn’t operationally aligned with direct sales and marketing, all these areas can result in disjointed efforts, missed opportunities, and wasted marketing spend.

Sales and marketing alignment are so critical when embarking on an ABM strategy in marketing.

5. Inadequate Reporting Capabilities for Partner Marketing

​Without robust partner and influenced pipeline reporting capabilities, scaling demand generation efforts to, through, and with partner marketing becomes challenging, as the impact of these collaborations cannot be accurately measured and you are running blind to the effectiveness and ROI of your partner marketing initiatives and spend.

6. Misalignment of Brand Promise and Organizational Culture

When your brand promise doesn't resonate with the internal culture, values, and behaviors of your organization, it erodes trust and consistency in customer experiences, undermining marketing efforts. This ultimately has an impact on your sales cycles or customer retention.

According to a study from Zendesk, “After more than one bad experience, around 80% of consumers say they would rather do business with a competitor.”

7. Misaligned Marketing Timelines with Buyer Journey and Sales Cycles

Failure to synchronize marketing planning and demand generation timelines with customer buying journeys and sales cycles can result in mistimed campaigns and missed opportunities for engagement.

8. Internal Discrepancies in Marketing Nomenclature

Lack of internal alignment on what marketing nomenclature can also cause disruption in your operational approach internally. Salesforce's definition of a "campaign" as a field in their CRM solutions vs. marketing’s definition of a campaign can lead to confusion across your executive team, sales organization, and within marketing that impacts the scope of strategies, model for campaign effectiveness, and tracking and budget allocation.

9. Misaligned Marketing Strategies with Sales Plays

When marketing strategies do not align with the sales plays that the sales team is incentivized and compensated on, it creates friction and disconnect between the two functions, hampering overall business growth.

10. Lack of Collaboration Between Product and Web Teams

In the evolution of a product-led growth go-to-market model, failure for corporate marketing web teams and product teams to define responsibilities of the overall web and product experience, particularly with PaaS, SaaS, or IaaS products, can result in disjointed user experiences, delays in the product roadmap, and disruption to your marketing to leverage the digital space for marketing purposes in accelerating the customer experience.

11. Building a Culture of Change Management During Digital Marketing Operational  Transformation

Undertaking a digital transformation without considering the necessary change management practices to support cultural shifts internally can lead to resistance, inefficiencies, and, ultimately, failure to realize the full potential of digital initiatives.

Many times companies live comfortably in the physical event space but transitioning to address customer and prospects who are accustomed to a digital experience is difficult as it requires a change in organizational skills, culture, and approach to marketing. Digital is organic and amorphous yet culturally organizations struggle with that operational approach from “one and done” to “optimize and evolve.”

Recognizing and addressing these signs of operational hindrance is crucial for aligning marketing efforts with business goals, enhancing efficiency, and maximizing the impact of marketing investments. Organizational structure and operational models and processes direct behaviors that if modeled appropriately transform into the effectiveness of team dynamics, optimized workflows for efficiencies and scale, and effective budget allocation for ROI for collective business success.

Man on laptop enjoys summer while working full time

There you are: sitting on the beach, covered in sunscreen, reading your favorite book, drinking your favorite drink under the cool shade of an umbrella. Life doesn't get any better than this. Suddenly, a door slams, a phone rings, a printer turns on. You jolt back into consciousness. You're at work, sitting in your cubicle, without even a hint of sunshine streaming in from outside.

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