Marketing organizations are under tremendous pressure to perform. Budgets aren’t growing, but expectations are. How do you do more with less, without compromising on quality? 

For marketing leaders at growing companies who are ready to expand their programs, scaling marketing operations is a top priority. But doing so comes with major challenges: coordinating different teams while managing priorities, resources, and metrics in a way that doesn’t slow you down is no easy task.

But bigger doesn’t have to mean slower or less effective. By scaling your marketing operations, your growing marketing organization can stay lean and agile while continuing to deliver campaigns that impress customers and fuel business growth. 

Follow these five rules to scale your marketing operations successfully. 

Rule 1: Ensure Your Strategy & Processes are Scalable

Bigger doesn’t always mean better. Scaling your marketing efforts can create needless complexity, hinder collaboration, and slow your team down. Smart planning is needed to avoid these growing pains and keep your marketing organization running smoothly. 

So scale back before you scale up. Examine your current processes to see where you can streamline, determine which marketing efforts are generating a positive ROI, and cut back on what’s not working as well. 

To help determine whether you're in a good position to scale, ask yourself these questions: 

  • Do you know what distinguishes your brand from competitors in key vertical markets, or areas you've targeted for market expansion? 
  • Can you clearly articulate that difference? 

Being able to scale successfully means knowing what attracts and retains the customers you've already acquired, and leveraging that knowledge for growth that's sustainable.

Rule 2: Make Sure Your Team is Ready

Think about your team and its current workload and responsibilities. Are they equipped to handle a ramp up in projects without neglecting current customers, products, and services? 

If your marketing coordinators are also supporting other departments, such as PR and customer service, analyzing performance data, and implementing new marketing tools, they’re doing too much. Go back to step one to streamline efforts and processes so your team has the bandwidth to scale. Or consider adding staff to balance your team's workload and responsibilities. 

Next, ask yourself: does your team have the expertise needed to launch successful campaigns in the new regions or industries you're targeting? If not, should you hire new staff now, or contract out until you have a better idea of the kind of expertise your team needs? Evaluate your current team to identify each member's strengths and expertise, find out where your talent gaps lie, and hire for those roles. 

Rule 3: Fail to Delegate, Fail to Scale

According to a report done by CMO Council and Deloitte, 45% of CMOs say they spend most of their time reviewing and approving marketing plans, budgets and campaigns. 42% say most of their day is spent in meetings. 66% wish they could spend more time on business strategy with fellow company leaders, and 55% want more time to implement innovative new marketing approaches. 

Making good decisions takes time something few marketing leaders have enough of. So save your attention for the most important cases, and delegate whenever you can. Set your team up to be able to make good decisions on your current marketing initiatives, so you can focus on executing new strategies. 

Because many marketing tasks are recurring, like setting up campaigns, planning and publishing content, or promoting events, so are many of the decisions your team has to make around these initiatives. For instance, which segments or channels should a new campaign target? Which metrics will you use to track success?

Create templates for recurring tasks and projects, so processes are standardized and easy to follow. Set up reporting dashboards that make it easy to measure and share results. This visibility lets you quickly check in on campaigns without spending all your time in meetings, and it allows your team to stay aligned on priorities and know exactly what their colleagues are responsible for, and what goals they're driving towards. 

Email and spreadsheets are about the least scalable solution there is, so find a work management tool that can grow with your team. This guide will help you evaluate your options and find the right fit for your needs. 

Rule 4: Embrace Automation

It’s the central puzzle of marketing: sending the right message to the right person at just the right time. 

But as you ramp up your marketing machine, launching simultaneous, complex campaigns, it becomes more and more difficult to do so. In order to keep up with the complexity and volume of customer and campaign data, you need the right technologies to track, analyze, and optimize your marketing efforts. 

So how do you scale without losing the personalization that's resonated with your customers and fueled your current successes? 

Leveraging marketing automation tools allows you to send highly targeted messages to leads and shorten the marketing cycle. Automated lead nurturing helps you build relationships with customers through helpful emails, follow-ups, social media engagement, etc., to determine when they’re truly sales-ready. And by automating your creative workflows, you streamline repetitive tasks, cut down on errors, and execute faster.  

Rule 5: What Can’t Be Measured Can’t Be Improved 

A recent study by HubSpot found that only 23% of companies are exceeding their revenue goals and of those not exceeding their goals, 74% don’t know the number of monthly visits, leads, MQLs, or sales opportunities they need. 

How can you grow your customer base and revenue streams when you don’t now how leads are coming into or moving through your marketing funnel? 

When you’re tracking the right things, growth becomes a much simpler task. Focus on metrics that make you a customer-centric organization, so you get actionable data and timely user feedback that pushes your company forward. Find out which marketing initiatives are creating value in order to improve results, boost ROI, and deliver mature leads to your sales team. Being able to properly attribute revenue across each of your marketing activities is key to knowing where to place your resources to fuel growth. 

Basic metrics like lead volume and website traffic are important, but failing to dive deeper means you’re missing out on key insights into your marketing performance, and valuable opportunities for improvement. MQL to SQL ratio, unengaged subscribers, and other advanced marketing metrics will give you deeper insight into what's driving your success and where you should focus your attention.

And don’t just measure campaign results; measure the effort that goes into them as well. Evaluate campaign performance based on two factors: did your efforts produce the desired outcomes? And did the outcome justify the resources required?

Maximize Growth and Stay Lean 

With the right foundation of marketing operations, you can grow your marketing organization into a responsive team that’s able to capitalize on customer needs and market trends. 

Teams that embrace the Agile marketing framework stay lean while improving productivity and efficiency. In fact, 87% of CMOs have found their teams to be more productive after transitioning to Agile marketing. Get in-depth strategies for making your growing marketing team more Agile in this free guide, 7 Steps to Developing an Agile Marketing Team

Sources: Oktopost.com, Blog.marketo.com, Inc.com, Blog.Hubspot.com

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