Three Ps of Marketing Operations

According to The ninth annual MPM Study from VisionEdge Marketing, marketing performance management is still one of the top three priorities for Chief Marketing Officers, VPs in marketing, CEOs, COOs, and CFOs.

The findings reveal that Marketing as a function knows what it needs to do and has established mechanisms for MPM. Still, 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.

These challenges have a cascade effect that prevents Marketing from doing what it should (effectiveness). When Marketing focuses instead on what can be achieved, it might not be working on things that will enable it to contribute adequately to the business.

MPM practices that are effective optimize marketing activities by making them more relevant and allocating resources more appropriately.

Operationalizing Marketing is a step that will go a long way in enabling MPM. By creating a marketing operations function, you can link analysis to performance management.

To achieve MPM maturity or even advance it to the next step, Marketing must have the skills and role within the marketing-operations functions that address the three Ps—planning, process, and performance management.

Marketing Operation Defined

To improve efficiency and effectiveness, it is important to add dedicated resources by creating a role for marketing operations. Marketing operations personnel are experts in performance management. This includes data, analytics, measurement, strategic planning, and financial management.

The role has expanded to include several responsibilities.

  1. Determining and managing tools and systems
  2. Implementing metrics, infrastructure, and business processes
  3. Best practices for establishing and communicating
  4. Budgeting and managing the marketing budget overall
  5. Finding and deploying technologies to support performance reporting and measurement

A marketing operations department creates a center of competence that supports performance management.

The marketing-operations function focuses on how Marketing can support the business and on developing and implementing the systems, tools, and skills necessary to connect Marketing with business outcomes, track results, and suggest improvements.

Marketing operations are responsible for the management and development of the systems required to implement MPM.

The State of Marketing Operations

The 2010 MPM annual study revealed that, although many organizations understand the importance of Marketing Operations (MO), the number of employees assigned to this function has decreased.

In the MPM 2009 study, for example, 80% of respondents stated that they had a dedicated team or person in charge of marketing operations. In the 2010 survey, only 66% of respondents indicated that they have a marketing-operations role.

A further 5% said they would create a separate marketing-operations role. A little over one-third of the respondents said they had no plans to create an independent marketing-operations function or saw no need for it.

In 2009, the study revealed that the marketing operations function was underused. This theme also recurred in the 2010 research. Marketing Operations does not play its fullest potential. It does not address performance management in a more strategic way.

This year’s results suggest that, despite improvementyear’snalytics, the focus has been more on budget management and market research than performance management and measurement.

Marketing organizations need to build capabilities that support MPM in its entirety rather than focusing solely on analysis.

Marketing Operations That Deliver Value

According to research, most marketing organizations still face challenges in implementing MPM. They also have difficulty in establishing and maintaining consistent MPM practices. This is not surprising, given where marketing organizations are in terms of their maturity with MPM.

Marketing’s ability to manage metrics has improved, but marketing’s ability to manage performance is still elusive.

  • In 2009, 30% of respondents rated Marketing as completely effective. Today, less than 15% do.
  • Most respondents (78%) said that they were only marginally or somewhat effective.
  • The proportion of ineffective people increased from 8% to just over 10% in 2010.

This decline means that Marketing’s gains in communicating business valuMarketing’st risk.

The lack of metrics is a primary reason why marketing is not as efficient and effective as it could be. Metrics would improve the performance of marketing. Data analytics, measurement, and process skills are still a problem for many marketing professionals and executives.

Why? Marketing is still lacking in many organizations in terms of the systems, practices, and capabilities that will allow them to measure what really matters.

In 2009, 19% of marketers stated that marketing does not leverage MPM best practices. In 2009, less than one-fifth of respondents were satisfied with their MPM practices.

The study participants were not satisfied with Marketing’s ability to develop metrics and measure Marketing’s sales or set targets. These are areas where marketing operations can make a significant difference.

The Three Ps in Practice

Three Ps – process, performance management, and planning – provide a solid foundation for a marketing operations function.


According to the American Marketing Association, marketing is “the activity of creating, communicating, delivering and exchanging offers that are valuable for customers, clients, and partners as well as society.” The reference to a series of processes is key “to the definition.

A performance-driven marketing organization needs ten essential processes:

  1. Market intelligence and customer insights
  2. Planning
  3. Budgeting
  4. Market Asset Development and Management
  5. Measurement, reporting, and management of performance
  6. Metrics, benchmarking, and performance targets
  7. Auditor
  8. Data collection and management
  9. Professional-development processes
  10. Infrastructure Management

Best-in-class functions in marketing operations should be focused on managing and optimizing processes that will enable marketing organizations to achieve better performance.

Performance Management

MPM is a process that analyzes and improves marketing efficiency and effectiveness through a framework of metrics that monitors Marketing’s contribution to business goals.

Marketing’sperations is a key player in the performance management process.

The marketing operations department is responsible for governing the process, providing the data, analyses, systems, and tools to enable Marketing to connect its initiatives with the business, monitor performance, and report it through a dashboard.

Dashboards that are properly developed and deployed give performance-driven marketing organizations an edge over their competitors, who still operate with little or no data, analytics, or performance standards.


Any marketing plan should identify the strategies, tactics, and initiatives that the marketing department will use to achieve the company’s goals.

A clear road map is a crucial part of marketing planning. It shows how Marketing can make a difference for an organization. This requires linking Marketing’s strategies, tactics, and programs toMarketing’sss outcomes.

To do so, the marketing-operations team must interface with finance, sales, and service teams, as well as product and management managers. This interaction is crucial to capture the business outcomes and to clarify which of them Marketing should influence. It is also vital to define the key performance indicators.

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