Archive for May, 2008

You are not alone

Thursday, May 29th, 2008

When you’re mired in the day-to-day challenges of managing marketing operations and insight activity, it’s easy to let yourself believe that you are alone in facing the difficulties with which you are presented. This is not the case, as two recent experiences have highlighted to me. At the beginning of the IDM Business to Business Conference panel session in which I took part recently (see Executional excellence and Institute of Direct Marketing Business-to-Business Marketing Conference 2008), I asked for a show of hands as to how many marketing data sources existed in delegates’ organisations. As I counted up from one, two, three systems, quite a number of hands stayed in the air, and indeed one of my fellow panellists admitted to probably being in double figures! If you’re juggling multiple data sources, you are not alone.

Another example, along similar lines, is dealing with disjointed sales and marketing systems. Last week I delivered the database marketing module of the IDM Certificate in Business to Business Marketing to a group of marketing professionals keen to show their mettle. The issue was brought up of how to ensure that data in the sales force automation solution at one organisation could be kept up-to-date with the marketing database, held at a service provider. I made a few suggestions, but reassured the individual asking the question that this is not an uncommon problem. If you’re struggling with disconnected data repositories, you are not alone.

Unlocking creativity

Tuesday, May 20th, 2008

This year’s institute of Direct Marketing Annual Lecture, delivered by veteran advertising guru Lord Putnam, was entitled “Unlocking Creative Talent in the Digital Age”. Lord Puttnam outlined five suggestions for fostering creativity (in its broadest sense), but the first one was of particular interest. Echoing a theme oft recurring here (see Executional excellence), he stated, in so many words, that competent or good is merely the point of departure, not arrival. In other words, you have to strive to be more than that in order to rise above the competition and stand-out.

Although, not referring specifically to marketing operations (even I can’t stretch it that far, although I’ll always give it a go – see Marketing operations endorsed!), I think Lord Putnam’s comment is entirely applicable, given the importance of process and execution in delivering effective marketing. Being good isn’t good enough; “operational excellence” should be everyone’s goal which, strange as it may seem, undoubtedly unlocks creativity.