3 Things You Absolutely Need to Run a Strong Marketing Operation

by Katy French

Do you have a strong marketing operation? Is your team aligned? Are your processes optimized? Are you getting the results you want? Or are you constantly struggling? Having worked with a variety of clients, we’ve seen the inner workings of all sorts of brands. And it isn’t always pretty. But one thing is for sure: Regardless of your size, or how many years you’ve been in business, you can get always better results by strengthening the three core pillars of your operation. Not sure what those are or how to do it? We have the tips you need to succeed. 

The 3 Keys to a Successful Marketing Operation

While each marketing operation is different, the same problems plague every brand. Some can navigate these challenges intelligently; others falter. And it doesn’t matter what your ranking is on the Fortune 500. We’ve seen mega brands with totally dysfunctional marketing teams, and we’ve seen scrappy startups with a sophisticated and well-oiled machine that gets great results. As the 2021 State of Marketing Maturity report by Integrate reminds us, what matters most is building and strengthening your core marketing pillars: organizational structure, tech, and strategy. 

So, if you’re ready to take the steps you need to get the success you want, this is the first place to start. Take an objective look at how well you’re doing in each of these areas, and follow our tips to get where you need to be. 

1) Organizational Structure 

If you’re misaligned internally, working over-capacity, siloed, or struggling to get the resources you need, you can’t do your job well. Hence, your organizational structure is the first thing you need to focus on, ensuring that your team is well-structured, your goals are clear, and you are all on the same page. 

Only 28% of marketers identify their current organizational structures as optimized.

—2021 State of Marketing Maturity report by Integrate 

To strengthen your organization…

  • Focus on communication. From asking for more budget to tactical things like writing a strong creative brief, a good team excels at good communication. In fact, we find most challenges boil down to a miscommunication or misalignment (that stems from a miscommunication). To improve the way you communicate, find out about the different types of creative thinkers, identify what type you are, and think about how different people’s approaches can affect team dynamics. 
  • Clarify your goals. This is the number one problem we see in teams. It’s not necessarily a lack of goals but a lack of clear goals that are aligned across the organization. For example, your brand strategy informs your content strategy, which informs your brainstorming process, and so on. If any piece of the puzzle is misaligned, you will not be effective. 
  • Build the right team. Your team structure can greatly help or hinder your progress.
    Instead of focusing on job titles themselves, we take a roles-based approach, ensuring that each responsibility is covered—regardless of role. Find out more about how to build the right team
  • Share your metrics of success. A single piece of content marketing can be touched by many people, from a copywriter to a project manager. You want people to take pride in their work (and be inspired to push themselves), but without success metrics that are understood across the organization, it can be difficult to keep everyone aligned and accountable. If you’re not sure how to measure success, find out which metrics you should consider and how to improve your ROI.
  • Improve your processes. Working smarter, not harder is one of the hallmarks of a successful marketing organization. Help your team do this by learning more about how to optimize your content creation process at every stage. 

60% of marketing teams fail to align their department goals with company goals.

—2021 State of Marketing Maturity report by Integrate

One last note: The more you communicate, understand, and empathize with the people on your team, the easier it will be to solve problems and produce higher-quality work together. Find out why thinking like a designer can help you improve your marketing, and try these tips to cultivate a culture of bonding.

2) Marketing Tech

We’re lucky to be living in a time when technology has made it easier to be a marketer than ever. But whether it’s automation or data-collecting, you need the right infrastructure and ability to make the most of what tech can provide. 

To strengthen your tech…

  • Use the right tools. From copywriting and designing to distributing and measuring, there are a wide variety of tools that can help you improve every aspect of your marketing. Using these tools well can save you hours of mind-numbing tasks—and save your brain space for the things you really need to focus on. To start, here are 100+ tools and resources to help at every stage of marketing. 
  • Focus on simplicity. Tools are wonderful, but admittedly there are so many it can actually be overwhelming, particularly if you’re facing budget restrictions that make it difficult to get the funds you need to put every tool to use. This is why we suggest focusing on a few foundational tools to inform a single source of truth, which allows you to see your efforts, identify ways to improve, and keep your team informed. 

Most importantly, you need to be able to synthesize the data you’re getting from these tools, understand the stories that data is telling, and turn them into actionable insights that can benefit the entire team. Find out how to find the stories in your data, and how to bring them to life through reports. 

3) Strong Strategy

With the right tech and organizational structure in place, you can focus on the most important piece of your marketing puzzle: strategy. We’ll say it until we die. You cannot be a successful marketer without a solid strategy. It is your guiding light and the only way to track your success, identify how to improve, and make the most of the resources you have. 

To strengthen your strategy…

You can start with our content strategy toolkit, a free resource to help you build the strategy you need to get the results you want. 

How to Improve Your B2B Marketing 

A good marketing operation is always growing, always evolving, always reshaping. Whether it’s internal issues or industry changes, what matters most is staying flexible and adaptable. 

  • Experiment often. Stagnancy is the death of any marketing operation. Whether it’s a different format, a different landing page, or a different subject matter, take calculated risks to see what pays off. 
  • Vet your ideas. Brainstorming a bunch of ideas is great, but choosing the best one is its own art. Ask these basic questions to identify the ideas that will resonate most with your audience.
  • Bring your coworkers into the process. You don’t always have to tackle content marketing alone. Find out how to turn your fellow employees into great content creators. 

You may not be able to do everything alone, and that’s OK. If you need a little more guidance or a few extra helping hands, you might need a partner who can help. See our tips to find an agency with the right expertise and build a good relationship with them from day one. You can also feel free to start your search with us. Find out what it’s like to work with us on a content strategy, or reach out directly. We’d love to help you build the best marketing operation you can.

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