Tuesday, December 15, 2009

The IDC Marketing Operations Holiday Gift List

This month I was delighted to join the Advisory Board of MOCCA: The Marketing Operations Cross-Company Alliance. In this new role I am looking forward to working with a number of current IDC CMO Advisory clients and also many new colleagues as we help to expand the professional capabilities of the important Marketing Operations (MO) role.

At the initial Advisory Board meeting, the basic theme of the discussion centered around the complexity and expansion of the MO role. “Our typical member needs so much and the role is evolving so quickly” …we concurred… “That we have a world of opportunity to serve and support them. And so, where to start?”

And so, where do we start, to start 2010? First, let’s finish 2009 end enjoy the Holidays.

It has been a difficult 2009 for all of us in marketing. But especially so for our MO staff! Marketing’s selfless few who have ignored the hunger-pangs of process improvement so that demand generation might eat ! Our tireless servants-of-spreadsheets who have had to bear the ceaseless administration of budget reviews, even as their own chart of accounts were flayed to the bone by corporate finance!

Who more deserving than your favorite MO professional to be remembered at this important time of year?

To make things easier for all, I have prepared a simplified Marketing Operations Holiday Gift List, so that you may save time in shopping for your favorite MO professional. With this list completed, you may rest well over the holiday break, secure with IDC’s assurance that your MO staff will achieve professional success in 2010:


1) Her choice of a Shiny New MPM dashboard; an MRM system; or a Sales Enablement portal. Okay: you could argue that this is an extravagant gift to have to purchase during a recession. But IDC’s most recent survey of marketing automation investment trends and our on-going conversations with MO professionals would indicate that evaluation and investment in marketing automation is at its fastest pace of the past seven years. So, why should your MO staff not receive what all the others are?


2) A Brand-New Colleague (to help out with the increasing work-load).

Here is my observation: a few years ago, helpful or break-through contributions from the newly-hired MO staffer was viewed as an un-expected pleasant surprise for the CMO. Today, that same CMO sees the MO role as legitimate and necessary and established. As such, the CMO is now ratcheting-up the expectations that they have of MO-area output: better controls and budgets; crisper processes; and greater alignment with other functions. However, the percentage of total marketing staff in place to satisfy those rising expectations has leveled off in the range of 4-5%, over the past two years.

So: what to look for in our new colleague? Impeccable grooming, but willing to roll up sleeves and get hands dirty. The ability to data-cleanse an aging lead file with the best of them. Full of energy and capability. A respected background in sales and marketing. A holder of political equity, and a willingness to expend it .

3) How about giving your most important MO professional the gift of Six Months of Peace, Love and Understanding with Sales? Can’t seem to find that on Amazon or E-bay? How about a copy of the bestselling book “Difficult Conversations”?

4) A reasonable Marketing Budget Increase for 2010. This is also a difficult gift to ask for during a recession. But IDC is known for being conservative and objective in its outlook and forecasts, yes? And so our current sentiment that the average tech vendor should receive an increase of 3% to marketing budgets in 2010 should not break the bank. So, make sure that your marketing department gets its fair share (plus twenty percent).

5) An all expense paid, ten-day trip to Hawaii. This has absolutely, positively nothing to do with Marketing Operations but it sure sounds nice, doesn’t it?


From the IDC Executive Advisory Group – Happy Holidays and prosperous New Year!