How marketing operations management supports strategic alignment


The desk of today's marketer: 2 screens, multiple piles of paper and coffee.

Every once in a while I stop for a moment and consider how radically different marketing is today compared with just 3 years ago. Looking no further than my desk, it's quite amazing how my job has changed in just that short period of time. Previously, marketing seemed more an art than a science and it stood in contrast to IT, finance and operations - the enterprise functions that lived in a more structured and quantifiable reality than marketing.

Back then, the concept of strategic alignment across organizational lines usually seemed limited to the domain of the C-suite. And they still focus on it to be sure - but now strategic alignment is also a concern of marketing. Traditionally, consumer packaged goods was the leading industry where management engaged marketing in enterprise-wide alignment. It's not surprising considering the nature of the CPG business, and that focus on alignment became known as brand management. As Phil Kotler attests in this short video, good brand management rests squarely on the shoulders of stategic alignment - so the idea is not simply to communicate a brand promise, but to also fulfill that promise with well-orchestrated execution and delivery.

What has changed? Now that the world is increasingly lived online and the advent of social media has tipped the scales of business communications decidedly in favor of the consumer, customer centricity is not simply a concern for soap makers and cereal purveyors - it's essential for all businesses. As a result, brand management approaches that depend on internal alignment are key to marketing success across industries. And alignment increasingly entails marketing and IT, given the online nature of our digital world.

More than ever, great marketing is about spot-on execution that delivers what's promised

It follows then, that not only is it important to align across departments - but also to align within the marketing department through marketing operations management. It's no longer optional - marketing operations management is critical to planning and executing marketing that grows your business. And when you can integrate marketing operations management with marketing automation, adaptive customer experience management, social media analytics and marketing optimization, then you have your hands on all the major levers to engage your market and grow your business in ways that are structured and quantifiably effective.

Marketing operations management enables success because you’ll achieve greater consistency, efficiency and effectiveness by automating and integrating marketing processes and workflows. Key components of that include marketing strategy development and planning, asset creation, campaign execution, and post-campaign analysis and reporting.

With the right approach to marketing operations management, you can plan and develop marketing programs and workflows based on corporate initiatives and deliver confidently at a tactical level with consistent messaging, collateral and execution methods. If you add budgetary views to that operating model, you achieve fiscal control while enabling collaborative planning, allocation and program execution.

In a nutshell, that's how marketing operations management supports strategic alignment. For more details, you might be interested in downloading this whitepaper, Integrating Marketing Operations: How Marketers Can Align Their Strategy and Planning with Overarching Corporate Goals.

As always, thank you for following!



About Author

John Balla

Principal Marketing Strategist

Hi, I'm John Balla - a Digital Marketing Principal here at SAS focused on Content Strategy. I co-founded the SAS Customer Intelligence blog and served as Editor for five years. I like to find and share content and experiences that open doors, answer questions and maybe even challenge assumptions so better questions can be asked. Outside of work I stay busy with my wife and I keeping up with my 2 awesome college-age kids, volunteering for the Boy Scouts, keeping my garden green, striving for green living, expressing myself with puns, and making my own café con leche every morning. I’ve lived and worked on 3 contents and can communicate fluently in Spanish, Portuguese, Hungarian and passable English. Prior to SAS, my experience in marketing ranges from Fortune 100 companies to co-founding two start ups. I studied economics at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and got an MBA from Georgetown. Follow me on Twitter. Connect with me on LinkedIn.


  1. John, excellent post. It is a great and interesting time to be in marketing. Today’s marketer has more capabilities and opportunity than earlier generations of marketers. Consider the desk of your great-great grandfather. His desk was likely littered with packaging designs, newspaper clippings, and a recommendation to shift some advertising funds to a new channel, radio. His son dealt with similar challenges: constructing a sales kit for an army of door-to-door sales people, opportunities for geographic expansion, and moving some ad spend from radio to TV. Today’s challenges are unique in their own way. A new report from eMarketer estimates that for the first time ever US adults will spend more time consuming digital media than watching TV. Many kids are now growing up in households with “ezines” loaded on mobile tablets and not a print magazine in sight. Today’s connected consumer leave behind a valuable trail of touchpoints and engagement opportunities. But they expect a lot in return. They realize their value and demand respect. They expect seamless integration when they choose to connect with a supplier. They also demand a level of personalized engagement to keep them engaged. As a marketer the opportunities are exciting, at least for those who successfully align resources to deliver quantifiable results. I always enjoy reading your posts. Thanks for challenging everyone to think more broadly.

    • John Balla

      Thank you for your kind words, Tom! I totally agree - it's truly a great time to be in marketing for all the reasons you shared.

      I've been thinking lately about what the world of marketing might look like in a year or two, and more specifically about what I can be doing to prepare for what might come in 2014. I am nowhere near to having the answer to that question, so I have my antennas up and my eyes are wide open...

      Thanks for following!

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