3 ways marketing drives real business value

Two people face a whiteboard in a brainstorming session

How can a marketing operations team drive real business value across their organization—and move out of productivity-draining crisis management to strategic outcomes-driven work?

The three essential factors in play—agility, efficiency, and alignment—were explained in a recent MarketingProfs webinar—"Three Ways Marketing Can Drive Real Business Impact"—with Poly, the global audio and video solutions business created when Plantronics and Polycom became one company in 2019.

Jenifer Salzwedel, Poly’s Senior Director of Marketing Operations and Enablement, described how her team operates as an agile, efficient, and aligned “mission control” for 200 marketers worldwide; acting as global service center spanning content, design and production.

Context: Planning on the fly.

Erica Gunn, VP of Product Marketing and Operations at Workfront, set the scene in the webinar with Jenifer by reflecting on the pandemic’s impact on the nature of work.

Erica said, “Work has always been changing and evolving and getting more sophisticated, but that has accelerated over the last six months. Budgets have been reduced—sometimes dramatically—which often means that headcount has been reduced as well. Companies are striving to ensure that they are stretching budgets and resources to make sure they are having maximum impact across the organization. Programs are shifting on the fly. Initiatives are being planned and replanned on the fly. Historically, when companies have been thinking about annual plans, they are moving to monthly or quarterly planning initiatives because the line of sight is so limited right now.”

Companies are at varying stages of a work-productivity-change curve. Some are experiencing a productivity dip because they’re still trying to juggle tasks and respond to the pandemic. Others have moved onto more strategic work with technology powering their acceleration to greater productivity. Erica says in the webinar:

“An enterprise work management platform where you can see your strategy, your work, your people, your dollars, and the quality of work is helping customers move out of the productivity trough into outcomes-driven work.”

Three ways marketing drives value.

1—Operational agility powered by the ability to proactively pivot to new strategies.

Teams are under pressure to do more with less. They need to be fluent in change management and quickly pivot to new company strategies and initiatives. Jenifer explained that responsiveness was key—not just to business imperatives, but when people took leave or needed to take time out to care for a sick family member.

Poly uses Workfront as a “single source of truth” for all creative work, “giving us a lens to help us bring all of our materials to life.” Jenifer explained that they also used a foundational data structure as the backbone of a formal taxonomy to sort and source work by categories making it easy to find what’s needed when it’s needed. Shared calendars and report views enable cross-functional decision making and help teams see what’s relevant to them at the right time. And there is flexibility in workflows to create efficiencies when needed.

2—Efficiency and speed powered by an integrated martech stack.

The key to increasing efficiency and speed is connecting the work of all teams within marketing, prioritizing and making smart decisions based on data, and defining clear project objectives and dependencies. Jenifer said in the last year Poly has created a prioritization model that stays connected to go-to-market and CMO objectives and “uses a language that our executives care about.” Jenifer’s team can make empathetic recommendations to the practitioners they are working with. The Poly marketing team uses more than 120 types of martech. Integrating these systems with Workfront creates new efficiencies for the department—and the business.

3—Work-strategy alignment powered by visibility into all work.

The third way marketing drives business value is by connecting strategy to execution—identifying and prioritizing critical work. This demands transparency and visibility across the organization. Jenifer said that her team takes great care to ensure the taxonomy around go-to-market objectives and marketing initiatives directly correlates to corporate and executive priorities. “We’re constantly listening to what the executive priorities are and adjusting to ensure we’re on the pulse,” she said. With Workfront, Poly’s marketing team can see the hierarchy of work—portfolio, program, project—making it easier to deliver against that work.

Throughout the webinar, Jenifer emphasized the importance of responsiveness—both in the sense of attentiveness to stakeholder and team needs, and the ability to act with agility. Jenifer says in the webinar:

“Having a dynamic system of record to look at things in real-time is critical to our ability to address issues quickly.”

Listen to the full webinar.