The Essential Guide To Marketing Operations Efficiency

Reduce costs and risk with standardized lead capture

Marketing Operations Efficiency

What is Marketing Ops Efficiency?

Marketing operations should enable marketing teams to adapt quickly to changes in the market; business strategy and customer behaviour. The increasing influence of digital technology in marketing has expanded the scope of marketing ops beyond project management, rather acting as the foundation supporting the whole marketing function. Marketing ops are now responsible for the evolution and improvement of marketing performance reporting; marketing systems and technology; data; and process development, to name but a few. Marketing ops has also facilitated and improved the relationship between the marketing department and IT, operations and sales, leveraging these relationships to drive operational efficiency and marketing effectiveness.

The critical principles of marketing operations efficiency are:

  • Automation, standardization and process improvement 
  • Data & testing 
  • Use of technology for competitive advantage 
  • Governance and risk management

Marketing ops focuses on the efficiency of the whole marketing engine, but here we’re going to focus on just one subject, lead capture standardization and process improvement. 

Lead capture is an area critical to driving marketing and sales results and wider business growth. There’s almost always room for improvement when it comes to lead capture. We’re going to deep dive into how lead capture standardization and the management of lead capture processes can help decrease the risk of inefficiency, that can result in serious potential cost to the business.

Why is Unstandardized Lead Capture an Area of Risk?

When it comes to lead capture there are a series of risks that are the responsibility of a marketing ops professional to mitigate. These risks become complex and the potential fallout increasingly detrimental as you scale marketing operations, so it’s critical to tackle these risks from the outset.

Data Governance

According to the 2019 State of Data Management, data governance is one of the top 5 strategic initiatives for global organizations. Data governance is a set of principles and practices that ensure high quality through the complete lifecycle of your data. You can only exploit your data assets and make the most of digital marketing activity if you are able to govern your data. This means that it is an imperative to deploy a data governance framework that fits your organization and your future business objectives and business models. In this case, standardized lead capture needs to make up part of that strategy. Without it, data capture will be inconsistent and unreliable. This not only negates the value of the investment into marketing infrastructure and data capture activity, but it makes using that data for business critical decision making almost impossible.

Data Privacy and Brand Perception

The moment you start to capture leads, you’re faced with data privacy challenges that require a formal strategy that must take into account cross jurisdictional privacy regulations. Any breach of data regulations or misuse of consumer data can have a catastrophic impact on your brand value and perception. A 2018 study by the Global Alliance of Data Driven Marketing Associations states that the majority of consumers understand data has a big part to play in the connected life we all lead, but that 88% of those consumers cited transparency is the key to trustings organizations with their data. The challenge for marketing ops teams who don’t have a standardized lead capture process is that this data very quickly becomes unmanageable, especially for enterprise organizations. Each region of your marketing team may take a different approach making it almost impossible to control data privacy in line with jurisdictional regulations leaving your organization exposed to huge financial and reputational risk.

Marketing Agility

In the competitive globalized market we operate in, marketing agility is absolutely critical to gain and maintain competitive advantage. Where lead capture processes aren’t standardized, technical resources are often required to build and configure lead capture in a bespoke fashion. Waiting for IT or technical teams to deliver this work can seriously slow down a campaign launch. Add to this, testing and quality assurance time required to test the data flow for each lead capture process, this is a cumbersome and time consuming task. Agile marketing relies on the ability to plan, deploy and even A/B test lead generation strategies quickly. A non-standardized, bespoke lead capture process does not support this approach.

Risk of Lost Revenue

The time it takes to deploy non-standardized lead capture processes can result in lost revenue through the risk of either losing leads because of a cumbersome process or driving poor quality leads due to an ineffective and untested lead capture strategy. If lead capture is non-standardized, it’s difficult to extract any consistent trends from the data because it’s not comparable. It is also difficult to A/B test and act on results. The other factor affecting revenue is a need to understand how to extract value from all of the information collected and stored, in order to improve business performance. For this to work effectively your lead capture process needs to mirror your business objectives consistently, across all regions. This can’t happen with a non-standardized approach.

How can you Mitigate the Risks?

It’s not all doom and gloom! Standardizing lead capture can mitigate against the risks described above, making the job of the marketing ops team, and the wider marketing team far easier and more fruitful.

Centralized Data Governance

Data governance is a system for defining who within an organization has authority and control over data assets and how those assets may be used. It encompasses the people, processes and technologies required to manage and protect data assets”. CIO Magazine 2020 Using a centralized data governance framework provides your organization with a holistic approach to collecting, managing, securing and storing data. Data Management Association International (DAMA) describes 10 areas for consideration when building a centralized framework:

  • Data architecture
  • Data modelling and design
  • Data storage and operations
  • Data security
  • Data integration and interoperability
  • Documents and content
  • Reference and master data
  • Data warehousing and business intelligence
  • Metadata
  • Data quality
Marketing operations would need to work alongside all data stakeholders responsible for building a centralized strategy; and part of that work would include standardization of lead capture and process flows.

Standardized Lead Form Processing into a Single Flow of Data

Non-standardized lead capture complicates lead form processing by having one form for a single purpose, then building individual data flows off each form. For example, once a prospect fills in a form, they’ll then be added to a list in the CRM and enrolled in a workflow - these actions are likely to differ for every single form. This could mean if you have 1000 forms, you’ll have 1000 processing flows. Having multiple forms with multiple lead flows requires more time, more testing and more ongoing maintenance. The solution here is to create a standardized lead process flow in the backend that reacts to metadata coming in from your web forms. We’re talking about setting up a standardized process flow that applies to all of your lead capture forms, where the lead flow is predefined within a set of parameters appropriate to the business and marketing strategy you’re operating under. The main advantage is a centralized point of process for lead capture less risk, easier maintenance and a reduced requirement for testing.

Build Global Standards into your Strategy

Building a global standard into an otherwise non-standardized lead capture process significantly reduces the risk of costly mistakes. For example, if you know that you’re legally allowed to ask for gender identification in one country, but in another it’s illegal, it’s imperative your form properties are dynamically updated according to that person’s location. Usually you’d endeavour to achieve this through form pre-population based on user location, but to mitigate risk from VPNs and unreliable IP data, you’d provide the option for the user to manually select their country from a drop down which would auto-update the form fields according to that countries pre-set rules.

Individual Market Requirements

Differences between global market position or requirements is something else to consider. An example of this might be if someone in the US and someone in the UK fill out the same form on your site. If you knew that your market share and brand in the US was well established, you might feel more confident in increasing the number of fields to capture more data, without it affecting conversion rate. But, in the UK you know your brand awareness and market share is much weaker, you may decide you’d prefer to reduce barriers to conversion by asking for less information.

Template Lead Capture Forms

Using a centralized template for lead capture forms can significantly decrease risk around time consuming processes; reduced agility and difficulty collecting measurable and comparable data. By centralizing the form template, the data captured is consistent and changes can be made quickly. For example, you may have multiple download forms set up by regional marketing teams globally, with different privacy settings and lead information gathered. This makes it difficult to control a) whether you’re compliant with local data regulations and b) consistency in data capture. With a templated master form, you’re capturing the same type of data and privacy settings which automatically update to the company standard according to IP address. Furthermore, any changes that need to be made to the form can be made just once, and they’ll automatically deploy to all forms based on that master.

Empower Marketers to Improve Efficiency

Empowering marketers to improve efficiency is the best way to solve the problem of reduced agility caused long lead times of technical changes. Providing tools or workflows to deploy lead forms that don’t require technical skill to implement, puts the power back into the marketers hands to quickly test and deploy any number of lead capture forms at the click of button. The other critical thing to consider when standardizing form templates as above, is ensuring you support all use-cases in the standardization. For example, there may be cases where a marketing manager needs to test something really specific that doesn’t adhere to the master template. In this case you’ll need to build a use-case option to allow data capture for this particular scenario.

How are Costs Reduced by Standardization of Lead Capture?

Allocating technical resource has a cost attached to it because you’re utilizing internal resources to get a job done. By standardizing the process this frees-up costly developer time to focus on other projects. It’s not only the actual time cost that’s reduced, it’s the cost to the business of lost leads and loss of competitive advantage if activity can’t be deployed quickly enough. By reducing the build time, testing, QA times and ongoing maintenance costs for the lead capture form, significant savings can be made through these efficiencies.

What are the Secondary Benefits?

Improved Measurement

Consistent data capture equals consistent reporting metrics which gives the business a far richer source of intelligence to inform business decision making.

Reduced Risk Against Privacy Non-compliance

Standardization and automation of things like privacy policies based on geographic location significantly reduce the risk of non-compliance which can come at a high price both financially and reputationally.

Better User Experience

Thanks to consistent implementation of lead capture processes the user experience is much more consistent across the board, increasing the likelihood of an overall conversion.

Marketers Spend More Time Thinking About Marketing

Rather than chasing up minor technical amends and holding campaigns back whilst waiting for changes, marketers are able to spend the time deploying and reviewing activity.

Technical Teams Removed from the Burden of Building or Testing Lead Capture

Building and testing lead capture can be time consuming and not all that interesting. This allows technical teams to refocus their energy into more valuable projects.

How much you could improve your web conversion by?

By analyzing your current web conversion rates and optimization practices, we can estimate the projected uplift in leads you can expect from working with