How Effective Marketing Management Leads to Happy Customers
A comprehensive guide to marketing management.
Managing your marketing campaigns is pretty similar to managing other business projects. You’ve got a goal you need to meet, and — like basically all projects in the real world — you’ll probably have to switch things up mid-delivery to respond to emerging requirements. This can be challenging in the current digital environment, where trends change rapidly to reflect the rise and unfortunate demise of influencers’ careers. So keeping a close eye on your marketing campaigns and delivering them as effectively and efficiently as possible is critical to business success.
In this article, we’ll explore exactly what marketing management is, why it’s important, the key stages of the marketing management process, and how software can make managing your campaigns significantly easier.
What is Marketing Management?
Marketing management involves the successful planning, coordination, delivery, and monitoring of marketing programs and tactics. A marketer’s job is to create a demand for a company’s products or services, and effective marketing campaigns help them achieve that. Marketing campaigns need to align with organizational strategy yet be responsive to changing market and customer needs. Which means there are several plates to spin.
The objective of successful marketing management is that all marketing operations work effectively to deliver the business’ marketing goals. In an ideal world, processes are seamless, teams collaborate effectively, information is shared efficiently, and campaigns run on time and under budget. In other words, the marketing department should not look like a Greek restaurant after a particularly raucous dinner event. Let’s keep those plates up, people.
The 5 Stages of the Marketing Management Process
Assuming you’re down with keeping your crockery in one piece, it’s worth knowing that an effective marketing management process has five key stages:
The researching phase is your excuse to get nosy. You need to define your target customers and then get under their skin to identify their goals, pain points, needs, wants, buying behaviors, and purchasing habits. This is vital to ensure that your products and services are meeting what your customers need. It also makes sure you’re reaching them at the right time and through the right channels to maximize conversion.
You might create personas — fictional characters that represent certain user types — to better understand your potential customers and their consumer behavior. You can also seek feedback directly from current or prospective customers about what they want from your business, to help define your marketing concept.During the marketing research phase, you’ll also want to dig into industry trends and market data and analyze what’s been successful for you in the past. And don’t forget to check out what the competition is doing too.
The planning phase of the marketing management process is where the team sets goals and marketing objectives for the project and decides on the marketing management strategy — to build brand awareness, successfully launch a new product, etc. Based on those aims and what you know about your customers, you’ll also need to decide if this marketing campaign is for your whole audience or a specific segment.
The marketing manager and their team then develop all the elements needed to deliver the campaign successfully. This might include agreeing on the promotional calendar, scheduling when content will be created and by whom, and determining the marketing mix, including deciding on marketing channels and whether paid advertising will be used.
Here’s what a media calendar might look like in SmartSuite:
It’s vital during the planning phase that there’s collaboration between the marketing team and other functional areas. This is especially important if the marketing team is relying on other teams to complete specific tasks to keep the marketing plan on schedule.
Once all the plans have been agreed, and you’ve created your project schedule, it’s time for your marketing efforts to swing into action. All the tasks created during the planning phase, such as creating content, commissioning images, and scheduling delivery, are launched, and progress against the plan begins to be monitored.
The marketing manager will need to effectively manage the resources required to deliver all the marketing activity and communicate with other stakeholders to make sure the delivery of other tasks is seamless. Marketing management software platforms, like SmartSuite, make this easy. With a single project management dashboard, you can track progress, build daily to-do lists, collaborate with other teams, and keep an eye on upcoming deadlines.
As implementation gets underway, the campaign team will also need to stay responsive to any immediate feedback received about the campaign.
The measuring phase begins during the implementation stage, when you monitor the campaign in real-time to judge its progress against your expected objectives and respond accordingly. Then when the campaign’s over, it’s time to weigh up how well the campaign met its goal. This is the time to analyze your data sets and compare them to your desired result.
Once you’ve crunched the numbers, take the time to look for reasons behind the campaign’s success or failure. Which results were as you expected? Which weren’t, and why? Did anything change during the campaign that impacted the outcome?
Return on investment (ROI) is a key metric you’ll want to track and report against, as it’s one that senior stakeholders will be keeping a close eye on. Basically, it means how much revenue was generated for each dollar spent on the campaign. This isn't something that you'll necessarily be able to determine as soon as the campaign ends. You'll need to track the campaign's outcome over time before you can really see its benefit. Once you’ve got all your data, analysis, and insight, you’ll need to compile a report to present to stakeholders so they can understand the value of the campaign and feed the results into future strategic planning.
Great reporting functionality is another benefit of marketing management software. Using a work management platform, like SmartSuite, means implementation happens alongside campaign planning and management. Which makes it simple to compile insightful analysis into visually-engaging performance dashboards, like the one below.
In SmartSuite, dashboards like this are fully customizable, so you can focus on the metrics that matter most to you. As a team, you should give yourself time to reflect on what went well during the campaign and what could be improved for the future. And make sure you take the time to celebrate your success!
The iterating phase is all about learning from previous campaigns' insights to improve future ones. Reflecting on what worked well and what worked less well — and taking action against those reflections — means you’re priming your campaigns for success. It’s important to share your reflections with other teams so they can also learn from your experience and improve their approach and processes.
As you iterate, make sure to continually check the alignment of your marketing strategy and campaign objectives with the wider organizational strategy — in case the direction of the business is changing, and you need to respond.
What Are the Benefits of Effective Marketing Management?
Ok, so now that you’re clear on exactly what marketing management is and its five main stages, we’re guessing you might be interested in precisely why good marketing management is so important and why it’s worth investing in it.
Let’s look at four key reasons below:
1. Greater Customer Satisfaction
The first stage of the marketing management process is all about getting to know your customer better. Customer research allows you to personalize your campaigns to better suit the needs and wants of your target market. And personalization is important. Businesses that personalize their campaigns can expect a 20% increase in sales compared to businesses that don’t.
Customer research also influences new product or service design, and then it’s marketing’s job to showcase those new products across appropriate channels. Knowing your customer, what they want and need, their pain points and goals, means you can create products and services to meet those requirements. Which is pretty vital. Rarely do consumers buy things they don’t either want or need. Even if the want is only fleeting. I’m looking at you, zucchini spiralizer.
The research phase of the marketing management process also gives you a chance to gather consumer feedback about your current products. Which gives you a chance to address the annoying flaws or answer gripes your customers have. No surprises, this makes them happier. It also makes them more loyal — 97% of consumers said they’d be more loyal to a brand that implements their feedback.
2. Greater Alignment
Effective marketing management puts the customer at the heart of the business. Which means it’s an opportunity to create shared goals between other departments that have customer touchpoints. Better collaboration between sales management, marketing, product development, and customer services means improved functional alignment and efficiency, which also increases customer satisfaction.For example, if your research indicates customers are unhappy about a particular product element, giving your customer services team — who are likely to be on the receiving end of the angry phone calls — the heads up will be appreciated.
Likewise, sharing research with product development teams allows them to look for solutions. And effective cross-functional communication means that when a shiny new product 2.0 is ready, your marketing professionals have all the information they need to land it perfectly with the target audience.
On the flip side, your customer support team is also the keeper of the keys when it comes to positive customer feedback. It monitors the net promoter score — a measure of customer satisfaction and loyalty. Which means your customer service team has all the insight needed to put together a raft of positive testimonials and tales of customer happiness ripe for social media and other digital marketing campaigns. If there’s one thing customers search out like bloodhounds, it’s a bit of social proof.
This type of transparency and shared planning ensures a coordinated multi-channel campaign is possible. So you always get the right messages reaching customers at the right time, supporting effective lead generation and conversion. With SmartSuite, conversations happen right where the work does. In-platform communication tools and file-sharing make sure everyone has what they need to ensure the best customer experience possible.
The most effective marketing management systems are underpinned by robust marketing management software — more on that below.
Market management software fed by customer research and real-time campaign tracking data offers analytics and insight that improve decision-making and enables you to respond rapidly to changing requirements. While ‘going with your gut’ is a valid decision-making strategy, we're going to bet that data-driven decisions are slightly more reliable and certainly easier to convince senior stakeholders about. Plus, an effective marketing management system includes a process for recording successes or failures in previous campaigns. Which means you can learn from them to improve decisions for the future.
Improved Marketing ROI
An effective business model runs on the premise that you get more cash out than you put in. So, business stakeholders will be keen that money invested in your marketing budget generates a pretty solid return. Happily, if you’ve got loyal and satisfied customers, functional areas that work efficiently together, and better decision-making, you’re on track to deliver a positive ROI.
How Software Supports Successful Marketing Management
Successful marketing management is a boon to your business. And we’ve already touched on several ways that stellar marketing management software makes managing the process a whole lot easier. But, how do you go about choosing between the mind-bogglingly amount of providers out there?
Well, at a minimum, you’re going to want to look for these key features:
- Task and workflow management: There are several moving parts in any successful management process. To keep on top of it all without losing sleep, you need software that makes assigning tasks and monitoring progress a breeze.
- Collaboration tools: We’ve already touched on the importance of building shared workflows, cross-functional processes, and effective communication between departments. So look for platforms that make collaboration simple, with in-platform communication options and the ability to integrate your favorite communication apps.
- Information-sharing options: The ability to quickly and easily share data across teams and departments makes that whole collaborating thing a lot easier. Plus, storing docs within a single, shared platform means everyone’s always accessing the latest version, and you can track updates and ask for feedback with a single click.
- Customization: You want a software solution that fits the needs of you and your team, not the other way around. The ability to customize your workflow, dashboards, automations, and reporting features maximizes your efficiency and ensures you’re not driven mad by little niggles that don’t fit your way of working.
- Automations: Remember those spinning plates? Wouldn’t it be nice if you could lose just a few of them? Well, when you automate mundane or repetitive tasks, you do just that. With simple “If [this] then [that]” statements, you can drop the most repetitive tasks from your to-do list, leaving you the space to concentrate on the most important work.
SmartSuite has all these features and more. But the most exciting thing about SmartSuite? It’s an all-in-one work management platform meaning where you manage your work is also where your work gets done.
So, everything’s in one place, right when and where you need it.
Effective Marketing Management Improves Your Business
Effectively managing your marketing campaigns requires the same skills as many other business projects. You’ll need to research, plan, analyze and get work done. Marketing management software can make this easier by allowing your team to collaborate, share information, and manage their work all in one platform.
SmartSuite is a fully-customizable work management solution that’s feature-rich but simple to use, meaning you can work smarter, not harder. Why not check out some of our key templates to get started with SmartSuite today?