Is operations central to marketing success?

I was amused and intrigued by the number of comments to my column a few weeks ago where I hypothesised that customers were less worried about customer service execution than the blood, sweat and tears that our efforts as marketers warranted.

Secret Marketer

The majority response was that I was wrong and that customers would vote with their feet if they felt that operational delivery affected the proposition that they thought they had bought into.

So I was even more intrigued to read an article about 3D cinema and why there has been an explosion of film companies embracing it. Apparently, it is not to deliver a better customer experience, as you might surmise (and the movie makers would contend), but rather as a way to combat the problem of illegal recording of films on mobile phones and sharing them online.

Although 3D movies are a positive example of where product development has been enhanced by our operational colleagues, I fear there are more where the opposite is true. Take the new-ish cookie law – is that really in the best interests of customers? Does the Data Protection Act help customers or is it a distraction that gives less-able operational people an excuse to hide behind?

No, my contention is very simple. There is a lack of alignment between marketing intent and operational execution. As marketers, while we are spending our time worrying about keeping the chief financial officer happy with our return on investment figures, the sales director content with the pipeline we are supporting, and the HR director/operations director happy that we are doing it all legally and ethically, are we spending enough time ensuring that the humble ops chief understands what we are trying to do? Perhaps if they were brought in early enough, understood the market research and the customer proposition we are driving, then some of the challenges we all see in service delivery could be overcome.

Is the ops director the key to successful marketing campaigns, brand building and sales effectiveness? Are they the essential ingredient that we all need to take on our journey?

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