With the increasing fragmentation of media and communications channels and the diversity of audiences the number and types of processes engaged as a part of marketing communication has multiplied.
The increasing number of stakeholders involved in these processes exacerbates this complexity in process further. Yet often the performance efficiency of these processes is left largely unchecked and without regular process benchmarking.
Marketing processes can be distinguished into two groups:
- internal marketing processes within the organization.
- external marketing processes which engage external suppliers in the marketing process.
Our experience has been that the external processes are more convenient to benchmark and the results are more significant for the organization as invariably this involves a financial transaction and the benefit of the benchmarking process can be calculated in reduced costs as well as reduced speed to market and other important factors.
The corollary to this is that often the process benchmarking at the interface between the internal marketing function and their external suppliers will often identify process inefficiencies within the marketing team as these inefficiencies in process directly impact the way the external suppliers are engaged in the process in a less than optimal manner.
Marketing process benchmarking can involve the full range of services engaged with external suppliers such as:
- Market research
- Strategy development
- Channel planning
- Media strategy and planning
- Creative concepts
- Production – electronic, digital, print etc
- Sale promotion
- Direct marketing including eDM, direct mail
- Loyalty marketing
- Public relations including media and stakeholder relations
- Social network and media
- Sales and retail activation or shopper marketing
The important consideration is to clearly define the process that is to be benchmarked and where possible isolate the process with an understanding of the key initiating points and the desired outputs. By way of example, lets use the production of a television commercial. The initiating point is the brief from the marketing team to the agency. It is no point benchmarking the process without starting at this initiating point as parameters and criteria are set here which impact on the efficiency of the outputs usually being a television commercial defined in duration, budget and message objectives.
Secondly it is important to identify the various stakeholder groups both internally and externally and in this case we have the marketing team and their internal stakeholders. Externally there is the creative agency who conceptualized the commercial, the media agency responsible for planning and buying the media, the production house or film company commissioned to produce the commercial and the various companies they will engage in the production process.
Finally you must clearly define the criteria on which you will benchmark the process. This usually falls into one or more of quality of output, cost of output or time of delivery to market.
A discipline of regularly process benchmarking the many processes within the marketing function can identify opportunities for increased efficiency and lead to more effective marketing outputs and results.