Best-in-class marketers are increasingly relying on formal campaign managers to shepherd their interactive marketing programs to success, a role that represents “the missing link” for marketing's alignment with other key business processes, according to a new IDC study.
In its new report, “The Rise of the Campaign Manager,” IDC observes that the campaign management role is increasingly important for high-tech marketers—the focus of the research.
Campaign managers not only take responsibility for a campaign's success, they “are the key to making campaign management people, process and technologies work,” said Michael Gerard, VP-research, executive advisory group at IDC. On the other hand, Gerard noted that even as two-thirds of the companies surveyed had a formal campaign management role, only one-third had effective campaign processes in place.
“Marketing teams tend to be very virtual yet also collaborative in nature,” Gerard said. “Campaign managers are responsible for the internal alignment necessary to make campaigns a success.”
While the IDC report focused mainly on marketing roles and processes, marketing departments shouldn't “underestimate the power of technology,” Gerard said. In particular, b2b marketers “differentiate with newer campaign management software to establish and leverage one-to-one relationships” with prospects and customers, improving lead management processes, particularly lead nurturing activities.
That conclusion jibes with the key findings in IDC's annual Marketing Performance Matrix, also published this month (see sidebar, this page).
Another best practice for campaign managers is to bake into a campaign “blueprint” explicit business objectives and metrics. The blueprint is an upfront plan that describes how the campaign will be rolled out.
The foundation of that blueprint, Gerard said, includes a go-to-market strategy detailing the marketing mix, channel strategy, objectives, metrics and targets. He pointed to IBM Corp. as a good example because it produces a “master brief” at the start of any new marketing program to help lock in these elements.
Along with IBM, the report profiled other marketers it believes represent campaign management best practices, including:
? Symantec Corp., which coordinates its campaigns via an intense preplanning process to determine the top five to seven annual marketing priorities, then align departments—marketing, product management, press and analyst relations—to support campaign roll-outs around the globe.
? Quest Software, which uses a “creative agency-style” process in which a campaign manager works with marketing shared services (the service provider) to fulfill campaign requests from product managers (the client).
? VeriSign, which leverages a “brand-demand chain” approach to measure a campaign's success and focuses on metrics such as awareness, engagement, inquiry, lead generation, sales opportunity and loyalty and renewals.
Common to each of these approaches is a campaign manager. Gerard advised marketing departments to gain executive buy-in and support for this job function by measuring the performance of campaigns and highlighting the campaign manager's role in their success. M