Marketing operations

How does a marketing operation engage customers?


All or most professional marketing executes a strategy for how best to find and serve customers.

Successful execution of strategy entails an operational capability of marketing: systems, processes, accountabilities, and business partnerships.

The figure below depicts a subset of a marketing operation, highlighting the operational capabilities of customer engagement across the five phases of a customer engagement life cycle.


The figure above depicts six operational capabilities of customer engagement; each capability entails a set of systems, processes, and accountabilities that most marketing operations will secure from engagement partners—agencies, service providers, and specialist firms.

Customer engagement spans traditional “offline” marketing media and channels as well as online and mobile counterparts. However, customer engagement puts the Web and online, interactive customer at the center of the entire enterprise.


We breakdown the customer engagement life cycle into three parallel processes: status of brand, identification of the Web user, and brand conversions of the engagement-revenue pipeline.

The status of brand process denotes the state of customer’s relatedness with a brand or affiliates (retailers, service agents, etc.) identified with the brand.

Many marketers use broad “reach” media—broadcast, print publications, sponsoring, publicity, press relations, etc.)—to creative awareness. Each subsequent progression in the status of the brand represent a deeper and hopefully more profitable relationship with buyers and customers.

Identification of Web User denotes the five operational states of database marketing and, therefore, the capability of engaging a buyer or customers in optimal ways—according the needs and expectation of a particular state.

The operational state Known represents a complete and accurate database record and the basis by which to calculate revenue and profitability per database record—a definite metric for customer engagement.

Profiled in this context denotes the correlation of a Web user’s database record to a comprehensive and well-maintained master marketing database—that associates individual users to enriched household or organizational profiles.

Customerized connotes a key operational principle of customer engagement cycle: correlation of a customer database master (transaction histories within a particular household or business), customer-provided preferences for particular classes of information and mechanisms of media consumption, product-mix optimizations of the vendor’s offering portfolio, and dynamic customization of content or provisioning of services to the individual user. Customerization represents the new frontier of engagement life cycle management.

Certified connotes the formal self-registration of the customers in an advocacy program or beta-test pilots association; this entails providing even more detailed self-reported information about the customer and his/her situation as well as subscribing to review unreleased content or new products and provide detailed feedback—which product developers love!


Brand Conversions connote traditional phases of the marketing process, reinterpreting two of the phases: facilitated buying and word-of-mouth or WOM agents.

Facilitated buying connotes the increasing role of social networks, Web services, and self-directed buyers. In practical terms, facilitated buying includes a meaningful presence in appropriate social networking sites (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.), lifestyle or solution destination microsites, long-form interviews with customers and partners, local roundtables and social-mixer meet-ups, etc. As the term suggests, facilitated buying emphasizing coaching and peer-insight sharing and avoids blatant attempts to sell, persuade, and market.

WOM agents connote the explosive potential of formal word-of-mouth (WOM) marketing and referral marketing programs. In most cases, WOM and referral marketing entails the work of social marketing agencies, customer engagement agencies, and next generation conversational PR agencies to find and deputize WOM agents.


The nearly exhausted but still useful moniker, 2.0, conveys an important facet of integrated marketing: The customer gets a say in what gets marketed to whom and how.

The term Web 2.0 represents the staring role of user-generated content and media as a trusted intermediary in real-time markspaces—markets that now incorporate the Internet, instant messaging, and mobile or location-based services.

The term Web 3.0 represents the impending tsunami of change resulting from the Semantic Web and, in particular, the XBRL standards for publishing financial information to the Web and other XML standards for integrating or mashing up other Web services, applications, and widgets.

The bottom row in the figure shown depicts a logical next-step in customer-integrated marketing, suggesting that traditional print and broadcast advertising and promotion now stand alongside new digital formats and services.

Multichannel marketing analytics will grow to new heights, driving the engagement revolutions as the eyes and ears of the brand.

Personalized messaging, service mash-ups, and remixable-social content enable firms to covert “known” customers into “profiled” customers. However, this will force many firms to discard their current content management systems and processes.

Policy-managed processes, preference managers, and content-service mash-ups enable firms to use automation to orchestrate complex, multi-party workflows, business processes, and engagement theaters.

Certified advocates, viral video stashes, and platforms for instant rich-media collaboration and problem solving enable firms to focus and harness the word of mouth and referral marketing processes.