Defining Roles with a Marketing Performance Management Consultant
Last week, we identified key considerations when forging a partnership to implement a Marketing Performance Management initiative. This week, we’re going to take it one step further.
Oftentimes Marketers looking to implement MPM technology will also work with a consultant to help them navigate their software choices, better understand their needs and how the technology can solve their issues, and work with them through the implementation and beyond. If you choose to work with a consultant, how “hands-on” you choose to be in the process has a direct impact on the ultimate success of the implementation and your overall costs.
Like anything in life, the relationship requires a balance: relying too much on the consultant may result in high costs and a solution that doesn’t quite fit, while not relying on the consultant enough may produce an inflated timeline and increase the risk of project failure.
So how do you strike the right balance?
As Marketing Performance Management consultants, we’ve worked with Marketers in all different types of companies — from major, world-wide retailers, to financial giants, to the top name in sports apparel. Each relationship we forge is different. It’s based on the individual Marketing department and the goals of the CMO and his or her team. But with every relationship, we’ve found that striking a balance in the roles and responsibilities between our clients and us is critical to the success of the project. By “success,” we mean getting the project done on time, having a final outcome that fits our clients’ needs and doesn’t blow the budget.
If you look at the roles and responsibilities in terms of a continuum, with the Marketer taking on most of the work on one end, and the consultant taking on the majority of the responsibilities on the other end, the most productive place to be in terms of getting work done is somewhere in the middle where the consultant and the Marketer share the responsibilities.
The following are the different roles an MPM consultant may take in terms of dividing responsibilities with a Marketer, and how that impacts the project:
Advisor (Where the Marketer takes on the majority of the responsibility):
- Requires more internal resources because you are taking on the bulk of the responsibility for the project implementation
- External resources (i.e. the consultant) provide advisory support only
- Increased risk in project failure/delay because internal teams rarely have the experience and insights to do a large-scale MPM implementation
- Lower external resource cost since the role of the external resources is marginalized
- Potentially longer time to benefits realization since internal resources are working outside their area of expertise
Coach (Midway between an Advisor and a Partner)
- Internal resources have some MPM implementation experience
- Helps keep costs down, while working more closely with the consultant vs. an Advisor role
Partner (A division of the responsibilities between the Marketer and the consultant)
- Work side by side with internal and external team members
- Design decisions made with a complete understanding of the organization’s critical requirements
- Ensure knowledge transfer from the consultant to the Marketer
- Minimize project risks
- Increased project cost with quicker realization of benefits
Driver (Midway between a Partner and an Owner)
- Costs tend to rise a bit more than with a Partner role, since the consultant is taking on more of the responsibilities
- There is an increased risk of the final project not meeting organizational needs
Owner (The consultant takes on the majority of the responsibilities)
- External resources implement the Marketing Operations system
- Software configuration may not meet organizational requirements since the Marketer has minimal involvement
- Less knowledge transfer from the consultant to the Marketer
- Increased risk of lower user acceptance since less change management is likely to occur (See our post on why Change Management is critical).
- Higher implementation costs due to heavy reliance on external support
Striking a balance of responsibilities with your Marketing Performance Management consultant not only results in a better end product that more effectively fits your needs, but it also typically results in a shorter time frame and better transfer of knowledge that will help your team to better adapt to the new technology. After all, this is your technology investment. Give it the best chance of succeeding by knowing when to trust the experts and turning over the reins – without losing your voice in the process.
Want to learn more about how you can take your organization’s marketing technology to the next level? If you have any questions or thoughts around this topic, let’s connect.
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