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A deep dive into why Enterprises within Manufacturing should standardize their marketing planning, budgeting and reporting.

Manufacturing should standardize their marketing planning

This is a use case for marketing planning and budgeting tools for enterprises in the Industrial Manufacturing industry with marketing departments of 50 people or more. These marketing technology tools are often categorized as Marketing Performance Management (MPM), but they also belong to the planning- and finance centric part of the larger Marketing Resource Management (MRM) scope.

Large manufacturing companies are often extremely international in their business, with strong requirements for local adaptations of marketing collateral. Many have acquired companies along the way, and often they have not harmonized all marketing technology and operational ways of working. This leads to differences between their marketing teams that make standardized planning, budgeting and reporting impossible. Apart from the obvious cross departmental benefits for the collaboration and alignment between marketing and finance, you might ask yourself why it’s important within the marketing function to standardize planning, budgeting and reporting operations with an MPM-tool. Let me give some concrete examples.

Production heavy marketing require focus on details

Manufacturing companies engage more in “collaboration heavy marketing” than most other companies. In general, they are very production oriented in terms of marketing material, with a lot of catalogues and brochures (printed and/or digitally distributed). Sometimes in-house teams manage the vast majority of productions, while other companies rely heavily on agency collaborations. The high volume of detailed requirements, tasks and deadlines are near impossible to manage with only spreadsheets and email and often results in one of two negative outcomes. Either they spend way too much time and money on their productions or they produce marketing material that is very similar to previous productions which inhibits innovation, A/B-testing and optimization of their productions.

Too many events for marketing to handle without an overview, resource management and automated workflows

Also, one of the most important marketing channels for manufacturing companies are Events. A substantial part of the marketing team’s efforts goes into the planning, preparation and follow-up of the company’s own events as well as sponsored tradeshows. These types of marketing activities are among the most complicated to manage without a detailed and accurate overview of the marketing calendar – an overview that surprisingly many Enterprises struggle to achieve. The lack of overview makes proactive resource management difficult which leads to stressed marketing staff being put in charge of events too close to deadline, often without standardized and automated workflows. This often results in smaller events having to give way to the larger ones. The sales staff still attend all of the events, but marketing just don’t have the time and resources to do a good job in supporting sales to optimize the outcome of all events.

Dynamic Marketing Calendar improves sales and marketing alignment

MPM tools that have a Gantt chart or similar visualization gives marketers at manufacturing companies a dynamic calendar tool. It gives them a significantly better marketing plan overview, across all involved organizational functions. The event calendar is able to be viewed on a high level for full overview, and it can be drilled into for a visual display of tasks, milestones and deadlines. Individual team members can set personal filters to see only their activities which results in massive gains in the marketing organizations operational resource efficiency. This improves efficiency and leads to highly increased accuracy and reliability in delivery times and deadlines. This enables better collaboration and improved alignment of marketing and sales, which leads to increased ROI for sales intensive marketing activities.

Financial maturity has reached most other company functions and marketing is lagging behind

Marketing as a function has always struggled to show financial transparency. What money has been spent on which customer segment and to what result is a question most CMOs are unable to answer. Most manufacturing enterprises have complex matrix organizations that have equally complex financial structures. Marketing can be funded from geographical budgets as well as product specific budgets, central marketing budgets or channel sponsorships. A single campaign towards a specific customer segment can be funded from several sources which makes “following the money” very time consuming. Adding to that, marketing and finance often have different ways of categorizing costs which leaves a gap between the manual excel sheets used by marketing and the ERP-system. Reporting back to other departments regarding spend and deliverables is taking up way too much time from marketing managers and despite this, they are still producing basic reports filled with question marks compared to other functions.

Connecting the financial dots makes reporting quick, easy and accurate

Enterprise focused MPM-systems are able to bridge the gap between finance and marketing. A deep understanding of Enterprise financials and the ability of the MPM-system to integrate or automatically transfer data to and from the ERP-system is key for successful enterprise MPM. On surface it’s easy to disregard the financial depth but most manufacturing enterprises that have made a successful MPM/MRM journey can vouch for its’ importance. The financial structure is the backbone on which all marketing reporting is built. All financial routines between marketing and finance should be mirrored in the MPM where rules can be set for fund requests, approval workflows etc. Marketers should never have to login to any other system to handle marketing financials. All “translation” between the MPM and ERP should be pre-defined and once the costs of a campaign are recognized in the ERP, the MPM should automatically be updated accordingly. This basic and (let’s face it) pretty boring financial foundation enables quick, easy, detailed and correct marketing reporting capabilities. This is a function that becomes increasingly important with size. Lack of financial depth might be ok for the mid-sized company but for enterprises with complex matrix organizations, financial capabilities should be your number one priority.

To summarize, the gains of standardizing marketing planning, budgeting and reporting only increases with company size. Manufacturing enterprises often struggle immensely with heavy and detailed marketing productions and many events which makes an MPM investment a must to lay the foundation for marketing optimization and financial transparency. The benefits can be seen not only in the marketing department itself, but it improves cross departmental collaboration and bridges the gap between marketing and finance as well as giving competitive advantages.

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