Case Study: ABM & Marketing Operations – Education

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Marketing Operations: Head of the Class

A large education curriculum company had recently reworked their marketing operations and organization, and staffed the department with marketing designers. Each would be assigned to a different region, and tasked with supporting the account teams.

But they needed guidance. How would organizing the team around field marketing efforts relate to their national efforts, all while training the new team on marketing, systems, etc. Enter: Marketing Operations. 

The Assignment:

Do a shadow, overview audit of how the teams interacted, and the over-arching needs:

  • Learn the process
  • Review the systems & operations
  • Determine areas of need, change
  • Develop recommendations

The Challenge: 

  • Most of the team members were designers, not marketers
  • The culture was of support, not authority, as it related to the account teams
  • Lack of training on internal systems, across departments
  • Lack of marketing expertise
  • Top down push to implement technology as a solution, rather than a tool

The Obstacles:

Three issues immediately became apparent.

  1. Time management: There was a new department head who was still learning the position and not fully confident in the decision making. Time and access was limited. 
  2. Lack of Clarity: There were different messages and approaches being delivered by a matrix of reporting landing on the newly minted marketing lead. 
  3. A consistent view of marketing platforms as solutions, rather than tools.

The Approach:

I began the engagement with the national sales meeting, when account teams from across the country came to the HQ to discuss the fiscal year objectives, and collaborate on ideas, needs, and approaches. This gave me an opportunity to learn along with several of the newest marketing hires and help shape the vision of marketing’s role in the relationship.

I quickly found that that the tools used were disjointed, not updated, and the data collection, let alone the reporting, was not understood.

The Work: 

  • Marketing Team Skills | Resource Development

I recognized the immediate need of mentoring the Marketing team. I developed a series of Skills Cards that aligned with their own educational products, to aid in the mentoring, training, and positioning of the team as they transition from design-focused to marketing consultants to their account teams.

  • Systems Audit | Recommendations

Review current systems and data for gaps, opportunities. Specifically focus on the CRM and Email provider, to review option to incorporate third party automation and reporting products that provide more robust features, streamline processes, improve adoption/use.

In addition I worked closely with the IT Operations to identify and map out processes for national deduplication and and data hygiene options within their industry, and setting up automation and API integrations across different platforms to reduce duplication and loss of data.

  • ESP Conversion | Implementation

The CRM in place was effective for half of the company, but did little to serve the sales and marketing efforts. Much of what was managed was done externally, leading to outdated information for ABM. To support the ongoing training and adoption of the CRM, while making use of behaviors currently being used, I set up a conversion implementation plan for their ESP to make use of “light weight” CRM and automation capabilities.

System adoption takes time, but outcomes are still required. I developed a plan for both.

  • Data, Analytics, Reporting

Assess data was being used and how it was used. Developed recommendations and dashboard reporting that allowed for comparative, selective, and regional comparisons. Assisted in identifying performance based KPIs that suited their specific needs, as well as keeping them in legal and corporate compliance requirements.

  • Recommendations

Developed recommendations across disciplines and teams for content, field marketing initiatives, internal processes, and gap analysis for both account and marketing teams.

The Outcome: 

The team continued to grow and change in it’s management, as it’s place within the larger organization continued to be fine tuned. With the additional training resources and processes they were able to add new layers of management and leadership to assist in the targeted management and oversight, rather than using the single lead/bottleneck approach.

When a company with regional based national team works with a single marketing department, Field Marketing approaches are critical to understanding and managing the ABM needs of the different regions, while allowing for the collaborative development of resources to support the national needs.


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