Why Does Marketing Get a Free Pass on Costs While Operations Twists in the Wind?

It doesn’t seem fair if you are an operations person. You go to every financial meeting with trepidation. It is especially bad if sales are down or there is fear about an economic slowdown. You walk down the hall, silently practicing your justification speech, praying for sympathetic ears.

You may not like the answer (at least if you are in operations), but it is your fault. You haven’t done your homework. There has to be a foundation before there can be justification. Because, you see, most people don’t see the connection between sales and operations.

They get it when it comes to marketing. There is cause and effect. You mail a catalog, you get money. You build a website, you get money. You start a blog, you get money. You open a store, you get money. Every thing you do in marketing results in more money. Now, sometimes a marketing action doesn’t provide a return on investment, but that doesn’t show up on a financial spreadsheet. All you see on the financials is Sales less marketing equals hefty profits until you start deducting the operational expenses.

It is the operations team’s responsibility to educate everyone in his or her company about the benefits of quality service. Until the training is done, there will always be the long walk to the financial meeting.

In the IBM study mentioned yesterday, orders placed via the call center were higher than online or store. Why? Because most customer service representatives are trained to upsell and cross sell. But, where does that appear in your financials?

Or, try shipping in one week instead of one day. Not only will it increase your costs, it will reduce future sales.

The operations department is the best marketing tool available. The better your fulfillment, the easier your marketing. Invest the time to educate your company about your contribution. While quoting this post may help, it won’t build your foundation. You have to have real numbers and examples, presented over time, to convert your organization.

The investment in time will have a big payoff: less cost-cutting initiatives and more teamwork across departments.

I will leave you with a couple of hints:

Present your information with numbers and charts. Some of your teammates think statistically; others think visually. This will help both understand faster.

If you are not sure how to create the analytics to present, check out our Multichannel Analytics Intensive Workshop. It will answer all of your questions.

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