How to Choose a Marketing Technology Stack, Part 4 of 7: Process

In this series, we’ll unpack our marketing technology deployment strategy. We’ll learn how to properly plan a marketing technology stack rollout, develop a sensible governance model, examine what could go wrong, and succeed on the first try rather than patch and duct tape a disaster repeatedly.

Part 4: Defining Process in Marketing Technology

The next step in the marketing technology deployment strategy is what, process. What are we going to do? What order will operations occur in? What will ensure a successful project?

As we looked to the information technology world for understanding the roles important to our project, so too will we look to IT for guidance about managing the process. The IT world offers many variations on three core themes of project management:

  • Scopes of work/charters
  • Project plans
  • Governance models

Let’s take a look at each of these to understand which type of process plan is appropriate for any given business context.

Scopes of Work

For the smallest projects, a simple scope of work or project charter is appropriate. In the scope of work, we detail:

  • Budget
  • Timeframe
  • Roles
  • Deliverables
  • Methodology
  • Tools and technology

The role of a scope of work is to define a small project and obtain stakeholder approval.

Scopes of work tend to be short documents; little more is needed to manage a successful outcome. An example of a scope of work-size project would be the rollout of a new version of software, or a tactical change to an existing system.

Project Plan

For larger projects, we require a project plan. Project plans contain the same elements as a scope of work, but also include items such as:

  • Business case for the project/value provided
  • More detailed individual and group responsibilities
  • Timelines and milestones
  • Dependencies
  • Risks and assumptions
  • Partners/vendors
  • KPIs and metrics

The role of a project plan is more contractual, detailing what will happen, when, and accountability for results.

Project plans tend to be longer documents, multiple pages including workbook schedules, calendars, Gantt charts, etc. We would use a project plan for the rollout of a new software package that impacts more than one area of responsibility (such as a marketing automation system or sales CRM), or makes significant organizational impacts to existing systems. Individual deliverables or milestones may have their own scopes of work inside a project plan.

Governance Model

For the largest projects, we need a full corporate governance model. Governance models contain the same elements as scopes of work and project plans, but also include items such as:

  • Mission/vision
  • Organizational charts/structures
  • Detailed business case
  • Business impact forecasts
  • Regulatory/legal impacts
  • Human Resources roles/impacts
  • Contractual obligations
  • Policies and procedures
  • Reporting requirements and cadence
  • Oversight structure
  • Core values and ethics

The role of a governance model looks similar to the foundation of a corporate entity, and details every aspect of a major initiative.

Corporate governance models tend to be massive documents, binder-length in size and scope, and may contain multiple project plans for each of the major areas of the initiative.

We would use a corporate governance model for a large marketing technology initiative, such as technology enablement of a new business unit, managing the marketing technology during a merger/acquisition, or any other large, strategic organizational change.

Choose Appropriate Process Management Models

Which process model do we need? It depends on the context of the project. The rule of thumb is to use as much process as needed to ensure a successful outcome.

Too little process allows a project to creep in scope or creates breakdowns in accountability and achievement.

Too much process bogs down a project and wastes resources on overhead instead of getting work done.

Use the lists above to determine what kind of situation our stakeholders are asking us to manage. If we’re asked for simple timelines and deliverables, we’re talking about a scope of work. If we’re asked for a handbook of organization-level policies and procedures, we’re in governance model territory.

Next: How to Choose Marketing Technology

In the next post in this series, we’ll examine how to choose marketing technology platforms and vendors. Stay tuned!

Christopher S. Penn
Vice President, Marketing Technology


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