Functional Marketing Where Operations is Failing

By: Joan Macdougal - September 23, 2018

Functional marketing is the greatest challenge facing modern business.


Functional marketing is the enabling of technology to successfully market your business. Today there is a wealth of technology available to facilitate better marketing but few businesses are optimising its full potential. Marketing operations are struggling with the cost and the application of various technology versus revenue generation. Management today recognises the potential of technology but very few have the detailed expertise to manage it. They’re also increasingly aware that technology is rendering marketing operations dysfunctional and expensive. Similarly, the marketing teams’ inability to apply and use technology properly is creating a significant cost to a business. This broad lack of skill across technology and its integration into a business is diminishing revenue generation.

Does this story sound familiar? Well, you’re not alone!


Consider this interesting data:
(1. See References below for source)


  • Less than one-third of B-to-B marketing organisations report credible financial results.
  • The average marketing team is juggling more than 20 different technologies.
  • Less than 25% of marketers feel they have an optimized mar-tech stack.
  • And fewer than 50% of B-to-B marketing organizations have an actionable customer journey map.

This is alarming and yet, not surprising.


Functional Marketing at Play

Um… does any of this actually work?



Functional Marketing Doesn’t Come With Technology.


If there is an example of why function doesn’t come with technology it has to be the proliferation of CRM. I am speaking from experience when I say the sale and implementation of CRM are incredibly poor. Their greatest failing is expecting busy people, in pressure roles, to self-learn their systems.

While I have no doubt that the CRM systems in the market have a significant capability, too few people actually know all of them. As a result, a business may find themselves investing in three or four different platforms to meet business needs. This is despite the fact that each system could potentially have addressed all the requirements if someone in the business actually knew how all these systems worked or had skilled and invested support from their CRM supplier.


Achieving Functional Marketing.


1. Make sure to base all technology decisions on the business need or challenge. What’s the problem and what is it you need to achieve? Does it require technology and can the technology you have, meet your need? This may seem obvious but when left to inexperienced or junior operators who use the technology, this is not always so.  They may jump to a solution based on a little bit of knowledge rather than the big picture needs of the business.

2. Investigation and education are also vital. Being time poor is not an excuse for being technology poor. As the role of the marketer becomes more technology-focused education and training must be formalised and well executed. Whilst technology providers may not be doing enough to train people on their platforms there are marketing enablers out there (including us) who can help make sure you have the right marketing technology stacks for your operations.

3. Mapping and applying the cross-functional context. Every business has a unique operating context and knowing and building solutions around what is unique in your business are critical. Technology providers will try and sell a one size fits all solution but nothing could be further from the truth. Do your homework, seek out trusted expert advice and don’t fall prey to the pressure to learn it all yourself.


Functional marketing Check list


The Secret to Functional Marketing


These are exciting times so it’s important to remain positive and optimistic. Just remember:


a. What is the problem you’re trying to solve?

b. Make sure you explore whether you’re existing technology can do what you require so you avoid reinventing wheels and increasing costs unnecessarily

c. Seek out experts you trust and ask the questions you need answering. Don’t stop asking them until you are satisfied you have the answers you need.

d. Always keep your customer’s motivation for applications top of mind and keep your technology focus on growing and retaining profitable customers.



About The Author:


Joan - The author

Joan MacDougal is the founder and owner of Macrison Co Pty Ltd and Joan has held senior roles at both American Express and Telstra. With 30 years of front-line marketing, advertising and communications experience, Joan brings honesty and perspective to her views on better marketing, communications and advertising. Visit Joan’s website to get to know Joan a little better or for more information on our Services click here Macrison Services




  • Debbie QaQish – Pedowitz Group
  • American Marketing Association
  • Hubspot
  • Active Campaign
  • Nicolas Windpassinger – Digitize or Die





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