From Reactive to Proactive: Use a Business Operating System for Marketing Performance

February 2, 2023

Don’t play whack-a-mole with your marketing strategy – to succeed, your tactics need clarity and direction. 

Does your marketing team passively react to problems as they come up? Or do your marketing folks plan their jobs around the goals you need to accomplish as a unit?

If you struggle with a reactive marketing team, you should know marketing is not the problem. In all likelihood, it’s a systems problem and even an issue of leadership alignment to a business objective. Ask yourself if you have clear, articulated vision, structure, and controls in place so your marketing will be effective.

Reactive marketing comes from two places: 

  • Leadership doesn’t have clearly defined objectives in place, and
  • There’s no system and structure in place to drive and guide action.

Without an operating system to work as a playbook, your leadership team can’t know the best way to drive the company forward. And without critical guidance from leadership, your marketing team can’t establish the structure and process it needs to manage marketing effectively. 

Luckily, there’s one solution to both problems: You need to implement a  business operating system (BOS). 

An operating system is a framework for business operations and growth. It encompasses people, processes, systems, skills, structure, and controls. No single BOS is perfect for every business – you must choose one that aligns with your company’s needs and direction. 

Once you have the right system in place, you’ll get clarity on where you want to go and what you want to accomplish. With clarity, you can then examine the marketing structure, processes, and practices you have in place to prevent your business from a reactive game of whack-a-mole to try to get the results you want.

At Advantages, we tried several BOS options only to find that, while they worked well in some areas, they lacked significantly in others. After much trial and error, we eventually landed on the Entrepreneurial Operating System (EOS) as the best system to guide our process. 

The EOS model helps you identify the problems underlying your business challenges. It’s not a band-aid to cover up symptoms of business distress – it’s meant to find and target the diagnosis. With EOS to guide you, there’s no need to guess what your problems are, let alone how to fix them. It’s all laid out on the table to inform your journey and drive results. When the business objectives are clear, it’s much easier for marketing to be strategic without that reactive whack-a-mole effect.

When you lean in to find the right BOS for your business model,  it will bring clarity to your business journey. It suddenly becomes easy to align your team with your objective – in no small part because now you know your objective in the first place. That’s why we now use EOS (our BOS of choice, but by no means the only option) to guide the Advantages process and connect profit with the all-important 3 Keys: Purpose, Values, and Story. 

Align your people with the objective

To drive your profit and deliver a measurable impact, you must align your purpose with your customer’s desires. But you can’t possibly do that if you don’t have a clear direction uncovered. If you don’t have clarity or know the true origin of your problems, how can you be successful? 

You can only unlock explosive growth and killer marketing performance when your entire team is aligned from the top down. The CEO can’t be the only one who knows the company’s objective. It’s the leadership team’s role to know it and to align their teams to work it – and that is how we achieve our visions.

Lack of clarity is the biggest reason your marketing people flounder. If the vision is foggy, progress toward goals will be murky at best.The second biggest reason marketing fails is a lack of effective structure, systems processes, and practices to ensure effectiveness. 

The EOS model set us up to deliver clarity and a framework to improve effectiveness

The Advantages process is guided by the 3 Keys: your purpose, values, and story. To unlock the power of those 3 Keys, you must discover your brand foundation. Only then can you find alignment between people and purpose. 

The problem is that it’s all too common for leadership to have no clarity on what the company’s 3 Keys are. If your leaders don’t know the fundamental reason your company exists or the shared values that build connections with aligned customers, how can you expect them to guide the marketing team to success? 

When you implement a BOS, you gain priceless clarity on every aspect of your business, including the 3 Keys. That’s the first step to alignment across the entire company, and it’s a hugely important part of the Advantages process. You won’t get anywhere if you don’t know why you do any of this.  

From “I’ll do it myself” to “my team has this in the bag”

At Advantages, we have over 20 years of experience in trial and error with dozens of frameworks, platforms, and BOSs. No matter which approach we tried, most of them seemed a little cumbersome or simply didn’t suit our needs or match our style. 

Ultimately, we landed on EOS as the BOS of choice because it’s the option that best serves Advantages’ model, industry, and size. It’s very focused on the achievement of clarity, which then guides progress toward the 1-Year Plan, 3-Year Picture, and 10-Year Target or BHAG.

With the proper BOS in place, founders and others in leadership positions will no longer feel alone. They don’t have to do everything themselves. Instead, they’re surrounded by a knowledgeable, capable team who follows the strategic direction set with the help of BOS. 

Those leaders can finally take a step back to evaluate (and change) the systems, structure, processes, and practices that hold the company back from desired results. Your leaders can then stop trying to take on every task alone because they know they have the right vision, system, and people in place to get things done well. 

Focus leadership on the right strategic direction

When you focus leadership in the right strategic direction, it’s not only possible but easy to get more out of your marketing team. 

Without direction, your marketing people have to constantly guess the next steps. When clarity is apparent from those in leadership, marketing knows where they’re going, so they know what they must do. 

The EOS model helps you move through the three Advantages phases: discover, unlock, and infuse:

  • Discover: This is our systematic approach to achieve strategic alignment within your organization and maximize the impact of your purpose through better marketing performance. The discover phase sets the necessary foundation to maximize your long-term ROI. Here, we:
    • Audit: Review your existing materials, identify gaps, and design a theory for execution.
    • Align: Identify barriers and enablers to define the strategic marketing opportunity and pillars of your brand foundation.
    • Build: Define your brand identity, beginning with our 3 Keys process, and develop campaign ideas and messaging structure.
    • Validate: Confirm brand stimulus with internal leadership, external stakeholders, valued clients, consumers, and so on.
    • Synthesize: Design a campaign blueprint that connects business and marketing objectives through a “customer first” approach.
  • Unlock: This is the process of iterative development and execution of tactics aligned with strategy that unlocks opportunities and readies the campaign for greater investment with a clear understanding of success. We:
    • Assess: Review elements of your marketing plan to confirm it aligns with your business objectives.
    • Bridge: Identify gaps between ambition and execution and provide recommendations to optimize existing plans.
    • Design: Integrate tactics across content, copy, design, social, and digital execution to deliver on aligned performance indicators.
  • Infuse: The final phase leverages customer insights via a multi-platform, scalable, and growth-driven marketing program that builds upon the repeatable successes from experimentation and the brand foundation alignment that exists to drive ROI throughout the organization.
    • Embed: Attend all leadership meetings to coordinate and integrate all aspects of marketing activity to deliver on business ambition
    • Elevate: Build capabilities that harness the right expertise for the right project to streamline team capacity and productivity.
    • Amplify: Coordinate and lead full-scale, multi-channel campaigns that leverage customer insights to drive scalable performance.
    • Measure: Collect and analyze the key “metrics that matter” to clearly articulate the value created through marketing performance.

EOS supports leaders as they hone in on the strategic direction. From there, marketing can follow that direction to ensure their focus is in the right place – so they can generate ROI and crush their quarterly and long-term goals. 

Momentum begets momentum

Whatever BOS you choose, you get what you give – so it’s important to approach your marketing strategy with that in mind. Clarity begets clarity, unity begets unity, and momentum begets momentum.

If you start with a clear vision of your organization’s purpose, values, and story, you’ll get clarity throughout the process, from the 90-minute meeting to the 10-Year Target and beyond. When you start with a unified vision, you make unified progress. And when you begin with a strong drive, you get the momentum that carries you to the end. 

From tactical doers to strategic implementers

We want to do the job you want us to do – and we want to be proactive instead of playing reactive whack-a-mole. When you employ a BOS to put it all together – clear vision with effective operating structure and practices – results stop being elusive and can be realized more quickly.

If you don’t have clarity or know the true origin of your problems, how can you be successful? The EOS model helps you identify the actual problems, so you can avoid the guesswork, which is only an issue for a short time. 

Unlock the power of your 3 Keys – reach out to Advantages, and let’s talk about how you can drive organic, explosive growth. 

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