Seamless collaboration between marketing and operations is helping brands deliver campaigns and experiences that really resonate with consumers.


Marketing and operations is a symbiotic relationship central to any brand’s ability to offer a seamless customer experience.

Close collaboration between the two functions marks the difference between activity that is operationally efficient and delivers on the marketer’s creative vision, compared to a high concept campaign that fails to stand up to scrutiny on a practical level.

The synergies between marketing and operations have helped Subway navigate a period of cultural and brand transformation over the past year.

Working with its 950 franchisees across the UK and Ireland to deliver a new brand look, logo and tone of voice required close collaboration between marketing and operations. It was simply not an option for marketing and operations to act independently from each other, explains Sacha Clark, country marketing director of Subway UK and Ireland.

“When operations or marketing disconnect from the other business unit it essentially means that the delivery is less effective, because from a franchise point of view, if marketing delivers something but it’s not operationally sound it’s never going to work.

“Likewise from an operations point of view if something is delivered, but hasn’t got the consideration of guest experience or amplification from a brand messaging or brand voice point of view, it’s not going to work or be as efficient as it could be. So bringing marketing and operations together is really key.”

So our marketing teams rely on our operational colleagues to tell us about the nuances of their store.

Sean McGinty, Debenhams

The role of operations in landing effective marketing cannot be overstated, agrees Subway country director for UK and Ireland, Peter Dowding who leads operations for the business.

“We need to be able to have a 100% solution that we know is going to be effective marketing, operationally sound and is not going to cost the franchisees additional business,” he explains.

“This is probably the best relationship I have had with a marketing person. In the past I have worked in an environment where I’ve been presented things from marketing and I’ve thought, ‘how on earth are we going to deliver that?’ and you never deliver a 100% solution.”

WATCH: Collaboration between marketing and operations is key to brand transformation says Subway

Starting as you mean to go on

A successful relationship between marketing and operations starts with open lines of communication and shared goals, which means getting both teams around the table at the beginning of the project.

Marketing director at Union Hand-Roasted Coffee, Kerttu Inkeroinen, recalls how marketing and operations teamed up to orchestrate the company’s consumer facing rebrand 18 months ago. As part of the rebrand Union Coffee revamped its packaging, adding tasting notes and detail about the beans to help consumers learn more about their coffee.

“Instead of going to operations at the end of the design process and saying, ‘this is want I want on the shelf in two months’ time’, it is better to have them involved from the beginning to make sure everyone understands what you are doing and what is possible,” Inkeroinen explains.

Union Coffee
The roasting process at Union Coffee

This process of seamless communication is aided by the fact that the Union Coffee marketing team are based on the same site as the roastery, meaning they have the opportunity to learn from operations about the coffee production and gain an appreciation of the supply chain from sourcing to shelf.

“It’s about making sure you’re not sat in your ivory tower in marketing and coming up with creative ideas that are impossible to produce or commercially not viable,” she adds.

“As a marketer you always need to be commercial, think about the investment and feasibility of what are you trying to do. That applies to any business.”

Thai restaurant chain Busaba is another company enjoying the commercial benefits of fostering a close relationship between operations and marketing. Each campaign is created with input from teams on the ground, with new…