Marketing Operations Defined
Marketing Operations is a broad term that collectively describes the function of the marketing organization, including people, process, and technology, that enables marketing to operate efficiently and to scale with quality and consistency.
It serves as the backbone of a marketing team, delivering planning, governance and support functions to allow core marketing functions to focus on delivering value.
It focuses on end-to-end marketing optimization— from planning and budgeting to execution and analysis. Marketing Operations increases efficiency and drives results in marketing organizations. It builds a foundation for excellence by reinforcing marketing strategy with metrics, infrastructure, business processes, best practices, budgeting and reporting.
Marketing Operations professionals often are not classical marketers, they often come from analytical or process-oriented roles. Increasingly, Chief Marketing Officers (CMOs) staff includes financial analysts, programmers, project managers, data gurus, and market researchers performing marketing operations functions.
Some may say that Marketing Operations is an injection of left-brain thinking into the typically right-brained-heavy marketing function. This has led to the need for marketers to expand their skill set to include technical and analytical skills in addition to the traditional marketing skills. This combination is essential in today’s marketing environment that is data heavy and offers the opportunity to deliver experiences across an increasing number of channels.
Marketing Operations combined with marketing automation has the ability change the way you do marketing; influencing your strategy with new capabilities, insights and agility.
The Scope Of Marketing Operations
The scope of marketing operations is quite broad and includes activities that can be broadly categorized as content creation and maintenance, demand generation, and performance measurement.
Although many components of Marketing Operations can be done manually, proper processes with the right technology is the enabler that allows for scalable operations.
- Content Creation and Maintenance – Includes the strategic creation of assets such as copy, images, and videos with planned usage for various mediums including web, mobile, social, and print. This includes analytics around their performance and the technologies to enable the use of these assets (as well administrative tasks including budgets, schedules, and reporting).
- Demand Generation – Driving demand for your products and services with new and existing customers, and accelerating their movement through the purchase cycle. This involves the identification of targets, creating awareness and interest, establishing a relationship, engaging in a meaningful exchange of information, sustaining their interest over time based on the purchase / re-purchase cycle, and if applicable passing along qualified leads to sales teams.
- Performance Measurement – Establishment and tracking of KPIs and metrics for both the entire customer journey and for all marketing investments to provide visibility into the effectiveness, efficiency and attribution associated with marketing efforts. Utilizing this information enables greater return on investment and increased and quicker conversion rates.
Marketing Operations Stakeholders
The science of marketing and the digital tools to support its operations has grown exponentially over the last few years. This has increased the operational complexity of day-to-day activities.
Marketing Operations is under the same kind of scrutiny as other parts of the business to increase efficiency, improve processes, execute at higher speeds, and show value to the organization. The figure below depicts what the various stakeholders expect out of the Marketing Operations function.
It is the role of Marketing Operations to function in a variety of capacities to serve and support each of these stakeholders and their specific goals.
Marketing Operations Best Practices
Centric’s Marketing Operations team of professionals is responsible for thousands of campaigns across different enterprise environments utilizing multiple, leading-edge marketing automation tools each month. Those campaigns amount to billions of customer touches for our clients in more than 70+ countries and 25+ languages.
While the numbers are impressive, we go beyond the numbers and partner with clients to understand their business and help them market effectively, as well as efficiently.
Along the way, we’ve learned a few things about Marketing Operations we would like to share:
- Marketing Operations Cuts Across Existing Departmental Boundaries – Marketing must learn to fluidly lead in a cross-functional, cross-departmental manner. Silos of any type (data, content, knowledge) are the enemy of marketing operations.
- Marketing Needs To Own And Be The Champion of the Customer Journey – Marketing needs to drive the customer experience. A 360-degree view of the customer is required drawing from all enterprise touch points (sales, IT, customer service, etc.) but don’t be intimidated. There are ways to start developing your view of the customer with the data you already have while you fill in the important gaps moving forward.
- Additional Skills Will Be Needed – Agile team leadership, analytics, technology and technology integration skills are all required. The marketing environment is constantly changing. Agility, flexibility and ability to learn are essential.
- Data, Analytics And Content Are Key – Customer data and content from across the enterprise should be utilized to enable the most relevant customer experiences. Maximizing the use of data and content will increase customer interactions and marketing ROI. A key element is applying analytics to turn your data into information and develop actionable insights.
- Establish Operational Metrics – Operational metrics for campaign execution, as well as the campaign itself, are important. These metrics will help you understand and refine the campaign development process resulting in more predictable execution times and increased campaign throughput.
Our best practices are based on marketing operations experience, empirical evidence, and platform knowledge. Our experience across clients, industries, platforms, and campaign types provides us with a unique perspective on what really works.