What is Marketing Operations?

Marketing Operations Defined

Marketing Operations is a broad term that collectively describes the function of the marketing organization, including process, technology, and human resources, that allow marketing to efficiently scale with quality and consistency. It serves as the backbone of a marketing team, delivering planning, governance and support functions to allow traditional marketing functions to focus on delivering value.

Marketing Operations is an organizational approach to creating demand for products and services. It focuses on end-to-end marketing optimization— from planning and budgeting to execution and analysis.  Marketing Operations increases efficiency and drives consistent results in marketing-focused 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. Rather than PR or branding backgrounds, they come from Finance, IT, Sales Operations and other analytical or process-oriented roles. Increasingly, Chief Marketing Officers (CMOs) staff includes financial analysts, programmers, project managers, data gurus, and market researchers.

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.

The Scope Of Marketing Operations

The scope of marketing operations is quite broad and includes activities that can be broadly categorized as collateral creation and maintenance, demand generation, and performance measurement.

The Scope of Marketing operations

Although many components of Marketing Operations can be done manually, proper processes with the right technology is the enabler that allows for scalable operations.

  • Collateral Creation & Maintenance
    Includes administrative duties like budgets and schedules, along with the creation of materials such as web pages, brochures, templates, videos, images and logos.
  • Demand Generation
    Segmenting the total market to identify logical targets for your product and service, engaging in a meaningful exchange of information with your target, providing them with enticing offers, sustaining their interest, and passing along qualified leads to sales teams.
  • Performance Measurement
    Tracking KPIs and metrics along the entire customer journey, enabling higher and faster 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, and execute at higher speeds. The figure below depicts what the various stakeholders expect out of the Marketing Operations function.

marketing operations roles

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

In the first quarter of 2016 alone, Centric’s Marketing Operations team of more than 150 professionals processed more than 2,000 campaigns across different enterprise environments utilizing multiple leading-edge Marketing Automation tools. Those campaigns included more than 50 billion customer touches for our clients in more than 22 countries and 14 languages. While the numbers are impressive, Centric goes beyond the numbers and partners 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. Some brief words of advice below:

  • Marketing Operations Cuts Across Existing Departmental Boundaries
    Marketing must learn to fluidly lead in a cross-functional, cross-departmental manner.
  • 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.).
  • Additional Skills Will Be Needed
    Agile team leadership, analytics, technology and technology integration skills are all required.
  • Both Data And Content Are Key
    Customer data and content from across the enterprise should be used to enable the most relevant customer experiences. Maximizing the usage of data and content will allow increased customer journey interactions and increase marketing ROI.
  • 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.

Centric’s best practices are based on marketing operations experience, empirical evidence, and platform knowledge. Our experience across clients, platforms, and campaign types provides us with a unique perspective on what really works. 

Contact us today if you’d like to learn more about our Marketing Operations expertise.