Opportunities for Growth: What is Marketing Operations?

Kyle Hamer • April 1, 2020

You and your employees have put your all into deploying content strategies, writing stellar web copy, and creating outstanding brand videos, but you don’t see results.

Why? You haven’t streamlined your business’s marketing operations.

If you can’t manage all facets of your company’s marketing organization efficiently, none of your hard work matters. You’re missing out on a massive opportunity for growth.

However, it’s not too late to revive those marketing campaigns. Keep reading for a guide on marketing operations and how it can empower your team to operate more efficiently.

What Is Marketing Operations?

Marketing operations is a term that describes the process for all things marketing. Think project management, marketing automation, marketing technology management, branding asset management, and other operational processes.

With strong marketing ops, your marketing team can scale your business more quickly, but with higher-quality, consistent results.

When most people think of the functions of marketers, the people who create, write, design, and build come to mind. Marketing operations managers typically have finance or engineering backgrounds and are interested in establishing steps around the creative process.

And those steps are necessary. Think about all your marketing team is juggling at the moment. An average campaign consists of dozens of individual tactics. These tactics must be executed at the same time—almost every single day.

When it comes to analytics, reports, and metrics must be created and reviewed across your organization. As insights are uncovered, action plans are designed—day after day.

Not to mention that marketing is also in coordination with all of your other departments such as sales, customer service, executive team, and others.

So, maybe the better question is, “What isn’t marketing operations?”

Does Your Organization Need It?

Many Fortune 500 companies—big and small—are moving towards creating formal marketing operation roles within their organizations.

If you’re just starting and your marketing and sales departments are small, you may not need to assign marketing ops to a specific person. You should consider pairing with a partner or outsourcing certain functions to an agency.

Regardless of industry or size, most businesses have sophisticated marketing strategies with many moving parts. It always makes sense to consider marketing operations.

You should contemplate jumping into marketing operations if any of these items describe your company.

  • You’re executing several marketing tactics, but they don’t seem to align with your prospective buyer’s journey seamlessly.
  • You don’t have access to analytics or data to show you the performance metrics associated with your sales and marketing campaigns.
  • You’ve invested in marketing and sales technology geared towards generating business results, but you haven’t seen any ROI.
  • Your team has communication inefficiencies that are causing delays in deployment, weak results, and higher than expected costs.
  • You don’t have processes in place around executing marketing tactics, so you’re missing consistency.
  • You have no idea how much your marketing execution, including time investments and planning, costs.
  • Your marketing team is regularly missing deadlines, and this is negatively affecting business results.

Any of these sound familiar? You should consider adding a marketing operations role or partnering with a digital marketing agency that can provide positive results.

The Role of Marketing Operations

Strategic content creation, demand generation, and the establishment and tracking of KPIs are the broad categories that describe the scope of marketing operations.

You’re probably executing each of these things manually, but marketing operations with proven technology and processes will enable you to achieve maximum scalability.

Content Creation

A strategic content marketing campaign includes the creation of assets such as copy (web or print), videos, and images. These assets are then used across various mediums, such as web, social, mobile, and print.

Content creation also includes maintenance. To measure your success, you must also analyze asset performance, as well as the technologies that enable the creation of them. This analysis will also include data on budgets, schedules, and reporting.

Demand Generation

Demand generation is the process of driving demand for your products and services. You should be doing this for existing, new, and prospective customers.

The demand generation process includes identifying your target audience, creating awareness of your brand, and establishing client relationships.

Also, using these metrics to collect qualified leads to pass along to your sales team is essential.

Marketing Automation

Save time—and money—by automating processes that don’t require human intervention, such as delivering email, personalizing web pages, and generating dashboards for tracking customer behavior.

With the guidance of marketing operations, you can implement automation software to deliver highly-targeted marketing campaigns for maximized revenue growth.

Think about the time your team spends on repetitive tasks such as email marketing, social media posting, and creating ad campaigns. Marketing automation not only makes these processes more efficient, but it also provides a much more personalized and engaging experience for your customers—this is what your brand needs to grow.

Establishment and Tracking of KPIs

Performance measurement through the creation and tracking of KPIs provides you with data that will tell you if your marketing efforts are practical and efficient.

It’s vital to establish quantifiable goals so that you can utilize the data to up your ROIs and increase conversion rates.

Signs of Successful Marketing Operations

A successful marketing operations team can become the engine that drives results within your organization. But how do you define success?

There are several by-products to look for after investing in marketing operations, including team and project organization, data transparency, improved processes, and workload scalability.

Holds Teams Together

Marketing operations ensures that your departments are communicating effectively and not operating in silos.

When teams aren’t working together, there is a distinct lack of cohesiveness to their efforts. Marketing operations guarantees that each marketing campaign is executed according to established plans and processes.

Data Transparency

If you want to make sure nothing is hidden from your business, you need to invest in marketing operations. With data and analytics, you can trust, your organization’s stakeholders can make better-informed decisions.

Improved and Repeating Processes

Once processes and programs are developed, your employees can work more efficiently. Their workflows align with systems set in place to deliver cohesive results.

Plus, these improved processes are repeatable, which means even more ROI for you in the long run.

Workload Scalability

With a capable marketing operations team in place, your entire organization can plan for the future.

Armed with transparent processes, robust technology, and the right data, you can design programs and strategies that are scalable and predictable—meaning lots of future growth.

How to Add Marketing Operations to Your Business

If you think marketing operations is what your organization is missing, you’re in luck.

Companies are now adding internal marketing operation roles to their teams. You can source, interview, and hire your own marketing and operations professional.

Or, you can select an agency to provide marketing operations support to your company. As technology, reporting, data, and dashboards have become more significant components of marketing, companies have started reaching out to experts for help.

Look for These Crucial Qualities

Several agencies provide marketing operations support services. If you’re thinking about hiring marketing operations support for your company, here are some skills to look for:

Expertise in Technology

Technology is vital to marketing operations in business, so managers should have experience evaluating, implementing, and managing marketing technology systems. They should also be familiar with integrations with related technologies required to run marketing campaigns.

Marketing operations is expected to optimize and audit your organization’s existing systems while designing the roadmap for new products and solutions. They’ll also have to maintain working relationships with technology vendors.

Soft Skills

Because marketing operations managers and agencies must fill a technical and analytical position, you need to look for support with an analytics background. This background is different from having traditional marketing skills.

Soft skills are crucial. You want someone who is systematic and methodical, and also able to organize and prioritize tasks. These technical skills are essential, but you must also hire a team player with strong interpersonal skills.

Familiarity with Data Optimization and Governance

Anyone in a marketing operations role needs the skills to ensure marketing data is being correctly collected and interrogated. This data gives them the knowledge to make recommendations and drive results.

You also must maintain compliance with data privacy laws. Take that off of your shoulders by trusting marketing operations to meet those best practices.

Ability to Derive Valuable Insights

For the business as a whole, marketing operations professionals should have the ability to produce reports and analyze them to provide insights to stakeholders.

This reporting experience gives them the expertise to measure the effectiveness of your marketing campaigns. They’ll also measure time-wide efficiency by role, step, or project.

Proven Project Management Skills

Marketing operations processes involve managing multiple, complex digital projects. This involvement means they’re involved in planning, monitoring, and evaluating projects.

They’ll also manage risks and compliance while monitoring spends vs. budget reporting to keep stakeholders informed.

Drive to Optimize Marketing Processes

You cannot scale your business without optimizing your marketing processes. To do this, you must review and improve existing processes to design and create new ones.

Marketing operations also involve defining objectives for each campaign and advising managers along the process. This oversight ensures that each project meets your quality standards.

Interest in Supporting Skills Development

Your business cannot succeed if your marketing department doesn’t continue to grow. And to build it, your marketing operations manager or agency must help you evolve marketing practices and adopt new solutions.

Your marketing team shouldn’t remain in the dark. They should be familiar with technology processes and best practices. For this reason, any marketing operations leaders also serve as mentors to their marketing teams.

Make Sure Your Marketing Investment Pays Off

Whether your organization is big or small, marketing operations will provide the insight necessary to compete in a world of rapidly changing technology.

If you have complex marketing execution needs, you should consider adding a marketing operations element to your business. We’re here to bring together your people, processes, and operations to drive scalability for your company.

Contact us to build your marketing and give your business the growth it deserves.