Modern marketing is a huge project.
There’s so much going on that needs to be accounted for and managed within an organization, and it can quickly feel overwhelming.
Many people on digital marketing teams feel like they are grasping at loose ends trying to make everything work cohesively without a solution in sight.
In order to provide insight and direct guidance to team members, marketing leaders need to have a system in place that provides essential accountability and management so that marketing efforts are successful and efficient.
That system is often referred to as marketing operations.
In this article, we’ll take a look at what is meant by it and why it’s important for your company. Finally, we’ll look at some tips and best practices to ensure that your strategy reaches its full potential.
What is Marketing Operations?
The first thing we need to do is figure out exactly what marketing operations is.
Put succinctly, marketing operations is the umbrella term used to describe the people, processes, and technology that make up a brands’ overall marketing program and are used to drive success.
The marketing operations of a business is the system that manages end-to-end marketing optimization and supports all the functions that run core marketing initiatives.
By creating a strong system and infrastructure, marketing operations help to increase efficiency by standardizing metrics, processes, best practices, and budgeting.
The goal is to create optimization among all processes and to build a foundation that can support growth and expansion in marketing efforts without sacrificing efficiency.
Marketing operations are crucial to a business that wants to succeed in its marketing efforts and keep its teams aligned.
Who is in Charge of Marketing Operations?
Many businesses that excel in this area have a dedicated team to run the system.
While marketing in general is often referred to as a creative industry, marketing operations is much more analytical.
Most people who work with it come from process or analysis backgrounds rather than traditional or digital marketing backgrounds, such as:
- Financial analysts
- Project managers
- Data experts
- Marketing researchers
The best brands know how to seamlessly combine the analytical thinking of their marketing operations staff with the creative field of marketing, often by having many different skill sets work together.
This helps brands stay creative and engaging with their audiences while having the heavy data and operations needed to back up their efforts.
Why Does Your Company Need Marketing Operations?
Marketing operations take a look at the bigger picture of your marketing department and works to find areas of improvement across the entire organization.
Without it, it’s hard for marketing teams to get their tasks done efficiently and get the best outcomes to their efforts.
By having a team dedicated to the strategizing, planning, managing, measuring, and reporting of all marketing systems things will become much more effective.
Efficiency and consistency are key elements to success as they reduce waste and ensure that there aren’t any irregularities or confusion in teams.
Marketing operations is also key for helping businesses grow.
If you start expanding without a clear process and system in place, you can quickly lose control of your marketing efforts and find yourself struggling to keep up with demand, manage your budgets, and avoid wasting time and money.
Marketing operations also:
- Discovers if investments in technology are paying off.
- Streamlines data reporting and reporting metrics.
- Ensures that strategies stick to timelines and budgets.
- Lowers the amount of time it takes for an end-to-end campaign.
- Improves processes and puts people in the right positions.
- Manages user data and information within technology systems.
When there is order within the company, growth and expansion don’t become worrisome but are rather exciting opportunities.
With a strong system and effective operation behind you, your entire brand can quickly see the positive effects of investing in a marketing operations team.
Best Tips for a Winner Marketing Operations Strategy
Now that you have a better understanding of what are the benefits to your business, let’s take a look at some tips to help improve your strategies.
1. Identify What You Want Your Strategy to Accomplish
As with the beginning of all strategies and initiatives, you want to have your goals in place before you really get started.
The same is true for marketing operations.
You probably have an idea of the types of issues you think a team might find, so setting goals around those is a great idea.
For example, you can have a goal be to improve ROI if you feel like your campaigns aren’t as effective as they could be, or to eliminate an unnecessary technology partner if you know you have overlap in your systems.
This helps your marketing operations team do their jobs better.
2. Put Actionable Steps in Place
Another tip for your strategy is to make sure that you’ve put actionable steps in place.
This helps your teams know what comes next in their process and creates a record of how different activities are to be accomplished going into the future.
Planning specific steps will also help your marketing operations teams stay organized themselves, which is important when working through complicated or complex issues in your organization.
3. Determine the Metrics You Want to Track for Success
Once your goals and steps are in place, you can start to think about what metrics should be tracked to ensure that those initial goals are met.
Your measurable metrics help create consistent and cohesive reporting patterns, so everyone on the team knows what is expected in a report and how it should be formatted.
Metrics also keep team members focused on goals and ensure everyone is looking for a common solution rather than comparing unrelated metrics.
4. Create Cross-Departmental Communication
Marketing is often referred to as a silo. That means that it’s incredibly insular and doesn’t allow for cross-departmental communication or collaboration.
That needs to change with your marketing operations strategies.
By allowing for interdepartmental cooperation and communication, marketing operations teams ensure that their efforts are reflected across the entire brand and that individual teams don’t become a silo of their own.
5. Assign Specific Tasks to Team Members
Once a marketing operations team has reached a solution or discovered a better process for their teams, they need to get that information across to everyone in the organization.
After all, the strategies created by this team need to be implemented in order to bring about results.
By assigning specific tasks to team members and redistributing key tasks and role delineation, marketing operations teams help ensure that their efforts are seen by the rest of the organization.
6. Keep Your Audience and Customers in Mind
Even though marketing operations focus on data and analytics, you still need to pay attention to what matters: your customers.
If you lose sight of your audiences, it can be hard to put systems or efficiencies in place, so make sure that any changes align with your customer’s needs and wants.
That way you can guarantee that no changes you make will negatively impact the customer experience and alienate your audiences.
7. Stay on Brand
Marketing is the department that is ultimately responsible for a brand’s voice and message.
When any changes are made in the marketing department, it’s important that marketing operations personnel still work to keep the brand voice consistent and stay on brand.
When you do this, you can create consistency without losing your sense of what the brand stands for.
8. Focus on ROI, Data, and Analytics
The end goal of marketing operations is to ensure that efficiencies are put in place and systems are optimized to get the most out of campaigns and initiatives.
That means that a balance needs to be struck between the creative side of marketing and the ROI, data, and analytics that are needed to back up decisions.
Marketing operations is an essential component of a successful marketing program.
From the top down, it brings cohesion and consistency to teams and ensures that the processes and methods in place are optimized to their fullest potential.
It stops things from slipping through the cracks and makes marketing as a whole run much smoother.
While marketing operations is a great big picture approach to digital marketing, we can get even more granular and look at different types of operations management within the larger umbrella of marketing operations.
If you want to learn more about specific types of marketing operations, take a look at our blog on content operations!
There you’ll learn what content operations are, why it matters to brands and the best platforms for beginning your content operations efforts.