Marketing operations requires three essential steps.
The first, system creation, primarily involves lead building and management, where specialists qualify leads to facilitate sales enablement by the marketing team.
Next, your team should perform quality assurance (QA), receiving feedback from co-workers about what is and isn’t working and proceeding to fix issues.
Finally, specialists should optimize the system, asking what could flow better and proactively making adjustments to ensure efficiency.
Through these core functions, your team can optimize marketing efforts, increasing adaptability, scalability, timeliness, transparency and accountability.
Adaptability and Scalability
Imagine you’re generating 10 leads per month. At this stage, your company doesn’t necessarily need operations. Your marketing team can handle passing prospects from one stage to another, and there is plenty of capacity to work with.
Eventually, though, you might start generating hundreds or thousands or tens of thousands of leads per month. At that point, you can’t continue to operate as you once did; there are simply too many leads to manage without a better system in place. Marketing operations is designed to help you handle these dynamic environments.
For instance, as a prospect enters your system, ideally, you reach out to each of them individually and send them a perfectly personalized email. But, at a certain point, you run out of capacity and must rely on marketing automation to fill the void, personalizing at scale.
Through system creation, specialists can take vague qualitative descriptions of buyer personas and build them into quantitative tools to define new contacts entering your organization.
For example, if different personas are best separated by the size of the organization individuals work in, a marketing operations team could come up with a range of company sizes, based on the total number of employees within a given organization, that would qualify for each persona. By combining a series of thresholds and ranges, your system segments future contacts as they come through the door.
Upon entry, one level of personalization is already reached. With the help of buyer personas, quantitative information can be personified into semi-fictional profiles. From there, automated emails or other content can be formulated with predetermined personas in mind.
Marketing operations should help you build a system that is adaptable and scalable, so you aren’t just prepared for where you are but where you are going to be. When developing your system, you should think about all of the potential scenarios that could occur as you grow so you are ready for whatever actually occurs. You should be proactive instead of reactive.
Marketing operations should facilitate timeliness, making sure events trigger as quickly as possible or are properly spaced to encourage conversion.
For example, consider a marketer’s use of a chatbot on their website. The traditional path for a consumer to convert on a website might look like this:
- A contact enters the website.
- They proceed to a page.
- The contact clicks on a CTA.
- They fill out a form to access gated content.
- Eventually, the marketing team sends a follow-up email to the contact, attempting to convert them to the next step in the process (e.g. booking a meeting with a sales rep).
The longer the delay between a contact filling out a form and receiving a follow-up, the less likely a contact is to convert on the next step you want them to take (like booking a meeting). So, some sites utilize chatbot playbooks that provide timely follow-ups and a way for contacts to instantly book meetings or perform other tasks.
However, events should be properly spaced. A new customer shouldn’t receive three different onboarding emails the day after converting. A workflow set up by marketing operations can prevent that, increasing efficiency without overwhelming clients.
Another way your operations team can facilitate timeliness is through the internal use of tickets. Consider a situation where a member of your marketing team sends an email to a contact list and realizes one of the recipients was mischaracterized and should not have been included. Instead of solving the problem right away, the marketer forgets about it until fifteen minutes before a similar email is about to launch. Marketing operations specialists must be willing to jump into a situation in a moment’s notice to resolve such issues.
However, specialists can make their lives easier by using a ticket system where co-workers can detail their issues, sending them for the team to handle at their earliest convenience. Sites like ZenDesk or tools like the HubSpot Service Hub use tickets and are ideal for these scenarios.
Transparency and Accountability
If your company’s attribution function lives solely within marketing, the data can end up being biased.
For example, if a marketer performs attribution for their team, they might be incentivized to favor themselves. This can lead to certain team members receiving an unfair amount of credit for deals, while others are left without their fair share.
Alternatively, marketing operations specialists can provide objectivity. Since they don’t hold a stake in the game, they ensure credit is given where it is due, holding everyone accountable.
Transparency also involves objectivity, specifically in measuring the success of marketing initiatives. Your company needs to listen to feedback and understand the way clients engage with your content and channels. This involves looking at data and determining what is triggering events and trends.
A marketer involved with reporting might become bogged down in the context of different scenarios. For instance, if they perform SEO, they might associate an increase in website traffic solely to their efforts, failing to recognize other potential contributions like a new social media strategy promoting the site.
When marketing operations specialists create reports, they can take a higher-level view. Since they are more removed from day-to-day marketing activities, they simply consider what is and isn’t working, ensuring reporting is more accurate and transparent.
Through the core elements of system creation, quality assurance and optimization, marketing operations can improve adaptability, scalability, timeliness, transparency and accountability within your organization.
At the end of the day, that means marketing operations can make your business more efficient and frictionless, improving the customer experience. By smoothing transitions between marketing, sales and eventually services processes, you can begin to delight your prospective customers before they ever close.
Guido is Head of Product and Growth Strategy for New Breed. He specializes in running in-depth demand generation programs internally while assisting account managers in running them for our clients.