Marketing Operations (MO) emerged in the last decade to answer the need for greater transparency, efficiency, reporting and accountability within the marketing process. At a high level, Marketing Operations professionals oversee tech, data and process alignment. They manage all marketing automation and reporting platforms, draw connections between tech systems and locate insight on the effectiveness of marketing initiatives and processes in order to optimize operations.
By nature, Marketing Operations has a huge impact on end customers. When businesses are getting the most out of their tech stack and are streamlining internal operations, they have greater visibility into customer's needs and can adapt their marketing efforts in real time to deliver relevant customer experiences at every touchpoint.
What Falls Under the Umbrella of Marketing Operations?
Though Marketing Operations responsibilities vary from organization to organization, the title can encompass areas such as strategic planning and execution, analytics, benchmarking, budgeting, process development, attribution, professional development, data management, project management, pipeline management and process refinement.
It's clear that Marketing Operations functions arose to fill a necessary void — but what are the consequences of neglecting MO in the digital age? We've laid out five ways organizations suffer when they don't proactively uphold Marketing Operations functions.
1. Lack of Transparency and Accountability
If you aren't effectively managing your data channels and reporting platforms, then you aren't fulfilling the credo of Marketing Operations. Transparency refers to the ability to objectively measure the success of marketing initiatives — to observe the way customers engage with various marketing channels and content and tailor your strategy according to real-time feedback. Trasnparency lets you remain accountable to the needs and demands of an evolving market. It's also much easier to measure the success of your efforts when you have access to objective data on the outcome of each change.
2. Undefined Process
Neglecting process is like neglecting a platform. Marketing Operations professionals are perpetually working to improve, streamline and reduce friction within the marketing process. They achieve this largely through automation — in essence, leveraging the right tools to accomplish functions that would otherwise require additional time and attention to execute. But automation isn't a quick fix for all procedural inefficiencies; in order to streamline marketing processes, MO responsibilities should include managing processes and tech rollouts, onboarding staff on how to effectively use tools and frequently re-evaluating what's working and what's not (and identifying bottlenecks). Having a defined marketing process also ensures that you deliver consistent and quality work across the board, no matter who's championing a project.
3. Low ROI on Tech
If you're neglecting MO functions, then you're also not seeing the greatest return on your tech investment. No matter how many tools you have in your tech stack, it's important to devote time and attention to maintaining and understanding how each platform functions. That includes taking the time to educate your team on how to use different tools and frequently analyzing the insight that each tool contributes.
4. Resistance to Tech Adoption
If a tool isn't adopted correctly, then it can inhibit rather than facilitate productivity. When rolling out a new tool, it's important to communicate the reason why the tool will benefit users rather than just explaining the how. Knowing the value of a tool will help inspire adoption and lead to greater overall satisfaction with the product.
5. Inability to Adapt to Customer Behavior and Marketing Conditions
The end goal of all Marketing Operations is to increase your organization's ability to respond to customer needs and behavior. In order to do so, you need to be able to draw real-time insight from your data sources and transform that insight into actionable growth strategies. Mining data for relevant insight requires an understanding of what metrics are most relevant to your organization and a plan for creating strategies that target those metrics. To achieve long-term growth, it's essential that MO professionals are able to communicate their insights to the greater marketing team in a way that translates into actionable and incremental improvements.
Marketing operations are just one piece of your company's operations, otherwise known as revenue operations. Get started thinking about how to improve or implement revenue operations at your company with our checklist below.
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.