Marketing
11 MIN READ

The A-Z Guide to Marketing Operations: Importance, Elements, Role, Impact

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This is an A-Z guide to marketing operations that includes everything you need to know about marketing ops.

Marketing operations is one of the most searched keywords on Google, with more than 1.9K searches per month in the US alone.

Here are some commonly known facts about marketing operations:

  • marketing operations is a strategic marketing function 
  • the role of marketing operations differs from company to company
  • most common tasks of Marketing Ops are to manage data, systems, email/CRM processes, and reports

Marketing operations guarantee the efficiency and productivity of your marketing team and marketing campaigns.

But despite the clarity about the role Marketing ops play in the overall marketing functions, many marketing professionals are still confused when establishing new marketing ops practices.

This detailed, no-nonsense guide will serve you the nuances of marketing ops straight up - no fluffy flowery text to discuss unnecessary information.

The purpose of this article is to help you understand:

  • what is marketing operations?
  • why do you absolutely need to figure out your marketing operations strategy?
  • why do you need to improve your marketing operations?
  • what are the various elements that fall under marketing ops?
  • how does marketing ops impact your team and campaign performance?

In short, anything and everything you need to know about marketing operations.

So let's begin.

What is Marketing Operations?

Hubspot defines Marketing Ops as:

"Marketing operations, sometimes referred to as MOps, is an umbrella term that describes the people, processes, and technology that power a business’s overall marketing strategy and increase its chances of success."

Instead of creating our own unique definition, we are going to break down this definition for you built buy one of the most popular brands in Marketing solutions.

  • Marketing operations/ marketing ops is an umbrella term - What this means is that marketing ops is not a singular entity but a collaborative entity of multiple functionalities such as marketing tools, marketing processes, marketing metrics, reports, marketing teams, and marketing campaigns.
  • It describes the people, process, and technology - This means that marketing ops strategically outline the goals, tasks, and workflows of your marketing people, marketing processes, and marketing technology stack.
  • power a business’s overall marketing strategy and increase its chances of success - this means that the outcome of marketing operations activities leads to the successful implementation and impact of your marketing strategy

I hope this breakdown of the official definition gives you a 90% (if not 100%) understanding of marketing ops. 

What is the difference between Marketing and Marketing Ops?

Marketing is a business function that develops and implements creative strategies to promote a business, brand, product, or service to its ideal customers in order to achieve business goals.

Marketing ops, as we just covered, is an umbrella term that describes the people, processes, and technology that power a business’s overall marketing strategy and increase its chances of success."

So, to simplify, marketing operations fall under the marketing umbrella and is a strategic part of the overall marketing function.

Here are key differences between marketing and marketing ops:

  • marketing is a business function, whereas marketing ops is a marketing function
  • goals of marketing are focused on increasing business revenue, brand footprint, and brand reach, whereas marketing ops goals are focused on reducing costs, increasing team productivity and efficiency, identifying and filling the gaps in marketing tools and systems, and creating and executing smooth processes, troubleshooting for marketing tech-stack (CRM, automation, email workflows, etc)
  • the success of marketing is measured by business growth, and the success of marketing ops is measured by efficient and effective marketing campaigns, tools, and people.

Why is Marketing Operations important?

By now, you have a clear picture of the role marketing ops play in the marketing function. So you understand that it is a critical part of your marketing strategy. 

In fact, 93% of B2B marketers like you say the marketing operation’s function is important or critical to their marketing function.

But to reiterate its importance, here are a few common areas where marketing ops play a very important role:

Your marketing team invests in a new automation tool, but it is a mess.

Everyone on the team is excited and wants to learn how to use it, so they go through training. 

But soon, everyone starts using the tool without looking at the bigger picture, like:

  • creating unnecessary segments
  • sending manual emails instead of using automation workflows
  • building siloed reporting dashboards

In this situation, marketing ops play the role of making sure that your tool is efficient by:

  • identifying the needs of your team and marketing function, and mapping them with the marketing automation tool
  • defining processes to use the features of your tool, such as how and when to create segments, etc
  • creating templates and automation workflows to ensure the productivity of the tool as well as your team
  • building and maintaining reporting dashboards that represent key metrics to understand the performance of your campaigns and teams

You cannot measure the performance of your campaigns and team members

Your creative marketing teams are too busy building out creative designs, copies, content, and inbound strategies to pay attention to measuring the performance of their efforts. 

But if you don't measure the performance, how will you know whether your marketing efforts are making any impact? And if they are, what are the key contributors that you can focus on improving?

Marketing ops play a critical role in collecting appropriate campaign data and creating constructive reports to help analyze the performance of your creative campaigns.

This ensures the efficiency and effectiveness of your overall marketing function.

You want to improve your marketing function, but don't know where to start

Building implementation strategies for your marketing campaigns, teams, processes, and results without affecting the ongoing activities need bandwidth.

But your creative and management teams, who are working hard on your marketing content and campaigns. They do not have the time or expertise to find opportunities for improvement in your current processes or to implement the required changes. 

Marketing ops plays a key role in assessing current marketing processes, identifying gaps and improvement opportunities, creating improvement strategies, and executing them. 

What are the different elements of Marketing Ops?

As we described earlier in this article, Marketing ops is synonymous with the people, processes, and technology of the marketing function.

Let's talk about them in more detail.

  1. Marketing tools and platforms

Your marketing function depends heavily on technology to carry out day-to-day marketing activities. But, your creative team does not have time to ensure that these (expensive) tools are optimally used by your team. 

When it comes to technology, there is also always a possibility of errors. You need someone on your team to make sure that the tools you use are following the best practices to avoid any inconvenient errors. 

Marketing ops plays a critical role to maintain the efficiency, productivity, and effectiveness of your marketing tools, platforms, and systems.

Here are a few common marketing tools and platforms used by marketing teams across the business, and how marketing operations ensures their smooth running:

Marketing Automation

Marketing automation leverages marketing software to automate marketing processes and increase the efficiency and productivity of the marketing team with the help of technology.

Marketing automation uses pre-built programs and algorithms to automate repetitive tasks and processes. On a very high level, it makes use of:

  • pre-defined triggers to identify and understand your marketing data
  • pre-defined automation rules and workflows to complete actions and execute campaigns
  • analytics to measure the performance of your campaigns and marketing activities

Common examples of marketing automation tools are Hubspot, ActiveCampaign, Marketo, Pardot, and Mailchimp. 

Marketing ops performs the role of pre-defining these triggers, workflows, and rules to enable smooth processing of your marketing automation tool. It outlines best practices for your team to use the tool optimally.

There are various types of marketing automation provided by automation tools that you can leverage to eliminate inefficiencies, such as:

- Lead Nurturing: Nurturing your existing leads to push them down further into the customer journey of awareness, consideration, and decision. Using automation tools, you can automate the process of lead nurturing. Marketing ops plays the role of defining nurturing workflows and making sure that these workflows run smoothly so as to capture data and use the data to further improve campaign efficiency.

Improve Your Lead Nurturing With This Secret Technique of Fortune 500s >>

-Lead Scoring: Lead scoring is the process of assigning a score to the leads in your database every time they engage with your brand. For example, activities like webpage visits, form submissions, form downloads, ICP matches, etc. It is a very efficient way of prioritizing your leads, and marketing automation tools make this super easy for you.

But who creates scoring models for your tool? Who ensures that rules in your tool are set up to make sure your scoring runs smoothly? And who assigns the leads to the salespeople once the scoring is high enough? That's right, it is your marketing ops team.

-Lead Qualification: Lead qualification is the process of qualifying your leads for different stages of the customer journey. Automation tools help you simplify this process, and marketing ops define the qualification criteria for your leads.

-Lead Segmentation: Lead segmentation is an important activity that helps you improve the performance of your marketing campaigns. Marketing automation tools help you segment your data and leads in an efficient way. Marketing ops teams plays a key role in defining the segmentation strategy for your database.

 For more details on marketing automation, check out this detailed guide.

CRM

A Customer Relationship Management tool is a software that helps you manage and track your interactions with your customers and prospects. It is used by the marketing team, sales team, and management to keep track of all customer activities. Some common examples of CRM tools are Salesforce, Eloqua, Zendesk, and Oracle NetSuite.

Marketing ops teams play a key role in maintaining the hygiene of your customer data, workflows, and journeys. 

5 Ways to Improve Your CRM and Help Your Sales Team Perform Better

Project Management

Marketing is a non-linear function with many activities executed parallelly. To make sure these activities run smoothly, efficient project management becomes absolutely critical. Tracking task status, progress, accountability, and dependencies are all possible through project management tools such as Asana, Trello, Slack, and Jira.

Project management is a strategic function carried out by marketing ops teams to make sure marketing projects run smoothly without impacting the performance of another. 

2. Marketing Reports and Analytics

Reporting and analytics are essential elements that fall under the marketing operations function.

Reporting and analytics help ananlyze the current state of your marketing function and determine future activities to outperform your current performance while meeting your business goals.

Some standard practices marketing ops overseas as part of the reports and analytics function include:

  • Building Reports and Dashboards

Marketing ops design and build weekly, quarterly, and annual reports for your marketing campaigns and teams to track their performance in the most efficient way. These reports provide insights to management and leadership teams on your marketing campaigns, results, and gaps. These reports and dashboards also help leaders forecast future performance, requirements, and improvement opportunities. 

  • Establishing Marketing KPIs 

Identifying key marketing metrics that help your team understand its performance is another task that falls under the marketing ops radar. Some common marketing KPIs include:

Conversion rate - Conversions are tracked for marketing assets such as landing pages, form submissions, lead magnet downloads, etc. They help you understand the impact of your marketing assets on your target audience.

Web traffic - Web traffic is the total unique number of visitors to your website. It is a very important metric that helps you understand the performance of your website and your SEO activities.

Customer Acquisition Cost - The amount spent on acquiring a new customer that begins from the prospecting stage to the purchase stage is an important metric to track for marketing ops as it helps forecast future costs and impacts marketing strategy and planning.

  • Reports and Analytics Processes

Identifying key metrics and building report structures are not the only activities involved in a seamless reporting function. It is also important to collect accurate data in order to create effective reports. And collecting accurate data from the right sources needs processes that can be repeated and improved. 

Marketing ops teams define repeatable processes to source the right campaign data, and then analyze it to fit into your reports.

5. Marketing Campaigns

Another critical element of marketing operations is marketing communication and campaigns. 

Campaigns are the core function of marketing teams which have both a creative as well an operational side to them. 

  1. Email Marketing - Efficient and effective email marketing goes beyond writing creative subject lines and attractive email copies. It requires planning and management. Marketing ops teams work on planning the email calendar based on the marketing campaigns. They also manage the scheduling, reporting, and analysis of email campaigns to ensure that the email marketing strategy is at its optimal performance.
  2. Data Management - Marketing databases if not managed well can go beyond control to a point where they are not useful anymore. Hence, marketing ops manages the marketing database to enable effective segmentation, data cleaning, as well as a timely review of the marketing data to manage subscribers, leads, and customers' data.

Conclusion

A streamlined marketing operations function can supercharge your customer experience and simplify the lives of your marketing folks. Marketing ops is a vast channel of activities that may seem overwhelming in the beginning, but it is worth all the effort you go through.