Digital Marketing
Digital Marketing

The Importance of Marketing Operations Management in Business

Marketing operations management enables success because you’ll achieve greater consistency, efficiency and effectiveness by automating and integrating marketing processes and workflows. Key components of that include marketing strategy development and planning, asset creation, campaign execution, and post-campaign analysis and reporting.


Marketing Operations Management is a version of end-to-end marketing optimisation, from planning and budgeting, through marketing content management, to global marketing execution and analysis. It is the conceptual framework that defines all processes supporting marketing strategy and tactics. The processes it defines are built into software tools, i.e. Marketing Automation and Business Intelligence Software.

Marketing Operations evolved as a way to help companies be more transparent, efficient, competitive, profitable, and accountable. A strong Marketing Operations department becomes the hub of the company, where people, processes, metrics and goals are brought into alignment. It is characterised by an attempt to achieve measurable and trackable Return on Marketing Investment, and, as a means of achieving that, creating a marketing dashboard, leading to improved marketing effectiveness. The concept of the marketing dashboard is that a marketing executive, or indeed any employee of an organization, can log into a system which shows the status of all ongoing marketing activities — showing ‘fuel consumption’ (spending), ‘speed’ (sales) and various other metrics in the automotive analogy.

As the digital marketing environment continues to evolve, introducing efficient marketing practices is more important than ever. Coordinating multiple channels, running integrated campaigns and relying on external partners make modern marketing processes complex and difficult to manage. Teams are often reluctant to update their day-to-day management tools and processes as change isn’t always easy though always needed! This challenge is faced by every marketing team and can be tackled by making important changes to the way things are planned and managed.

There are three clear reasons why the focus on marketing operations is increasing

  1. The marketing landscape is exploding and considerable effort is necessary for marketers to manage increasingly complex technology stacks.
  2. Marketers are being held accountable for bottom of funnel metrics, such as opportunities sourced or revenue generated that are harder to track than visits, impressions or leads.
  3. Good marketing ops can give companies a competitive advantage if they can make decisions based on accurate and clean historical data.

To do this well requires a multi-faceted skill set to align people, processes and platforms, often in complex and fast-moving environments.

The defining purpose of Marketing Operations Management is to create alignment and order within a company. MO teams are often responsible for creating work systems and workflows through every business unit, as well as overseeing deadlines and cooperation. In essence, although the Marketing Operations Manager is often involved in tactical analysis and deployment, its main mission is that of strategy. A strong Marketing Operations department becomes the hub of the company, where people, processes, metrics and goals are brought into alignment.

Now that the world is increasingly lived online and the advent of social media has tipped the scales of business communications decidedly in favour of the consumer, customer centricity is not simply a concern for soap makers and cereal purveyors – it’s essential for all businesses. As a result, brand management approaches that depend on internal alignment are key to marketing success across industries. And alignment increasingly entails marketing and IT, given the online nature of our digital world. More than ever, great marketing is about spot-on execution that delivers what’s promised.

It follows then, that not only is it important to align across departments – but also to align within the marketing department through marketing operations management. It’s no longer optional – marketing operations management is critical to planning and executing marketing that grows your business. And when you can integrate marketing operations management with marketing automation, adaptive customer experience management, social media analytics and marketing optimization, then you have your hands on all the major levers to engage your market and grow your business in ways that are structured and quantifiably effective.

Marketing operations management enables success because you’ll achieve greater consistency, efficiency and effectiveness by automating and integrating marketing processes and workflows. Key components of that include marketing strategy development and planning, asset creation, campaign execution, and post-campaign analysis and reporting.

With the right approach to marketing operations management, you can plan and develop marketing programs and workflows based on corporate initiatives and deliver confidently at a tactical level with consistent messaging, collateral and execution methods. If you add budgetary views to that operating model, you achieve fiscal control while enabling collaborative planning, allocation and program execution.

The Scope Of Marketing Operations

The scope of marketing operations is quite broad and includes activities that can be broadly categorized as collateral creation and maintenance, demand generation, and performance measurement.

Five core marketing operations areas to focus on to drive the most impact for your organization

1 – Customer Lifecycle Management

Marketing is rapidly becoming accountable for the entire customer lifecycle. A recent Gleanster and Act-On report found that “Customer lifecycle engagement could actually be referred to as marketing lifecycle engagement, given the fact that marketing is the only function to consistently be involved in all stages of the customer journey,” This means that it’s critical for both marketing and sales teams to know exactly where in the buying process a lead or account is at any given time. This is where the first pillar of marketing operations – tracking the customer lifecycle – is critical. It requires closed-loop reporting across your marketing-automation platform and CRM.

There are five core lifecycle stages that are important for your inbound lead management, they are:

  • Lead
  • Marketing Qualified Lead
  • Sales Qualified Lead
  • Opportunity
  • Customer

One of the first things that your marketing operations team should do is institutionalize and automate the tracking of lifecycle stages across your entire database. This will allow your marketing, sales and customer success teams to integrate and personalize the entire customer experience.

2 – Lead Scoring

There are two core types of lead scoring in the marketplace today, traditional lead scoring and predictive lead scoring. This post will look at traditional lead scoring. This model would likely be created by a marketing operations team, while predictive models use software platforms maintained by the operations team.

Lead scoring helps you measure both the quality of the leads in your database, and their readiness to speak to a sales rep. Traditional lead scoring models are broken into two key parts, explicit data (information collected in forms) and implicit data (digital body language tracked in your marketing-automation platform). Your marketing-automation team should be expected to analyse this data and create a model based on their finding.

For example, here’s what a very simple, the explicit lead score might look like for an IT managed services company:

3 – Lead Routing

When a prospect submits a form on your website, lead contact and qualification rates drop dramatically in just minutes and continue to decrease over the next few hours. It’s critical that the marketing operations team can quickly route this lead immediately into the queue of a sales rep.

This is best accomplished using a marketing-qualified lead workflow and lead assignment rules in your CRM to route the lead to the appropriate sales rep based either on territory or specialization, such as company size broken down by SMB and Enterprise.

4 – Marketing Attribution

One of the top struggles of B2B marketers is with the measurement of their campaigns. In fact, only 21 percent of marketers say they are successful at tracking ROI. This is another key area where marketing operations teams are capable of creating infrastructure and reporting capabilities that will allow marketers to track this data.

There are many different attribution models available to inbound marketers . but the State of Pipeline Marketing Report has shown that nearly 25 percent of marketers do not have an attribution model in place, while a further 55 percent are using a single-touch attribution model. This means that attribution is another key area where marketing operations teams can help both implementing single-touch attribution and then continue to refine these into more advanced multi-touch models. attribution-model

5- Database and Platform Management

The final core function of marketing operations is managing the marketing and sales technology stack to ensure clean and up to date information. This can often entail integration and management of over ten platforms. ChiefMartec aggregated the marketing stacks of 21 companies last year, and I think they provide some great examples of the layers of integration that are necessary.

For example, here is one company’s arsenal:

 

You can’t perform marketing without marketing operations. As you can see, the marketing operations role is an incredibly important piece of the modern B2B marketing and sales team. Whether you are at a startup with high-growth ambitions, or an established mid-market or enterprise company looking to integrate a modern demand-generation approach, don’t underestimate the importance of laying a strong marketing and operations foundation. Spending the time and resources needed to build the foundation today will allow you to make better decisions and scale faster in the future.

One of the key roles of Marketing Operations is to help define the company’s long-term goals and then provide the oversight necessary to keep a company on course. This involves everything from making sure the company is following through on marketing strategy, to ensuring a strong return on investments. As with traditional marketing teams, this means a continual focus on key performance indicators (KPI’s). MO may also be in charge of those KPI’s related to budgets, distribution, data flow, and procurement. Another key role is ensuring that the company stays ‘on brand’ at all times. Today, branding is a complicated and powerful field that affects the very essence of a company’s identity. Brand is not just about colours!

The Marketing Operations Manager is also the catcher for the company’s tech awareness team. MO keeps abreast of improvements and competition in CRM, data analysis, and marketing and then translates that knowledge into actionable improvements. Digital Marketing requires highly responsive customer service teams, real-time traffic and revenue reporting, an understanding of advertising exchange algorithms, and the ability to spot fresh opportunities.

The ultimate responsibility of a Marketing Operations Manager is supporting other teams or individuals. A data analyst would likely lend support to the sales team and working the CRM, then move on to A/B testing and analysis of email campaigns and finally, refine data and feed it into current ROI reporting.

Five steps to save time, reduce waste and improve operational marketing management

1 – Get everyone pulling in the same direction.

Defining business and marketing objectives first is crucial, your most powerful leadership tool is clear and specific objectives. Define your battleground, understand where your efforts are likely to have the greatest impact to the goals you have set. Once you have this set making it visible is key but also ensuring people are accountable is crucial, monthly status meetings and data is the best way to do this.

2 – Identify the decision-making and operational structure.

Defining individual roles within a framework will help prevent unnecessary overlapping and waste of resources. Once people have a clear suite of accountabilities and see how they fit within the team to help achieve the goals you will have an empowered and focused team. For marketing operations involving more than one team, decide if units will operate under a centralised decision-making structure, or whether local teams will have more tactical decision-making autonomy.

3 – Design efficient, tailored processes.

To run as smoothly as possible, each aspect of the marketing plan should be guided by a process which takes into account the decision-making structure, available resources, technology and internal and external policies. Designing efficient processes can require some trial and error, so be prepared to adapt them as necessary.

4 – Use data to measure marketing performance.

Data-driven marketing allows you to continually measure performance and adjust strategy so you’re always on course to reach goals it also removes the HIPPO effect and reduces time debating opinions. Implementing a data-driven approach to marketing is essential, as it allows goals to be defined, and performance monitored in quantitative terms. Work together with stakeholders to define performance indicators and ensure they are closely aligned with sales and business objectives. Make data-driven marketing efficient by automating report generation.

5 – Utilise Technology.

While I wouldn’t recommend chasing the next shiny new object, technology can be a great enabler. Tools such as the Adobe Creative Cloud, Salesforce Pardot, Google Drive and Wave Analytics have made traditional labour intensive and time-consuming tasks easy and accessible. An annual review of the key software within your company is helpful since old tools for managing operations could be holding you and your team back.

The Future of Marketing Operations

According to a 2009 Lenskold Group study, companies with a marketing operations department are twice as likely (11% vs. 5%) to enjoy more “effective and efficient” marketing and are more likely to outgrow their competitors. In a survey conducted by the CMO Council and software company Alterian, 60% of respondents said the transformation of marketing operations is an essential area of focus, regardless of company size. In the Lenskold study, 59% of respondents reported having a dedicated Marketing Operations person or team. For companies small and large, Marketing Operations provides the integration and insight necessary to compete in a world of rapidly accelerating data and intelligence.