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Everything You Need to Know About Marketing Operations in One Place

One of my favorite movies is “School of Rock,” which also happens to be one of 2003’s best films. In the movie, Jack Black poses as a substitute teacher at a private school, and, after noticing the students are musically talented, he turns the 10-year-olds into a fully-fledged rock band.

When assigning roles to the students, he approaches the class president and deems her band manager because she had the organizational skills needed to help the band run smoothly. “Summer,” he says, “You’re in charge of the whole thing.”

When I think about marketing operations, I think of this quote — without a team, businesses that depend on technology would have a less-than-seamless experience carrying out their duties. In this post, you’ll learn more about marketing operations and why these teams are essential to a business.

Access Now: The State of Marketing Ops Professionals

The people involved in marketing operations build a foundation that reinforces and supports marketing efforts. It makes it easier to achieve goals by implementing systems to ensure marketers are best equipped to succeed at their jobs.

what is marketing operations

Why is marketing operations important?

93% of B2B marketers say the marketing operation’s function is important or critical to delivering digital transformation. After all, without marketing operations, it would be tough for marketing teams to complete essential activities effectively because they enable other marketing departments to bring cohesion to campaigns and processes.

For example, as technology is necessary to carry out most marketing tasks, a team to manage the complexity of that technology and ensure it works as it should is also necessary — which is exactly what MOps is.

Here are some examples of situations that can be rectified by having a marketing operations team:

Problem MOps Solution
Your investments in marketing technology don’t provide the solutions you thought they would. MOps ensure that teams are enabled by technology solutions and eliminate tech debt.
You want to streamline data reporting and metrics tracking to understand ROI. MOps focus on processes and systems for data reporting to enable teams.
Strategy execution is a timely process, and you want to lower the amount of time it takes from start to finish. MOps helps team improve processes to become more efficient.

At HubSpot, the marketing ops team is responsible for supporting the systems and processes that enable the marketing team to perform optimally in their roles. This includes everything from permissions, conversational marketing, user data, forms, and email operations.

An essential function of how well a marketing ops team works is proper management.

As a point of reference, marketing operations is the process of strategizing and optimizing, while marketing ops management defines how that strategizing and optimizing will happen.

Since marketing operations management aims to increase efficiency, ops teams often have a hand in content planning and campaign analysis.

Role of Marketing Operations

Marketing operations is a combination of different processes that contribute to marketing team success. The role of marketing ops encompasses:

  • Project management
  • Strategic planning
  • Organization benchmarking
  • Workflow process development and documentation
  • Customer, market, and competitive intelligence research
  • Performance measurement
  • Campaign analysis and reporting
  • Data management
  • Process development and implementation

Much of the role of marketing operations comes down to strategic decision making for key marketing strategies, and seeing those projects through to completion based on analyzed data.

Marketing Operations Strategy

Marketing ops team members need to have an expansive skillset. Some of the typical activities this department deals with are email operations, systems analysis, customer data and marketing, user operations, and lead rotation.

All of these roles come together to align the process and platforms needed to carry out marketing tasks for the greater marketing team.

When thinking about a marketing ops strategy, consider the problems the marketing ops team needs to solve, taking into account the needs of customers, stakeholders, and the employees of your company.

1. Identify what you want your operations strategy to accomplish for stakeholders.

Firstly, you need to effectively communicate and involve your stakeholder(s) when trying to create your marketing operations strategy. By doing so, you can better align the team and work toward solving high-level needs and priorities that may not be explicitly clear beforehand.

This is where the importance of internal service level agreements (SLAs) come in. These contracts establish a set of deliverables to another party that sets clear expectations and mitigates issues that may arise.

For instance, key stakeholders might want to make email marketing a more valuable process. The marketing ops team would then be responsible for the processes and systems that support this endeavor, ensuring that:

  • The organization has effective email marketing technology
  • The marketing team is enabled to send emails and create improved content offers
  • The sales team is enabled and empowered to source quality leads
  • All parties have what they need and are communicating effectively during each step of the process

2. Figure out a measurable metric to determine the success of your strategy.

The next step in strategizing is to identify how the team would measure the success of the project. When you figure out a measurable metric, you’ll be able to keep track of the strategy’s success as your team works through the plan. The metric will remind your team of the goal you want to accomplish and what stakeholders want to see as a result of your plan.

In this example, the team might conclude, “Click-through rate and total number of clicks are how we want to measure the value that email marketing brings to the business. We will calculate the click-through rate by dividing the number of clicks in a month by the number of unique email recipient impressions in a month and multiply it by 100 for the percentage.”

3. Define your goal(s) using the SMART format.

With your metrics identified, the next step in defining a marketing ops strategy is outlining significant SMART goals. This format is important because it gives your team a better sense of direction and organization in strategy execution.

An example of an effective SMART goal is, “We will increase total clicks from email by 25% in one year.” because it’s:

  • Specific: It’s not a broad goal; it’s focused on email marketing.
  • Measurable: It can be measured by a concrete metric (total clicks).
  • Attainable: It’s possible to see this level of change in the business.
  • Realistic: The team is capable of working toward 25% of improvement.
  • Time-bound: This goal has a set duration of one year.

4. If needed, communicate how colleagues can take part in refining your strategy.

With the goal and metrics identified, your next step is to outline what this change would mean for affected colleagues, such as the team members who create and distribute email marketing messages.

The team might conclude that “Marketers can expect an easier email guideline process, a more effective format, and to receive a form to offer input about how to make that happen.”

5. Determine actionable steps in your plan that will help you reach your goals.

Determining actionable steps will help your marketing ops team figure out what needs to be done, identify the resources required to see success, and stay organized as they work through their tasks.

A marketing ops professional will need to run these steps by the stakeholders who actually influence the plan. For instance, they would be communicating steps to reach the previously stated SMART goal like:

  • Switching to a more efficient email technology provider.
  • Ensuring that the data being used to measure these goals is clean and accurate.
  • Enabling the marketing team to source more quality leads.
  • Enabling the sales team with better templates or sales enablement resources.

With these steps communicated, stakeholders can provide assistance or suggestions where it’s needed, and the marketing ops team can get closer to execution.

6. Assign team members to specific tasks that will contribute to the completion of your goals.

Having that set in place, what’s next for the marketing ops team is to assign team members specific tasks to help them achieve their goals. For instance, one team member might be in charge of redefining email marketing contact lists. Another might be in charge of auditing the current workflows in place for email marketing.

As team members complete these tasks, they would check them off in a centralized space so the entire team can stay updated on the project’s status.

Marketing operations teams are equally effective with their strategies and management capabilities as Summer’s character in “School of Rock.” With her processes, the group was able to obtain their own rehearsal space and offer music classes.

Align and Optimize Your Marketing Operations

Marketing ops can come up with ways to increase customer satisfaction and ease the job of marketers. Their strategies make marketing activities and duties accessible to all, and because of that, are an essential part of a business.

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