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Marketing Operations: Its Purpose, Responsibilities, and Importance

What is Marketing Operations

Marketing operations are the behind-the-scenes workings of the marketing department. They enable the marketing team to work efficiently through planning, governance, and support functions that allow core marketing functions to focus on delivering value. Marketing ops ensure that everything - from processes to campaigns - is running smoothly so that marketing can hit their goals. 

Rather than dealing with more granular details, marketing ops look at the bigger picture: from planning and budgeting, to execution and analysis. Marketing ops increase efficiency and build a foundation for excellence by reinforcing marketing strategy and metrics, infrastructure, business processes, best practices, budgeting, and reporting. 
marketing ops

Image Source: Centric

Marketing Operations Responsibilities

Marketing operations have many responsibilities, including:

  • Measuring and evaluating marketing performance
  • Strategic planning
  • Budgeting
  • Developing and improving the overall marketing process
  • Selecting and implementing marketing technologies (which includes overseeing the tools, data, automation, and integrations)
  • Providing professional development for the marketing team

In many cases, marketing operations are the people who gather data and build out reports that support marketing's current goals and plans. Marketing ops managers help make strategic decisions and set the tone for what will happen next.

Marketing Operations Best Practices

Marketing operations aimed at achieving effective results will follow the best practices listed below. 

Design Campaigns With Measurable Goals

One of marketing operations’ most important roles consists of designing and implementing processes, providing technology, and analyzing data so that the marketing team can prove its worth to the company.

In many cases, marketers attempt to build a successful campaign but forget to enable the campaign with instruments for measuring its success. Marketing ops should build this measurement process into their campaigns, as well as train the marketing team in the right way to take accurate measurements. This can be accomplished by building campaigns with specific, quantifiable goals in mind, and then teaching marketers to demonstrate how they will achieve those goals. 

Create a Smart and Effective Budget

Did you know that the average company spends 26% of their annual revenue on marketing? With such a large amount of money being invested in marketing, it's important to prioritize establishing a budget.

Marketers will want to consider how they allot their financial resources in the following areas: 

  • Branding
  • Email
  • Events
  • Social media/advertising
  • Print ads
  • SEO
  • Content creation
  • Training
  • Website

Looking at marketing data will help you determine how much you should allocate to each category. You might decide to make budgeting decisions based upon how important each channel is for your business, or you might be planning a campaign that needs a larger budget at specific times of the year. This is why strategic budget planning is important. Plan your year, then allocate money to where it is most beneficial. This will allow you to prioritize spending money in the strategies with the highest return on investment (ROI).

Use Efficient Strategies for Tracking Leads 

Lead qualification often gets overlooked, so it’s important to be clear on lead scoring vs. lead tracking. Lead scoring determines whom to target and measures sales readiness. Lead tracking has a more generalized sense of where your database is engaged and in the overall buying process. It’s important that you have a system in place that organizes lead tracking. Marketing ops should be on top of keeping your database clean, organized, and helping to set goals for KPIs and other expectations.

Marketo suggests the following efficiency best practices:

  • Automate lead scoring via the CRM and engagement where possible
  • Ensure that only operations can make changes to the model
  • Bring on a data scientist to help you determine cutoff scores for MQL and SQL
  • Create documentation that other members of the marketing team need to study
  • Ensure that all the definitions and goals are clearly defined, so everyone is on the same page

In summary, marketing ops makes it possible for marketing teams to effectively complete day-to-day marketing activities. By aligning processes, analyzing data, and helping set goals, marketing operations is as responsible for holding together the marketing department as nails are for ensuring that a house stays in place.