Marketing is expanding its value creation function to meet the rising expectations of leadership. It is transforming to develop and manage the processes for setting performance expectations, monitoring progress, and measuring results. The marketing operations function has, over the years, moved towards financial governance to facilitate alignment, accountability, and agility. This guide is the only marketing operations management guide you will ever need.
Why Is Marketing Operations Management Important?
Marketing operations are a crucial aspect of driving bottom-line growth. To scale and grow, more marketing directors are now partnering with agencies that excel at business operations. Many organizations struggle to build a foundation for excellence by reinforcing marketing strategy with metrics, infrastructure, and best practices.
When implemented successfully, marketing operations management can give your company a competitive advantage over others on the market. This competitive advantage is creditable to accurate and coherent historical data, a detailed analysis of past project data, essentially enhancing how your marketing is conducted and creating the chance for sustainable returns and successful marketing campaigns. With the ever-expanding marketing landscape, marketing operations provide structured workflows to manage the amount of technology and software needed to market effectively.
Moreover, marketing operations act as the hub that aligns the customer experience with the organization’s employees, processes, metrics, and goals. Upon auditing the customer experience, marketing ops can offer insights on the productive aspects of the current customer experience. Marketing operations management enables the collaboration needed from the entire company to shift to a customer-first mindset.
Marketing operations is crucial in creating a cohesive marketing department that can predict future success and scale to support the organization’s growth. Without logical processes, technology, and the right analytics, it is impossible to predict the future. These valuable insights are critical in empowering companies to effectively and efficiently make decisions.
What is Marketing Operations?
Marketing operations use data and analytics combined with technology to efficiently execute all the phases of a marketing project or strategy. Planning, budgeting, execution and analysis focus on end-to-end marketing optimization using technical and analytical skills. It is a relatively new area of business, providing cross-functional coordination, communications, and reporting.
Operations management is the engine that drives results in marketing organizations. By delivering planning, governance, and support functions, the core marketing functions can focus on delivering value and scaling the organization’s operations. The combination of Marketing operations with marketing automation has effectively changed the way you do marketing. It has influenced the marketing strategy with new capabilities, insights, and agility. It has since made it essential for marketers to expand their skill set to include technical and analytical skills in today’s data-heavy environment.
Areas of Marketing Operations
The marketing ecosystem has significantly evolved over the years. Without marketing operations consulting, marketing teams would struggle to complete essential marketing activities effectively. Since the integration of technology into the marketing process, having a team to manage the complexity of that technology has become quite important. These are some of the fundamental pillars and areas of marketing operations:
Marketing Project Planning
Marketing operations rely heavily on project and program managers. Their job is to develop new marketing strategies and manage complex digital projects to meet the defined success metrics. Without effective work management, it is easy for marketing teams to lose time and productivity by misplacing their focus on spreadsheets and emails. Some companies have separate marketing teams to handle emails, social media, and events. Consequently, marketing operations can ensure that each department works together.
The marketing operations team should lead the department in any campaign planning, cross-tactical execution planning, budget setting, and performance review meetings. The general marketing project plan should include various sections like the overall marketing strategy, milestones, results, and marketing channels.
Marketing Technology Infrastructure
Digital marketing can target people where they are open to engagement and influence buying decisions in real-time. It is one of the reasons why the digital marketing industry is growing at an unprecedented rate. While technology changes quickly, most organizations often lag far behind. Marketing technology can also help organizations keep pace with customers’ expectations.
A stable marketing technology infrastructure utilizing strategic digital marketing campaigns can drive the success of future projects. Due to the global nature of digital marketing, data from all over the world has become a priceless commodity. As a result, having a reliable, scalable infrastructure to manage and analyze the data is crucial for marketing operations.
End-To-End Creative Process Management
The complexity of projects, designing creative assets, video production, advertising, and brand marketing, requires end-to-end creative process management. It is one thing coming up with new ideas, but it is another creating a system to manage them. Creative process management refers to the collaboration, brainstorming, and communication of these ideas.
It also means automating more technical and administrative tasks to allow employees to focus on designing, critiquing, and creating. The right processes and accountability enable your marketing team to execute their projects more effectively and efficiently. Marketing operations encompass managing client expectations while overseeing creatives and completing a project within scope and budget.
Marketing Data and Analytics
Marketing analytics is the process of measuring, managing, and analyzing marketing performance and consumer experience. Marketing operations can leverage marketing performance and maximize its effectiveness as well as optimize return on investment. Understanding marketing data and analytics allows marketers to develop the marketing data strategy to build high-performing campaigns.
Marketing operations can make use of the analytics, reporting, and team dashboards to measure the overall performance of the marketing program. Marketing data and analytics can also offer insights into consumer preferences, tastes, and trends. Despite these compelling benefits, most organizations never realize the potential of marketing analytics.
Brand Compliance and Risk Management
In recent years, brand reputation has consistently ranked as the number one corporate risk in advertising. Consequently, it is causing large fines and headaches for many large firms. So, it has never been more imperative to avoid branding mistakes. Marketing consulting is crucial in this regard. In financial services, healthcare, insurance, and most regulated industries, misleading or inaccurate claims are highly consequential. There is a fine line between selling a service and providing advice. An effective operational risk management program can enhance an organization’s ability to manage risk and protect its value. By combining a robust digital asset management solution with an online brand portal and creative compliance, marketing operations can make risk-intelligent business decisions.
Essential Marketing Operations Skills & Tools
While many skills and tools can enhance the marketing process, we have identified the following as essential. The following list includes technical and analytical skills and tools combined with traditional marketing skills.
Technology and Automation
Technology and automation can make marketing operations significantly more manageable and efficient. Many marketing departments automate monotonous tasks such as email marketing and social media posting. Automation is not only necessary for efficiency but also to provide a more personalized experience for the customer. Any successful marketing operations manager should know how to leverage technology and automation to streamline marketing processes.
Campaign Analysis and Reporting
Campaign analysis is the process of gathering and analyzing marketing metrics to inform future marketing decisions, strategies, and performance. Marketing reports uncover meaningful, actionable data that help the marketing department draw critical conclusions and meet organization-wide goals. You can improve the organization’s overall and future performance by evaluating and examining customer, historical, and behavioral data collected from the results of your marketing campaigns.
Data management is a critical skill because data has become an invaluable resource. Gathered data allows the marketing team to analyze campaigns and reports accurately. Moving forward, this offers insight into the customer experience and makes it easier to manage the organization’s prospects. Instead of pushing the data management to the tech department, a marketing department should oversee and understand this process. The marketing department can ensure that the data collected is accurate, relevant, and useful.
Workflow Process and Development
One of the primary jobs of a marketing manager is ensuring that the work produced is of high quality and on time. Setting up a workflow process that you can repeat for each marketing campaign is crucial for maintaining the department’s stability. The workflow system set makes it easier for everyone to do their job efficiently without supervision.
Project management is the skill used to manage all the above skills and tools. It involves constant planning, strategizing, and organizing for a campaign. A good project manager ensures that company projects are completed on time and with as few errors as possible. Because you are managing resources and motivating team members to meet project goals, it is a paramount responsibility.
Developing A Marketing Operations Strategy
Strategic roadmaps help to determine future outcomes and whether the organization is heading in the right direction or not. A comprehensive marketing operations strategy helps establish consensus around priorities and channel investments and resources towards these priorities. A marketing operations roadmap needs to reflect both the company’s and the marketing organization’s strategic priorities.
Developing a strategy requires understanding the goals and objectives that the company has set for marketing. The marketing operations strategic roadmap should serve as a guide toward long-term results. An effective strategy incorporates realistic and actionable steps to carry out the organization’s strategic priorities without compromising the organizational and marketing missions.
You can start by conducting an executive stakeholder analysis, creating a business case, and identifying the business outcomes of marketing. The strategy development should make use of your infrastructure, data, analytics capabilities, performance setting and measurement, and reporting processes.
Now you have a better understanding of how marketing operations improve the processes and systems in their department. Essentially, marketing operations simplifies critical data into usable information by leveraging technology and automation. For a better-optimized business, marketing operations should be front and center of that organization’s priorities.