Marketing isn't just about campaigns, content, and creativity. There's a whole lot of "getting things done" that needs to happen behind the scenes for campaigns to roll out on time and performance to scale.
This is where marketing operations comes in — also called marketing ops or MOps, marketing operations is how a marketing team is run. It's the processes, technology, data, and people that power a marketing strategy.
Of these key pillars of marketing operations, data sounds like the most abstract one. But getting the data right in your marketing ops is crucial.
How do you do this? By cleaning, organizing, and enriching the data in every app as well as integrating data between your apps.
An increasingly important role for any team or Marketing Operation Manager is maintaining data quality and connectedness. This not only includes marketing apps but also bridges to other departments in the organization.
Let's dig into how to make this happen so you can scale the impact of your marketing ops.
What are integrations?
When done well, integrations enable your marketing team to:
- Create the most holistic marketing ops strategy across your software ecosystem.
- Allow data to seamlessly flow between key platforms and enrich each one.
- Automate more tasks and free up time.
- Provide stronger customer experiences with more accessible and insightful data.
- Remove data silos and other barriers to collaboration.
- Deliver accurate insights, reporting, and decision making.
As an example of a valuable integration, think of your CRM and email marketing app. A good email list is a marketer's most treasured possession, but for your email marketing to be successful, you need accurate and in-depth insights into each contact's interests, behavior, and communication preferences. You can solve this by integrating data from your CRM.
The integrations that matter most to your marketing operations depend on your organization and industry.
That said, there are certain integration best practices that businesses with strong marketing operations follow. Let's explore those.
Integrations Best Practices For Your Marketing Ops Strategy
- Understand the ecosystem your marketing data lives in.
- Ensure clean, up-to-date data in every app.
- Make your CRM the heart of your marketing ops.
- Use contact segmentation.
- Create strong alignment with sales via integrations.
- Integrate customer data with your marketing apps.
1. Understand the ecosystem your marketing data lives in.
A strong marketing stack that your team loves using is a pivotal part of your marketing operations management.
This can include an all-in-one marketing platform or individual systems for:
- Content management
- Marketing automation
- Lead Generation
- Email marketing
- Analytics and reporting
- Project management
One of the first steps to perfect your marketing ops is understanding the ecosystem your marketing data lives in. Some valuable questions to ask are:
- What data are we collecting in each app?
- How should data interact with other apps?
- How can we sync apps to enrich the data in each one?
With answers to these questions in mind, you can decide how best to integrate your apps and allow data to flow between them.
2. Ensure clean, up-to-date data in every app.
To get the best results from integrations, you need high-quality data in every app. Dirty data in one app is bad, but the negative impact is multiplied for every new app it enters.
To prevent this, clean up the data in every app before adding new integrations. This includes:
- Duplicate contacts
- Inaccurate contact data
- Bounced email addresses
With clean data in every app, you can seamlessly integrate your marketing platforms and create the most streamlined and effective marketing ops.
3. Make your CRM the heart of your marketing ops.
There's a high chance your sales team is already using a CRM to store all of the key insights about your customers and their interactions with your business. That's because centralizing your data in your CRM is one of the best things you can do for strong contact management.
One way to test the strength of your CRM is by checking if anyone in your business can answer questions about a contact and their interactions with your business – whether in sales, support, marketing, or billing – just by glancing at their contact record.
To make this happen, you can use integrations to bring data from other apps into your CRM. The inverse is also valuable: syncing your CRM data with your marketing apps to enrich the data in those places.
Alongside syncing names and emails, you can choose which other information makes sense to have available in your other marketing apps. This could include:
- Lead status/stage
- Customer Success Owner
- Business size
- Communication preferences
4. Use contact segmentation.
Segmenting your contacts using lists, tags, and properties is a fantastic way to deliver the most personalized customer experience. But it's also a key ingredient for effective integrations.
With an integration solution for different types of operations, you can create customized workflows and sync data based on specific conditions. That way, you maintain the segmentation of your database across tools. These specific conditions could be configured according to If-this-then-that rules. For instance:
- IF a contact's Lifecycle Stage is 'Lead'
- THEN sync the contact to your email marketing tool and add to the list 'List of leads'
If the contact stops being a customer, you can automatically reflect that in your email marketing app, remove the 'Customer' tag, and no longer send relevant communications.
To create powerful if-this-then-that rules, first segment data in individual apps, and then create connections across your ecosystem.
5. Create strong alignment with Sales via integrations.
Your marketing operations strategy isn't just about marketing. It's essential to look at the other teams in your organization and understand how to create the strongest alignment.
The most important bridge for marketers to maintain is with sales. By working collaboratively instead of in silos, marketers can deliver the perfect leads for sales and both teams can share what's working as well as opportunities.
To optimize your bridge with sales, you can integrate your marketing software with sales apps such as:
- Sales CRM
- Contact Management
- Live chat software
- Sales automation software
- Integrations between your marketing apps and customer support software
With your marketing and sales apps in sync, both teams are in the best position to exchange data, deliver unified reporting, and do their best work both independently and together.
6. Integrate customer data with your marketing apps.
Although marketing usually has the strongest alignment with sales, make sure not to forget about your service team.
If your data is siloed, you run the risk of the nightmare scenario of sending a promotion offer to a customer who subscribed a week ago at full price.
With integrated apps and data, you can keep your customers in mind for every marketing campaign and create personalizations based on the products, services, and upgrades that are most relevant to them.
You can align your Marketing and Service team with either:
A good starting point is to make sure that all customer interactions and support requests are synced with your CRM. Marketers can then easily use this information to personalize campaigns and workflows.
Measure the Effectiveness of Your Integrations
You can measure the impact of integrations in your marketing operations strategy by asking if:
- Your data is accurate, enriched, and reliable in every app.
- You have a centralized contact database that quickly gives you a 360-degree view of each contact.
- Your marketing team is aligned with sales and can quickly collaborate.
- You have removed all data silos.
- You can personalize marketing campaigns for customers or exclude them from certain messaging.
- You have clear marketing reporting that brings together data from all channels and apps and highlights key areas for optimization.
As you optimize your marketing operations, remember to look at the holistic view of your marketing stack and the individual pieces of the puzzle. By paying attention to the two in tandem, you can understand where to connect the dots for the best overall outcomes in your marketing team and throughout your organization.
Editor's note: This post was originally published in July 2020 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.