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, learn more about marketing operations and why these teams are essential to a business.
What is marketing operations?
Marketing ops enable the greater marketing team to run efficiently. They also can scale their operations as the company grows larger.
Marketing operations is an umbrella term that describes the people, processes, and technology that power a business’s overall marketing strategy and increase chances of success.
The people involved in marketing operations align and optimize all processes, from data reporting to strategy implementation, to build a foundation that reinforces and supports marketing efforts, and makes it easier to achieve goals by implementing systems to ensure marketers are best equipped to succeed at their jobs.
Marketing ops can be considered a crucial element of your business, and below we’ll discuss why.
Why is marketing operations important?
Without marketing operations, it would be tough for marketing teams to complete essential activities effectively.
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 marketing ops is.
Here are some examples of situations that can be rectified by having a marketing operations team:
You want to streamline data reporting and metrics tracking to understand ROI.
Strategy execution is a timely process, and you want to lower the amount of time it takes from start to finish.
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. So, in the next section, we're going to talk about marketing ops management and what it entails.
Marketing Operations Management
Marketing operations management creates the framework for how marketing ops and teams do their jobs. This management will make strategic decisions on marketing activities and develop an optimized strategy that dictates beginning to end systems that will contribute to success.
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. Now that we understand what marketing ops is and what they do let's talk about the details of a marketing ops strategy.
Marketing Operations Strategy
Marketing ops team members need to have an expansive skill set. 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, think about the problems the marketing ops team needs to solve. For instance, it's common for marketing operations strategies to solve the needs of customers, stakeholders, and the employees of your company.
Below we’ll go over how to create a marketing operations strategy for your own business.
How To Create a Marketing Operations Strategy
Identify what you want your operations strategy to accomplish for stakeholders.
Determine actionable steps in your plan that will help you reach your goals.
Figure out a measurable metric to determine the success of your strategy.
If needed, communicate how colleagues can take part in refining your strategy.
Assign team members to specific tasks that will contribute to the completion of your goals.
To understand what a marketing operations strategy is, we'll start with an example: Let's say a marketing ops team wanted to make email marketing a more valuable process for both parties involved (customers and marketers).
1. Identify what you want your operations strategy to accomplish for stakeholders.
The first step in defining a marketing ops strategy is outlining significant goals. For instance, your marketing ops team might decide to send email marketing messages, enabling sales to source quality leads, and identifying key marketers to execute that process are three goals they have for quarter one.
When you identify those major goals, make sure you also determine which stakeholders you are targeting. You might be targeting one group or many, but being clear about who you're planning for will make sure your plan is actionable and valuable.
2. Determine actionable steps in your plan that will help you reach your goals.
Then, the team would look at how these tasks would help them complete their goals. For instance, the team would ask themselves, "How will enabling teams to effectively send email marketing help us reach our goals?" and estimate with an answer such as, "We should see a decrease in email churn rate."
Determining these steps will help your marketing ops team stay organized as they work through their tasks. Additionally, by outlining these steps, your team can figure out what needs to be done and the resources required to see success.
3. 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. In this example, the team might conclude, "We will calculate churn by dividing the number of contacts who unsubscribed from emails in a month by the number of unique email recipients in a month."
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.
4. If needed, communicate how colleagues can take part in refining your strategy.
With the goal and measuring metric 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. 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.
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.
Originally published Jun 18, 2021 7:00:00 AM, updated August 04 2021