Marketing is an essential part of any business, and if you are going to be successful with yours, there are certain things that you need to do and include in your business model. Marketing operations is the future of marketing, and if you don’t believe me now, hopefully, you will by the time you have finished reading this article. B2B marketing is not traditionally known for structure, discipline and process. There is a perception that it is a creative pursuit, based on phycology at best and at worst and ineffective drain on a balance sheet. But, the times are changing and like other parts of your business, marketing should be data-driven and more accountable for key metrics. To do that you need your marketing and digital marketing team to act more like scientists than artists and deliver agile marketing activity, based on marketing automation and strategic planning to deliver effective demand generation and differentiated customer experience before your prospects sign up.
In this article, we'll discuss everything that you need to know about marketing operations, including what it is, why it is important, what businesses need it, and so on. It is essential that you understand the importance of marketing operations management and why you should care. You will notice that it has a rather wide area that is covered under this one term, such as people, processes and technology that allow all the complex combinations of strategy and analytics to run well in order to produce the business outcomes that you are looking for. So let's get down to business.
What actually is marketing operations, though? Well, it is a different skill set being added to what is generally seen to be a creative industry, which gives it a whole new layer of ideas and ways to enhance marketing overall. The stereotype of people in marketing is 'the creative'. A person or people-focused and able to do things such as designing, creating and writing in order to make the marketing campaign as effective as possible. However, in marketing operations management, the background is usually more business process, data management, commercial and digitally and social media orientated, which is necessary as marketing operations functions and focuses on placing systems and processes around the creative process.
If you consider it, you will realise that those in the marketing will be using around twenty different tactics per day at the same time in order to get the most amount of people interested in what they are trying to attract. That’s a lot of separate tactics to be used, and there is more to marketing than just the finished result that the target persona sees. For example, each team has to use a number of tech solutions and software just to keep everything running. These then need to be configured so that they can work together to create the best possible marketing campaign possible, and this has to be done every day. Even further though, you will find that there are analytics, metrics and reports that need to be created, reviewed and analysed with a fine-tooth comb, and then design a plan around this.
So, if you are ever wondering what your marketing team does, you would be better off looking into what they don’t do, as the list for the former is extensive. It is also imperative that marketing is coordinated across the departments in the business, including the finance team, sales team, customer service, etc. Marketing operations professionals will make sure that the process surrounding the creative process, like the coordination between departments, runs as smoothly as possible to ensure maximum results.
It is always going to be important to have a team that is dedicated to the planning, managing and measuring all the processes that are necessary in order to do something effectively. Marketing operations is no different and will play a major role in giving your business the best possible chance on the marketing side of things.
The first major reason that marketing operations are important that we are going to look at is that it enables your business to achieve greater success through efficiency and consistency. This can be done through automating and integrating marketing processes which will, in turn, boost the efficiency of the entire marketing department. The reason that marketing operations is vital here is that to get to where you need to be with this, you are going to need a marketing strategy to be developed which includes details such as the execution of the plan, the plan itself and the analysis and reporting of the results. As you can tell, this is not the job of your typical marketing employee as the creative side is more their area. Instead, you need people who have experience in the business, its processes, and key players to put these processes into place.
Something that you will find beneficial to your business when you set up your marketing operations team is that they can give your company a competitive advantage over others on the market. This is because your marketing will now be based on accurate and clear historical data, meaning that it will enhance the way your marketing is conducted. As well as that though, with the ever-expanding marketing landscape, it now requires a lot more effort to manage the amount of technology and software that is needed to market effectively.
Another point to consider is that the main function of marketing operations is to create order within the company, which drives forward the marketing process. A lot of marketing operations is focused on the analytical side of things and this could be something that your current marketing campaign is missing. If it seems like your B2B marketing team are either struggling to cope or like they are a little all over the place with all the tactics and software being used, then marketing operations could provide a big help to your business.
There are a number of roles that marketing operations play within a business, and it expands more than just your typical idea of marketing. Marketing operations professionals are not usually involved in the creative marketing process, which means that all of their roles take place apart from it. For example, this includes tasks such as material sourcing once the creative design has been put in place. Further than that, they could then go on to talk to retailers and generate a bit of buzz around the product, which will then give them the data that they need to come up with an estimate for the amount of inventory that is going to be necessary, as well as giving clients an estimated delivery date. From this example alone, you can see that both words in the job title are equally as important. For the majority of the time, it is more than just marketing that marketing operations tackle.
It is also the role of the marketing operations professional or team to plan product launches and brand promotions to help generate interest. So, while the creative team deals with the creative side of things and coming up with the aspects of the campaign, marketing operations creates and secures the processes that surround this.
Various companies give marketing ops different tasks, but at the end of the day, many of them are going to be the same. While some may have more responsibilities than others depending on the needs of the company, the roles they are qualified to take on remain the same. For example, in some companies, marketing operations play a significant role at the through the planning, production and analytics processes.
As such, marketing operations have a much broader scope than just the average marketing team. The business side of marketing is a huge consideration and something that can only be managed by someone who has the correct skills to do so. Think for a moment about trying to understand all the different kinds of marketing technology (martech) and software necessary to operate a marketing campaign, and then consider how much effort and attention it requires to maintain them all. Marketing operations take on this role so that your business can work as effectively and as efficiently as possible.
If you had to summarise what the role of marketing ops is, it would be summed up in three words: technology, data and alignment. These are three of the crucial aspects that marketing ops have to deal with on a daily basis and technology will certainly take first place in the lineup.
It is important to recognise that all companies could benefit from having marketing operations. This is going to be especially true if you are a large technology company or a B2B company. More businesses are now starting to see that this is necessary for them to be the best they can be. It doesn’t matter about the size of your business, because marketing ops will always make sense if you have a marketing strategy that is complex and requires a lot of different combining elements to make one big marketing communications campaign.
If you have been investing your budget in marketing and sales technology, but you have yet to see any kind of return through your business, then you might want to consider adding marketing ops to your business model sooner rather than later. This will help you to see the returns that you are looking for by using their experience in the field to help target your marketing. This may even implement a whole new strategy that surrounds the creative aspects in order to boost returns.
Additionally, if you don’t currently have the analytics that you need to see performance metrics associated with the revenue that you have generated from your marketing, then your business will benefit greatly from introducing marketing ops. You will be able to see what you have been generating from marketing, and then use this to target the areas that are bringing in the most revenue.
Or, it might be the case that your business currently does not have the correct processes surrounding how you are implementing and executing your marketing tactics. You might have noticed that this has meant you are missing the consistency that is necessary in order to take the correct steps for your day to day marketing needs, which could be harming your business.
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Bringing in marketing ops will give you that extra advantage by having these processes implemented as soon as possible, giving your company the boost that it needs to see more efficient marketing. It is possible that this has led to your marketing campaigns not being executed on time, or without leaving the correct amount of time to generate as many leads as possible. If this is happening, or your marketing team are always missing deadlines resulting in poor business performance, you need to do something about this as soon as possible.
Whether you recognise this or not, B2B marketing is a process that needs to be handled with the utmost care. If your company sells and purchases services or goods with another business, then you need to have this in the back of your mind at all times.
There are certain steps that need to be completed in order to successfully market B2B. You need to ensure that you are presenting your offerings in a manner that is received well. What we mean by this is that you don’t want to give a confusing presentation and leave the other business wondering what on earth they just saw. Then you need to ensure that you have chosen the right mode of communication before getting in contact with the client to try and set up an appointment for a meeting. Marketing ops are going to be able to handle all of this — they will know to send all of the information to the client before the meeting so that they have a chance to go over what you are offering and all the details before the actual meeting.
Something else that marketing operations will be able to help you with is landing this client by going through the correct process. After you have been through the steps above, it is important to remember that being rigid is not going to get you anywhere. Instead, you need to be flexible — that is where all the research the marketing ops person has done is going to come in handy. It is important to know exactly what to do during this process, how to handle your clients, and how to go about things in the correct way. What we mean by this is that you really don’t want to be upsetting your client here; remember that you need to keep them happy in order to secure a contract. Marketing ops will make sure that everything is in place to be able to do this, and will also handle all of liaising with the client.
Your marketing needs to be run like a software development team, and this is because they are agile. There are a lot of different components to marketing like we have already discussed, and being agile is going to be important to get them all right. This refers to a certain type of planning and execution, which can be completed by marketing operations in order to help marketing activity run more smoothly than ever before. Almost akin to project managers managing marketing. You just apply the basic concepts of what is done in the software development world to the marketing plans, and you will see a huge improvement almost immediately.
So, what does this actually mean then? Well, there are a lot of technical terms that you need to know if you are going to understand exactly what is going on when you run your marketing like a software development team, but marketing ops will already know exactly what they are doing. This means that you, as a business owner, don’t have to spend forever learning everything technical. However, some of the main things that you need to know is that a sprint is a period of time in which a team commits to complete a certain work output. Software development teams usually operate in sprints which usually last for around 15-30 days, and then have a sprint review in which they analyse the results, and see what can be improved for next time. This is one of the most efficient ways of marketing, and that is why we recommend that you run your marketing team like a software development one. Marketing operations will keep everything in line here, and manage anything that needs to be communicated between departments in the business.
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As you can see, then, marketing operations is the future of marketing. With all the benefits that it brings to marketing and sales effectiveness, and knowing that it will soon be the very thing that keeps your marketing running, you would be a fool to not consider implementing it into your business. If you want to see new sales opportunities, new customers and new leads, then adding a marketing operations person to your team is going to be the way forward. Whether you own a big or small company, or if you are looking to expand your current marketing to new heights, you should look into this trend sooner rather than later.
Don’t delay if you want your business to be up to date with the latest trend of marketing operations.