Wikipedia describes marketing operations as a relatively young discipline within corporate marketing. While the scope of marketing operations varies from company to company, its activities range from handling marketing automation, social media marketing, SEO, pipeline reporting, ad management, data management etc.
By virtue of being the hub of marketing, the marketing operations team interacts with people from different disciplines which include product marketing, field marketing, inside sales, sales, PR & content team among others. In my experience, while working in marketing operations department here are the 6 essentials to succeed & become more productive.
1. Master your tools
Marketing technology has rapidly evolved over the last few years with the emergence of vendors dedicated to specific marketing activities. Check out this marketing technology landscape infographic by Gartner & chiefmartec.com.
To become an invaluable asset for your organization ensure that you master at least one of the tools and keep learning new ones, especially the ones in the upcoming fields of marketing automation, predictive intelligence & marketing analytics.
2. Collaborate & communicate
You will be surprised by how much you can gain by collaborating with your colleagues. I primarily worked with HubSpot & Marketo, marketing automation software which few of my team members understand completely.
But, I make it a point to explain the workflows for certain campaigns to my team members and more often than not, I get some amazing ideas to make the campaign better. Another important point is to constantly communicate with
Team members who are working on the same tools to avoid surprises of any changes that impact the functioning of the tool and prevent duplication of work.
Managers and higher-ups to provide visibility on the progress of different marketing campaigns or projects.
3. Enable sales
Marketing operation is championing the use of marketing tools like marketing automation tools (Eloqua, Marketo) predictive analytics tools (Lattice Engines, Infer, 6sense), marketing data & intelligence tools( InsideView, Mintigo).
This puts the onus of educating & onboarding the folks in inside sales and sales on the marketing operations department. Help the sales folks by training them on how to use these tools to become more productive. This is important since the success of marketing is qualified by sales.
4. Continuous process improvement
I borrowed this term from operations since it is very apt in this case. The aim of this exercise should be to reduce the turnaround time, for example executing a campaign, make the processes more helpful for your customers who are folks from inside sales, sales, field marketing, etc.
For this, speak to your customers every quarter and then tweak or modify the workflows. Most marketing tools are software-as-a-service, meaning there are annual upgrades, which you should try and incorporate.
5. An eye on data & conversions
Gone are the days when marketing was more art than science. We are in the digital age which means anything you do in marketing can be measured.
CMO's live and die by their numbers so always have a way to quantify your marketing activities and track conversions or else, it won't pass muster with your CMO. If you are a Marketo user this can be done using the revenue cycle modeler & explorer module in Marketo.
6. The show must go on
Working in marketing operations is like working in a digital factory. Different members of the team are specialized on different tools and hence different marketing activities. In order that your digital factory doesn't come to a grinding halt in the absence of any one team member, cross-train members on different tools so that the operation continues even in absence of certain members.
Marketing Operations has never been a rewarding job but it's a very critical component in taking the organization to the next level. Fractional CMO excels in helping an organization to the complete marketing operations.