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Marketing Operations 101: The Basics Every Business Owner Should Know

Want to improve your marketing campaigns? Use this guide on marketing operations essentials to build a winning team and unlock your brand’s full potential.

A marketing strategy is your game plan for connecting with your target audience. It outlines the steps you’ll take to promote what you have to offer, get people interested, and achieve your business goals. But just having a plan is not enough.

You need a marketing operations team to make it all happen. They’re the ones who dive into the details, choose the best tools, and get things rolling. With marketing ops experts on your side, your well-crafted marketing strategy can turn into real-life actions and results.

So, if you’d like to turn your big plan into true success, it’s time to learn about the inner workings of marketing operations. Here’s what you need to know.  

What are marketing operations—and why do they matter?

Marketing operations are the backbone of any successful advertising campaign. Also known as marketing ops, the people, processes, and tools are what keep things running smoothly in your marketing organization or other business. This is all overseen by a dedicated crew that operates in its own department or as a part of your Marketing team.  

Your marketing ops experts plan, organize, and ensure everything works together. Their job is to turn ideas into real results, helping your brand connect with your target audience. They work behind the scenes to orchestrate every move and fine-tune strategies for optimal performance.

Leaving marketing ops to your marketers might seem like a good idea, but it’s often a misstep. Without a specially trained crew of experts, even the most brilliant advertising ideas can fall flat. That’s because the Marketing Ops team creates the framework that drives the success of your Marketing team’s campaigns. Their efforts help your brand reach customers faster, avoid costly mistakes, and perfect its advertising approach.

Benefits of creating a marketing operations department  

Your Marketing team shines when they’re given room to focus on the creative process. They are the visionaries in crafting compelling stories that drive engagement and build brand loyalty. To help them do their best, it’s crucial to bridge the gap between creative ideas and action with a marketing ops team. Here are some ways this team benefits your creatives and brand as a whole.  

Enhance collaboration across your Marketing team

A marketing team often includes many major players, each focused on specific tasks. This means that everyone usually stays busy, but they might not always be in sync.

A marketing operations team acts as a central hub to keep everyone coordinated and working toward the same goals. They help match each task to the best person for the job and coordinate marketing activities. Their efforts result in clearer communication and fewer mix-ups, ensuring your teams work together like a well-oiled machine.

Streamline processes to reduce wasted time and effort

Every minute counts when working toward advertising objectives. Digital marketers work in a fast-paced world where inefficiencies and delays can derail a campaign’s success.

Effective marketing operations can prevent those issues by breaking tasks into simpler steps and creating clear workflows. They aim to remove redundant steps and give your Marketing team the right tools for a truly streamlined approach. This boosts your team’s overall results while reducing wasted time and effort.

Make better choices based on concrete data and analytics   

In the advertising world, data can tell a story about what’s working and what’s not. But you need someone to analyze this data to understand where customers come from, what they prefer, and what they don’t like.

A marketing ops team can take the reins in tracking and analyzing data to give you the insights needed to make better business decisions. With their support, your marketers can make strategic moves that align with what people want from your brand.  

Ideal roles for members of the Marketing Ops team

A marketing ops team usually only has 2 main roles. The Marketing Operations manager looks at the big picture to direct marketing ops specialists on handling the finer details. Together, these experts keep your marketing strategies performing at their best. Explore the following to learn about each role’s job duties. 

Marketing operations manager

The Marketing Operations manager leads the team in managing your Marketing department’s people, processes, and tools. Their daily job duties may include:

  • Determining the main goals of the Marketing Operations team.
  • Working with other teams to keep everyone on the same page.
  • Researching new tech tools your team can use for their campaigns.
  • Checking how well the marketing plans perform and adjusting as needed.
  • Guiding the marketing operations specialists in their job duties.

Marketing ops specialists

Marketing operations specialists set up the overall plan and manage the finer details as instructed by the manager. Their primary responsibilities are:

  • Researching current marketing trends.
  • Refining existing marketing processes.
  • Choosing and setting up new tech tools.
  • Monitoring campaign performance.  
  • Adjusting marketing activities.

The Marketing Operations team’s responsibilities and goals

Your Marketing Operations team is what you make it. At its core, the team’s main job is ensuring marketing plans work well and get results. They handle various tasks to keep everything on track, always working toward goals that boost your brand growth.

Oversee the creative process from start to finish

The creative process is at the heart of every successful marketing campaign. From brainstorming ideas to rolling out the final product, every step matters. That’s why the Marketing Operations team remains alongside your marketers to ensure the process flows smoothly.

They work with designers, writers, and other creatives to ensure the end result aligns with your brand’s goals. Through that process, they effectively serve as the guardians of your brand’s creative integrity, making every campaign a step forward for the company.   

Promote teamwork across all departments

Each department must work harmoniously to meet marketing objectives and get the most from every campaign. The Marketing Operations team plays a key role by encouraging all members to work together.

Whether it’s sharing ideas, coordinating tasks, or solving problems, marketing ops experts open the lines of communication between all the right people. As these individuals collaborate, their efforts improve each campaign’s chance to effectively reach and engage with your target audience.

Manage CRM and other marketing technology tools

A customer relationship management (CRM) system keeps track of potential and existing client interactions and data. But it’s just one of the many tools that marketing teams use for their campaigns.

It’s up to the Marketing Operations team to build the right tech stack for the department and set it up correctly. This team also ensures everyone knows how to use each tool, performs timely updates, and automates key tech processes.

By handling the technical side, marketing operations professionals allow other team members to focus on creative tasks. This improves efficiency while preventing tech problems from getting in the way of your campaign success.

Track, record, and analyze marketing data

Data-driven decisions make all the difference in getting the best marketing outcomes. Marketing teams must know what works well and which areas to change to refine their strategies. Without that data, they’re just guessing.

Marketing operations managers and specialists can assist by tracking, recording, and analyzing the data. They can look at the entire performance of each campaign and then explore the granular details, like website performance data and customer satisfaction survey results. This gives your marketers actionable information that keeps them moving in the right direction.

Ensure compliance with marketing rules and standards

Every industry has rules and guidelines to follow—and marketing is no exception. Keeping track of those standards can eat up a lot of your marketers’ time, so it’s best left to your Marketing Ops team. They can look into things like advertising regulations, data protection laws, and ethical guidelines while your Marketing team focuses on the creative process.

Your marketing ops experts can then share that info with the rest of your company to prevent potential legal issues. This helps protect your company’s reputation while reducing the risk of major financial losses. It’s also powerful in keeping your campaigns trustworthy and credible in your customers’ eyes.

Tools commonly used by Marketing Ops teams

Tech tools play a big role in how well marketing ops teams can manage, analyze, and enhance campaigns. The following are tools commonly used by these teams:

  • CRM systems enable your team to track and manage customer interactions to determine where to best focus the Marketing team’s efforts.  
  • Marketing automation platforms let marketing ops experts set up workflows to nurture leads, score them based on engagement, and hand them off to the Sales team.
  • Analytics and data visualization tools reveal which marketing channels drive the most traffic, where users drop off, and which campaigns generate the best return on investment.
  • Project management tools enable marketing operations experts to assign tasks, set deadlines, track progress, and keep projects on schedule and within budget.
  • Collaboration platforms open the doors to real-time, cross-department communication; file sharing; and decision-making.  

Marketing operations management is all about knowing which tools to use and when. By choosing the right tool at the ideal moment, marketing ops teams can streamline processes, gather valuable insights, and support the success of your campaigns.

How to create a marketing operations strategy in 5 steps

Your marketing ops experts help your Marketing department put their plans into action. However, they also need their own plan to make sure they’re supporting your overall company goals. A good marketing operations strategy helps the team work smoothly, stay focused, and get excellent results.

Step #1: Define your marketing ops goals and areas for improvement  

Start by figuring out what you want your Marketing Ops team to achieve. What are the big goals for your current marketing strategy? Perhaps you want to increase lead generation or boost sales conversions. List these goals clearly.

Next, assess the current state of your marketing program. Where can things improve? Maybe there’s a lack of communication between teams or certain tools aren’t being used effectively. Identifying these areas for improvement will give your team a clear direction on what to address.

Step #2: Select the key performance indicators (KPIs) you want to use

After setting goals, you need to decide how you’ll measure success. This is where KPIs come in. These specific metrics show if you’re on track to meet your goals.

For example, if you want to improve customer engagement, you might track metrics like email open rates, social media shares, or the total time on your website. Similarly, to enhance team communication, consider measuring the overall usage of collaboration tools. 

Step #3: Use goals to create a plan with actionable steps to follow  

Next, focus on turning your well-defined goals into a concrete plan. Start by breaking each goal into smaller steps. For instance, if your goal is to improve the tech stack, tasks might include evaluating the current tools, researching new solutions, and adding new systems.

Also, take the time to prioritize tasks. Not all steps have the same impact or urgency. Determine which tasks will make the biggest impact and plan to have your team complete them first. This will ensure your team can make the most of their time and resources.

Step #4: Assign specific tasks to each marketing ops professional

Your marketing operations strategy can only work best if you clearly define who does what. Match tasks to the strengths of each team member to get the best results. For example, someone who’s great with data might excel in analytics, while another with tech expertise could manage marketing tools.

Make sure all team members know their responsibilities, deadlines, and goals. Encourage the team to collaborate and share insights. Also, plan regular check-ins to track progress and keep things moving forward.

Step #5: Put your plan into action, review progress, and adjust

For the final step, simply put your strategy into action. But don’t just forget about it. Regularly check how things are going by reviewing the KPIs to measure success. Also, ask for feedback from your team about what does and doesn’t work.  

If something’s not working as planned, change it. No plan is perfect, and the dynamic nature of marketing means that changes are inevitable. Staying flexible and adapting help ensure your strategy continues to get better and better results.  

Achieve marketing ops excellence for better campaign results    

Marketing operations lead the way to greatness for all your campaigns. This team lays the groundwork for success by fostering teamwork, improving processes, and handling tools. Their behind-the-scenes efforts lead to more memorable marketing campaigns that build lasting customer relationships and drive business growth. So, if you’re serious about leading the market and making a lasting impact, a marketing ops team isn’t just recommended—it’s essential.

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