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, such as “lead singer,” “lead guitarist,” and “keyboardist,” he approaches the class president and deems her band manager because she had the organization skills needed to help the band run smoothly.
“Summer,” he says, “You’re in charge of the whole thing.”
I think of this quote when I think about marketing operations. Without a marketing operations team, businesses that depend on technology would have a less-than-seamless experience carrying out their duties.
Known affectionately as “MOps” at HubSpot, the marketing operations team is responsible for making sure the highly complex technology used at HubSpot is always top-notch, which helps the greater marketing team (and business as a whole).
Let’s learn more about marketing operations and why these teams are essential to a business.
What is marketing operations?
Marketing ops enables the greater marketing team to run at an efficient level. They also have the ability to scale their operations as the company grows larger.
Marketing operations doesn’t have the most clear-cut definition because it describes a variety of functions. Generally, marketing operations defines the team in charge of the technology and processes needed to help marketing teams run effectively.
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.
Without marketing operations, it would be tough for marketing teams to effectively complete essential marketing activities. Because technology is necessary to carry out most marketing tasks, a team to manage the complexity of that technology is also necessary.
That’s where marketing ops comes in. This team is responsible for being the powerhouse of the company — they align the processes, historical data, goals, and people of a business.
Marketing ops teams have a hand in multiple stages of marketing duties, including the creation and management of important projects. For example, a marketing ops professional might oversee the budgeting and planning for an automated email marketing campaign so they can document the ROMI.
A marketing ops department tracks the Return on Marketing Investment (ROMI). This is because the team’s core function is to keep track of how the efficiency of their strategies is contributing to initial investments.
A key 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
Before we get into the details of marketing ops management, let’s put a definition behind the term.
Marketing operations management is the framework for how a marketing operations team runs. It describes the optimization of a marketing strategy from beginning to end.
The goal of marketing ops management is to make marketing activities efficient. Because of this, it’s not uncommon for a marketing operations team to have a hand in content planning and campaign analysis. It’s also likely to find the tools needed to achieve this to-do list in software that handles marketing and business, like HubSpot’s all-in-one CRM.
Marketing operations defines the process of strategizing and optimizing, while marketing ops management defines how that happens.
Now that we have an understanding of what marketing ops is and what they do, let’s talk about the details of a marketing ops strategy.
Marketing Operations Strategy
Marketing operations team members need to have an expansive skillset. Some of the common roles within this department or team 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.
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 major goals. For instance, your marketing ops team might decide sending 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 positive 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 needed to see success.
3. Figure out a measurable metric to determine the success of your strategy.
After identifying the tasks and the benefits for their challenge, the next step in strategizing would be 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 method identified, next, the team would outline what this change would mean for affected colleagues, for instance, 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.”
When you include relevant colleagues in the creation of your plan, you can have reassurance that your strategy will end up providing the most effective solution.
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 certain tasks to help them achieve their goal. 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 status of the project.
This is how a marketing operations strategy would lead to solving for one of the most important parts of a business: the customer.
How will your marketing ops strategy empower the most important parts of your company?
Marketing operations teams are equally as effective with their strategies and management capabilities as Summer’s character in “School of Rock.” With her system of processes, the group was able to obtain their own rehearsal space and offer music classes.
They are able to 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.