What is Marketing Operations? An essential role for organizational growth

With the evolution of marketing technology, marketing has become more influential in a wider range of fields. Understanding customer psychology and needs based on data analysis is utilized not only in advertising, but also in all aspects of business, including sales, product development/manufacturing, and distribution.

On the other hand, business processes are becoming more complex as the area covered by marketing expands. Therefore, there is an increasing demand for marketing operations that take a bird’s eye view of the entire marketing business and are responsible for management and policy design.

In Japan, it is still unfamiliar word, but in the United States, it is being introduced mainly by major IT companies and B2B companies. In this article, we will focus on the basic roles as a first step in understanding marketing operations.


Table of Contents

What is Marketing Ops?

Before understanding marketing operations, let’s clarify what we mean by “operations.”

The word “operation” originally means “work”, “operation”, “process”, etc. In business, it is used in the sense of “determining procedures and systems to operate and promote in order to achieve business goals.”

Specifically, unlike ordinary work, which actually implements measures or uses tools to perform tasks, it plans and manages measures from a broader perspective, establishes procedures, and optimizes resources . A series of tasks is an operation task.

In practice, marketing operations refers to the department or organization responsible for marketing-related operations, and may also refer to the marketing operations themselves, the people responsible for the operations, or the digital tools that carry out the marketing operations.

Summarizing the above, marketing operations can be summarized as a collection of people, processes, and technologies that drive a company’s overall marketing strategy and increase the likelihood of success.

Why Do You Need Marketing Operations?

Why Do You Need Marketing Operations?  1

There are two main factors behind the need for marketing operations.

  • Expansion of areas required for marketing and cooperation with other departments
  • Evolution of marketing technology

Expansion of areas required for marketing and cooperation with other departments

The first factor is the expansion of the area covered by marketing.

In the past, marketing was positioned as something that assists sales, and its main duties included promotion of new products, website creation, and advertising operations.

However, with the advent of the Internet, the role of marketing has changed significantly.

Today’s marketing is responsible for a series of processes from “attracting users” to “building relationships” and “satisfying” as seen in the figure below.
As the scope of marketing operations expands, there is a growing need for a department to comprehensively evaluate and manage the quality, resource allocation, and operation of each measure separately from the teams that carry out individual marketing measures. became.

In addition, as a result of the expansion of the marketing field, collaboration with other departments has become inevitable. For example, after the marketing department’s measures have increased the willingness of prospective customers to purchase, it is necessary to cooperate with sales. Conversely, at the request of sales, the marketing department may prepare content to encourage prospects to purchase. Depending on the business, there may be cases where collaboration between marketing and other departments such as manufacturing and distribution is required.

As described above, as a result of the need for collaboration between the marketing department and other departments, the demand for marketing operations that optimize resources and measures to improve overall productivity is increasing.

Evolution of marketing technology

The second factor that requires marketing operations is the evolution of marketing technology.

Typical tools used by marketing departments include:

  • Customer relationship management (CRM) that centrally manages customer information for building long-term relationships with customers
  • Marketing automation (MA) that realizes communication with each customer
  • Website content management system (CMS)
  • Web advertising management tool
  • Analysis tool for understanding website browsing history, etc.

The penetration of SaaS has lowered the cost of digital tools and lowered the hurdles to introduction. However, in the actual introduction, it will not be useful for business without a solid operation plan.

Marketing operations are now required to be professionally and comprehensively responsible for examining the digital tools necessary for the company, drafting an introduction plan, and implementing an onboarding program for members.

The Role of Marketing Operations in Organizational Growth

The Role of Marketing Operations in Organizational Growth

Marketing operations are required to drive a company’s overall marketing strategy and increase its chances of success. Let’s take a look at what role marketing operations play in a company.

Encourage collaboration between organizations

Companies provide a good customer experience through consistent communication with customers at various touchpoints such as marketing, sales, and customer service.

However, in reality, there are cases where different departments use different tools, and the collected data cannot be linked.

Under these circumstances, Marketing Operations will work with each organization to implement cross-sectional measures to provide a better customer experience. The role of marketing operations here is to organize the numbers to be seen and build processes so that data can be passed across departments.

Efficiently support growth strategies

Marketing operations also play a role in supporting the company’s growth strategy. For example, by introducing digital tools ahead of other departments and using them for analysis and policymaking, we pave the way for introduction to other departments. We will promote the digital transformation of the entire company under the leadership of marketing operations.

In addition, marketing operations collect and analyze various customer data to formulate a “customer first” business strategy. For this reason, we bring the perspective of “customer first” to manufacturing, which tends to be “product first”, and management, which tends to be “company first”, and promote customer-centered business development.

establish accountability

Marketing measures take a long time to generate revenue, and the results are not always clear from the beginning. However, if marketing operations understands the activities of the marketing team, they will be able to collect and analyze the necessary data, visualize it, and be accountable to management and other departments.

Skill set required for marketing operations

The work of marketing operations is inseparable from data. Members in charge of marketing operations need a skill set centered on the following three points.

  • Knowledge of marketing tools
  • data analysis
  • Operations management

Knowledge of marketing tools

As mentioned above, marketing operations use a wide range of tools, including CRM, so it is necessary to understand the role and characteristics of each tool and to be able to master them. In addition, when providing introduction support for other departments, it is also necessary to have the ability to guide according to the knowledge level of the other party.

data analysis

In addition to data analysis and identifying hypotheses, the ability to discover bottlenecks and improvement impacts of the entire process from a large amount of data is required. In addition to looking at quantitative data expressed in numbers, it is also necessary to have the ability to look at qualitative elements that do not appear in numbers, such as purposes, aims, causes, and relationships.

Operations management

We design the entire process from marketing activities to sales. When formulating measures, we will lead cooperation with other departments.

3 steps to implement marketing operations

3 steps to implement marketing operations

Describe the steps for implementing marketing operations.

  1. Clarify goals and objectives
  2. Consider barriers and remedies
  3. Formulate a roadmap to build marketing operations

1. Clarify your purpose and goals

Clarify why your company is implementing marketing operations. At the initial stage, it is often not clear what can be done by introducing marketing operations into the company, and it may not be easy to determine the purpose and goals.

In such a case, please collect case studies of marketing operations and conduct research. What can the introduction do? We will investigate the similarities and differences with our own company by carefully examining the cases of other companies to see if they have been improved.

After completing the case study, consider again what issues your company has and what marketing operations can solve.

Then set goals and objectives. Objectives are what you want to achieve through your marketing operations, and goals are intermediate indicators of how you can achieve those objectives. Clarify the purpose and goals of introducing marketing operations, and consider what benefits your company will receive.

2. Consider barriers and coping strategies

Think about what are the obstacles to the introduction of marketing operations. Barriers are often internal opposition, budgets, processes, people and technology.

For internal objections, explain why marketing operations are necessary and what benefits they will bring. In particular, if there are objections from management, please persevere and obtain approval.

The barrier to the process is the resistance of the person in charge, saying, “I’ve done it this way so far.” Explain why you should introduce marketing operations and ask for their understanding.

If you don’t have enough skilled people in-house, prepare an onboarding program and have them acquire skills while operating it.

Internally deployed technology is also a challenge. If your tools are outdated or don’t seem to integrate across major technologies, talk to your vendor.

It takes time and effort to build a professional marketing operation. Let’s persevere.

Formulate a roadmap to build marketing operations

We identify the current resources and technologies, and clarify who is using what and what kind of effect they are getting. This is your current location. Next, list the resources, skill sets, and technologies that your target marketing operations have.

We analyze the gap between the two, clarify the role to reach that point, and formulate a roadmap for building a specialized marketing operation. Each point should also have measurable performance indicators.

Consider introducing marketing operations that strategically support organizational growth

With the evolution of marketing technology, the scope of marketing operations has expanded, and we are now responsible for a wide variety of operations that extend to other departments. As a result, silos of operations are progressing even within the same marketing department, and there is a demand for a role to oversee marketing in order to streamline and optimize marketing.

Furthermore, as the introduction of digital tools progresses, the data handled by marketing goes beyond the marketing department and has an impact on overall corporate activities, including measures in other departments such as sales, manufacturing, and distribution.

The needs for marketing operations are expected to increase further in the future. I would like companies that are going to introduce marketing operations to develop human resources while collaborating with other departments. The construction of marketing operations will create a high-quality customer experience and create further corporate value.

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