Marketing Operations (MarkOps) is a notoriously underused department. All too often, Enterprises hire technically talented Marketing support and only use them for unskilled, menial tasks. It’s no wonder so many CMOs and Directors turn to me and ask, “Anthony, do I really need a Marketing Operations department? Can’t my other teams take this stuff on?”

The answer is the same every time. Yes, you need a Marketing Operations team – but not one that looks like this. If MarkOps is inefficient, chances are the issue doesn’t stem from the existence of the department. The problem lies in the way these human resources are underused. Like most efficiency issues, cleaning up your MarkOps department requires some big-picture thinking and planning ahead. That’s what MarkOps Strategy is all about.

When forming your strategy for this department, you’ll want to start with what I call the “Three Pillars of Marketing Operations”: Automate, Attribute, and Accelerate. If your MarkOps Department is not highly focused on these core action items, then you’re probably underusing what could be a transformative Marketing resource.

Pillar #1: Automate

When I say “automate,” I’m not just talking about MarkOps handling odd jobs within your Marketing Automation system. I’m talking about this department owning your entire MarTech stack. To do this, they should become experts with your tools and being wholly responsible for overseeing your automation efforts.

What happens when Marketing Operations owns your MarTech stack?

  • Increased efficiency. Most organizations have specific people or teams dedicated to campaign strategy and creative. But what happens after that? In most enterprises, there is no streamlined approach to deploying campaigns through your Marketing Automation system. A MarkOps department that owns these tasks will ensure your campaigns run on schedule, rather than sitting dormant waiting to be entered into the queue.
  • Fewer fatal errors. Imagine spending six or seven figures on a campaign, only to find out the web form you were using didn’t work. I’ve seen this happen to Fortune 500 companies more than once. A lack of ownership for syncing and testing systems is almost always the culprit. When there is no clear-cut protocol for testing campaigns, communicating funnels or connecting forms with the right systems, these things can and will fall through the cracks. A dedicated person for syncing and testing everything pre-deployment is a must.
  • Higher quality campaigns. By owning your MarTech stack, Marketing Operations can transform your creative ideas and assets into impactful campaigns. There are numerous ways a team dedicated to Marketing Automation can support this, including maintaining your database, clarifying segmentation and reviewing performance data. That means the deployment and outcomes of your campaign will get just as much attention as its planning and development, which is good news for your overall results.

Pillar #2: Attribute

In my recent post on Marketing Operations, I laid out the three main reasons this department should be in charge of monitoring performance and analytics. For reference, here’s a summary from that article of the benefits of using MarkOps for reporting:

  • A dedicated person to keep track of KPIs will keep performance top-of-mind, instead of it being an afterthought.
  • Your Marketing Operations team members should be more analytical and systematic compared to their creative counterparts. This skill set is ideal for anything data-related, especially measuring performance analytics.
  • They are less invested in the success of the campaigns, allowing for less biased reporting on campaign performance. This creates “a healthy buffer between the development of campaigns and their measurement,” allowing for transparency, integrity and accuracy.
  • Marketing Operations will be dealing with your MarTech stack on a daily basis. They are front and center to identify any issues with campaign measurement or data flow.

Now, let’s take this one step further and discuss B2B Marketing attribution. Attribution is the ability to connect final results, like an opportunity or sale, to the marketing activity that facilitated it. When you can “attribute” revenue to a particular marketing channel, it helps you demonstrate what type of marketing is most effective for your business.

B2B Marketing attribution can be a game-changer for your business, but it isn’t always easy to implement. Getting such sophisticated reporting requires extra care and attention – connecting your Marketing Automation Platform with your CRM, clarifying your definition of a “lead,” and following the response to a campaign over several days, weeks, or even months.

MarkOps is in the best position to make this happen, because (with the right strategy) they’ll be up close and personal with your MarTech stack and your reporting every day. The combination of expertise in data and technology puts this department in a perfect position to clarify attribution for your organization. This will give you a clearer understanding of how your campaign results relate to overall business goals.

In the end, you should be able to come to MarkOps and say: “I spent X on this campaign and had this end goal in mind. Did I achieve that goal? Why or why not? Based on the data, how do we improve?”

Pillar #3: Accelerate

If you get the first two pillars right, you’ll have a pretty great asset on your hands: A department fully immersed in your Marketing performance and in tune with technology. These insights will give your MarkOps staff a front row seat to what is and is not working, allowing them to deeply impact your overall marketing strategy.

Consider the scene: You’re charged with developing a campaign for a brand new vertical. After brainstorming some creative concepts, the conversation turns to which channels and messages have been most effective in the past.

MarkOps, armed with your KPIs and performance data, will be able to answer this question definitively.

Next, the conversation turns to how best to set up the new campaigns. Can our Marketing Automation system manage this kind of personalization? Is our database segmented to target these people? What are our technical limitations and assets?

MarkOps has the answer to that question, too.

As the campaign wears on, Marketing Operations will report on exactly how each Marketing investment is performing. With a strong understanding of technologies and systems, they will be equipped to bring in and master new tools to improve and automate performance. A fully loaded Marketing Operations department can enable serious acceleration for your whole department, making them your secret weapon for future planning and growth.

Why your MarkOps Strategy needs these 3 pillars

Properly structuring your Marketing Operations department is critically important. Giving Marketing Operations consistent, relevant responsibilities will allow you to maximize the effectiveness of your entire department. By properly utilizing team members with technical and data-driven skills, you will unlock critical data and MarTech capabilities that you could never have imagined. You will also inspire collaboration between your creative, strategic, and systematic thinkers – all three of which are needed for B2B Marketing success.