Download Your Marketing Operations TemplatesPutting this advice into practice will take some tools. Get started with some downloadable options in this kit:
- Performance Review Question Template: Identify bottlenecks in marketing workflows by helping team members identify performance problems.
- Performance Management Checklist: Never miss another important step when it comes to maximizing your team's potential.
- Marketing Project Checklist Template: Build consistent processes and workflows for every marketing project.
- Marketing Project Management Plan Template: Plan and organize a consistent approach to managing projects.
- Marketing Project Management Calendar Template: Visualize deadlines and organize projects in one place — with full visibility for your entire team.
Marketing operations: the start to finish guide for busy marketers.Click To Tweet
What is Marketing Operations?Wondering exactly what “marketing operations” means? This term describes how a marketing team runs. Also known as “MO,” it’s broken up into three main roles:
What Does a Marketing Operations Manager Do?Ready for some obvious news? The person handling this part of a marketing strategy is called a marketing operations manager. This person handles the HR of their team, marketing strategy, and toolstack. It’s their job to make sure they’ve got a strong team who is equipped with the best technology and training to create ground-breaking marketing campaigns. A marketing operation manager’s main goal is to optimize the entire marketing process — from budgeting for each campaign and managing assets, to optimizing ROI and sending MQLs to sales. Lower-level marketing staff will report to them. They typically report to a CMO or CEO on behalf of the entire marketing department. This video, from Informatica, does an excellent job breaking down what their work entails.
Why is Marketing Operations Important?Now we’re clear on what marketing operations actually is, so let’s move on to the juicy part: why it’s important. We’ve already mentioned that a marketing operations manager wants to improve the output of their marketing team. That’s why one of their main priorities is to work on boosting staff productivity.
A main priority for a marketing operations manager is to boost staff productivity.Click To Tweet
5 Marketing Operations Processes You NeedNow you know that marketing operations is a key part of any marketing department, you might be questioning which processes your manager will handle. Here are five processes you need to create from the get-go:
1. Budget ManagementDid you know that the average company spends 26% of their annual revenue on marketing? Sure, your marketing operations manager will need a process to define how much of your revenue will be assigned to marketing efforts. They’ll also need to break down how that budget is proportioned to various channels or departments, such as:
- Email marketing
- Social advertising
- Content creation
2. Lead ManagementMarketing teams shouldn’t work in silos. It’s your marketing operation manager’s job to make sure that the leads you’re driving from marketing are converting into sales-qualified leads. It’s harder than you might think; just 13% of MQLs convert to SQLs. Failing to convert your marketing leads could lead to your department wasting their time and budget. You’re attracting people who won’t buy — making your entire strategy pointless. However, a lead management process constantly evaluates this conversion rate. It also allows marketing teams to collaborate with sales to identify your top customers, so you can rejig your strategy to attract them. That’ll work wonders on your marketing ROI.
3. Reporting and AnalyticsReporting has gained a reputation for being boring, but while your creative team might not want to digest data, you won’t know whether your strategy is working without them. A marketing operations manager needs a process for creating these reports, which includes:
- Who creates the reports?
- How often?
- What should they report on?
- Who needs to read them?
- How are they made?
4. Asset managementEvery marketing team has assets. This usually includes content (i.e. blog posts, videos, and podcasts).
Every marketing team has assets. This usually includes content (i.e. blog posts, videos, and podcasts).Click To Tweet
5. Data ManagementIt’s no secret that we have more data than ever before; 90% of the world’s data was created within two years. With so much data available, it can quickly become overwhelming. Every dashboard has a set of metrics, and each new tool introduces you to a bunch of new metrics. That’s why your marketing operations team needs a process that defines:
- How you’ll collect data.
- What you’ll collect.
- How you’ll use it.
How to Implement a Marketing Operations ProcessCreating a marketing operations process sounds easier than it looks. You’ll need to think about how your team are involved, the frequency of each process, and the tools you’ll need to make them happen. The best news? There is a simple process you can use to get started.
1. Use a Team Management DashboardEarlier, we discussed how a marketing operations manager will define tasks for their team. You don’t have to remember who is responsible for each, individual part of the process you’re creating, though. A team management dashboard allows your entire department to see who is responsible for what and check that tasks in the workflow are being completed. Let’s put that into practice using the asset management process. The following team members have different responsibilities:
- Ellie takes photographs.
- Lucy will get them copyrighted.
- Matt will plan to use them in social media content.
- Jason will proof and publish them.
2. Create Templates For Each TaskThink of how long you spend creating the same tasks. It’s a tedious job, right? Remember, a marketing operations manager needs to find smart ways to cut time and improve productivity — not just for their staff, but themselves, too!
A marketing operations manager needs to find smart ways to cut time and improve productivity — not just for their staff, but themselves, too!Click To Tweet
3. Monitor Team Performance ReportsWe’ve already mentioned that a marketing operations manager's goal is to improve efficiency in their team. It’s their job to make sure they spend time on high-growth tasks and maximize your overall marketing ROI. How can you know whether or not you’re doing that? The simple answer: Performance reports, which break down your team’s activities. They’ll show you answers to questions such as:
- Are they meeting deadlines?
- How much time are they spending on each task?
- Is there a tool you can use to cut time/improve performance?
4. Choose Tools That Integrate Well TogetherYou don’t need to search for tools that wipe out complete tasks that your team does. Some tasks, like private messages with potential leads, need a human touch. That’s not to say you can’t use technology to cut down the time they spend writing them or do a better job at it. Take email subscriptions, for example. We all want more high-quality leads on our list, right? People who fit that bill might be those already engaging with your SMS marketing campaigns. Send a message asking whether they’d like to sign-up to your list, using an automation to get them added. There’s no waiting for your customer, nor extra admin work for your team. They’re on your email list within a matter of seconds. If you’re using CoSchedule to manage your marketing strategy, you have access to hundreds of similar automations for each channel, including:
- Social media
- Email service providers (e.g. MailChimp, Constant Contact, Active Campaign, and Campaign Monitor)
If you’re using CoSchedule to manage your marketing strategy, you have access to hundreds of similar automations for each channel.Click To Tweet
Operationalizing Your Marketing ProcessesEfficient and effective processes are one of the key components of marketing operations. A successful marketing team doesn’t just set it and forget it, they are constantly improving and tailoring best practices. Start by planning and documenting your workflows. Documenting your workflows means that everyone knows the correct order of operations, when tasks are due, and where their contributions fit into the project’s timeline. They are essential for completing work on time, every time. A documented workflow also means that you can spend more time doing meaningful work and less time following-up with every person at every stage of a marketing project. Here’s how to do it:
- Step 1: Determine each team member’s role for each type of project you execute regularly.
- Step 2: Map out each task that needs to be completed.
- Step 3: Next, assign the task and determine the length of time needed to complete each task.
- Step 4: Work back from there to determine the necessary project length and attach task due dates for each step in the workflow.
- Generate ideas: Strategist – due 30 days before launch
- Recruit guest: Strategist – Due 25 days before launch
- Create talking points: Strategist – Due 18 days before launch
- Design slide deck: Designer – Due 17 days before launch
- Include in drip campaign: Marketing Automation – Due 14 days before launch
- Approve slide deck: Strategist – Due 12 days before launch
- Schedule social promotion: Writer/Social Strategist – 10 days before launch
- Test run-through: Guest and Host – 1 day before launch
Consider Implementing an Agile ApproachAgile refers to a flexible marketing approach in which teams identify high-value projects, break those project down into smaller deliverables, measure their impact, and then iterate on the results to incrementally improve. Agile Marketing provides marketing teams a set process for running most marketing campaigns. Here is a very high-level explanation of how to get started applying this methodology with your team:
Step 1: Define the ProjectBefore you get started, make sure that the project is a good fit for an Agile approach. Agile is best fit for big projects that can easily be divided up into smaller pieces. Think website redesigns and large marketing campaigns.
Step 2: Sprint Planning MeetingNext, schedule the sprint planning meeting. Everyone who will be working on the project will attend this meeting. Discuss each task and deliverable for the project.
Step 3: Task BreakdownEach task within the project needs to be broken down. This should be fairly granular. For example, writing, proofing, and approving the blog post could be separate tasks. At this time, the head of the project (most likely the marketing manager) will ask info regarding how much time each task will take to accomplish. These tasks could be visualized using a Kanban board.
Step 4: Daily ScrumsOnce you have all your tasks planned, teams start working on their tasks. To keep track of your project, you will begin having daily check-in meetings. These are extremely short and should only take 5-10 minutes. Each team member will answer three questions:
- What did you do yesterday?
- What will you do today?
- Any roadblocks?