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Building a modern marketing structure: The case for marketing operations

Marketing was once thought of as a right-brain profession. All you needed was a pen, some paper, a couch and a glass of scotch to craft an award-winning campaign. Simpler times.

Today, it takes more than clever creative to reach buyers and change their behavior. It takes data, analytics, research, tools and technology to understand what’s working and what creative is going to resonate. Not to mention the processes, infrastructure and systems to effectively deploy that creative.

Traditional marketing communications folks don’t usually have these necessary technical and analytical skills. Every modern marketing team needs left-brained, process-oriented professionals – not only to put your tools and technology to use, but to continuously improve infrastructure, align with sales and show marketing’s impact on the business. Enter, the marketing operations discipline.

Here are three business functions a marketing operations team helps enhance to help you build the business case for additional left-brained headcount.

Technology implementation, integration and optimization – Expensive CRMs and marketing automation systems don’t magically run, produce leads and create reports by themselves. You need a team (or at least an individual) who knows the ins and outs of the technology to get the most out of your investment. Add assessing new tools, managing vendors and user training and management into the mix, and technology definitely won’t get the attention it needs without a marketing operations function dedicated to it.

Measurement, analytics and reporting – According to Demand Gen Report, more than half (58 percent) of B2B companies say their current ability to track marketing performance needs improvement. Additionally, 80 percent of companies expecting flat to negative growth say they either have no agreed-upon approach to measuring marketing performance or are only completing baseline measurements.

Marketing operations superstars are known for advancing measurement capabilities with analytical skills and the discipline to maximize success.

Equally important to tracking metrics is making sure they’re accurate. Think of a marketing operations team as the data integrity police, ensuring data cleanliness and ongoing data management.

Sales and marketing alignment and the lead-to-sales process – Lead flow, scoring, nurturing, hand-offs and segmentation are the areas where sales and marketing converge. Implementing and maintaining standards and automated workflows for consistency around this process requires buy-in and commitment from both sales and marketing functions. Marketing needs these systems in place to accurately measure and optimize efforts. But the benefits aren’t always as clear to sales. And as you’re probably well-aware, getting sales to do something that doesn’t involve commission is no easy task.

Successful marketing operations teams have an intimate understanding of the lead life cycle and customer buyer journey. They have the data and knowledge to build a case for a strategy that benefits everyone and helps sales be more efficient.

After all that you may be asking, why is a content and PR firm concerned about marketing operations?

Companies with strong marketing operations functions are some of the best clients to work with. It makes our work more measurable, meaningful and successful. Don’t have a function in-house yet or need an outside perspective? We consult on the strategy behind marketing operations, including lead management, lead scoring strategy and nurture strategy. Get in touch to learn more.

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