Regardless of your industry, experience level or business size, there are a few critical questions every marketer must answer. How effective is my marketing department or agency? Should we increase our budget this year? How can we attribute revenue growth to various marketing activities?
For years, answers to these questions were shaky at best, and non-existent at worst. But modern marketers have found that the answer lies in a fairly new field: Marketing Operations. Industry veterans understand that Marketing Operations isn’t just another passing buzz word; it is a paradigm shift, a dream come true, a new beginning. It is validation. Here is an introduction to it and the four key pillars: Budgeting, Technology, Measurement and Process.
Definition of Marketing Operations
I searched far and wide for a legitimate and simple definition of the word. I researched some of the best thought leaders in marketing operations like Sirius Decisions and Scott Brinker to come up with a good definition for Marketing Operations. But believe it or not, I found a definition that truly hits home on Wikipedia (ok, hold the jokes).
The marketing operations (MO) function has emerged due to the need for a more transparent, efficient, and accountable view of marketing. – Wikipedia
Although not perfect, what I like most about the definition above is that nearly all marketing professionals can relate to it. Every marketer has faced the struggle of communicating the value they bring. Whenever I have approached a CEO, Sales leader or business owner about increasing the marketing budget, I get the same response which always includes the words ‘accountable’ and ‘transparency’. I still have nightmares of clients asking me how my agency or team can “show more value.”
This has led me to become one of marketing operation’s biggest fans because it solves those issues. I talk about it at every client meeting and we have developed our brand purpose around ‘genuine growth’–using measurement as a key brand pillar. What’s not to like about technology, metrics and processes that help us look good, show our value, help us be accountable and in the end, help us get increased budget. It separates the good marketing programs from the bad and gives us an opportunity to pivot.
Four Key Pillars that Define Marketing Operations
So, how can you get started? There are four key pillars to marketing operations:
- Budgeting: The amount of money allocated to each marketing function.
- Technology: CRM, Marketing Automation, Analytics, etc. needed to execute campaigns.
- Measurement: The frameworks and measurements needed to attribute success.
- Processes: The workflows that make our marketing tasks predictable and repeatable
Of these four pillars, the simplest to start with is measuring your actions. To help you get started, Red Bamboo Marketing has developed a Digital Marketing Scorecard that you can use to quickly and easily measure digital marketing performance. It is built so that you can track on a monthly basis, measure against customized goals and we even include some good benchmarks to get you started.
Once you begin to track your progress, you can focus on the building the other three pillars. Calculating ROI will help you understand budget. Viewing analytics will help you create new processes to refine and improve results. And understanding where you need the most help in these three areas will allow you to incorporate new technology to improve efficiency
As a long time fan of marketing operations, I encourage you to give it a try for yourself. And maybe in time, I can convert you into a fan as well. If you are interested in learning more, download this eBook for an in depth look at starting your own marketing operations discipline.