My friends outside of B2B marketing have asked me “What’s marketing operations?” and honestly, I found myself rambling with answers.
Since marketing operations is such a new role, it’s still evolving and solidifying -- when speaking with people on MarketingOps.com and industry tradeshows, it seems every company thinks about it a little differently.
However, I think it’s digestible to three distinct functions: technology, data, and alignment.
Technology is arguably the most important function of marketing operations. Historically, it’s also what started the role, i.e. managing marketing automation systems. For many, it has now grown to include the evaluation, implementation, and management of marketing technology systems -- automation, attribution, and other solutions used by the marketing team to do their jobs effectively.
Data is related to consumption and understanding of the data that technology creates. For example, making sure marketing automation data is being properly collected and connected with other systems such as a CRM.
Alignment is related to usage of the data and technology by others on the marketing team, such as training. In addition, some marketing operations professionals run agile marketing alignment and campaign planning meetings.
Jeff Pedowitz, from the Pedowitz Group, has similar views, and created this really comprehensive framework with his views on responsibilities with a bit more granularity:
In the future, we’ll continue to see marketing operations professionals build more responsibility on the marketing team, sometimes reporting directly to the CMO.
Longer term, marketing operations professionals WILL be the next CMOs, due to their strong skills in aligning teams, understanding technology, and leveraging data.