What Is Marketing Operations and Why Every Startup Needs It

Founder of Orchid Agency
Carla Sinfon
September 12, 2022
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Marketing operations is a crucial capability for all businesses. However most companies are still struggling with lead scoring, measuring ROI for marketing - in general and per channel - lead flow and accuracy, segmentation, tracking and analytics and more - most companies are still struggling with up-leveling marketing operations function. 

What Is Marketing Operations? 

Marketing operations is the process of planning, executing, and measuring marketing activities to achieve marketing objectives. It sounds simple enough, but in practice, it’s a complex and ever-evolving process. 

As a startup, you can’t afford to overlook the importance of marketing operations. Without it, your marketing efforts will be disorganized, inefficient, and ineffective. A strong marketing operations function will help you optimize your marketing budget, choose the right marketing mix, track your marketing performance, and much more. 

What Does Marketing Operations Cover? 

source: Bizzable

The scope of marketing operations varies from company to company, but there are some shared core functions. At minimum, marketing operations covers: 

  • Campaign management: Planning and executing marketing campaigns that align with business objectives. Specifically channel mix, persona targeting, segmentation, buyers’ journey, alignment with sales and key stakeholders, etc. 
  • Budgeting and forecasting: Planning and managing the marketing budget to ensure efficient spending. Specifically ROI per channel, per marketing campaign, per tactic, with accurate and data-driven forecasting of leads, net new leads, marketing and sales stages, progression through the pipeline, closed won/ lost, etc. 
  • Performance measurement: Tracking key performance indicators (KPIs) to gauge the effectiveness of marketing activities.
  • Technology management: Selecting, implementing, and maintaining the technology platforms needed to support marketing operations.
  • Data management: Collecting, storing, and using data to inform marketing decisions. Lets face every company struggles with  data quality and management , especially for net new sales. 
“Data management is a critical function and building a rigorous discipline around it will significantly accelerate revenue growth for any business. Otherwise it's garbage in and garbage out”. Mariya Finkelshteyn, Founder and CEO of Orchid Agency.

The Benefits of Marketing Operations 

There are many benefits of having a strong marketing operations function in your startup. With the main goal to drive growth for your company, here are some of the most important benefits:

  • Improved efficiencies: From day-to-day improved business operations, to higher efficacy of marketing campaigns, and data-driven ROI for marketing initiatives. Marketing operations brings structure and organization to your marketing efforts, resulting in improved efficiencies and cost savings. 
  • Better decision-making: With access to data and performance insights, you can make more informed decisions about where to allocate your marketing resources. 
  • Increased agility: A streamlined process ensures that you can quickly adapt to market or business landscape changes. 
  • Improved alignment with business objectives: By aligning your marketing activities with business objectives, you can better show the impact of your work on the bottom line. 
  • Greater insights into customer behavior: By tracking customer behavior data, you can gain valuable insights into what they want and need from your product or service. 

How to Set Up Marketing Operations 

If you’re starting from scratch, it can be daunting to set up a comprehensive marketing operations function, but it’s most definitely doable!  Here are some tips to get you started: 

1. Define your objectives: 

What do you want to achieve with your marketing efforts? Keep in mind that marketing operations functions as support for the whole marketing organization. It’s important to be specific as possible when defining your objectives

2. Outline your process: 

It’s time to get organized! Specifically, map out each step you will need to take to achieve your objectives

3. Identify your resources: 

What human and financial resources do you need to execute your plan? Within marketing operations, there are different roles from marketing operations managers to SEO specialists. Make sure to align the roles you’d like to hire with the size of your startup.

4. Create a budget: 

Take a good look at your budget and think through how much you need to spend on each activity. Make sure to allocate enough funds for each stage of the process. 

5. Set up tracking mechanisms:

Don’t forget about how you will track progress and measure success. Choose KPIs that align with your objectives. 

6. Implement technology platforms: What technology do you need to support your process? This could include campaign management software, budgeting tools, performance tracking systems, etc. 

7. Collect and analyze data: How will you collect data? What data do you need? How will you use it to inform your decisions? 

Getting Started with Marketing Analytics 

One of the most important aspects of marketing operations is analytics. By collecting and analyzing data, you can gain valuable insights into your customers’ behavior, preferences, and needs. This information can then be used to inform your marketing decisions. 

There are many different types of data that you can collect, but some of the most important ones for marketers include website traffic data, conversion data, customer purchase data, and social media data

 There are numerous ways to collect this data; however, many startups lack the resources or expertise needed to do this effectively. Luckily, there are a number of software platforms that offer comprehensive data collection and analysis tools specifically for startups.

The new age of digital marketing is moving faster than ever before. To keep you it’s important that your start-up has a proper team of marketing operations professionals in place. If you are just getting started down this road, reach out and we can help.