A few months ago, I had a great 30-minute conversation with Anastasia Dvoretskikh to enlighten her on what marketing operations entails and fundamental skill sets and factors that can accelerate success in the function.
Ana, who found me via ADPList, has been working in marketing for several years and was considering specializing in marketing operations, one of the compartments of marketing. I focused the session on dissecting Marketing Ops and helping her understand how her previous marketing experience funnels into marketing operations.
After that session, I realized how relatively ambiguous the marketing operations function is to many and thought to share some of the insights I shared with Ana on the call publicly. I believe this could help several marketing enthusiasts as they navigate their career and look to choose a specialization.
Please note that this quick rundown of marketing operations is premised on my experience working in the function, and may not be exhaustive.
So, what is Marketing Operations?
Simply put, Marketing Operations, also called marketing Ops or MOps, is the operations of marketing. A-ha😃! Your focus is on creating and managing systems, structures, processes, and technology that ensures marketing teams are optimal and marketing strategy delivers great ROI.
My role at Generation typifies this. I focus on setting up structures and processes that will accelerate our marketing efforts across the 16+ countries Generation operates in and making the lives of our country marketing teams easier.
This sounds simple, I know. However, it is a really challenging work especially with the scope (16+ countries 😲), but very rewarding as well.
What does the day-to-day of a Marketing Operations Manager encapsulate?
I have summarized the day-to-day into 3 buckets:
Infrastructure setup and Martech stack optimization
Marketing efforts thrive on a solid foundation of infrastructure and the right choice of martech stack/tools. You need to, first, be able to figure out all the integrations and tools that will work best for your organization. Then, you need to know how to set them up and roll them out.
Here are a few things you will need to be thinking about:
- How should your UTMs be set up? Do you want to use a simple Google sheet or another tool?
- What primary pixel(s) do you need to install on your website?
- Do you need to install other pixel(s) via Google Tag Manager?
- Google analytics, Amplitude, Mixpanel, etc? Which analytics tool(s) do you need?
- Mailchimp, Zoho, Mailerlite, YAMM etc? Which email marketing tool work(s) best for you? Will you need to create email journeys, flows and automations?
- Do you need Hotjar, Zapier, etc? Why?
- And so on.
As seen above, some of these may require copying and pasting code, testing tools using web extensions, and setting up triggers and automations. So, some technical proficiency is required. Although, it is possible that you may have one or two developers dedicated to you, that’s not often the case. So, you need to bolster your technical proficiency to set these up to function properly.
Data & Marketing analytics
As a marketing operations person, you live and breathe data. One of your mandates is to constantly look at your marketing data to unearth key insights that will improve your campaigns and optimize your marketing processes.
- On web analytics, you should be looking at: What your Google Analytics is saying on default metrics? How’s the website traffic acquisition doing in comparison with the conversion? What numbers are you getting behind your custom goals? Is there a dropoff on your website? If so, where and why? What optimizations need to happen to improve the conversion rate?
- On performance marketing analytics, you should be looking at both your social media analytics dashboard (Meta ad manager, Snapchat ad manager etc) and your Google Analytics one. Do the number of clicks recorded on your Meta ad manager correlate with the number of website visits? What is your real cost of conversion based on that data? What channels performed better, why and what recommendations do you have?
- On email marketing analytics, which is fairly straightforward, you need to be looking at the opens, clicks, click through rates and bounce rates of your email campaigns. Which email campaigns performed better than others and why?
As the marketing operations person, you probably know what you are doing and recognize the importance of all these many integrations, tools and processes. Other members of your team and organization may not. So, it is your responsibility to educate them on why it is important and train them to utilize the tools.
Your approach to advocacy and training depends on your unique context. Advocacy for a team-wide initiative is less complex than an organization-wide initiative. Training could be a live physical/virtual training, recorded how-to videos on specific areas or both.
Your work doesn’t end there. You also need to be frequently measuring and optimizing the utilization rate of these tools and processes
For example: If you choose Mailchimp for your email marketing campaigns, you will need your marketing team to be fully onboard on why you chose it and how to get the most out of it. You will set up the tool and work with the content team to create templates. Then, you could create a library of async how-to videos for specific things on Mailchimp. Etc
Subsequently, you could send out a survey to measure the ease of use and collect suggestions etc.
What will make you successful in a marketing operations role?
2 things have made navigating marketing operations fairly successful for me, and could do so for you too:
- Prior experience “executing” on marketing campaigns: marketing operations is not rocket science but you need to be grounded in marketing execution not just “strategizing”. For me, I had 7+ years of prior experience executing on growth and marketing campaigns in Africa. So, I was familiar with most of the marketing concepts, martech tools etc. This was very useful in settling in fast and getting quick wins in the role.
- A solid team: Although you don’t get to choose your own colleagues, your team is a critical success factor. Great ones will support your advocacy efforts and help you do the best work. I was lucky to have amazing colleagues in Juliano Allegrini, Rogerio Machado and Margaux Delahaye.
Summarily, marketing operations is an exciting part of marketing which envelopes 3 major components: Infrastructure setup and Martech stack optimization, Data & Marketing analytics, and Knowledge democratization. The function also requires some prior experience executing in marketing – knowing strategy alone may not cut it.
Thumbnail photo by Anastasia Dvoretskikh on Linkedin