Marketing operations is the integration of any type of technology, system or process that supports marketers in driving key business results. From software and analytics set up, to conversion tracking, marketing operations helps marketing teams work more effectively. Marketing operations has mostly been a term used among large scale, enterprise level digital marketing groups. If you’re a small business, you probably have never considered this term in any meaningful way. However, you have certainly experienced the headaches that marketing operations professionals run into daily.

Marketing operations is the integration of any type of technology, system or process that supports marketers in driving key business results.

In some instances, like when dealing with conversion tracking, digital marketers simply can’t perform their duties effectively without marketing operations efforts done right. For example, if your conversion tracking was incorrectly setup, the decisions you make on your conversion data simply won’t be based in reality.

As a real work example, we recently worked with an ecommerce client that had really impressive return on ad spend (ROAS) metrics via Google Ads. But after some digging, we found that all sales were being counted twice in the Google ads account, so the true figures were actually far less. This resulted in the need to one correct the issues, but also reset expectations on these campaigns.

There are many reasons why marketing operations are so important, but here are a few that we run into on a regular basis.

Conversion Tracking

If you want to understand how your online and offline marketing efforts are resulting in online leads/sales, you need to have conversion actions set up.

As mentioned above, conversion tracking is really the foundation to any digital marketing efforts, especially if your business is running any digital ads or have any QR codes or trackable links circulating your marketing materials. If you want to understand how your online and offline marketing efforts are resulting in online leads/sales, you need to have conversion actions set up before you spend a dime.

The most commonly considered action is the form fill. However, some businesses might prioritize phone calls directly from the website. Whatever the case, if you have a lead/conversion action on your website, make sure you’re tracking it. Whether internally, or with a digital marketing agency, marketing operations are critical to your digital success.

CRM and/or Email Integrations

Marketing operations teams can serve as the architects for funneling and filter your contacts or leads automatically…

Whether you’re using a CRM or email platform or both and you’re generating contact data from your website or online store, it is absolutely critical you’re automating the addition/subtraction of contacts in your lists. The management of lists is an extremely manual process when you don’t have tools and systems in place to manage these contacts efficiently.

For example, if you run an online store, any contact info from new customers should be ported over to your email system or CRM. To go one step further, perhaps you put them into a special “new customer” list in order to send automated loyalty messages to influence a second purchase. From there, after a second purchase, pushing them out of the “new customer” group into another group allows for your messages to remain relevant to this audience.

For other lead-based businesses, you will likely seek to generate leads but perhaps the buying cycle or path to purchase is longer than a ecommerce product. In that case, setting up nurture campaigns to communicate with your leads is a great way to keep your brand top of mind as they move down the funnel. In addition, when you layer the context of the lead capture you’re using, you can again put them into specific groups who get specific messages.

This can all get very complex, which is where marketing operations teams can serve as the architects for funneling and filter your contacts or leads automatically or at least with very minimal manual input.

Lead Distribution

The ability to use technology to automate and enhance the work flow for lead distribution is a critical skill set…

In some cases you might be generating a large group of leads online for a large team of sales people or staff. In this situations, it is almost always the case that having some kind of lead distribution logic is imperative to a business. Marketing operations can help develop the software and integrations to effectively distribute leads based on the set needs/wants from the business.

The ability to use technology to automate and enhance the work flow for lead distribution is a critical skill set that is learned by experience. These kind of custom systems are what can drive conversion rates up. If you know your team or your organization is better suited to manage leads one way vs. another, then marketing operations can help you build the system to fit your organization.

Elevating Your Marketing Operations

When considering how you go about improving your overall marketing efforts, marketing operations is foundational. Whether you’re just getting into digital ads, or you simply want to execute a more sophisticated strategy, effective marketing operations is critical. Here are your options with how you approach the operations side.

  • Do it for me (DIFM): Probably the most efficient method is to work with a digital marketing agency or provider with the experience and know-how to get your marketing systems in place. With the experience of working with many clients in many industries, an agency can help you identify the most effective marketing tech stack and system.
  • Do it with me (DIWM): Working closely with an expert you can get guidance and insight without having to rely solely on a partner. However, you will need to be accessible and have a strong foundational understanding of the various technologies and platforms your business uses or wants to use. Otherwise, you’re better of working with a professional.
  • Do it yourself (DIY): While most marketing operations tasks and projects are very custom to the needs of the business, it’s possible for you to try and acquire more marketing operations skills. However, be prepared to spend a ton of time and experience a significant amount of frustration along the way.

Generally, to elevate your digital marketing efforts means you need to elevate your marketing operations efforts. With an integrated, connected and optimized marketing tech stack behind your efforts, you will be able to quickly and effectively optimize your digital efforts towards key actions. Without it, you’re just building sites and paying for ads hoping it all works. And maybe some of it does, but you’ll have little to no insight into what is actually working with your efforts.