Because marketing operations is a new and still evolving concept, we find organizations and marketing teams have questions about it. In this episode of Leverage Your Spark, we’re covering several of those frequently asked questions (FAQs) in a segment we’re calling marketing operations FAQs.
Listen Season 3: Episode 24
Questions Lead to Understanding
The right question is the key to unlocking understanding. The difficulty with that is many times we don’t know what we don’t know, and thus don’t know the right questions to ask. This can be particularly intimidating when we need to engage an expert in a time of high need. Figuring out new territory is challenging when you can dedicate time and energy to it but starts feeling like a first day on a high-wire act when the team needed a fix yesterday and you’re still digging through 44 overdue tasks from last week.
Let’s take some of the pressure off by asking and answering questions around engaging a marketing operations agency.
Marketing Operations FAQs
What is marketing operations?
This question is the whole topic of episode 1 from this season, so for the long answer, be sure to check that out. The short answer is that marketing operations is essentially the pit crew for the marketing and sales “race teams.” They are responsible for marketing automation in the following ways:
- Designing, running, and implementing marketing campaigns.
- Training and supporting marketing staff on using marketing software.
- Administering marketing software.
- Researching and recommending marketing software.
- Designing and managing internal workflows and processes.
Doesn’t my IT team handle marketing operations?
Well, maybe. As marketing software becomes even more specialized and essential to the success of marketing teams, most organizations are either hiring a marketing operations manager or marketing operations agency to fix, expand, and scale the capabilities of the marketing team. They can’t get the expertise, prioritization, or attention they need from traditional IT teams.
How is marketing operations different from marketing automation?
These two concepts are interrelated, as marketing operations wouldn’t be necessary without marketing automation. Marketing automation is the use of software and systems to execute marketing tasks. Back to the race car analogy, it’s like going from a manual transmission and carbureted engine to an automatic transmission and fuel injection. It makes the machine better and easier to operate. Marketing operations is the strategy and planning around how marketing is executed and measured. Essentially, it’s the pit crew, making sure that the machine and the team have what they need to run the race to the desired result.
How do we keep our marketing automation systems from breaking?
The best way is to have created them in a thoughtful, future-proof, and well-documented way. I know, hilarious, right?!? The second-best way is to have a preventative maintenance plan and be proactively reviewing systems, so they can be upgraded. It’s probably obvious that this is a function that is part of what a marketing operations team brings to the organization.
Should we change our CRM, project management, email marketing, marketing automation, etc. system?
Maybe. But before you go down that path, you’ll want to be really clear about what’s not working about the current system, what you expect from the new one, and what other tools, systems, and software it needs to integrate with. I know; that all sounds like a bummer and the kind of “chore” no one wants to do. That’s one more reason to hire a marketing operation agency to do this kind of work for you.
Will this new software fix our problem?
Short answer: probably not. Technology is 30% the tool or app and 70% how it gets used. Most organizations aren’t even using their current tech stack to its full potential. If there’s a problem, first get really, really clear on the problem (hint: the problem likely isn’t what you think it is) before you start considering solutions. Even then, look at your existing solutions first before considering adding software.
Knowing the Answer to Marketing Operations FAQs Is Key to Success
No one expects you to fully understand all the marketing operations FAQs and be able to run that component of your business in addition to everything else you have on your plate. Having an on-call expert to fix, expand, and scale your technology marketing toolkit means that the marketing team spends less time panicking over technical issues and more time doing the strategy, creative work, and big-picture thinking that the success of the organization depends on.
Now that we’ve tackled some of the marketing operations FAQs, in the next episode, I’ll walk you through the process of hiring a marketing ops team.
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