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August 15, 2023
Marketing Operations
Darren Stewart

Marketing Operations Handbooks: Why you need one

A marketing operations handbook is a document that stores all relevant information about a company's marketing setup.

A marketing operations handbook is a document that stores all relevant information about a company's marketing setup. Often people are busy doing the marketing and trying to grow their business to spend time documenting things such as how parts of your CRM are configured and what marketing automation procedures are in place, and rightly so, the most important job of a marketing team is to help a company grow.

Why is it important to have one?

It is important to have a central handbook or manual for all your marketing operations information for a number of reasons:

  1. New staff members can get to grips with how things are set up and why they are set up that way.
  2. You can use the handbook as an onboarding guide not only for team members but also third parties such as digital marketing agencies. Often agencies may spend hours combing through systems to audit your setup. You can save their time and your money by presenting them with a marketing operations handbook.
  3. When staff members leave who have configured something you do not lose that information. It is a really common problem to come across a marketing operations setup where the person who set a lot of it up left and nobody else knows what is going on.

What to include in the handbook?

There are lots of things that you can include in your handbook. The more information you provide the better. Imagine it a bit like a guest book in a hotel or B & B when you first arrive. The more information you are provided with the more useful it is. That being said, it can be a daunting task to start filling this out and there are some obvious places to start.

What format should the handbook be in?

A marketing operations handbook can be a number of different formats depending on the tools a company uses. The simplest form is a Google Document which links out to other documents. Other tools can be useful too such as Notion or something like AirTable too which can be useful to store documents.

You can also use some form of intranet tool too but more often that not that is not required for a document like this. Ideally the handbook should be engaging as it can be a bit of a boring document for someone to read.

Linking out to other relevant documents

It’s important not to duplicate information in your handbook. We’re also not trying to replace all of your other documents with it. For example, you may have a marketing reporting document or budgeting document in a spreadsheet. For this type of information you should just reference it in your handbook so that it can be easily accessed.

Example Handbook Contents

To give you an idea of the most common contents of a marketing ops handbook we have listed some of the typical sections out below:

Summary

A marketing operations handbook is a pretty simple but useful guide for your current and future marketing team. The reason companies don’t have them is usually down to a lack of time. There is also a bit of employee turnaround in marketing that can mean marketing teams are in constant flux. That being said, working with a marketing operations agency or consultant such as the guys at Team4 can help you get all of this in place without having to divert your attention from more important things like growing the company. A marketing ops handbook is not the same for every business, the most important thing to takeaway from it is that it is a useful central point for your core marketing information as a reference guide.

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