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September 3, 2023
Marketing Operations
Darren Stewart

What is a marketing operations agency?

Marketing Operations is all about the processes, technologies, and strategies that help with the efficient execution of marketing campaigns.

Marketing Operations is all about the processes, technologies, and strategies that help with the efficient execution of marketing campaigns. It's the bridge between the creative vision of marketers and the practical implementation of those ideas. 

A Marketing Operations Agency helps companies improve marketing processes, how they use technology and ensures an efficient marketing engine is in place for growth.

Marketing Operations vs. Marketing Agency - What’s the Difference?

A marketing operations agency is one that focuses solely on operations. In contrast, a traditional digital marketing agency primarily focuses on developing and executing campaign strategies. 

A marketing operations agency and marketing agency do have some cross-over but typically they offer distinctly different services

What to look for in a marketing ops agency

Because there is so much under the marketing operations umbrella, especially when it comes to marketing technology, it is impossible to be experts in all marketing technology. And marketing tech underpins everything in marketing operations, so knowing the tech means knowing the operations.

With this in mind you should look for an agency that specialises in certain sector and/or technology. If an agency claims to be an expert in Salesforce, Marketo and HubSpot, their knowledge is likely diluted because there is so much to understand in just one of these tools. The same goes for a lot of other marketing tech.

Benefits of using a marketing ops agency?

The main goal of any operations consultancy is to improve efficiency. This improves productivity and also output. Many marketing teams don’t enjoy the operational side of things such as data management and workflow automation, or perhaps they simply don’t have time enough to get these things done to a suitable level.

The main focus of a marketing team is to help the company grow, the operations behind that often become a mess as a company grows because they don’t have time to sort it out, and the most important thing is revenue

A major benefit of using an external agency or consultant for marketing operations is the same theory about taking your car to the garage. You need to ensure that everything is working smoothly, you need an expert to look at it.

Another benefit of using an agency is that you can often have a fairly high turnover rate of marketing specialists. This means you will often have ‘brain drain’, and things can get messy when people are constantly leaving and new people are joining, switching things up.

5 signs you need a marketing operations agency

1. You cannot easily segment data in your CRM

This is a fundamental requirement for modern marketing campaigns. You need to be able to execute personalised marketing campaigns to your audience, but this requires accurate data to be able to personalise messages. A lot of companies' CRM data is not well kept, segmented or even stored, this means you cannot execute compelling campaigns like a competitor who may have their data all sorted out.

2. You can’t track conversion rates on your website

If you don’t have conversion tracking correctly implemented on your marketing website then you are missing out on a lot of benefits. Tracking conversion events such as a form submission means you can do some cool things like look at the path someone took to conversion, you can also look at the conversion rate, which is how many web users filled out the form. Not only this, you can connect these conversions into tools like Google Ads to optimise your PPC campaigns.

This sort of analytics data is really important for a data-driven approach to marketing. Having metrics and KPIs like conversion rates allows you to predict what an increase in web traffic will do to your bottom line.

3. You have a lack of processes

Another sign you may need a marketing operations expert is the fact you don’t have any documented processes for your marketing team. This can be along the lines of a template for a marketing campaign brief or creative brief. It can also be things like naming conventions for lists and documents.

This really comes down to organisation. Although individuals may be highly organised, that doesn’t always mean a team is. Especially when the team can change every few years.

If a company is 10 years old it has likely seen some changes in the marketing department with different employees putting their different ideas in place. This often means legacy documents and processes are forgotten, rewritten or just lost.

4. You have too many tools

Feel like you have too many marketing tools with potential overlap in features and you’re not getting the most out of them? This is another common sign you need more time spent on marketing operations.

This is an easy trap to fall into because a lot of people get FOMO when new marketing tech gets released, which, let's be honest, is on a monthly basis. There are tens of thousands of marketing technology tools out there.

5. Your marketing reports take ages

If you find it takes a long time to put together a marketing report, whether it is weekly, monthly or quarterly. This is another sign that your marketing operations can be improved. Marketing operations can improve reporting by ensuring all your systems are integrated and that tasks like distribution and presentation are automated. You can often use reporting specific tools to save time here.

4 Tips for improving your own marketing operations

If you recognise the need to improve your marketing operations but you just don’t have the budget to employ a dedicated marketing ops consultant or agency, here are some tips that we have picked up over the years that should help you improve your operations as your company and your marketing team grows.

1. Use a password manager & sharing tool

A simple but effective way to maintain access control to marketing technology is to use  a simple password sharing tool such as 1password. This means you can maintain access to tools when people leave and you have visibility on everything.

2. Create a marketing handbook

Create a manual for everything to do with how your marketing team operates. It is not only a great tool for onboarding new team members but it also helps you think of things more because you have to actively document it. This can avoid issues like brain drain.

3. Have a marketing ops off-boarding process

Another great way to keep things tidy and running smoothly is having a proper ‘off-boarding’ process in marketing. This goes beyond handover notes and is more operational. A great example is ensuring the handover for things like social media accounts and advertising accounts. 

A common issue many companies have is that marketing specialists have personal access to things like LinkedIn, LinkedIn Ads, Facebook ads, TikTok etc. When that employee leaves you can sometimes lose access to those accounts, or, they still have access when they leave.

4. Have one super-admin in your CRM

This tip is a basic one. Only have one person responsible for the configuration and management of your CRM system. Too many companies end up with confusing settings within tools like HubSpot, Marketo and Salesforce because too many people have access to configuration changes. You should only ever have one person responsible for managing the configuration of these things, this is another benefit of using an external provider because you don’t have to worry about them leaving.

How is Marketing Ops different from Revenue Ops

If you have heard of marketing Ops (MOps) you may have also heard of Revenue Ops (RevOps). The difference between the two is that RevenueOps is not just focused on Marketing, it also takes on Sales and Customer Success Operations. Its a term used a lot in SaaS companies.

There is a lot of crossover between the two professions and sometimes the roles are interchangeable. RevOps has a much wider scope than marketing ops and is therefore less specialised, which in turn means it is difficult to find people who have experience in everything that comes under sales operations, CS operations and marketing operations. Typically you will need an expert in each area to then rol-up underneath the umbrella of revenue ops.

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