marketing operations definitionMarketing. … Operations.

One’s kinda sexy. The other… um, not so much.

Put them together and what have you got? Well, it’s something, frankly, that very few people think about.

The thing is, when most people think about a marketing department, they think about what it produces, not how it operates.

Marketing Operations does the opposite. It puts a focus on all the processes, efforts and resources that it takes to deliver the end product, and it re-engineers this to make the production easier, quicker and involve less effort.

It’s the end-to-end processes — how you produce something across these core areas:

  • Processes: what are the steps involved, who’s involved, how it all happens, plus time involved.
  • Infrastructure: what technology, systems, application and tools are being used and how they integrate with each other, or not.
  • Resources — people: roles and responsibilities and the manpower it takes, both internally and externally.
  • Resources — money: what are the budgets, who manages vs. who owns them and how they’re managed.
  • Assets: what they are, where they are housed, how and where they are used, accessibility and compliance management.
  • Culture: of the company, where it is today, where it’s striving to go tomorrow and what’s achievable.

When you put a focus on the how, positive things happen — including the ability to improve the what. It will enable your marketing effort to be more effective, allow you to be more agile and responsive, capture better insights, be able to plan better, give you more control and contribute more and better to the business results.

So when a marketing department is optimized operationally, it not only can help feed the sales pipeline, it can help feed the bottom line. And that’s pretty sexy, too.

by Kim Farwell, Consulting Director at Marketing Operations Partners & Founder of INMARK