What is Marketing Operations … Really.

Evolving Definition – Marketing Operations

While the definition of marketing operations continues to evolve, the common basis revolves around optimizing marketing (and to some degree sales) performance. Like a CIO/COO who supports a CEO, Marketing Operations will support and advise a CMO.

Depending on the source you may review, technology spends in marketing technology has grown significantly[1][2][3]. As of 2014 technology has provided marketing access to and greater use of data, automation, change management, analytics, and integration.

Marketing Operations strives to achieve a center of excellence becoming more efficient, effective, and agile in multi-channel marketing (and sales) efforts. Also, marketing operations provide visibility into those efforts to improve outreach or customer retention decisions. Moving forward the mainstream of marketing organizations will be involved in predictive analytics, modeling, and intelligent automation — 2.0. While orchestrating these resources, marketing operations typically serve as a hub for revenue generation and retention efforts aligning with: sales, support, finance, IT, and other groups.

Marketing Operations Similarities

Sales Operations – As mentioned, Sales Operations is a counterpart to sales. While working to achieve the same goal, improving revenue generation, the tactics, approach, and audience vary.

Manufacturing – In many ways to manufacturing, marketing operations focus on quality & performance. Simplifying the comparison, or Manufacturing the input is raw materials and output is some product. For marketing, the input is data and information, and the output leads/opportunities/customers.

Role / Background

The talent for marketing operations comes from a variety of backgrounds including sales, engineering, analysts, and yes sometimes marketing. A few common attributes:

  • Analytical
  • Process Driven
  • Comfortable with cloud-based technology
  • Adaptive
  • Investigative
  • Business Savvy
  • Connector (of technology and people)

Areas of Marketing Operations

  • Analytics
  • Data Management
  • Marketing Technology
  • Process and change management
  • Budget and Planning
  • Tactics & Coordination
  • Market & Sales intelligence

Future of Marketing Operations

Another feather in the cap – If it hasn’t already occurred, it will likely become a core part of being a CMO. Not only is the strategy at the forefront, however now the capacity and responsiveness now come into play in the digital age of marketing.

Upward Mobility – Marketing operations professional has a trajectory to the CEO spot. As marketing is returning to becoming the hub of an organizational direction and success, the role provides individuals the ‘best seat in the house’ both monitoring and engaging within the organization as well as the marketplace reaction.

Fast Mover Advantage – Responsiveness has become everything in a noisy digital market space. Already, public companies are sharing improvements in lead flow and management through the use of technology and process. Another star for marketing ops.

For Everyone – Marketing Operations seems to reside with large budgets and enterprise firms, however, we will see a shift toward small improvements making impactful changes for SMBs and high-growth startups.


  • ChiefMarTec.com – Both as a marketer and technologist, Scott’s blog is one of my favorites because of the new mindset he is working to establish in marketing enablement of technology.
  • SiriusDecisions – With the space rapidly evolving, the folks at Sirius really have done a great job of staying just ahead of the curve.  Following SiriusDecisions, it has both what they say and how they say it when it comes to how sales, marketing, and customer retention have come together.
  • Wikipedia – Another resource that is interesting how the crowdsourced contributions both have added to the discussion and clouded it. Regardless, interesting reading.

That’s it for now.  Have anything else we should add, please let us know!