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 advice a CMO.

Depending on source you may review, technology spend 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 provides visibility in to 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 serves 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 focuses 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 is leads/opportunities/customers.

Role / Background

The talent for marketing operations come 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 on the forefront, however now the capacity and responsiveness now comes 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 organizationals 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 starups.


  • ChiefMarTec.com – Both as a marketer and technologist, Scott’s blog is one of my favorites because 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.  In following SiriusDecisions, it has both what they say and how they say it when it comes to how sales, marketing and customer retention has 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!