Marketing operations

Marketing operations
Key concepts

Benchmarking  Best Practices
Budgeting  Business Intelligence
Business Process  Change Management
Chief Marketing Officer (CMO)
Customer Intelligence
Customer Lifecycle Management
Customer Lifetime Value
Data Quality  Data Warehouses
Database Marketing  Demand Generation
Digital Asset Management (DAM)
Enterprise Marketing Management (EMM)
Flow Chart  Infrastructure
Lead Generation  M&A Integration
Marketing Accountability  Marketing Automation
Marketing Chief of Staff
Marketing Effectiveness
Marketing Operations Management
Marketing Performance Management (MPM)
Marketing Resource Management (MRM)
Organizational Development
Predictive Analytics  Predictive Modeling
Process Optimization
Return on Marketing Investment
Strategic Planning  Systems Thinking

The marketing operations (MO) function has emerged due to the need for a more transparent, efficient, and accountable view of marketing. Its growth was initially driven by the proliferation of marketing technology and increased pressure from the C-suite to prove the value of marketing and contribute to the revenue. The purpose of marketing operations is to increase marketing efficiency and organizational agility. Agile marketing organizations are able to adapt their marketing efforts, quickly and successfully, in response to changing customer behavior, market conditions and business direction to the benefit of improved market share or customer value.


The scope of responsibilities varies across Marketing Operations teams and so, therefore, does the definition. Typically, MO is the function responsible for marketing performance measurement, strategic planning guidance and execution, budgeting, process development, professional development, and marketing systems and data. The role is increasingly responsible for affecting change in the marketing organization. This work typically connects closely to, or includes, demand generation, and involves the alignment of Marketing with Sales, Business Units, IT and Finance. MO professionals′ career paths sometimes originate in Finance, IT, Sales Operations and other analytical or process-oriented roles. The MO function enables the marketing organization to shift from being viewed as a cost center to operating more like a business, with formalized best practices, processes, infrastructure, and reporting.

This injection of left-brain thinking into the typically right-brained-heavy Marketing function has led to the need for marketers to expand their skill set to include technical and analytical skills in addition to the traditional marketing skills. These newer skills include the ability to allocate resources based on strategic objectives and demonstrated performance; acting as an organizational interface to the parallel role of Sales Operations. Marketing Operations aim to coordinate and optimize marketing resources.

Evolving Field

The rise of the MO function was first observed by analyst firm IDC in its annual Tech Marketing Benchmarks study early in 2005, with a detailed analysis and framework for the staffing requirements and responsibilities for this role′s contribution to the marketing organization. The 2006 IDC CMO Technology Benchmark Study found that the headcount allocated to MO was about 2.5%. This was the first time MO was specified as a stand-alone function in the IDC studies. By the end of the 2011, the allocation of marketing operations staff had more than doubled to 5.3%.

In 2007, the Marketing Performance Management Study by VisionEdge Marketing[1] found that companies were adding MO to the marketing function to help ensure systems, processes, and tools were in place to support marketing performance measurement and management. Also in 2007, the Journey to Marketing Operations Maturity study[2] by Marketing Operations Partners published an MO framework with marketing strategy and guidance supported by ecosystem alignment, leading to marketing processes and metrics supported by technology and infrastructure management. By 2009, other marketing studies began to incorporate questions about MO. The 2009 Lenskold Group/MarketSphere Marketing ROI and Measurement Study found that companies with MO in place were twice (11% vs 5%) as likely to report having highly effective and efficient marketing.

The role of MO is expanding, especially within marketing organizations serving as value creators and agents of change. Within these organizations, MO is moving beyond campaign automation and financial governance to facilitate accountability, alignment, and agility. Some CMOs treat the MO leader as a Chief of Staff. As such, they are often charged with handling communication to the organization and overseeing the training and development of the marketing professionals.


While it is the responsibility of every marketing professional to engage in performance management, MO brings all of the components together to systematically optimize performance.

The 2014 Marketing Performance Management Study conducted by VisionEdge Marketing/ITSMA found that the role of Marketing Operations now includes the following:

Value Creation

Best-in-class marketers can be characterized as value creators because their primary focus is on using data to make market, customer, and product/service decisions that create value for customers and shareholders. As a result, MO organizations are actively recruiting and developing people with the following skills, in priority order, in order to create greater value:

  • Customer, market, competitive intelligence, research, and insights
  • Analytics and predictive modeling
  • Data management, project management, and change management
  • Campaign analysis and reporting
  • Budgeting and planning; financial governance and reporting
  • Organization benchmarking and assessments

Marketing Technology

Technology can help marketers manage assets, generate demand, and measure results. For many organizations, MO is responsible for evaluating, maintaining, and using the various marketing technology components whether stand-alone single point solutions or integrated together. The marketing technology landscape can be confusing, and the acronym alphabet soup used to describe these technologies only adds to the conundrum: DAM/MAM (digital asset or marketing asset management), MOM (marketing operations management), MAP (marketing automation platforms), and MRM (marketing resource management). Marketing technology ties together metrics, customer touchpoints, and stages of the customer lifecycle management in order to optimize its performance and agility in creating growth. Marketing technology platforms can be organized into four broad categories:

  1. Market and Customer Intelligence and Insights for using data and analytics to identify customer and market opportunities. These technologies support automating intelligence gathering, such as social media monitoring/monitoring and business intelligence tools. The purpose of these tools is to turn market and customer data into actionable insights.
  2. Customer Interaction and Engagement for acquiring and keeping customers. These technologies facilitate creating and monitoring customer interaction and support the customer-buying journey. This is where many organizations have made most of their current and rather extensive technology investments. Most marketing/email campaign automation, customer relationship management, contact management, demand generation and lead management, and sales force automation tools fall into this category.
  3. Project/Workflow/Operations Management for managing the work of marketing. These technologies enable marketing to manage projects and produce work by enhancing marketing efficiency and productivity. Marketing resource management, digital/marketing asset management, content management and curation, and project management are examples of technologies that fit into this group.
  4. Performance Management for improving and proving the value of marketing. These technologies help monitor, measure and communicate marketing′s value, impact, performance, and contribution to the organization. Technologies that illustrate this category include marketing attribution, analytics, marketing reporting and dashboard tools, marketing models, alignment and accountability tools.

A list of marketing technology vendors by Scott Brinker has shown the category from 947 vendors in 2014 to over 1,800 in 2015.[3]


Formative Underpinnings of MO




early 2000s

Formal Creation of MO







2012 — The Marketing Operations Cross-Company Alliance established its annual Executive Forum.

2013 — The Marketing Operations Executive Summit was launched. Marketing Operations was cited as essential to establishing a Revenue Marketing Center of Excellence in the book, The Rise of the Revenue Marketer: An Executive Playbook by Qaqish.

2014 — A new conference, the Marketing Operations & Technology Summit represented the field more broadly than automation/analytics/metrics by others to-date, to include career path, capability-building, organizational agility, customer experience, and cross-organizational collaboration.

See also


  3. "Marketing Technology Landscape Supergraphic (2015) - Chief Marketing Technologist". Chief Marketing Technologist. Retrieved 2016-01-05.
  4. "The 100 Year History Lesson On Marketing Operations and MarTech". Retrieved 2016-01-05.


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