Back to Knowledge Base

How is marketing operations different to marketing?

How is marketing operations different to marketing?

The worlds of technology and marketing are constantly giving us new roles and job titles.

The latest push is to add ‘operations’ to existing roles. It may have started with the merger of software development and software operations into DevOps, but we’ve also noticed the emergence of Content Operations, Research Operations – and increasingly Marketing Operations.

What’s driving the operations trend?

In most cases, the shift in naming reflects the increasing importance of technology. As functions come to rely on technology more – and often build the entire capability around the features of the platform – people have recognised a need for new roles to manage the complexity of technology and to harness the data it produces.

Specifically, the pivotal role of technology creates a number of challenges:

Technology evaluation – when your department relies on a central platform, choices such as software vendors, configurations and integrations take on greater importance. Organisations are recognising that the evaluation process is fundamentally important, and are working to integrate this work with the wider function. This ensures that the people using the platform get what they need.

Technology management – the tasks associated with maintaining an application are increasingly seen as a core part of the function itself. Rather than have an external IT team managing updates, compliance and security, organisations are merging these roles into one team.

Data overload – we’re all trying to do more with data, but do we have the right skills? By bringing data management and processing into the fold, organisations can ensure that data becomes a powerful tool, not a liability.

Feedback and collaboration – in many organisations there is a disconnect between the people who create and the people who operate the technology. This leads to problems, and means that neither group (creators nor operators) can fully exploit the potential of the platform. But when creators and operators work together under a shared identity, the software can be used more fully, and both groups can understand the other’s needs and objectives.

Marketing operations: a definition

Marketing operations is an approach to organising a marketing team so that:

  • Data is collected, stored and used effectively
  • Technology is managed and deployed for the benefit of the marketing team
  • Alignment between marketing functions and the wider organisation is established and maintained

The difference between marketing operations and traditional marketing is often described as merging analytical, technical and process management skills with classic creative marketing skills. A marketing operations team will likely include analysts, programmers, data scientists and project managers, as well as writers, art directors, designers and planners.

Does your organisation already merge these functions? Or is a shift towards marketing operations something that you are considering?