According to several sources, the term Marketing Operations was formally coined by the analyst firm IDC in early 2005. Because the sets of associated systems that a marketing operations professional are expected to use, I believe the role will be an ever-changing and continually in a state of evolution. This is why it’s difficult to truly classify what it means to be a marketing operations professional.

The marketing operations leader is typically responsible for leading the operations team, managing all software, measuring the success of all programs and be the ‘glue that holds everyone together’.

The marketing operations team has the important responsibility of executing the CMO’s strategy: marketing performance measurement, strategic planning guidance and execution, budgeting, process development, professional development, and marketing systems and data.


Marketing Operation leaders are about the top down goal alignment of the marketing strategy and how to incorporate such with the insights gained from structured and unstructured data from various data points, the most difficult being social mediums.

Responsibilities also include having a director over this team to facilitate a friction-free exchange between marketing and sales. Marketing Operations continues to become one of the most important and ‘taken for granted’ roles of modern marketing. We are the ones who truly connect the dots between marketing spend and revenue through our ever-expanding bucket of marketing tools and technologies. We are typically responsible for building and administering the processes, platforms and data. Additional responsibilities include the technical designing of campaigns based on marketing goals and requirements, and tracking to show the value of the marketing budget’s performance. And (whew!) manage people, their processes and mentoring. It’s about the individuals business acumen, experience and education all the way to tool familiarity and options.

There is no school or textbook I’ve ever heard of that will show you how these systems work individually, or in parallel to each other, nor all that you should understand to successfully fulfill this roles duties. The larger the technology ecosystem and globalization of the teams, the more complex the marketing operations role becomes. The marketing op’s professional must master all the skills needed to perform as a super-human marketing entity that can maneuver information intricately through multiple platforms in order to provide coordinated and aligned insight to different teams, from marketing to sales to customer support. The operations professional will also spend time evaluating new technologies (never ending) to see if there’s any business value in implementing them.


So why do many organizations not have this role?

I continue to have potential clients or employers list dozens of skills and experience needs but offer an unmatched salary. Thus, I think the main reason is that the marketing operations role carries a high-end skill set, dedication to continued education and a high price tag. Secondarily, the ‘latest and greatest trend’ gets the budget – yes, I am speaking about the Social and Digital new roles. Today, I see marketing operations, automation, social and digital roles advertised at ridiculously low salary ranges. It appears the new roles are getting funded but not enough which will translate into problems later.  in 2015-2017, I predict this trend will continue until CMO’s realize that there is a big difference between someone who can slap in an html email to a MA system, tweet about a WP and those that can optimize the buyers journey and strategically place content at the right place and time while optimizing the inbound and outbound systems appropriately. The latter takes all the marketing operations skill sets listed above and is expensive, but worth it long term.

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