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Scaling Your Marketing Team for Operational Success

Consider the following scenario:

A Marketing Automation Architect is perusing the marketing calendar and looking at emails scheduled to go out for the day. She spots an email marked as “operational,” meaning it will send to unsubscribed leads and will not include an unsubscribe footer. Upon further inspection, it seems this email should definitely not be sent as operational as it is definitely not transactional. She approaches the Marketing Manager who created and scheduled this email.

Marketing Operations Architect: Hi, Marketing Manager! How are you today? I noticed that you have an email scheduled to send as operational, but it’s not a webinar confirmation or an asset download delivery. Was that a mistake? I’m happy to fix it for you.

Marketing Manager: No, it wasn’t a mistake. I styled the email to look like it was coming from Outlook. If I sent it from Outlook I wouldn’t have an unsubscribe footer. What’s the difference?

Marketing Operations Architect: *screams internally*

Sound familiar?

Contrary to what sales people might tell you, marketing automation platforms (MAPs) are complex. Regardless of your platform of choice (Marketo, Eloqua, Pardot, for example), running marketing through it requires a particular set of skills. Organizing your marketing team to account for these skill sets will ensure that your platform of choice supports effective and efficient marketing campaigns.

Specialized Team Structure: the A Team Solution for Marketing Automation

Companies generally approach creating and launching marketing campaigns in their MAP with either a generalist team structure or a specialized one.

  • The generalist team structure typically includes a Marketing Operations Architect, who implements the system in your environment, and Marketing Managers who have received training in your MAP. The Marketing Managers develop the campaign and write the copy, then build and schedule the campaigns in your MAP.
  • The specialized team structure introduces Marketing Operations specialists to the team structure. The Marketing Managers continue to develop the campaigns and write copy, then hand off the information to a MOPs specialist who builds and schedules it in your MAP. The Marketing Operations Architect provides ongoing support for the platform.

Most companies start with the generalist team structure, especially when marketing teams are lean and each person has to wear multiple hats. However this team structure has inherent problems.

  • Gaining expertise in your marketing automated platform is time- and effort-intensive. In addition, it requires a propensity for technology. Marketing Managers are not normally wired that way. Even if they are, it eats away at the creative time they need to develop campaigns and write copy.
  • A little knowledge can go a long way—towards overlooking critical builds for the campaign. They weren’t critical for sending communications at the time, but a year later, you find that you have sloppy data, can’t report on campaign successes, and have a marketing automation platform (and corresponding CRM data) that is impossible to untangle.

The specialized team structure resolves many of the problems inherent in the generalized one by distributing marketing automated tasks to the appropriate skill set.

How Does the Specialized Marketing Team Structure Work?

A professionally scaled marketing organization setup recognizes the roles that need to be filled on a nearly full-time basis:

  • Marketing Operations Architect: This person is the ultimate power user in your MAP. The person knows it inside and out and is the ultimate end-all of knowledge in the platform. Because of their depth of knowledge, MOPs architects manage the submission process, marketing campaign templates, and overall governance of your MAP.
  • Marketing Manager: This is your traditional marketer, someone who thrives on creativity, designing resounding marketing programs, campaigns, and emails. The person in this role plans the marketing campaigns, pulls together the marketing copy and the incentives for leads to engage with the business, and gathers all the pieces of the marketing campaign together for handoff to a MOPs specialist.
  • Marketing Operations Specialist: This is the person who builds the campaigns in your MAP. The Marketing Manager has provided all the copy, images, campaign schedule, and necessary materials. The MOPs specialist is the one who implements the program and campaigns in your MAP, making sure that the emails and landing pages all function as expected, makes sure that programs are structured properly for reporting, and creates the assets to follow the overall governance structure for the MAP.

The Marketing Operations Architect creates the overall process and ensures that system-wide governance is enforced in your MAP—things like naming conventions, folder and campaign organization, and any time-saving initiatives in process.

The Marketing Manager submits all the campaign information to the MOPs specialist, who then builds the campaign in the platform. In most cases it’s an iterative process: some back-and-forth with the Marketing Manager on length of the copy or changes to images, for example. The MOPs specialist stages the campaign and hands it over to the Marketing Manager to review for quality assurance (does the copy look right in emails, on landing pages, and so on). Once the Marketing Manager approves it, the MOPs specialist launches the campaign in your MAP.

When and Why Should a Company Have a Specialized Marketing Team?

Ideally, transitioning to a specialized marketing team should happen before errors affect the company’s brand. Companies start to feel the growing pains of a generalized marketing team when errors start appearing in the normal flow of your marketing campaign.

By adding FTE MOPs specialists to your team, you give your Marketing Managers the bandwidth to create more campaigns, make sure that they are well executed, and ensure your team has the ability to measure the ROI of your marketing programs. If you aren’t ready to add FTE MOPs specialists, you can introduce a consultant or team of consultants to act as the MOPs team for your organization.

In marketing teams with more than one Marketing Manager, the specialization of skills and roles should be examined. In teams with three or more Marketing Managers, discrete MOPs teams are guaranteed to be a worthwhile investment.

What’s Next?

Having a specialized team structure with a dedicated MOPs team gives you real gains in productivity and measurable marketing results. Once your specialized team is in place, the next step is aligning your system and processes to maximize its productivity. The way to do that? A centralized submission process for marketing campaigns. Our next post in this blog series will address how that process works, and how you can introduce a similar process for your organization: Scaling Your Marketing Efforts with a Centralized Submission Process

In the meantime, check out: “The Marketo Expert’s Guide to Program Templates,” a step-by-step guide to building Marketo’s most valuable program templates, which are the building blocks for creating efficient and effective processes within your MAP.

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