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Creating a Strategic Marketing Operations Team

By Christopher Hosford on August 22, 2019

In this series on effective marketing for printing companies, we’ve covered many topics, including developing a company vision, finding likely customers, using effective content marketing, and leveraging marketing technology. 

Now, let’s turn to the element that pulls all these and more into a successful whole: the people who make up your marketing operations (MO) team. Who are the folks who can manage or implement the key marketing elements to sustain and grow your business?

While major corporations have immense marketing operations org charts, much of it could be boiled down to three essentials: 1) those people who create and test ideas and tactics; 2) those who can analyze key customer data to better inform marketing and customer acquisition efforts; and 3) those who handle the essential digital technology you need for effective demand generation. 

Here’s how your MO org chart might be organized.

Compelling Ideas and Effective Tactics

Marketing operations might be said to combine left and right brain talent, and the right brain definitely defines the world of creative ideas. From defining your key vision and value, to developing compelling stories and content that speak to customer needs, creativity, and imaginative thinking rule this MO function.

Here, an org chart might include your in-house people who can speak intelligently and enthusiastically about how they solve customers’ printing needs, pinpoint great case studies to disseminate on social media, write fun and educational blogs about things your customers need to know, and even identify customers willing to provide supporting testimonials (in print, audio, or video form).

Your digital printing service rep has his finger on customer challenges and needs, and could be a great source of stories about problem solving. Your digital press operator has the technical know-how that could make for informative blogs on digital capabilities and efficiencies. Your graphic designer probably has a wealth of stories to tell about effective layouts, die cuts, and paper, what works and what doesn’t, and how to deal with customer demands. 

You also might want to hire a full time or freelance editor to manage this function, keeping the ideas flowing and deadlines met.

Analyzing Customer and Marketing Data

The person who understands customer data and how it supports marketing may be an outside hire. To use data to discern why people buy what they buy, what messages they respond to, the types of companies (versus others) that should be your primary targets, and so much more takes real analytical skill.

Marketing intelligence here could include identifying promising new print markets to explore, those printing services your competitors are successfully selling (or not), and the most likely companies to pitch next. He or she might be able to determine through data which direct mail products are most in demand or successful, or the printing preferences of different industry verticals like banks or healthcare groups.  

This requires a person who’s comfortable with analytical tools, and able to translate data into actionable insight.

Choosing and Managing The Right Technology

As for this third element of your marketing operations team, finding the right technology and wrangling it to your marketing advantage may require unique skills, but also enthusiasm and a willingness to learn. 

There are thousands of technology or support platforms out there. Making sense of them, determining which ones to invest in, and (just as importantly) using them effectively to support marketing constitute this key MO role.

Maybe you think you need Mailchimp for email newsletters, Salesforce for your CRM needs, or HubSpot for overall marketing and sales support. A marketing technology specialist can help make sense of the landscape, suggest the right platforms for your special needs, avoid unnecessary overlaps, assure integration among applications, and optimize them for best marketing results.

The marketing operations org chart can be immense, of course, including specialists in predictive modeling, performance measurement and reporting, budgeting and planning, campaign analysis, workflow management, and so much more. Don’t overthink it.

Consider your own needs, evaluate constantly, and make sure your basic marketing operations roles are well-coordinated and pulling in the same direction.

Christopher Hosford is a contributing editor with Target Marketing. He was editor-in-chief of Sales & Marketing Management magazine and East Coast bureau chief with Advertising Age’s BtoB magazine, and has covered all aspects of marketing, advertising and sales, including marketing automation, CRM, content marketing, analytics, search, lead generation, social media, and other cutting-edge marketing topics.