5 Things Every Marketing Operations Team Needs

Learn the five things every marketing operations team and/or practitioner should be doing to remain effective at all times!

BY: Lindsay DiLemmo

PUBLISHED: 2/27/2023

Now more than ever, marketing operations teams are focused on being effective as revealed in our 2023 Marketo User Study. As the market continues to shift, more teams are shrinking, as are their budgets. This means one thing: marketing operations teams must find ways to remain effective amidst all the changes that 2023 has introduced.

Yet, this is often easier said than done. The reality is that most marketing operations teams are simply trying to stay afloat and manage their workloads, which seem to be growing by the day. That’s why we dug into this topic with Cody Haener, Associate Director of Client Strategy at MERGE.

With 9+ years of marketing operations experience, Cody has worked in both in-house and agency settings. Cody has been on a team of one and a member of larger teams. Regardless of the setting or team size, he’s found that these are the five things every marketing operations team and/or practitioner should be doing to remain effective at all times.

#1 – Define processes and workflows

Above all, your marketing operations team should have clear and documented processes for how you are intaking new requests for things like:

  • Programs builds
  • Email and landing page assets
  • Ad hoc reporting

Does your team leverage standardized intake forms?

Intake forms make program creation more efficient and scalable by implementing templates for frequently requested program types such as email blasts, gated content programs, and webinar programs.

You can create these intake forms in Google Sheets, Excel, or a PM tool like Asana or Monday. Better yet, Jeto is a tool that allows you to easily create customizable intake forms to ensure complete, error-free campaign submissions, every time. Learn more about Jeto here!

Is your team standardizing and tokenizing as much as possible? You’ll want to leverage program tokens to seamlessly populate emails and landing pages. Include the token names in your intake forms so whoever is building the program in Marketo can easily copy and paste from the intake form to the correct token value field. Your program build time will be reduced drastically.

Lastly, you’ll want to ensure you have a process for collecting feedback and approvals. Project management software can help a lot here; especially if you have a large team. Project management tools empower you to assign and track tasks, deadlines, and priorities. Plus, your team will be able to collaborate in one place.

Say hello to streamlined projects!

#2 – Documentation, documentation, documentation

At MERGE, we live and breathe documentation. Documentation is the foundation that anchors the architecture of what you’re building within Marketo — yet too often, it is overlooked or treated as an afterthought.

As people transition in and out of your organization, there can be a lot of information lost along the way. If all of your processes live inside your Marketo admins head, what will happen when they leave?

We like to complete documentation up front, before the build. This not only allows you to clearly understand how the build should look before it’s created in Marketo, but it also ensures documentation is completed in the first place. We’ve all been guilty of promising ourselves that we’ll document a build once it’s complete, but never get around to it because we have to jump to a new priority.

Documenting upfront also makes for a shorter timeline overall. It’s much quicker to catch and fix a mistake during documentation than in the middle of a build or after the program is live; especially in complex programs where that mistake can have a cascading effect.

#3 – QA

It can be easy to get lost in the details when building new complex programs and spotting mistakes can be tricky. This is why QA should be a crucial component of every marketing operations team. Have your team members review your work, whether it's your documentation, build, or both.

Creating a QA plan should be part of your documentation process. List out the different scenarios you need to test, your expected results for each scenario, and the eventual outcome. This approach ensures your performing a thorough test and helps you stay organized when troubleshooting fails.

If you’re a team of one, this can feel daunting, but rest assured, it’s worth it in the long run. If you’re part of a team, pull in your colleagues to help. With a team approach, you’re more likely to catch errors. Plus, it will establish trust in what is being built.

#4 – Consistent communication

“Marketing operations teams should not exist in a vacuum.”

Too often, marketing operations teams are siloed – which can be extremely detrimental to your team’s overall success. Cross-team communication is essential for a successful marketing operations strategy. For example, your sales team should absolutely weigh in on your lead scoring strategy since it directly impacts the quality and volume of leads they will receive.

You should also reach across the aisle when establishing your marketing operations roadmap. Is your content team rolling out a new whitepaper next quarter? Maybe that warrants a gated content program template. Is your sales team struggling with incomplete or inaccurate data? Perhaps a data enrichment tool should be added to the roadmap.

#5 – Embrace Community

It can be hard to figure out the right approach on your own. Luckily, plenty of resources and communities are available for marketing operations professionals. Whether you need help troubleshooting or you’re looking to grow your network, check out some of our favorite communities below:

  • Marketo Nation
  • Marketo User Groups