Why Marketing Ops Should Have Its Own Seat at the Table

Throughout my career, I’ve had the privilege of working under the Chief Technology Officer (CTO) and Chief Marketing Officer (CMO). I was responsible for marketing technology, data integrations, and marketing operations. Regardless of where I sat, I faced similar challenges.

Marketing Operations under the CMO

Under the CMO, my role was to align marketing tools with upcoming projects. My responsibilities quickly evolved into owning the performance of our website. I was providing weekly status updates about my projects and their metric impacts. I was asked to come up with projects and ideas to improve marketing performance. Rather than enabling impactful decision-making.

There was tension with the engineering department since they owned the technology budget. It led to conversations where my technical background was overlooked. I was talked to as if I had zero technical knowledge despite handling all tool integrations.

Marketing Operations Under the CTO

Under the CTO, I faced different challenges. While I was no longer pigeonholed into owning website performance. My marketing experience was overlooked despite my previous experience running marketing departments. I had to fit into the engineering process and sprint cycles, despite my work not functioning that way. I lost visibility into marketing initiatives and upcoming projects. Which made it difficult to contribute meaningfully to their organization.

Marketing Operations Needs a New Lane

These experiences have led me to believe that Marketing Operations needs a new lane. Companies often do not understand how to leverage the unique skills of individuals who understand both code and campaign orchestration. They put Marketing Operations with whichever department has the budget. This approach often leads to Marketing Operations being undervalued. Companies need to shift. Creating a dedicated department for Marketing Operations that sits between IT and Marketing. Allowing them to connect the two worlds more efficiently.

What the New World Could Look Like

This new department would allow for cross-functional collaboration. Improved utilization of technology tools, and enhanced integration of data between platforms. Although the idea of creating a new C-level position is appealing. The most fitting position in the current C-Suite is under the Chief Digital Officer (CDO). This new department would own:

  • Marketing Technology and Integrations Management
  • Digital & Marketing Analytics (not Business Intelligence)
  • Marketing Process and Project Management
  • Marketing Documentation.

Within B2C companies, the optimal C-Suite would include:

  • CMO = brand and awareness-driven marketing
  • CTO = IT, systems, infrastructure control, and development
  • CDO = Platform management, data engineering, integrations, and process
  • Chief Revenue Officer (CRO) = e-commerce, sales-driven marketing, onsite optimization

For B2B companies, the optimal C-Suite might change a bit to include a Chief Product Officer (CPO):

  • CMO = brand and awareness-driven marketing
  • CTO = IT, systems, and infrastructure control
  • CDO = Platform enablement, data engineering, integrations, and process
  • CPO = e-commerce, Product driven marketing, onsite optimization

Marketing Operations needs a dedicated department that empowers both IT and Marketing. Although it may be challenging to create a new department or C-level position, it would ultimately benefit organizations. By leveraging the unique skills of individuals who understand the cross-functional capabilities needed.

The upcoming Best of Breed Marketing Summit on #MarTechDay (May 2) will host many excellent thought leaders including others from the MO Pros community. I have it on good authority that Mike Rizzo, will be covering a session similar to the topic of this post. Register here.

About The Author — Tony Ferreira

A passionate, motivated, & experienced results-driven leader with 15+ years in technology, marketing, data, strategy, ecommerce, and product ownership. With an outstanding record for managing, growing and optimizing teams responsible for: Ecommerce, Marketing Technology (MarTech), Marketing Operations, Conversion Optimization, Consumer Insights, Growth & Performance Marketing, Marketing Automation and more. Over the years I have worked with 250+ different marketing technologies and have helped improve the utilization & Total Cost of Ownership of hundreds of digital technology stacks. Focused on staying ahead of trends and being forward thinking. I spend most of my nights and mornings reading books or articles to continue to gain knowledge that can be shared or implemented in my daily work. • Marketing Technology Ownership • Digital and Marketing Analytics • Product Management • Ecommerce Leadership • Marketing Operations • Conversion Optimization • Experimentation & Personalization • And much more

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