What Marketing Operations Is (and Isn’t)

By: Hileman Group  | 07/21/2021

Who likes superheroes? Or maybe the question is, who doesn’t like superheroes? The people who swoop in when everyone else runs out; the ones who solve the crime or right a wrong. The ones who get ’er done.

To us marketing professionals, that’s marketing operations, or what some people (like us) lovingly call MOPs. Learn what marketing operations is, what it isn’t, and how the work of the MOPs team contributes to an organization’s bottom line.

What Is Marketing Operations?

According to HubSpot, marketing operations is “an umbrella term that describes the people, processes, and technology that power a business’s overall marketing strategy and increase chances of success.” Basically, just like those superheroes, without marketing operations, the common marketer (or marketing campaign) won’t survive.

Dramatic? Probably. But so are superhero movies.

Marketing operations consists of the following:

The Main Hero.

MOPs would not exist were it not for the people running it. While sometimes that means only 1-2 people in a smaller company, larger organizations can create teams – or hire a marketing agency (wink!) – with specializations and roles, including:

Platform Operations

The people within this team are responsible for the governance, program architecture, integrations and administrative duties like data quality and management. They help set protocols for testing and manage internal and external capabilities.

Campaign Operations

These team members are the engineers…building landing pages, emails, campaign program logic and workflows. They also QA programs for any bugs and manage active programs, delivering the optimal user experience.

Marketing Intelligence

They are the storytellers – the ones who align sales and marketing operations with data, analyze performance and think creatively about next steps and optimizations.

The Trusty Sidekick.

Batman had Robin.

Captain America had Bucky Barnes.

Marketing ops specialists have their mar-tech stack.

Marketo! HubSpot! Salesforce! Google Analytics! These Avenger-like software and technologies work together to execute (as in “complete”, not “kill” like a real superhero/sidekick might) the various elements of a marketing campaign, from email to SEO to analytics.

Without these technologies, heroes can’t live up to their full potential. They help save time, cut down on overhead and fight against all other nemeses.

The Nemesis.

Speaking of nemeses, a superhero movie would be pretty boring without someone or something out to destroy the hero (or the world at large). For marketing operations, it can be several things: time, budgets, lack of resources – you name it.

However, for every nemesis, the hero and sidekick have an answer.

Don’t have time?
Never fear – marketing operations is here, automating administrative tasks to free up your time!

Working within a small budget?
Your friendly neighborhood MOPs specialist can create repeatable processes, manage workflow and track data to prove marketing value!

Lack of resources?
Your MOPs team is here to save the day! With the right heroes and trusty sidekick in place, they can easily scale to meet every demand that comes their way!

What Is Marketing Operations Not?

While marketing operations encompasses a lot of things, it is not meant to be a one-size-fits-all solution. Which, of course, is the brilliance of it. MOPs is built to scale, based on the needs and goals of your organization.

It is also meant to work in tandem with other departments to fulfill the destiny of the organization. For that to happen, MOPs needs to understand overarching business goals as well as specific campaign objectives to ensure their strategies align.

How Does Marketing Operations Contribute to the Bottom Line?

Marketing operations is the glue the binds all your marketing activities together, creating efficiencies and optimizing results. By employing marketing operations, you can help save the world (or probably just your organization) with:


Modern day marketing is simple: serve up the right message to the right person at the right time. But as you set off on your quest, launching simultaneous campaigns at the same time, it can get complex. Enter automation. Leveraging marketing automation tools allows you to streamline repetitive tasks, reduce errors and build better relationships with customers.


A study by McKinsey & Company shows that marketing operations can provide a 15-25% improvement in marketing effectiveness when done well. This means defining the right KPIs, gathering the right insights and interpreting them by the right people. MOPs can monitor, examine and optimize marketing activities and use this intel to identify new opportunities that support growth and deliver ROI.


Because marketing operations is responsible for optimizing marketing activities, it should help define the processes, too. Marketers are constantly tasked with doing more with less and these processes must be repeatable and scalable for them to be successful – eliminating needless complexities and focusing on efforts that generate sustainable growth.

To Quote the Avengers: A New Age Begins

Marketing operations is obviously not new, but it’s also not going anywhere. In this new age, MOPs can help piece together all the components of your marketing into one cohesive system. It allows for marketers to do their jobs more effectively and with better insights. If the point of marketing is to drive business growth, then marketing operations is the superhero that’s going to save your bottom line.



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