Must-Know Information Before Hiring a Marketing Operations Manager

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Do you find that your marketing department is in disarray? Are your teams and project managers finding it difficult to juggle a variety of projects without falling behind on their daily duties? You’re probably in need of a Marketing Operations Manager. As the duties of modern marketing departments grow, so does the necessity of having a capable person overseeing a wide array of projects and tasks the department handles.

The Marketing Operations Manager role has become increasingly common in companies across all industries as marketing departments attempt to incorporate more data-based strategies into their marketing campaigns, optimize campaigns across a wide variety of channels, and design new innovative strategies to get their brand in front of their target audience.

According to The CMO Survey, marketing budgets have gradually grown in the last decade, with companies spending an average of more than 11% of their total budget on marketing tasks:

Source: The CMO Survey

Chief Marketing Officers feel the pressure from this growth and the responsibility that comes with it, too. According to the same survey, although they may overestimate the actual growth, CMOs consistently predict large growth in their company’s marketing budgets:

With budgets ballooning and a growing workload for marketing teams, it’s easy to see why companies would seek out a manager to help them oversee and organize their department-wide operations.

According to McKinley Marketing Partners 2018 Hiring Trends Report, marketing operations positions are the fourth most in demand marketing function, outpacing other high-growth functions including research & analytics, relationship management, and product marketing.

The growth in digital marketing positions also feeds into marketing operations growth, as digital marketing strategies and channels are constantly in flux.

What is a Marketing Operations Manager?

Because the popularity of the Marketing Operations Manager position is somewhat recent, many companies find themselves confused about what the position is, how it will help their company improve their marketing departments, and how the position brings value to their business. Often, the position is confused for a standard Marketing Project Manager role, but the two are entirely different.

A Marketing Operations Manager differs from a Marketing Project Manager, who typically have duties that are always in flux as projects come in go. Marketing Operations Managers have consistent functions within companies. They don’t focus on any particular project or goal, but rather have broader and more comprehensive responsibilities within the marketing department and company at large.

In the past, operations managers often had a purely operational role in most companies. Over time, the role has shifted to one that includes strategic planning and execution. The position is typically seated at the junior management level on the org chart, often answering directly to the CMO or other senior management positions.

Marketing Operations Manager Duties

Because the position can mean different things in different companies, having a wide breadth of marketing knowledge could provide candidates with a leg-up on the competition.

Although there may be differences in each company, the duties of the position can be boiled down to a few key areas:

Organize Strategy Execution: Processes and systems

Organize processes

Typically, the Marketing Operations Manager is tasked with driving operations strategies and overseeing their execution. They will analyze data and historical trends to provide insight and identify operational improvements that the department could make.

In short, a Marketing Operations Manager plays an active role in the optimization and improvement of all marketing tasks and systems to properly implement the overarching strategy. This can lead to changes in tactics and technology, leading them to cover a wide range of areas including digital marketing, database marketing, customer experience, data storage and cleansing, advertising, and content operations.

Organize systems

Often, Marketing Operations Managers will be tasked with overseeing the implementation of the portfolio of marketing systems like Oracle Eloqua, HubSpot or Adobe Experience Cloud.

Manage Daily Operations: Resource allocation & Campaign Management

Prioritize projects

The Marketing Operations Manager is tasked with prioritizing projects within the marketing department. Determining which projects will take precedence on a daily, weekly, monthly, and quarterly basis is an important part of the position and their success relies on their ability to properly assign value to a range of different projects and put their teams in a position to effectively execute multiple projects simultaneously.

Assigns project ownership

The Marketing Operations Manager plays a critical role in overseeing the daily Marketing Resource Management (MRM) operations. They will use key data and marketing metrics to create reports that measure and display the performance of your marketing department as a whole.

Using their findings, they’ll identify gaps in current strategies and design systems and fixes that will improve efficiency. This often includes designing or overseeing systems that lead to improved lead management, enhanced data quality, and tighter controls on how marketing resources are deployed throughout the department. They are often responsible for the management and reporting of daily campaign activities to ensure they can properly evaluate their effectiveness.

Deliver insights: Analytics & Reporting

Analytics will play a key role in the daily tasks of anyone in the role — both as they apply to your marketing campaigns and to your operational efficiency. They are responsible for evaluating the return generated by new marketing approaches and working with their teams to make changes and ensure best practices are being followed.

A key component of the role is to keep senior management or CMOs up to date with their ongoing analysis to ensure they understand how their marketing budget is being spent, monitored, and altered to push them toward their organizational goals. Often, they’ll meet on a weekly basis to cover key KPIs and identify areas of focus moving forward.

Align teams: Collaboration and Communication

The Marketing Operations Manager position is a collaborative one. They work with their teams directly as they oversee specific projects. They work with junior managers to identify broader gaps in strategy. They work directly with sales and finance departments to ensure they are maximizing the impact of their marketing budget. They report to and work directly with senior management to set department-wide strategies and goals. This level of coordination calls for a person that is detail-oriented and organized.

Marketing Operations Manager Qualifications

Because of the wide-ranging responsibilities of your average Marketing Operations Manager, a certain level of experience and education is required. Hiring someone that falls short of the necessary qualifications can quickly lead to a new hire being in over their head with little experience to draw from to bring themselves up to speed.

Experience 

Experience in real-world marketing management is a must-have for the position. They should have at least four years of experience in marketing roles. A focus on disciplines that are employed heavily within your organization (offline, digital, or analytical) would likely lead to better outcomes. Ideally, a Marketing Operations Manager will have a wide range of experience across mediums, platforms, channels, and strategies that they can draw from to identify improvements in your own operations.

Additionally, a great candidate will also have experience in conducting detailed data analysis and forecasting results. Analyzing data and creating reports play a big part in the role, not only for their own benefit but to help senior management better understand the status of the department.

Education 

A qualified candidate will have, at minimum, a bachelor’s degree in a business or technical field that is related to the tasks they will be overseeing. These can include but are not limited to degrees in marketing, public relations, computer science, business administration, and information technology. However, it may be smart to place more focus on a candidate’s experience than their education as the position requires a wide understanding of marketing operations that can only be gleaned from real-world experience.

Marketing Operations Manager Hiring and Salary Considerations

Now that you have an understanding of the role, there are some key things that you should take into account as you look toward hiring.

Marketing Operations Manager Salary

Because every company has different requirements and expectations for their Marketing Operations Manager, salaries can vary. According to GlassDoor, the average salary for the position is just over $61,000, with salaries mostly ranging between $35,000-$75,000. A high-end salary for this position would be around $100,000.

Marketing Operations Manager Interview Questions

In your effort to find a qualified candidate, there are a few important notes that you should hit in your interview. While the questions that you ask will be dependent on the channels, platforms, and solutions that your company uses in their marketing campaigns, most interviews for the position should touch on a few subjects reliably:

  • What marketing channels do you have experience managing campaigns for?
  • What marketing platforms and systems have you used in previous jobs?
  • What experience do you have in data analysis and report creation in operational analysis and marketing campaign analysis?
  • What is a major change that you championed in a previous jobs? What were the results that the change produced?
  • Do you have experience managing marketing teams and delegating tasks?
  • With a long list of responsibilities, how do you prioritize and decide which tasks are most important?
  • What steps do you take to ensure you remain organized and can manage wide-ranging responsibilities?
  • When you are faced with a solution or technology that you have no experience in, what steps do you take to educate yourself and understand it?
  • What is your leadership style?
  • Are you communicative? How do you organize and handle managing conversations with dozens of people at different levels of a company on a given day?

These questions should be enough to get you started. Take the subjects covered in these questions and expand upon them to cover topics that relate directly to your company.

A Role with Growing Importance

Marketing Operations Managers are more in demand today than they have ever been before. This is fueled by the rapid growth of marketing budgets, channels, platforms, and solutions that the average company uses on a daily basis. Having a full understanding of the responsibilities and skills required for the role as it applies to your company’s specific situation will help you to find a qualified candidate that helps you to improve efficiency, maximize the impact of your marketing budget, and improve senior management’s understanding of your operations.

Romek Jansen By Romek Jansen

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