Marketing Business Acceleration Series: A Team That Plans Together . . .

Shannon Fitzgerald-Lussier
November 20, 2023

The marketing operations function should be a key player in helping CMOs make data-driven, strategic marketing decisions. Marketing operations can help CMOs run marketing like a business by using marketing business acceleration to optimize their planning, performance, and productivity.   

In our Marketing Business Acceleration Series, forward-thinking marketing professionals share how they’re elevating marketing operations in their organizations and proving business impact.   

In this interview, we spoke with Victoria Brown, Global Head of Marketing Operations at Emarsys—a customer engagement platform that helps marketers scale personalized omnichannel campaigns—about her thoughts on strategic marketing operations.  

What is your biggest priority in 2023? 

Our plans and calendars haven’t changed much year over year, and neither have our budgets. What has changed are our processes surrounding our existing activities.  

During the pandemic, we rapidly altered how we did our events moving from physical to virtual since that’s one of our largest activities and revenue drivers. We discovered that we could still demand the same presence and attendance—sometimes even more—virtually without burning through our budget or our team. When the world opened back up, we approached our event calendar with that realization in mind. This year, we’re working on getting more efficient with how we conduct our events to reduce budget strain and bandwidth.  

How have you changed your marketing investments from last year?

We’re among the many marketing teams being asked to do more with less—but we see this as an opportunity for optimization. So we’re investing more of our time into looking at what’s working and what isn’t compared to last year. We’re going to be evaluating our relationships with vendors and our utilization of the tools in our tech stack. Since we’re a division of SAP, we’re also analyzing how we can align ourselves with our parent company as well. From these assessments, we’re reprioritizing activities, investments, and campaigns where needed.  

How do you ensure that MOps priorities are aligned to corporate goals and are making an impact on the business? 

Each year, we have three major corporate goals that everything in our plan ladders up to. It can sometimes still be challenging though because each department has its own goals that they don’t always share with us. We’ve worked on improving that communication so our marketing plan is truly cross-functional—especially with sales. Sales and marketing should be like a marriage. They have to talk about what they want to work on or change, together.  

Generally, I don’t start planning until I know what every other team wants to achieve. We meet every quarter to narrow our focus and move in the right direction. We don’t just want to have a laundry list of tasks, right? We want each task aligned to a theme. Then, we can lay down some general planning based on our budget and capacity. 

How can marketing operations become more strategic? 

To be more strategic, MOps needs to ensure that marketing is driving a large portion of the company’s growth. You must be able to attribute revenue to your programs. We can show that around 50% of new leads come in through a marketing channel. But I don’t really focus on MQLs. Generating a million leads doesn’t mean you’re going to close new business. Instead, I tend to look at marketing-sourced opportunities and improving our cost of acquisition because that is ultimately going to deliver revenue.  

A lot of people are shifting MOps teams under the Revenue Operations umbrella. I think you can call yourself that and be a part of a hybrid team—but you can’t just look at revenue and remain strategic. You have to look at all of the pieces of the puzzle from a sales and marketing ops perspective—not just revenue at the end of the funnel. You can’t forget about the daily operations work that gets you to the deal stage. I think there’s a fine line there, and MOps needs to focus on helping the revenue team have an impact vs. being subsumed by it.  

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