Marketing Business Acceleration: The Art of the Possible

Shannon Fitzgerald-Lussier
October 31, 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 Mike Rizzo, Founder and CEO of—a community for marketing operations professionals—about his thoughts on strategic marketing operations.  

What do you believe should be the biggest priority for marketing operations teams in 2023? 

Optimization, and I think that will always remain the case. Not because everyone is trying to do more with less but you need to know what’s working. If you’re focusing on optimization, you have the time and space to really think about the “why” behind campaigns, tools, and the asks of each team. You’ll spend time trying to determine what solutions you already have in place and why they aren’t working, or identify gaps where a tool or automation should exist. Most importantly, you’ll look for the most efficient way to speed up processes and resolve issues.  

In marketing operations, you tend to be a steward of protection for the organization and notice things that others don’t. We have a purview over the entire marketing tech stack and how data starts at the top of the funnel and moves through the rest of the journey. Instead of adding new technology to the tech stack, for instance, we can really dig into the tech and use all of the bells and whistles, ensuring we’re using it to the fullest potential. There’s a unique opportunity to demonstrate the art of the possible. Meaning, you have to know the ins and outs of the tools the organization has in place, and educate these teams on what’s possible with what they already have.

How are marketing teams investing differently this year?  

A lot of companies are going back to in-person events, and the turnout at these events shows that this is exactly what the people want. In that sense, more brands are investing in community, relationships and user-generated content. We’re really looking forward to MOps-Apalooza, our first in-person event from the community.  

It’s refreshing to see that brands are thinking about exposure in a way that marketing departed from in the last 10 years. It’s now easier to measure everything, and marketers are getting back to focusing on brand voice and aesthetic. Brands want to create an experience and relationship with their audience rather than just throwing paid ads around.  

How can marketing operations teams show that their top priority projects align with corporate goals and create impact for the business? 

Quality is just part of the game for marketing operations. Whether it’s data quality or operational efficiency, you’re always focused on keeping things tight and focused. A lot of those efforts will naturally save time and money for the organization. For instance, keeping a healthy, clean database means you’re going to save X number of dollars per year because you’re mitigating future risk.  

It can be really challenging to tie all of these little efficiencies and optimizations to revenue and savings, especially since a good portion of the team is dedicated to simply managing systems. You have to accept the fact that at least 10% of a MOps person’s time is spent on maintaining a certain tool.  

Marketing operations is there to help drive forward and support revenue generating activities. It’s our job to help company executives see the big picture. This is one reason I’m excited for marketing operations to move under the revenue operations umbrella to have a holistic view of the ecosystem. 

How can marketing operations become more strategic? 

Instead of always asking marketers about their challenges, try asking what a day in their life looks like. It’s a hard question to answer because so many have adapted and built workarounds for their frustrations, so they don’t notice the inefficiencies. I like to think about marketing operations like Apple and the iPhone. They gave us something we didn’t even know we wanted, or needed, but it made our lives more efficient and simpler. Now it’s impossible to imagine our lives without it. There’s enablement in marketing operations in that same way, but only if your organization considers that a strategic focus.  

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