Marketing Operations Vs. Revenue Operations: What’s the Difference?



There are various descriptions and definitions emerging for the different types of “operations” within a company – marketing operations, sales operations, business operations, financial operations, digital operations, revenue operations, and more. These terms are often used interchangeably. They are also used as department titles. Each B2B company seems to have its own version of what’s included in the operations disciplines. 

In this blog, you'll get a deeper understanding of marketing operations and learn the difference between marketing operations and revenue operations, as these two are most often considered the same thing. I assure you they are very different. 

Marketing Operations is One Element in the RevOps Process

Marketing operations is the compilation of all the components of your marketing strategy, including your people, technology, and data, collaborating to find prospects and engage with prospects, customers, and past customers, creating additional sales opportunities, thereby affecting revenue operations (RevOps) outcomes. 

Marketing operations helps inform marketing strategy. Your marketing strategy should be geared toward your go-to-market strategy, lead generation strategy, sales conversion strategy, and customer advocacy tactics. Any area that deals with reaching prospects and customers to create a bond is generally part of marketing. 

Successful marketing operations requires an overarching understanding of your marketing process and its outcomes. This is done via software that provides meaningful data to report, plan, implement, adjust, and move forward with current and future marketing processes and campaigns.

With understanding, the right technology, and good data, you can improve marketing strategy efficiencies and make sure all marketing tactics, people, and actions are aligned to the customer journey

The goal of marketing is to get your target audience and customers successfully through the seven-stage buyer journey by reaching them with the right message(s) at the right time(s) on the right platform(s), consistently.

This can be done by implementing the following marketing operations responsibilities. 

Marketing Operations Responsibilities

  • Project planning: design a strategy based on good, real-time data, and involve the team in planning and implementation.
  • Create efficiencies in the process with technology and by eliminating the things that aren’t working and doing more of the things that are working.
  • Ensure marketing is not siloed by department or channel.
  • Develop a surround-sound type of communication mix based on customer data.
  • Manage martech integrations between software and other platforms (CRM, email, SaaS, etc.)
  • Make sure all communication platforms operate together.
  • Work as a team to button up reporting.
  • Monitor marketing performance to ensure it’s driving revenue, adjust it as needed.
  • Continue to create more efficient systems to gather customer data to make marketing even more accurate.

Successful marketing ops understanding marketing progress

Marketing Operations Technologies or “Martech”

In today's competitive environment, customers expect companies to be more informed about their needs and behaviors and want to be communicated with more precisely and more conveniently. Whether it's knowing when to speak to a customer and what to speak about, customer service reaching out because someone is having an issue, or connecting with a past customer – customers expect the conversation to be about how they have engaged with your brand and your company previously.

The only way to know these things about your customers is with marketing automation and technology, or a martech stack. Technology is one of the most important parts of marketing operations, if not the most important part. Without accurate data and reporting, you can’t meet your customers where they are and give them what they need.

Types of Martech & Software Solutions

Purpose-built software solutions and applications that automatically manage and measure processes and marketing and sales campaigns across multiple channels allow your company to nurture prospects and customers throughout the buying process in a more personalized way and measure the outcomes for a better strategy. 

There are numerous martech tools and systems (8,000 at last count) that can be customized to your company’s and customers’ needs to give you a wide and deep understanding of the buyer journey. 

Martech includes but is not limited to: 

  • Customer relationship management (CRM) system
  • Customer Data Platforms (CDP)
  • Data Management Platforms (DMP)
  • Marketing automation software (SaaS)
  • Email Marketing Platforms (ESP)
  • Search engine marketing management/PPC tools
  • Content management system
  • Account-based Marketing (ABM) Platforms
  • Social media management tools
  • Dynamic, real-time data dashboard (DB)
  • e-Commerce
  • Platform ecosystems

Unless you have meaningful data or KPIs, (not vanity metrics) and a holistic view of every step in the process, from the awareness stage to targets becoming prospects, then leads, then customers, and thereafter, you don’t have the capability to have the conversation your customers expect or to meet expectations.


How do We Measure the Effectiveness of Marketing Ops?

The only way to measure the effectiveness of marketing ops is with the technology and data gathered from your martech and other business systems. You can’t understand what’s working and what’s not without accurate measuring and reporting of KPIs

I can’t say this enough – always document what is happening in marketing from which channels are being utilized, what types of messaging are in those channels, what data is being collected and where. This provides a picture of how the data is moving and what is working and what is not. It’s also helpful to have data from other areas of the company that are affected by what you do, like sales and business operations. 

Often the same technologies, such as SaaS, dashboards, a CRM, or an ERP, are being used throughout a business, but they do not communicate across the company. Business leaders tend to keep their data to themselves, assuming it’s only meaningful to their department. When you leverage all the technology and data to improve companywide outcomes, you break down siloed information and help the entire revenue operations process.

Marketing operations is a large part of your business’s success. Knowing how to use a CRM and other marketing software solutions to collect specific campaign data provides a competitive advantage – you will be able to speak with your customers about their needs and meet their expectations with ease, and in the long run, create customer advocates.

The Foundation of a Successful Marketing Operations Plan Impacts Revenue Operations

The foundation of a successful marketing operations plan is to understand the data and resources you have available and identify the gaps. Then you can start looking at how to close those gaps, fix data that may be incomplete, and address areas of marketing that are not set up correctly.

Once you've identified those areas, the issues become glaring. For example, you may have a Facebook ad campaign, but no landing page attached to the ads, so you discover people who are interested in your ad have nowhere to go to learn more. You’re losing them. You may have a landing page with a lead capture form, but no follow-up automation to talk to those who spent their time filling out the form. Oops! These may be small details to you but a huge source of frustration to the person trying to interact with your company.

Once you start digging, you’ll uncover missing data, missing channels, and incomplete steps in the buyer journey process related to marketing operations, which affects revenue operations outcomes.

Revenue operations is greatly impacted by marketing operations. RevOps needs data-driven marketing, sales, and service teams to give customers and prospects the attention they require to make the journey from interested to sold and ultimately, to retained and expanded.

RevOps is the sum of all parts of business_Journey

Revenue Operations (RevOps) is a Holistic Approach to Profitability

The goals of marketing ops and RevOps are the same – to create awareness of your brand and move prospects and customers through the buyer journey, personally and with precision, from awareness, inquiry, conversion, and satisfaction to retention, expansion, and customer advocacy. 

However, Revenue operations is a holistic approach to consistent profitability, not just marketing activities. RevOps is how your people, process, technology, and data come together to make your company money. This includes 130 business elements comprised of your go-to-market, lead generation, sales conversion, and customer advocacy strategies, as well as sales operations, marketing operations, people operations, business operations, and digital operations

I like to think of revenue operations as a tree. The top of the RevOps tree is supported by the roots (the 130 elements) that strengthen the tree and help the tree grow to its fullest potential. The root system of a tree is as wide and deep as the top of the tree is tall, so it is balanced. The tree cannot grow without healthy roots. In fact, the above-ground part of the tree will start to wither and die without a healthy root system. 

When the root system gets the exact right nutrients, those nutrients strengthen the top of the tree, fostering health and longevity. In a business, alignment of the revenue operations elements allows the right “nutrients” (people, process, technology, data) to flow up and out into the business, seeding health and longevity.


Need Help Fine-Tuning Your Marketing Operations?

If you’re not sure how to create a comprehensive marketing operations plan, Atomic Revenue is highly skilled at helping nationwide B2B companies develop and fine-tune their marketing operations strategies to positively affect revenue operations outcomes that lead to profitability. If you would like more information, feel free to reach out to me or one of our other SMEs for a no-obligation conversation. We love helping other B2Bs find their marketing mojo. 

Jeff Atomic Revenue AvatarAbout the Author 

Jeffrey (Jeff) Levison, Atomic Revenue’s Digital Operations and Automation Integrator is a highly strategic customer-centric, cross-channel leader, facilitating marketing transformation, data-driven strategies, martech solutions, process improvement, and project management. Jeff has over 15 years of experience working with startups to Fortune 100 companies and has a passion for leveraging data and technology to design personalized, data-driven journeys, amplifying micro-engagements to grow brands and organizations.

His strong history helps organizations leverage data through data discovery, define unique segments, map customer journeys, develop strategies to evangelize prospects and customers, and increase engagement, acquisition, and retention. Jeff develops strong working relationships and partners with clients in all areas of business to help them gain cross-functional alignment.  

Topics: automation, customer advocacy, Digital Operations, Marketing Operations, revenue operations, Marketing Automation,, MarTech, data accuracy, KPIs, digital customer advocacy, B2B marketing, B2B digital operations, types of marketing

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