Learn how to hire for marketing operations
Marketing is a critical component of any successful business. It’s the way companies like yours communicate with customers, build your brand, and ultimately drive sales. But the inefficiencies your company is experiencing in marketing — be it with automation, integration between departments, or data insights — can prevent you from achieving those three key goals.
As your marketing department has grown or evolved, you might need a marketing operations role or team to help you fill in the gaps and bolster your infrastructure. Marketing operations professionals can help you streamline processes, improve communication, and get more value out of your marketing efforts.
However, it’s important to know what to look for in candidates for marketing operations positions. This how-to guide will show you what marketing operations does, when you might need to hire for this new position, and how to hire the right people. You’ll also learn how to create a job listing for a marketing operations role and what to expect when onboarding new employees.
This post will explain:
- What marketing operations is
- When a company needs a marketing operations manager
- How to hire a marketing operations professional
- Empower your marketing operations team with robust software
What is marketing operations?
Marketing operations is a strategic framework for managing the processes that support a business’s marketing department. Marketing operations should advance organizational goals and ultimately make marketing initiatives more successful.
The scope of marketing operations is broad. It covers people (marketing managers, copywriters, SEOs, and so on), processes (blogging, paid advertising, and so on), technology (ESP, CRM, CMS, and so on), and data (analytics and customer reviews) within an organization’s marketing department.
Marketing operations can help marketing coordinate with other departments, such as sales or IT, as well as demonstrate the value of marketing’s efforts with regular reporting. For example, marketing operations can manage project due dates and assignments to keep your marketing team on track. They might also manage your advertising technology or performance analysis.
While a marketing operations role covers a wide range of duties, these are the key responsibilities across the board:
- Communication and teaming, both within the marketing department and externally
- Project planning
- Analytics and performance management
- CMS and CRM technology management
Experienced marketing operations managers can help businesses reduce inefficiencies. This equips marketing managers to make better decisions and helps creatives do better work. By blending the principles of project management with data-driven marketing, marketing operations ultimately helps businesses deliver better projects, on time and on budget.
When does a company need a marketing operations manager?
While marketing operations managers can certainly help businesses become more efficient, you may be unsure of whether your business needs to create a new role or department at this time. Generally speaking, you may need marketing operations if you currently meet these criteria:
- Underutilized automation. Your organization has automation solutions, but you may be falling short on implementing these solutions. Marketing operations mobilizes all of your tools, including automation, to ensure your team uses all of its resources.
- Siloed analytics. Data is important, but siloed data only shows one side of the story. If you struggle to make sense of data across departments, it might be time to invest in marketing operations. Marketing operations takes a data-focused approach to analytics, bringing information from sales, IT, customer service, and other departments into one place.
- Conflicts between sales and marketing. It’s common for sales and marketing teams to butt heads over opposing goals, lead qualification, or task handoffs. Businesses that require greater marketing and sales alignment create marketing operations roles to reduce conflict and improve communication.
- Leaky funnels. If qualified leads are dropping out of your funnel at an alarming rate, that’s a sign that your marketing department has inefficiencies. Bring on a marketing operations manager to overhaul your campaigns and retain more of these leads.
It’s important to note that some companies can get by with a single marketing operations role, while others may need to create a marketing operations team. Your company size and type can help you determine how you should roll out a marketing operations initiative.
- Revenue of $10 million is a good threshold for creating the role.
- Revenue of $50 million is the right size to create a team of marketing operations professionals.
- B2B companies most commonly need marketing operations roles.
- Software and tech companies are a specific sector that generally has a marketing operations role or team.
If you’re uncertain of whether you need a single role or a team, start small. Hire for a single marketing operations role and see if the scope of work requires hiring more people.
How to hire a marketing operations professional
Now that you know when a company needs a marketing operations manager, let’s take a look at some of the specific considerations for hiring one. Your business already has internal creatives and marketing managers, but a marketing operations role is different.
Follow these five steps to hire a seasoned marketing operations professional that will make your business more efficient.
1. Develop a marketing operations job description
Creating a marketing operations job description will help you solidify how the role will function at your business — plus, having a ready-made job description will speed up the process of sourcing candidates.
A job description should include the key responsibilities for the role and the areas of expertise needed.
Defining the responsibilities of the marketing operations role
A marketing operations manager’s key responsibilities include overseeing the tools, data, automations, and integrations for a company. This role bridges the gap between collecting data and presenting it to executives.
The goal of marketing operations is to make the marketing process as frictionless as possible. In addition to building out processes and providing data to relevant teams, the marketing operations manager empowers teams to do their best work. Ensure that your job description touches on key aspects of the marketing operations role as you want it to operate at your business.
Defining the areas of expertise for the marketing operations role
Aside from responsibilities and tasks, your job description should also touch on the key skills you need to see from job candidates. While marketing operations is a fairly new role that will evolve over time, these are the key areas of expertise you should look for in this role:
- Technology. Marketing operations managers should be familiar with a range of data, marketing, analytics, and automation technologies. Define which of these technologies your business uses and list them by name in the job description.
- Data. Since data flows are essential to the role, all marketing operations managers need to have a strong background in data analytics, data management, and databases.
- Management skills. Marketing operations managers need strong soft skills, which include emotional intelligence and the ability to lead a team. They also need to know how to remain highly analytical and methodical while working in a group environment.
- Process. Marketing operations professionals need to know when it’s time to convert data-driven insights into new processes. This is the key to fostering seamless integration between different departments.
- Alignment. Marketing operations managers enable your entire team to better use data and technology to improve their jobs. This might require training team members, making decisions, and establishing communication pathways between different departments.
- Project management. Marketing operations uses principles of project management to move marketing teams forward. Marketing operations managers need to be able to manage the complexities of multiple ongoing projects. They should be able to create a process and a structure for how your team will complete marketing tasks and execute campaigns.
- Training. Part of the marketing operations manager’s job is training your marketing team on tools and processes. They should be able to communicate ideas clearly and help trainees understand complex topics.
Places to find sample job descriptions
Every business’s job descriptions are different, but it’s still helpful to see examples of marketing operations job descriptions as you create the role. Check out these resources to see how other businesses are structuring their marketing operations roles:
- Glassdoor. The “marketing operations” category on Glassdoor can help you spot up-to-date job listings — complete with salary information.
- ZipRecruiter. If you want to see job listings from across the US — and even the world — platforms like ZipRecruiter allow you to view job descriptions, salaries, and other helpful information.
- Indeed. This platform is popular with job seekers, but employers can use Indeed to view job listings for remote marketing operations positions.
- MarketingOps.com jobs board. This job board doesn’t always have listings available, but it posts listings for marketing operations roles occasionally. This source is an industry leader for marketing operations, so it’s worth checking back here frequently to view its listings.
- GitLab. This is a static list of marketing ops roles of varying levels. Since GitLab provides sample marketing operations titles for each team member, it’s especially useful if you’re trying to build out a marketing operations team.
2. Set a salary for the position
After creating the job description, you need to set a fair and competitive salary for each marketing operations role. Instead of requiring job candidates to learn about the pay band during the interview process — which can lead qualified candidates to drop out later in the hiring process — always provide the payment information upfront.
The salary range you choose depends on the seniority and experience of the role, your budget, and your location:
- $40,000 to $70,000 is common for entry-level positions within a larger marketing operations team.
- $80,000 to $130,000 is common for specialists or for employees in director- or manager-level positions.
- $200,000 is often about the ceiling for marketing operations leadership positions at larger companies.
When in doubt, look at job listings in your area for marketing operations roles at similar companies. Ensure that your salary is competitive enough for this role to attract qualified candidates.
3. Consider hiring a marketing ops team
If you’re a small company, you might only have the resources to hire a single marketing operations manager. However, in many cases, it’s best to hire a team of marketing operations professionals.
While practically essential for large, multinational companies, smaller businesses can also capitalize on the benefits of hiring a marketing ops team, which include:
- Accelerating the role’s efficacy. It can take time for marketing operations to gain steam. By hiring a mix of senior and junior roles, your organization can do both high-level strategy and execution in less time. A larger team will make it possible to see operations gains more quickly, which can make your business more efficient.
- Improving documentation. Documentation often feels like an afterthought, but it’s critical for marketing operations. Even so, it’s hard for a single marketing operations manager to handle all of your marketing documentation. But with a larger team, it’s possible to assign multiple people just to documentation-related tasks, which can help you build an internal knowledge base.
- Potentially saving money. It can cost more upfront to hire a whole marketing operations team, but the benefit of having a large, agile team is increased efficiency. Marketing operations has the ability to transform marketing into a profit center for your business, which can help you reduce costs while increasing results.
4. Key skills to look for in candidates
After you post your job listing, you’ll need to assess which candidates are the best fit for the job. Evaluate each submission to find candidates who exhibit these skills:
- Documentation. You need to find someone who’s willing and able to create detailed documentation of their work. Not only do they need experience with documentation, but the marketing operations manager also needs to know how to make clear documentation. The goal is to create a knowledge base that new team members and other departments in the company can use without additional context.
- Expertise. The candidate’s expertise should be in line with your company’s industry and business goals. For example, if you’re a B2B company but the candidate’s job history is with B2C companies, their expertise might not be a fit for your business model. While field-specific expertise isn’t always a deal-breaker, it can certainly help you save time with training and speed up this role’s time to value.
- Independence. Marketing operations is a relatively new job title with a specific set of tasks. Because many organizations hire just one marketing operations role, the right candidate needs to be able to work independently, with little oversight.
- Demand generation. It helps if a candidate knows where demand is coming from and how to measure it. This isn’t a mandatory requirement for marketing operations, but it’s still a valuable skill that can boost your operational effectiveness.
- Google Analytics. While there are other analytics tools available to businesses, Google Analytics is the most common tool marketers use to collect website data. Looking for a candidate with Google Analytics skills is a good measure of their competence as a marketing operations manager. Look for professionals with the Google Data Analytics Certification as proof of their expertise.
- Taxonomy. Data has to follow a proper hierarchy to be useful to your marketing team. The marketing operations manager needs to be able to design taxonomy and the terms within that taxonomy to minimize mistakes and maximize value.
- Marketing infrastructure creation. You likely have a current marketing infrastructure, but your marketing operations manager should be able to refine or rebuild that infrastructure for results. Knowing how to build a solid marketing infrastructure will help the candidate both do their job and improve other areas of your marketing department.
Once you bring qualified candidates in for an interview, ask skills-aligned questions to assess each candidate’s strengths. For example, their cover letter might say they have analytics experience, but if they don’t have hands-on experience using the software that your team uses, it might not be a fit.
5. Hiring and training timeline
Hiring a marketing operations manager or team can take time. Like any specialized role, it can take as long as eight months to find a qualified candidate. It’s best to take your time in each stage of the hiring process so you find the best fit for your business.
You can expect to spend one to two months creating the job posting, which includes defining key responsibilities and areas of responsibility. From there, it can take as long as six months to source, screen, interview, and hire the right candidate.
In terms of a training timeline, this depends on the new hire’s experience. More senior positions likely won’t need as much training, so you can expect them to get up to speed in as few as six weeks. For more junior marketing operations positions, businesses should expect to spend as long as three or four months training new employees.
Empower your marketing operations team with robust software
Hiring a marketing operations manager can improve your marketing team’s workflow and minimize redundant tasks. While it can feel challenging to add a new role to your business, marketing operations can help you get more value out of your people, processes, tools, and technology.
When you’re ready to get started, evaluate if your company’s internal processes and communication issues can be solved with a marketing operations position. From there, create a job description, set a salary, consider if you need a marketing ops team, look for key skills, and set a hiring and training timeline.
Regardless of who you hire, your marketing operations role will need the right tools to do their job well. Adobe Experience Manager is a powerhouse combo for your content and digital asset management needs. Get personalized, content-led experiences into the market faster with Experience Manager, which combines digital asset management with the power of a content management system.
Adobe Marketo Engage can also help marketing operations managers boost engagement — and growth — with marketing automation. Marketo Engage gives marketers the complete toolkit to deliver winning lead- and account-based marketing automation, from acquisition to advocacy.