Thursday, April 28, 2011

Successful marketing operations is "a much bigger hairball than meets the eye."

By Mark Helfen

Mastery of marketing operations is key to the success of your business, and may be a key to your own career success.

Or so says Gary Katz, President, CEO, and founder of Marketing Operations Partners, a consulting group that helps companies get their marketing operations in shape.

Katz will be the speaker at the May 9 SDForum MarketingSIG, with a talk titled Marketing ROI: It's Simpler... and Way Harder...Than You Think.

His history includes more than 20 years of experience with marketing, change management, and public relations. In various roles, he has directed or managed corporate marketing, communications, public relations, lead generation and qualification programs, investor relations, and employee communication programs. He is a past president of the Silicon Valley chapter of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA).

From his PR background, Katz became interested in marketing operations when he noticed that the messages he created seemed to be disconnected with the actual performance of the company that was using them. A more operational approach was needed to make actual behavior match the external message and branding.

The role of marketing operations was defined about 12 years ago by IDC. Katz defines it as "everything to enable the marketing strategy to be realized." While it has a large "left brain" component - systems, software, metrics, there is also a soft side - getting people in marketing educated, trained, and engaged in making the strategy work.

"The metaphor is a transportation model," says Katz. If you imaging the marketing program as cars being driven, the Chief Marketing Officer provides the strategic navigation. Marketing operations builds the car, tunes the engine, maps an optimal course, and builds the transport system.

Katz says that it all starts with a "marketing operations mindset," which he will explain at his presentation.

The objective is efficiency and accountability. By using this methodology marketing can actually be a profit center

How can this affect your career? IDC says that marketing operations is the fastest growing job segment in marketing, the fourth largest job category in marketing departments. Marketing departments are being held accountable for results, and all marketing functions are seeing marketing operations ideas take off.

While the results sound great, it's a difficult challenge to get all parts of your marketing function, human and technology, aligned.

Or as Katz says, "It's a much bigger hairball than meets the eye."

Please sign up at our meetup page if you plan on attending:


Mark Helfen is a freelance writer, journalist, and marketing consultant. He can be reached at:



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