Marketing Operations: Foundational or Supportive?

My friend Gary Katz, posed the question that is the title of this post recently. He then posited this answer:

Marketing’s foundation comes from understanding your target market, how they buy and matching how they buy with your solutions, messaging and delivery. It is based on understanding the customer’s needs and how one’s company fulfills those needs effectively. Marketing operations is the facilitator that helps marketing and sales understand if you are accomplishing that mission, how you are doing it, how fast you are doing it and if everything you are doing is working: Providing the foundation of effective, efficient marketing.

I agree with much of what he said except one word: “the” facilitator rather than “a” facilitator. I appreciate that Marketing Operations is working hard to gain respect and value, both of which it deserves. But it is a tool used by Marketing to do a better job.

He also notes that Marketing must understand “your target market, how they buy and matching how they buy with your solutions, messaging and delivery.” This is accurate and insufficient to describe Marketing. It is correct regarding current offerings, but as I wrote in my post last week, Kotler noted that the real leverage in Marketing is before the product is released.

Thus, as we say, Marketing’s job is to align the capabilities of the company with the current and future needs of its customers. Marketing Operations may be helpful in the front-end as well, but it’s the insights needed to truly understand where your customer is going that makes Marketing great.

So, I say “supportive,” and significantly so.

Mitch

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