Dust off the cobwebs from your seventh-grade science book, and you’re likely to find many examples of symbiotic relationships. Mutual symbiosis is when two people, groups, or species benefit from one another as they interact, often relying on one another for survival. One of the most common examples of mutual symbiosis is a clown fish living in an anemone; the anemone’s sting protects the clown fish while the clown fish nourishes the anemone from its waste — they greatly benefit by sticking together.
When there is similar mutualism between marketing operations and the CMO, the net benefit is company growth. Although most CMOs are capable of operationalizing marketing on their own, and there are examples of marketing operations teams that put the weight of the entire marketing function on their shoulders, the two working together is always a recipe for greater success — so much so that CMOs often depend on marketing operations leaders to be their chief of staff or “go-to person.” Simply stated, CMOs depend on marketing operations to implement and operationalize their vision, and marketing operations depend on the CMO for work-stream prioritization and career advancement.
Here are four examples of what the CMO and marketing operations can do better together:
Align marketing across the revenue engine. While it’s the CMO’s job to work with other executive staff members to articulate the organization’s 3–5-year strategy, go-to-market, and route-to-market plans, the marketing operations team can make this job much more manageable. By serving as the marketing liaison with other revenue operations functions and orchestrating the various parties that participate in marketing and campaign planning, marketing operations is able to establish common taxonomy and frameworks across the marketing function, as well as ensure that the plans are documented, communicated, and executed according to the CMO’s desires.
Measure marketing’s contribution. Using data and insights from past performance, the marketing operations team can arm the CMO with the data needed to build the appropriate goals for the marketing function, then measure against those goals in a way that allows the CMO to both manage the marketers as well as report to the executive staff and board of directors regarding marketing’s performance and contribution toward the business objectives.
Optimize marketing’s productivity. The CMO cannot be successful without orchestrating marketing’s readiness and delivery. Marketing operations helps the CMO achieve this by understanding marketing process bottlenecks or break points and optimizing processes, removing overlaps or gaps among process owners.
Automate a better customer experience and revenue engine. The CMO understands that an effective martech stack can drive a marketing function to thrive in today’s digital world with enabled buyers, but the CMO doesn’t have the time and may not have the skill set to evaluate the latest technologies, let alone ensure that they are aligned to the marketing plan. Marketing operations steps in by managing and governing the martech stack, driving better financial performance of the technologies while delivering a customer experience according to the CMO’s plan.
All in all, a CMO who empowers their marketing operations leader to be their go-to-person to get things done will be much more likely to succeed against plan. The marketing operations leader who builds a strong relationship with the CMO and builds a team charter based on the CMO’s marketing objectives will have greater capacity, less frustration with conflicting tasks, the ability to lead or influence strategic projects, and may even be allotted additional headcount. If you are a marketing operations leader who wishes to learn more about how you can unlock unseen possibilities at your organization by partnering with your CMO, read Forrester’s point of view on marketing operations.