Marketing has been around since at least the time of ancient Greece, where “criers” were used to advertise produce and trinkets to get consumers excited about making a trade or purchase. In the last century, marketing operations (MO) have taken the fine art of marketing to consumers to the next level.

Marketing operations

Marketing Operations, Defined

Traditionally, MO was used to prove the value of marketing efforts, to track and record marketing efforts and determine what was working and what was not. This allowed organisations to adapt their methods more quickly and cost-efficiently. This has been invaluable to countless organisations in allowing them to quickly adjust marketing to changing customer behaviors and market conditions, in order to increase market-share and improve each customer’s overall value to the company.

Nowadays, marketing operations involves a much more technical, analytics-based approach to the factors mentioned above. Processes are a big part of how a marketing team operates, with several elements thrown into the overall plan in order to assess and improve marketing performance markers and strategic planning:

  • Segmentation and targeting.
  • Brand messaging and alignment.
  • Marketing research.
  • Budgeting and ROI.
  • Marketing process development.
  • Developing marketing metrics.
  • Professional development.
  • Systems and data used to market most effectively.

The rise of databases, smart analytics, and the overall fast-paced changes happening in the tech space have also accelerated the pace at which marketing operations have grown. As MO grows and matures, business revenue explodes and scaling can happen overnight.

Marketing Operations: The History and Evolution

Here is the brief on the history of market operations:

Marketing operations history - infographic
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Browsing the infographic shown on this page, it becomes very obvious that technology is the only way the concept and principles behind marketing operations could have ever seen the light of day. Without the advancement of radio technology, the idea of segmentation would have never become common practice.

Early front-runners in the MO space like P&G and MSI brought the concept of branding, brand awareness, and market research to the forefront of how business was done. Their success would later encourage companies of the era to dedicate more resources to marketing as a whole, instead of focusing merely on intelligent product development.

The foundations of modern marketing operations

Peter Drucker is well-known as the father of marketing operations, as well as defining the two core purposes of any company: marketing and innovation. He asserted what is now commonplace in business and marketing: That it’s a business’s job to acquire customers by figuring out what they want most, and then build it for them.

The information era began a few years afterward, with technology pushing marketing towards the data heavy analytics based approach that’s used today. A strange thing happened from the early 80s up until the second decade of the new millennia. While Drucker made it convincingly clear in the 70s that marketing and innovation were key to business success, the rise of data quickly made corporate America forget about the relationship they had with their customer.

Customers throughout multiple industries became a number on a piece of paper. Right around 2006, a lot of MO principals started to find their way into marketing consciousness. While it’s merely an opinion, it’s a good guess the rising tide of social media helped to bring big marketing data, and the tools used to get it inline with consumer needs. This once again encouraged market research, relationship building, and innovation across the board.

Flash forward to today, and marketing operations is way more data driven, but the customer indeed definitely has a face and name. So interesting to see the history first-hand, and consider perhaps how much further ahead MO would be today had “The Godfather of Modern Marketing,” Drucker’s words been considered gospel back then as they are now heralded today.