Marketing operations 2.0: Defining the new organizational structure

What does the org chart for a successful marketing operations (MO) team look like?

As marketing operations (MO) capabilities mature, it’s up to the MO leader to modify the organizational structure to ensure it’s meeting current and future marketing strategies and goals. Nothing says commitment like an organizational chart, and we all know how challenging it is to develop a dedicated MO function.

Today it’s no longer good enough to have someone semi-dedicated to MO. When companies have a dedicated, fully developed MO structure, marketing makes a full transition from being a cost center to a revenue generator.

In 2018, we’ll see managers spending a lot of time designing the MO function so they can achieve their goals. What does the organizational chart for an effective MO department look like?

In 2012, I published a white paper called “The Revenue Marketing Center of Excellence (RMCoE).” This organization had two parts: the Demand Generation Center and the Marketing Operations Center. In the Marketing Operations Center, four key functions included (1) marketing technology management, (2) data management, (3) process optimization and (4) reporting, analysis and strategy.

In 2012, this description of a “Marketing Operations Center” was fairly sophisticated and ahead of its time. Fast-forward six years — while these four functions still apply, given the strategic nature of MO, they need an update.

The strategic MO structure
The strategic MO function is characterized by leadership, vision, cross-functional value-creation and transformation through operations. Much more than button-pushers and techies, a strategic MO function becomes a shared-services function.

Specifically, the strategic MO function revolves around accountability, customer intimacy and digital transformation. These three responsibilities shape the new structure. Let’s break it down.


The strategic MO function is responsible for more than just a set of initiatives and activities. It is responsible for enabling marketing ROI and contributing to revenue, margins, customer acquisition, customer retention and ultimately, shareholder value. The MO group is the key to marketing achieving financial accountability, which is the litmus test for marketing success.

New roles: Accountability does not necessarily imply a new position on the org chart, but it does imply new skills. The MO leader is now charged with acting, walking and talking like a VP of sales. It’s now about achieving the number, and the MO leader must push this accountability down to every level of her organization.

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