I was recently reviewing a “Marketing Operations Manager” job description for a well-known product-led company.
One thing really stood out to me. The job was WAY more than marketing operations, which got me thinking: Is Growth Ops a better way to think about Marketing Ops?
Marketing Ops (MOPs) only got formal recognition in 2005. It is a fairly recent field and is expanding quickly. Marketing Ops has historically meant owners of marketing automation. Yes, it’s *so* much more than that in reality, but for simplicity’s sake, let’s say that at its core that’s true.
Then the role started to rebrand as Revenue Ops, as marketing operations and sales operations started to consolidate to own marketing automation and CRM.
Now with Marketing Ops or Rev Ops owning more of the product-led growth stack, is it time to think about a new term like Growth Ops?
Let’s go back to the Marketing Ops job description for that well-known product-led company.
They were looking for someone with “a solid grasp of typical SaaS product data - including data model and track events” and “experience working with PLG tools like Segment, Heap, Pendo, or Intercom” and finally “familiarity deploying in-app experiences -- chat, pop-ups, banners, guides, etc.”
In addition to marketing automation and CRM, this role is expected to take on core product data fundamentals, new tools, and support in-app. That’s a drastic scope increase for marketing automation.
Why are the requirements for a MOPs role expanding now?
Let’s explore the catalysts reshaping the marketing operations profile in the PLG world.
PLG companies are fast to realize the need for a purpose-built tech stack that supports their growth strategies. Meaning, a plethora of new-age tools to choose from and integrate with each other and with existing systems.
The other notable aspect of product-led growth is that all the teams work cohesively towards a common goal — growth using a common channel for growth — the product. So, the new tools implemented in a PLG company are more likely to be used by more than one team.
Marketing operations are no longer siloed. Owning marketing automation in PLG means more than connecting CRMs like Salesforce to your automation platform. There are new integrations on top of connections with existing systems. Naturally, the role requires expertise to work in collaboration with other teams.
Teams in PLG companies not only share the tools but also have to work with the same data. The data warehouse, customer data platform (CDP), and product analytics tools are the new sources of truth on top of CRM data. Collective intelligence, am I right?
It’s no longer enough that you know your customer’s behavior from tracking their website or email activity. You need to know your customer better through their product activity. And, I say ‘better’ because product event data gives you insights into your customers’ problems they are trying to solve (using your product) and their friction points.
Any GTM team can do much better conversions when they have a single view of the customer. The product, account, demographic, and firmographic information paints a clear picture and wholesome picture of the customer.
The dawn of the PLG era demands a better understanding of product data for better conversion of free users to paid customers. Tracking product event data is crucial to understanding your customers’ value metrics, their aha! moments, and hand-raiser events in the product.
If you are in marketing, you must have worked mostly with tracking and analyzing arbitrary data like form fills, email clicks, website engagement, and so on. Not only MOPs teams but, it is time for the entire marketing team to get deeper into the product to be able to thrive in the product-led era.
Not to be too obvious but, in a product-led growth strategy, the product is your main channel to drive growth. That expands the horizons of your campaigns into the product. Because, beyond acquisition, marketing is directed toward the users and customers in product-led companies. So, we go where our audience is.
Our campaigns cannot be limited to creating awareness and nurturing leads. Product-led marketing campaigns are targeted to improve product adoption, create sticky users, help sales with product-qualified leads, and customer success with user orchestration. The marketing charter has expanded to support a product-led growth strategy. And, so did the backstage.
Ops teams have to be equipped with the right knowledge and tools to launch, run, and optimize campaigns in-product in addition to the usual distribution channels.
MOPs teams were traditionally responsible for setting up the marketing automation to align the marketing strategy and goals with the right technology and tools. The role expanded to include sales ops to include the CRM to manifest the common goal of revenue growth and rebranded as revenue ops.
The scope for running marketing automation is expanding rapidly as the scope of the marketing function itself is exploding. There are cross-functional tools, processes, and technology a behind-the-scenes team needs to be aware of to be able to set the stage for a product-led growth strategy.
The growth ops function required the team to work in collaboration with all teams in a PLG org and is not limited to marketing. I believe it is only fair to term such a role with a wider scope of delivery as Growth ops.
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