How to structure a lean and mean centralized marketing operations team that supports a global enterprise business in 18 languages

Helpful definitions to have in mind while reading through this content:

  • COps (Campaign Operations)
  • MOps (Marketing Operations)
  • POps (Platform Operations)

Part 1: How to structure a lean and mean centralized marketing operations team that supports a global enterprise business in 18 languages

COps and POps

To centralize or decentralize your Marketing Operations team, that is the question. In some scenarios it makes sense to decentralize, but when you are a global enterprise organization with 6 Business Units that conduct business in up to 18 languages, a centralized model is crucial to success. Building a MOps center of excellence is key to a solid data governance process, best practices, internal technology adoption and scalability.

In this two-part post I will cover 6 key areas to account for when building out a centralized Marketing Operations team. But first, take inventory of all of the project management tools at your disposal because they will be a critical part of your success. Think about your MOps team as being the air traffic control center responsible for making sure all the planes arrive and depart as scheduled and without incident. Tools for project intake and asset management will be critical for load balancing projects across your team.

Key Area #1: Team Structure – Direct and Indirect resources you can lean on when your team needs to flex

There are two critical things for a centralized structure to work when supporting a global organization:

  1. Around the sun support
  2. Specialization across team members

On my team, I have 3 direct reports and they are distributed as follow: one in Europe, two on the East Coast and myself on the West Coast. Between the 4 of us, we are able to support the entire company globally with enough overlap in time zones from Europe to APAC and everything in-between.

While everyone on my team has the same baseline and can execute a campaign end-to-end, we all have our specialities which come in handy when we are working on highly customized specialty campaigns or something that falls outside of a standard cloned template. The team is structured as follows:

  • Web Developer
  • Email Developer
  • Data Operations

With my team handling much of the day-to-day Campaign Operations (COps) I spend a lot of time on Platform Operations (POps) and developing data governance policies, working with our Sales Operations team on changes to SFDC, technology adoption amongst our business partners and continually evaluating new software to see how it can replace or supplement existing tools in our stack. You also have to walk the walk, in order to talk the talk so I never want to be too far away from the day to day. With this mindset, I still get my hands dirty and spend a good chunk of time each week on COps.

Key Area #2: Developing Basic Processes – Templates and SLAs are your friend

When it comes to templates, they aren’t just for cloning emails or landing pages. In order to streamline, scale and assess resources needed for a project, a standard set of templates for campaign intake is crucial. As a baseline, these templates will usually take on the following forms:

  • Email build spec – Word/Google document (example here) that asks for:
    • Which template to use
    • Subject line
    • Pre-header text
    • Sender profile
    • Body copy
    • Call to action
    • Images
  • Landing page build spec – Word/Google document (example here) that asks for:
    • Which template to use
    • Meta tags
    • Keywords
    • Page title text
    • Page headers
    • Body copy
    • Call to action
    • Images
  • Campaign creation form – Word/Google document (example here) or online intake form that asks for:
    • Campaign name
    • Campaign description
    • Channel
    • Audience
    • Internal seedlists (if applicable)
    • Send schedule
    • Translations (if needed)

Moving on to Service Level Agreements (SLAs) – Process is King and Content is Queen. It won’t matter if you have an amazing campaign if an efficient process is not in place to execute it in a timely manner. When onboarding any new business partners for my team to support, I always make them aware of the MOps SLA. It keeps everyone honest and if anything falls outside of this SLA, we are all aware that it is now considered a “rush” and other priorities or projects need to be shifted. At any given time, we have 70 active projects in flight globally and our SLA helps to keep everyone honest.

Here is an example of a simple SLA:

Important tips:

  • Make sure you specify *business* days
  • When bandwidth is at full capacity, evaluate and identify which projects will be prioritized on the following: time sensitivity, revenue generating, everything else
  • Not all emails are created equal. Communicate that final turnaround time will be based on complexity and that a/b testing will add to the turn-around time

Key Area #3: Keeping You Sane – Naming conventions that make sense

Duplicate campaigns with slight variations in name, multiple versions of a hero image cropped slightly differently, hundreds of emails called “Email #1” – sound familiar? Regardless if you are a company with a single line of business operating in one geographic region or multiple lines of business operating globally, naming conventions that make sense are one of the key areas for streamlining COps. Without a clear and consistent naming convention, you risk:

  • Redundant duplication of work because a team member cannot find a particular image/asset/translation
  • Inability to locate and archive assets that are no longer in use in a quick and efficient manner
  • Inaccurate reports when attempting to aggregate or roll up campaigns based on naming conventions.

While there are many ways to structure a naming convention, my preferred method is:

LOB (Line of Business) – Region – Sub Region – Campaign Identifier – Language – MMYY/YYYY

The above naming convention or variations of it can be applied to things like: campaigns, images, files, audiences, segmentations, etc. This helps to keep everything neat and allows for easy reporting and locating of assets.

Stay tuned for Part 2 of this blog post where I will outline 3 additional key areas to account for when building out a centralized Marketing Operations team.

Naomi Liu

View posts by Naomi Liu
A constant problem solver and life-long learner, two things you will always hear me say are: “How can I help you streamline that?” and “How can we do this faster/better?” I’m a fanatic about improving sales and marketing processes and removing roadblocks by using data to drive decision making for a clear and transparent view of next steps. Find me on LinkedIn

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