Structure and operations of marketing departments

Marketing Operations serves as the backbone of a marketing team, delivering planning, governance and support functions to allow core marketing functions to focus on delivering value. It focuses on end-to-end marketing optimization— from planning and budgeting to execution and analysis.

It focuses on end-to-end marketing optimization— from planning and budgeting to execution and analysis.  Marketing Operations increases efficiency and drives results in marketing organizations. It builds a foundation for excellence by reinforcing marketing strategy with metrics, infrastructure, business processes, best practices, budgeting and reporting.


 Aug 29, 2018  Susan Marshall


As the CEO and founder of Torchlite, a platform that enables organizations to easily access and manage highly sought after freelance experts with a variety of skill sets, from writers to designers to digital strategists and more, people often ask:

  • How should I structure my marketing department?
  • Who should I hire?
  • What should I outsource?
  • When should I use an agency?
  • How do I get everything done?

Unfortunately, there is no easy answer. But there are three guideposts that will help you get started. These pillars guide how we build, source, and execute our marketing plans at Torchlite and hopefully, they’ll provide clarity as you think about how to staff your marketing team, continuously improve, and get more done.

1. Outcomes

Five Crucial Roles E-Book

When thinking about how to resource your team, it starts by getting clearly aligned around your marketing objectives. Unfortunately, this isn’t as easy as it may seem.
Many marketing departments are tasked with too many objectives and launch campaigns that don’t ladder up to those objectives. This makes it nearly impossible to resource a marketing organization effectively. Once you clearly articulate WHAT you are doing and WHY, you’ll be on a faster path to figuring out WHO should do what.

2. Methodology

Marketing leaders need to embrace a new way of working and collaborating to get work done. We often refer to this as an Agile Methodology. This methodology will enable your team to move rapidly and drive better outcomes.
At Torchlite, we define Agile Marketing as a way to:

  • Break big marketing plans into small tasks
  • Assign specialists to those specific tasks
  • Use technology to ensure the entire team is rapidly sprinting towards a common goal.

So, whether you are simply sending monthly emails to a small list of prospects or building very complex, data-driven customer journeys, the methodology still applies.
Break down your marketing plan into deliverables

  • Examples: eBook, Website, Email, Social Publishing, Advertising

Break down deliverables into specific tasks

  • Examples: Write copy, Design Email, Code Email, Test Email

Align individuals to specific tasks

  • Write Copy (Jen/Copywriter)
  • Create logo (Bob/Designer)
  • Build the landing page and email (Lisa/Email Marketer/Web Developer)

Fill in the gaps

  • (No Designer!)
  • (No PPC Specialist!)

To learn more about how to implement an Agile Marketing Mentality, Check out this post by Kyle Lacy.

3. Technology

Your existing marketing technology stack should also factor into how you source projects. For example, if your company has already made an investment in HubSpot, you’ll need to ensure you have specialists who can build inbound campaigns, write content, create landing pages, design images, and also build custom workflows that map to your customer lifecycle.
Again, it’s about breaking your marketing plan into specific deliverables and tasks, so you can begin to identify gaps and fill those gaps with the right resources.
At Torchlite, we use roughly five martech tools to get everything done.
Each one requires a specialist.
Not all of the specialists are on staff. We simply couldn’t afford it. Plus, we don’t need 100% of everyone’s time to get done what we need to get done. Instead, we hired full-time marketers to own our marketing strategy, operations, and branding, and we outsource the technical work.
At Torchlite, we use these guideposts and it’s working very well. We operate more efficiently and collaborate on shared objectives by following our own expert model get more marketing done.
Want to see how the Torchlite model could work for your team?