3 tips to supercharge the return on your marketing operations investment

by The Smartsheet Team

July 20, 2023

3 tips to supercharge the return on your marketing operations investment

At the heart of every great marketing organization sits marketing operations: a few brave, highly organized heroes responsible for keeping the entire team, technology stack, and campaign schedule on track. It’s a crucial job that’s been made more complicated by recent budget cuts coupled with ever-increasing goals.

A recent study by Gartner discovered that 31% of marketing budgets are spent on the pursuit of operational excellence. Yet despite this investment, the same study found that nearly three-fourths of these initiatives fail to perform. Today’s marketing operations teams are under intense pressure to maximize the return on these investments with fewer resources than ever before. 

It’s easier said than done, but the secret lies in driving alignment and efficiency across people, processes, and technology. We’re offering three actionable tips to help you unite your marketing operations team, power up your QA process, and supercharge your MarTech stack. Get ready to embark on a quest that will transform your marketing investments into a goldmine of success. To the blog post! 

3 tips to supercharge marketing operations


Tip #1: Unite people with responsibility frameworks

Marketing operations is responsible for a wide range of activities, from building landing pages to integrating systems, so it makes sense that they get pulled into a lot of projects. Confusion runs rampant when team members are unsure of who owns what, leading to duplicate work, wasted resources, and low productivity. To save your team time and empower each member to jump right in and do their part, we recommend leveraging a responsibility framework like RACI for each new initiative.

Implementing this kind of model in your organization doesn't have to be a difficult, dull, or bureaucratic process. It can be engaging and highly effective in clarifying roles and responsibilities within your marketing operations team — and RACI framework templates even make it easy! Let's imagine the RACI framework as a tight team of crime-fighting superheroes who work together in unison to conquer tough projects way ahead of deadline:

R: Responsible - the main hero

The "Responsible" role is like the main superhero in a comic — think Superman or Wonder Woman. This person takes the lead on a specific project, personally eliminating any obstacles, executing each step to perfection, and ensuring that every element is safely delivered.

A: Accountable - the mastermind 

Imagine the "Accountable" team member as Professor X from X-Men. Just as Professor X is responsible for gathering and overseeing Cyclops, Wolverine, and all other X-Men, the person in the “Accountable” role is the mastermind behind setting the project vision, defining key milestones, and ensuring that everyone stays in sync and on target.

C: Consulted - the sidekick(s) 

Similar to how a main superhero may collaborate with their sidekick (think Batman and Robin) to vanquish a particularly dastardly villain, the "Responsible" role often seeks advice and assistance from those labeled “Consulted.” Identify the stakeholders who may have valuable expertise or knowledge to contribute and consult them at the appropriate project stages.

I: Informed - the general public

The "Informed" role represents the unassuming public that doesn’t actively participate in fighting crime but is always made aware that the city is safe thanks to our superheroes’ amazing feats. Keep relevant team members informed about project updates, milestones, and outcomes so they know about the resources at their disposal and the value your team brings.

It’s important to practice and refine your RACI implementation, and to regularly review and reassess roles as projects evolve. Approaching the implementation of the RACI responsibility framework as a team of individual superheroes coming together for the greater good helps create a dynamic and well-coordinated marketing ops team that performs above and beyond expectations.

Supercharge your marketing operations


Tip #2: Power up your QA process

A thorough yet efficient quality assurance (QA) process is absolutely critical to a successful marketing operations team. Regardless of a campaign’s size or intricacy, each program built should be vetted and approved with the same level of detail, otherwise mistakes that pose a risk to your brand’s identity, campaign results, and overall ROI may slip through the cracks. 

While you may have a solid QA workflow in place, reassessing it regularly to ensure you’re reaping the maximum rewards is essential. Let's look at a few “super powerful” ingredients your QA process may be missing so your team can save the day:

Borrow a fresh set of eyes

Meet the QA Avenger, a masked hero armed with keen attention to detail and a fresh perspective. They swoop in, not as the original builder of a program, but as an unbiased champion of quality. With their ability to see things from a different angle, they navigate through ‌campaigns like a detective on a mission, spotting even the tiniest of glitches, untangling evil automation knots, and crushing each and every bug. The QA Avenger's unbridled enthusiasm inspires your team to look beyond the expected and embrace a culture of continuous improvement.

Document every step

Say hello to the Scribe of Quality. With every step of the QA process, the Scribe tells a story that captures the essence of your campaigns. Armed with trusty documentation tools, they bring order to ‌chaos, ensuring that every bug, issue, or suggestion is collected and cataloged. The Scribe guarantees that no vital detail slips through the cracks as they weave together a tale of insights and lessons learned. Each annotation adds to your vast library of knowledge to empower your team and fuel future success.

Download this free QA template to jumpstart your process documentation.

Give yourself extra time

Introducing the Time Wizard, your team member with their eyes on the clock. The Time Wizard effortlessly threads the perfect amount of time for the crucial QA process into each project timeline and service level agreement, always adding just the right measure of breathing room. With the Time Wizard's guidance on projects, deadlines and quality go hand in hand, and getting things right becomes equally as important as getting things done. Together, you'll conquer the challenge of time and emerge triumphant, with campaigns that crush your KPIs.

Adding these steps and assignments to your QA process is simple yet powerful. Fresh eyes, documentation, and a few extra minutes here and there can ensure that your team is running an efficient yet effective QA process — one that maximizes campaign ROI for both company and client projects. 

Supercharge marketing budget

Tip #3: Supercharge efficiency with AI and automation technology

Just like how Batman would be nothing without his fancy Batmobile and cutting-edge Batcave, marketing operations teams rely heavily on technology to do their jobs. Case in point: The U.S. marketing automation market is expected to nearly double in size to $9.5 billion by 2027. 

While AI used to exist only in the movies, more than 60% of marketers now say they use AI to supercharge their marketing efforts. Here are some ideas around how you can harness AI and automation to streamline your team’s day-to-day operations and free them to focus on more strategic, higher-ROI initiatives:

Approval workflows

Approval workflows can often become bottlenecks, hindering the progress of marketing projects. But fear not — AI and automation streamline approval processes by automating notifications, routing content to the right stakeholders, and tracking progress at every step. Say goodbye to endless email chains and confusing spreadsheets and say hello to timely reviews and approvals.

Content management

Manually tagging and organizing content for fast and easy search is time-consuming and largely ineffective. Fortunately, today’s AI-powered systems can do it for you. They not only automatically recognize text and objects in images and documents and tag them accordingly, but they also learn teams’ search habits to surface the content they need when they need it. 

Campaign personalization

As Zendesk’s Sr. Product Marketing Director Josh Bean says, “We‘ve run several tests with AI in personalizing content and the results have been very promising. AI was able to transform generic content into targeted messaging that catered to a multitude of industries and use cases. The ability to customize content in such a manner enhances its appeal, leading to better engagement and conversion rates.”

Give AI a try

Looking for a few AI- and automation-enabled tools to add to your marketing arsenal? Here are some of our favorites:


Last but certainly not least, look for additional ways to automate processes and eliminate time-consuming manual work by integrating as many technologies as possible within your stack. Most of today’s top tools offer APIs, connectors, or pre-built integrations that facilitate data flow and workflow automation. For example, the Brandfolder integration with HubSpot allows marketers to access final, approved campaign assets housed in Brandfolder directly within HubSpot, so teams never have to manually download and upload content again!

Brandfolder media management

Mission accomplished, superhero

Despite accounting for nearly one-third of marketing budgets, just 28% of operational excellence initiatives generate positive, measurable returns. And with nearly 75% of brands either cutting or flattening their 2023 marketing budgets, marketing ops teams must find ways to deliver greater results with fewer resources than before.

While there are many strings teams can pull to incrementally increase ROI, following the three super tips outlined in this post is sure to drive alignment and efficiency across people, process, and technology:

  1. Unite people using responsibility frameworks like RACI.
  2. Power up your QA process by adding a few extra elements.
  3. Supercharge productivity with AI and automation technology.

Looking for more ways to maximize the ROI of your marketing ops team? Breaking down departmental, technology, information, and communication silos is one of the fastest ways to supercharge efficiency and performance, and our latest e-book details how it’s done.


Download it for free