Reimagining the marketing ops function.

The Client

Hootsuite is a leading social media management platform, used by over 18 million people around the globe and trusted by more than 800 of the Fortune 1000.

The Challenge

For years, the Hootsuite marketing department followed the standard startup playbook—nimble, action-oriented marketing focused on creating near-term demand. But as the company grew into a larger, more mature enterprise with bigger, bolder ambitions they needed to refine and expand the overall marketing model. Especially the glue that holds it all together: the marketing operations function.

The CMO asked us to review the key elements of the marketing ops function—team, processes and tools—and make recommendations for improvements. The goal was to turn marketing ops into a high-performing function that could successfully anchor the next wave of marketing-driven growth.

The Solution

Our first step was an in-depth diagnostic. This consisted of interviews with team members across the organization, a series of group meetings and four days of on-site observation. We also reviewed over 100 documents, using these artefacts to trace the flow of work between teams. Observations and relevant quotes were compiled into groupings across people, process, data and tools.

The biggest single finding was that there was no clear consensus on what the marketing ops function should encompass. Our first recommendation was to adopt and socialize a clear definition to address this. Simply put, Marketing Operations would be responsible for keeping everyone together. Their job would be to ensure tactical and strategic alignment and provide the operational foundation that enables the marketing organization to meet Hootsuite’s aggressive business goals.

From this starting point, we developed a set of in-depth recommendations, starting with a new team structure designed to ensure that the marketing ops team was delivering real strategic value. In this structure, clear lines of responsibility provided clarity while leaving room for healthy collaboration.

Other recommendations included:

  • A new director-level leader to head up the team, complete with a role overview and hiring criteria.
  • Centralizing the flow of marketing data through the marketing ops team.
  • New go-to-market and annual planning processes to create clarity and efficiency.
  • Piloting agile methods.
  • Adopting RACI across all of marketing.

All recommendations were delivered in a prioritized roadmap that allowed for an interim state between current and future.

The Results

The CMO immediately took action on reorganizing her teams. And the go-to-market process was quickly changed to ensure that a clear strategy that was guiding the work of their campaigns. Other significant changes and improvements are underway as they work through the roadmap we delivered.

Other work for this client has included:

  • Improving the briefing process, including briefing meetings
  • Articulating the brand purpose
hootsuite logo

Are you struggling with how to structure and focus your organization to keep pace with modern customers?

We’d love to share our experience with you and see if we can help.

Further Reading