It’s Time to Fix the Real Alignment Problem: Marketing to Marketing

There’s been no shortage of emphasis on the gaping misalignment between sales and marketing over the last few years. Of course the two departments must work in cohesion, but what about marketing itself? Many organizations have been struggling with an even more problematic disconnect that hasn’t gotten the same air time: the disconnect between marketing leadership (e.g. the CMO) and marketing operations (MOps). Here’s a closer look at why this is so prevalent, why it has to stop, and how to do so.

The Problem, as Usual, Lies in the Silos

While everyone has been busy worrying about getting sales and marketing in cahoots, marketing misalignment has taken root. In many B2B organizations, the scenario goes something like this. The CMO sets a strategic vision and then tells MOps to execute on it. Sounds simple enough, right? In theory, maybe, but it’s a broken system.

For one, CMOs are generally skilled in strategy while MOps practitioners are skilled in execution. When a CMO is solely responsible for the strategic direction of a company, they’re using their strategic lens without understanding what it takes on a tactical level to bring such ideas to life.

This is particularly true when it comes to technology. As an example, the CMO might understand, in broad strokes, what an account-based marketing (ABM) platform can do. But they might not know that the ABM strategy they set is not only impractical, but actually bordering on impossible, with the system they have in place.

Does MOps push back, and demand a new strategy? Usually, no. Instead, they typically end up forcing the strategy to fit their tools – and the strategy becomes something entirely different than intended. It’s not that surprising, then, that 70-80% of MOps professionals surveyed stated that the original strategy they’re given by a CMO is not the one that actually gets implemented.

How often does the implemented solution match the original vison/strategy that was provided?

Always Matches
Sometimes Matches
Never Matches

The Effects of Misalignment

So, why does the strategy change so much from the time the CMO hands it over to MOps? For one, it’s almost always too high-level. An example might be “to increase our bottom line revenue.” That’s far too broad to be executed against.

Furthermore, it’s created without taking into account crucial pieces of the execution like the company’s tech stack, target audience criteria, activity, engagement and so forth. The strategy ends up being something general to be applied across the board rather than being refined according to these aforementioned factors.

Such top-down strategies also often miss the mark of people, process and technology. The timings are not agreed upon, nor set in the context of buyers’ buying cycles, and the understanding of tech capabilities is often missing. For example, a CMO might want to use omnichannel marketing, without knowing whether their specific marketing automation tool can actually handle the scope of what they have in mind.

The main point, though, is that marketing strategies are designed to increase overall revenue, which means increasing opportunities and closed/won opportunities. But without being aligned to buying time frames, purchase cycles, buyer preferences and their specific tech stack, they might generate brand awareness – but won’t increase revenue as they hope to.

The Strategy / Execution Gap: 

Marketing strategies are designed to increase overall revenue. But without being aligned to buying time frames, purchase cycles, buyer preferences and their specific tech stack, they  won’t increase revenue as they hope to.

The Ideal Marketing to Marketing Relationships

None of this is intended to lay blame at the feet of the CMO. After all, siloed departments often occur as a result of structural and organizational issues within the company. For example, if marketing operations is housed in a different department or under a different leader than the rest of the marketing team, it can be more difficult to create a cohesive and integrated marketing strategy.

However organizations got to a point of misalignment isn’t what’s important, though. What’s important is where they can go from here. And the solution is actually quite simple. CMOs don’t need MOps to be experts in brand strategy. MOps doesn’t need the CMO to be well-versed in tactical execution. Instead, both teams need to work together to align during the creation of the marketing strategy before it gets set in stone.

Rather than the strategy being a top-down dictum, MOps should play a critical role in supporting its development. The expertise and insights of the department can help to ensure that the marketing strategy is grounded in data and aligned with the overall business objectives. Even more specifically, MOps can contribute to the development of the marketing strategy in a number of ways, including:

To perhaps overly simplify, solving this common misalignment and all the issues that it causes comes down to one thing: getting the CMO and MOps team in a room together to collaborate on the marketing strategy. This is the single best way to ensure the right strategy gets executed this year, and that you’re set up to optimize your results. Yes, sales and marketing must be aligned for B2B success. But marketing and marketing must be, too.

Maximizing Marketing in Challenging Times:
The Rise of Fractional CMO-OPS

As economic uncertainties plague the business world, companies face a looming threat of layoffs, financial difficulties, and workforce shortages. Businesses increasingly seek cost-effective solutions to maintain their competitive edge. The concept of a fractional Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) or as I like to call it, CMO-Operations (CMO-OPS) model is an innovative solution that emerged in recent years. This approach allows businesses to leverage the expertise and experience of seasoned marketing professionals without committing to the financial burden of a full-time executive.

The Growing Importance of CMO-OPS

CMOs are responsible for developing and executing marketing strategies that drive brand awareness, customer engagement, and revenue growth. Meanwhile, marketing operations (MOps) focuses on the tactical aspects of marketing execution, including marketing technology, data analysis, and process optimization.

In essence, the CMO is the visionary and strategist, and MOps is the engine that powers the marketing machine. Each role brings a different focus to the company’s table, both of which are crucial. This has led to the rise of the combined CMO-OPS function in recent years.

Rise of the CMO-OPS Role

By combining the roles of CMO and MOps, CMO-OPS encompasses the best of both worlds. An experienced practitioner holding this portfolio can maximize marketing impact, align strategy with execution, and ensure the company’s marketing efforts are well-planned and efficiently implemented. This unified approach delivers:

This method allows businesses to maintain a strong marketing presence while reducing overhead costs and maximizing their marketing budget.

A Unified Approach

CMO-OPS is an innovative concept that allows organizations to align their marketing strategy with operational objectives. This approach streamlines processes, improves efficiency, and identifies growth and innovation opportunities.

The Difference Between CMO vs. CMO-OPS

A CMO is a senior executive responsible for overseeing a company’s marketing strategy and activities. Their primary focus is on the development and execution of marketing plans, branding, advertising, and customer engagement. They work closely with other executives, such as the CEO, to ensure that the marketing strategy aligns with the overall business goals.

On the other hand, CMO-OPS is a hybrid role that combines the responsibilities of a traditional CMO with those of a Chief Operations Officer (COO). A CMO-OPS oversees not only the marketing strategy but also the operational aspects of the business that impact marketing, such as supply chain, logistics, and customer service.

While a traditional CMO focuses on creating and executing marketing campaigns, a CMO-OPS takes a more holistic view of the business and ensures that marketing activities align with operational objectives. They work to streamline processes, improve efficiency, and identify opportunities for growth and innovation.


The Need for CMO-OPS

The role of CMO-OPS is becoming increasingly important in today’s business environment because marketing is no longer just a creative function, but is also a strategic and operational one. CMO-OPS delivers several benefits to companies, such as:

Integrating marketing and operations

CMO-OPS integration helps to align marketing activities with operational objectives, supporting the company’s overall business strategy.

Improving efficiency

CMO-OPS can identify inefficiencies in the supply chain, logistics, and customer service that might affect marketing activities. By streamlining processes, they can reduce costs, increase efficiency, and create a better customer experience.

Driving innovation

CMO-OPS helps drive innovation by identifying new opportunities for growth and working closely with the product development team. By understanding customer needs and market trends, they can create new products and services that meet those needs.

Customer Experience

Enhancing customer experience

CMO-OPS helps create a seamless customer experience by integrating marketing and operations. They can ensure that customers receive a consistent and high-quality experience across all touchpoints, from initial contact to post-purchase support.

How Fractional CMO-OPS Works

A fractional CMO-OPS professional complements a company’s broader team with market knowledge and expertise to help achieve its marketing goals. With experience in multiple marketing disciplines, automation platforms, and CRM solutions, fractional CMO-OPS practitioners can both plan and execute marketing strategies across several industries and objectives. They can:

By integrating the strategic vision of a CMO with the operational know-how of marketing operations, a fractional CMO-OPS model delivers a powerful, flexible, and cost-effective solution for businesses wanting to optimize their marketing efforts.

Maintaining a Competitive Edge

In today’s rapidly changing business environment, companies must remain agile, efficient, and innovative to maintain their competitive edge. CMO-OPS is an innovative concept that allows organizations to align their marketing strategy with operational objectives. This approach streamlines processes, improves efficiency, and identifies growth and innovation opportunities. For these reasons, the CMO-OPS role is becoming increasingly important for companies looking to maintain a strong marketing presence while reducing costs and maximizing their marketing budget.

CMO Ops with Raja Walia

from Michael Hartmann’s Marketing Ops Cast

Raja Walia, founder of Fractional CMO Ops, was recently featured on Michael Hartmann’s Marketing Ops Cast. 

Tune in to hear:

  • What Raja means by “CMO Ops.”

  • How he differentiates these roles from “traditional” CMO roles or marketing ops roles.

  • Raja elaborates on how this could be a fractional role and talks about what he thinks the scenarios are where the “fractional” CMO role would work well vs those that would not.

CMO Ops Defined:

Operations individuals who translate vision into executable strategies from a tech stack perspective.

Raja, Michael Hartmann, and Mike Rizzo discuss the struggle between marketing strategy and execution. Often the strategists are unfamiliar with the true capabilities of available technology, or even their own tech stack, and there is a disconnect when it comes to implementing the strategy. CMO and Ops should be more integrated so business goals and objectives can easily be translated into feasible implementation.