Revenue Operations

The Difference Between RevOps and Digital Marketing

Greg Snow-Wasserman
Greg Snow-Wasserman
June 22, 2020
6 minute read

What is Digital Marketing?

Digital marketing, simply put, refers to the collective efforts, tactics and assets you use to promote your business or brand online. 

Typical digital marketing activities include, but are by no means limited to, efforts such as:

  • Pay-per-click advertising
  • Search engine optimization
  • Email marketing
  • Performance marketing

The most common digital marketing assets are:

  • Your business’ website
  • Social media profiles such as your business’ Facebook page or Twitter account
  • Content such as your company’s blog, videos and images
  • Reviews and testimonials from customers

These lists are by no means comprehensive or exhaustive. The digital marketing ecosystem grows by leaps and bounds seemingly every year, so marketers are constantly coming up with new and innovative ways to reach their audiences.

The traditional role and responsibilities of digital marketing

When viewed through the traditional sales funnel and/or organizational structure for a business, digital marketing generally sites in its own silo at the top of the funnel.

In this structure, digital marketing focuses on creating awareness and interest in a brand, services and/or products and nurturing customers through the evaluation stage. At this point, marketing’s job is typically done and the lead is handed off to the sales team to elicit a decision and close the sale.

Functionally, the customer flows from the marketing team to the sales team to the success team.

In the role of generating demand, marketing’s responsibilities typically fall along the lines of:

  • Attracting more visitors to the business’ website
  • Capturing fresh leads
  • Increasing brand visibility and awareness through increased visibility in online search results
  • Engaging the brand’s audience through social media
  • Creating touchpoints with leads via email signups

What is Revenue Operations?

If you’ve read our full guide to revenue operations, you’re familiar with the definition and key concepts behind revenue operations (also known as RevOps):

“Revenue Operations is the alignment of marketing, sales and customer support operations across the full customer lifecycle to drive growth through operational efficiency where all commercial teams are accountable for revenue.”

The development of RevOps has been driven by the rise of the subscription-based digital economy (which has grown by 300% over the last decade) and facilitated by the proliferation of data available to marketing, sales and customer success teams.

Adopting RevOps has become necessary as the old model of siloed marketing, sales and support teams are no longer sufficient to meet the customer’s expectation for a coherent and personalized experience. Furthermore, with more and better access to information than ever before, customers are taking control of how they consume and engage with brands. 

All that is to say that businesses have to center their commercial operations around their customer journey and engage with customers on their terms. 

RevOps is the best way to make this shift.

RevOps aligns people, processes and technology

As mentioned above, revenue operations aligns your marketing, sales and customer success teams around your customers with the goal of increasing revenue through improved efficiency. 

What exactly does that mean?

It often means combining the data and technology your teams use into one place while, at the same time, implementing a strategy that holds all team members accountable to revenue growth. A business that has successfully adopted revenue operations will no longer have “sales tools”, “marketing tools” and “customer tools”. Instead, it will have one tech stack that meets the unique needs of each team.

At the same time, each team’s goals will be measured within the lens of how they have helped overall business performance. 

For example, your marketing team may have significantly grown website traffic. However, if the new website visitors generate little to no new leads - resulting in no revenue growth - that team goal has not been met.
A key element of successfully aligning your teams and their goals using revenue operations is through the framework we cover in our guide to the RevOps flywheel.

What Makes RevOps Different from Digital Marketing

If the point of digital marketing is to create new leads that eventually turn into sales, how is that different from revenue operations, which seeks to make marketing accountable to revenue goals?

This is one of the most common questions related to RevOps, along with the differences between sales ops and revenue operations.

The simple, straightforward answer to that question is that RevOps isn’t a job that replaces digital marketing. Rather, it’s a function that works with your existing digital marketing team to improve how it works.

RevOps refocuses digital marketing

RevOps is also a way to help digital marketing efforts more effective by viewing results within a revenue growth context and by strategically aligning marketing teams to support sales and customer success operations. 

By working more closely with sales and customer success teams, marketers can better optimize their campaigns to move beyond the traditional digital marketing goals of increasing website traffic or growing your email list. Instead, by using the revenue operations process, your marketers can get a full view of how their efforts are impacting important goals related to:

  • Closed sales. It may be basic, but many siloed marketing teams are unaware if the leads they capture digital marketing methods such as SEO or Google Ads result in actual sales. The improved attribution that results from consolidated data gives everyone a clear view of what tactics bring in better leads.
  • Customer adoption and engagement. Make sure customers actually use your product is vital to succeeding as a SaaS company or a business that relies on the subscription model. Again, by combining marketing and customer success data, you’ll see what campaigns resonate with your customers, keeping them engaged with your brand and (most importantly) convincing them to consistently renew their accounts.
  • Account expansion. From an ROI perspective, up-selling and cross-selling your existing customers is far more effective than acquiring new customers. By using a platform that gives insights into how customers are using your product (or not using your product), digital marketers can create customer-focused campaigns that drive account upgrades or additional purchases.

RevOps makes digital marketing more efficient

The difference between digital marketing and revenue operations is that RevOps is a way of making your digital marketing work more efficiently by making better use of tools and technology.

RevOps works alongside digital marketing teams to choose the tools that meet the team’s needs. At the same time, the revenue operations function also works to deploy that technology is such a way that it’s connected to and integrated with sales and customer success technology. 

In the end, your business winds up with a unified platform, instead of a collection of individual tools that are underutilized or overlapping. Or both.

Enhance Your Digital Marketing with RevOps

Digital marketing is a collection of strategies, tactics and channels used to generate demand for a business online. It traditionally focuses on growing the top of the business’ sales funnel by increasing website traffic, capturing new leads and handing them off to the sales team to close the deal. RevOps is a framework or job function dedicated to helping marketing, sales and customer success work together more efficiently and effectively.

The key takeaway regarding the difference between digital marketing and revenue operations is that RevOps works with marketing teams to align them more closely with sales and customer success with the ultimate goal of increasing revenue for a business.

Contact us to learn more about how adopting revenue operations in your business can benefit your digital marketing efforts.

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