Earlier this year, we surveyed 200+ Marketo experts and learned that 56% are focused on effectiveness, while 26% are focused on efficiency. 

marketing ops pie chart

When we dug a little deeper, we learned that most marketing operations teams’ primary responsibilities continue to include tasks that concern both effectiveness and efficiency, as seen below.

marketing ops debate

We decided to unpack these findings with the leading experts in marketing ops to find out what they believe to be more important – effectiveness or efficiency. Check out the full webinar with Amy Goldfine, Darrell Alfonso, Brooke Bartos, Jessica Meyers, and Paul Ferrer.

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Efficiency vs. effectiveness – which is more important?

The effectiveness perspective 

We kicked off the conversation with Jessica Meyers, Director of Marketing Operations and Technology at Tebra,

“Both are so important and are key indicators for teams. But if I had to pick one, it comes down to effectiveness.”

She continues that you could be the most smooth, well-oiled campaign ops machine, yet if those campaigns are not effective toward downstream metrics, such as demo requests, efficiency does not matter. 

You could be the most smooth, well-oiled campaign ops machine, yet if those campaigns are not effective toward downstream metrics, such as demo requests, efficiency does not matter. Click To Tweet

Jessica wrapped up by explaining that it’s more worthwhile to take more time building an effective campaign, rather than a short time to create an efficient campaign that doesn’t yield meaningful results. 

Brooke Bartos, Director of Marketing Operations and Analytics at Invoice Cloud, echoed Jessica’s sentiment.

“The effectiveness is what I typically prioritize – you can effectively launch campaigns that may be inefficient time-wise, but if you can get impact out of it, the investment of the time paid off.”

Brooke emphasizes that it’s crucial to look at your team structure and skillset – do you have people who are able to think about processes and think with an operational mindset? If so, the efficiency piece will come. 

She continues by explaining that if you are efficiently launching campaigns that are not reaching impact or set up correctly, you can scale to disaster and run things off the rails. That’s why teams must first focus on effectiveness, then once they’ve got that nailed down, they can focus on efficiency. 

The efficiency perspective 

Paul Ferrer, a Senior Technical Consultant at Perkuto + MERGE, introduced his contrasting opinion with a disclaimer that things should always be done well and you should always be trying to meet expectations. 


“From a process standpoint, efficiency can be better than effectiveness. At Perkuto + MERGE, we build things over and over. When you can look at a system you’ve built over and over, you can make small adjustments and make incremental improvements”

You can’t have one without the other

Amy Goldfine, Senior Manager of Marketing Operations at Iterable, believes that the more efficient you are, the more effective you can be.

Efficiency requires amazing campaign and platform operations, so you’ve got to ensure your platforms are set up right and that they are integrated and optimized. 

This means having program templates with tokens, an efficient intake process, QA, and any integrations, like a Salesforce sync, set up correctly and operating according to best practices.  

It’s a compilation of these factors that will lead to efficiency. 

“It’s a false dichotomy – they aren’t separate from one another.”

Darrell Alfonso, Director of Marketing Strategy and Operations at Indeed.com, explains that you can’t choose one – in order to be successful, you have to do both. 

When it comes to effectiveness, you have to ask yourself: are we getting the result we want? Whereas with efficiency, you have to ask: is it being done in a productive, timely manner? Is it being done with as little waste as possible?

Darrell explained that from here, you can scale and repeat without having to use too many resources. 

“It’s a cycle, not a path. You are continuously optimizing the campaign, it’s not a one-and-done job.” Click To Tweet

He wrapped up by explaining that there may be times you need to focus on one vs. the other, but for the most part, a successful marketing ops team must think of both.

Vocalize your opinion – take the 2023 Marketo User Study!

Which perspective do you agree with? We want to hear what you think. Our 2023 Marketo User Study is open. To contribute to next year’s results, take the survey

Curious to learn more insights on Marketo users and marketing ops strategy? Download our 2022 Marketo User Study.