Marketing Operations (MarketingOps), is the vital backbone function within Marketing. Its efforts are essential, but often go unsung. Typically the processes, systems, tools and skills necessary to link Marketing to business outcomes exist within the MarketingOps function, which has the responsibility to track and report results in order to improve and prove marketing’s value.
Over the past six years or so, MarketingOps’ scope has evolved from a role of marketing project management and/or marketing governance to one that encompasses much more: the development and implementation of the processes, systems, tools and skills necessary for Marketing to drive business results, manage and measure performance, facilitate the use of data to make strategic decisions related to customers, the market and products, and program direction and investments.
With the increased pressure on Marketing to measure its value and contribution, it is the Marketing Operations function that brings the marketing performance management (MPM) initiative to reality through strategic planning and budgeting, process development, professional development, and deployment of marketing technology.
In short, Marketing Ops helps run the Marketing function as a fully accountable business by building the processes and managing the systems. A few months ago, we shared the data about the link between Marketing’s designation as a Center of Excellence (CoE) and the presence of a MarketingOps function.
As we noted in that article, each year the annual MPM benchmark delves further into what various Marketing organizations are doing in the realm of MarketingOps. We examine this by exploring the nuances among three personas: Value Creators, Sales Enablers, and Campaign Producers.
Value Creators are the most strategic and data-driven group and earn the highest marks from the C-Suite for their ability to measure and communicate their contribution, impact, and value. This group is focused on producing results for outcomes that matter and on creating value for customers and the business. Sales Enablers, the middle-of-the-pack group, focus on doing thing right and see themselves primarily in service to the sales organization with a strong focus on “leads and pipeline.” Campaign Producers, the Laggard Group, focus on activity and are challenged to link their efforts to results. They function as service providers or an internal agency to the organization, producing outputs on demand.
In the most recent study, we were curious as to how much progress each group was making in employing MarketingOps to support their MPM and CoE efforts. We went back in time to see what if anything has changed. We learned that the presence of a MarketingOps function has changed little over the past three years for each persona. While the Value Creators have room for improvement, they remain far ahead of Sales Enablers in many key areas of marketing operations, especially in regard to data management. Sales Enablers and Campaign producers need to close other gaps, including strategic planning, intelligence and insights, benchmarking, modeling and workflow processes.
Figure 1: The presence of marketing operations has changed little over the past three years. Source: VisonEdge Marketing and Demand Metric, “How to Make Progress on Your Marketing Excellence Journey” MPM Benchmark Study 2016.
While the presence of the function hasn’t changed, we wondered whether the responsibilities have. MarketingOps covers a broad set of responsibilities. It probably doesn’t surprise you to learn these responsibilities are not embraced with equal frequency by all personas. Even though the Value Creators are more likely to have a MarketingOps function, it’s not a question of having the function, but of what it does or doesn’t do. Figure 2 shows the gaps greater than 10 percent between Value Creators’ and Sales Enablers’ embracing of MarketingOps responsibilities.
Figure 2: These gaps range from 16 to 29 percent. Source: VisonEdge Marketing and Demand Metric, “How to Make Progress on Your Marketing Excellence Journey” MPM Benchmark Study 2016.
The Value Creators are far ahead of Sales Enablers and Campaign Producers in many key areas of MarketingOps responsibility with data management being the greatest gap. Other gaps Sales Enablers and Campaign Producers need to close include strategic planning, intelligence and insights, benchmarking, modeling and workflow processes. What’s the key takeaway? The MarketingOps of the Value Creators is more about Doing the Right Things than Doing Things Right.
This may seem like a small nuance, but it is significant. When you do the right things you are more likely to improve and prove the value of your marketing. Doing the right MarketingOps activities is one of the key reasons Value Creators continue to earn the highest marks from the C-Suite.
To fine tune your MPM, focus on enabling these six MarketingOps capabilities:
- Data management: how you collect, store, clean, access and effectively use data.
- Strategic planning: how you intentionally align Marketing to business outcomes, select the right metrics, and communicate Marketing’s contribution.
- Customer, market, competitive intelligence, research and insights: how you glean insights from data for each of these areas.
- Benchmarking: how you identify and employ marketing best practices and opportunities for improvement via comparison to best-in-class marketing organizations.
- Analytics & predictive modeling: how you forecast Marketing’s impact on the expected outcomes and build the models to support strategic and tactical decisions.
- Workflow development & documentation: how you improve key marketing processes and then documenting the process improvements to facilitate adoption.
When you make your Marketing Ops about doing things right AND doing the right things, the MarketingOps team enables Marketing to leverage two key capabilities necessary for becoming a CoE: process and technology. Why does this matter? Because at its most fundamental level, a CoE is working to create world-class standards and models that drive and achieve business results, encourage innovation, and leverage proven techniques and methodologies. Learn more about how your MarketingOps can help your organization transform in a Center of Excellence.