Companies simply cannot excel at modern marketing without strong Marketing Operations. These professionals reinforce high performance by strengthening processes, technology, metrics, and best practices. A recent study by IDC CMO Advisory Service, in conjunction with MOCCA, found that the Marketing Operations function is flourishing and expanding beyond its original charter.
Marketing Operations has been a rising star from its inception. I like to compare Marketing Operations to the structural frame of building. Try to scale without steel girders and you get a weak and wobbly high-rise. Your marketing will also be weak and wobbly without Marketing Operations. IDC first recognized Marketing Operations in 2005 in its annual Tech Marketing Benchmarks study. Then, Marketing Operations represented 2.5% of the total marketing staff. The team became a fast-rising star – driven by the need for marketing accountability and the addition of marketing automation. In 2012, tech companies averaged 4.4% of their staff in Marketing Operations. IDC believes that the optimal percentage is between 4% and 6% of total marketing staff. Below 4%, a company will lack the necessary operational capabilities for solid management and transformation. Above 6%, a company should examine whether it’s time to infuse operational capabilities into other functions rather than holding them in a single role.
IDC’s Definition of Marketing Operations: Internal staff responsible for developing and orchestrating the processes and systems required to enable efficient and effective marketing. More specifically, marketing operations staff members are responsible for developing and managing the processes to ensure smooth operation of strategic planning, financial management, marketing performance measurement (including dashboard development), marketing infrastructure, marketing and sales alignment, and overall marketing excellence.
In this new study, called Marketing Operations Expands, IDC finds the Marketing Operations function expanding. It has progressed beyond its early charter of planning and resource management to become an important part of lead management and marketing technology among other areas. More than 70% of survey participants say their role has broadened in the last year and more than 80% say it has become more important. The top six responsibilities for Marketing Automation are: automation, analytics, process improvement, campaign execution, and planning/budgeting. Survey participants, many who are members of MOCCA, the marketing operations professional organization, told IDC that Marketing Operations is also spreading out from its original corporate center to regional teams and beyond its origin in technology companies into new industries.
How should marketing leaders view the expansion of the Marketing Operations role? On the positive side, Marketing Operations can serve as an important and exciting pilot lab for new marketing science initiatives. However, in many organizations, IDC observes that Marketing Operations risks becoming the dumping grounds for not just critical operational tasks, but also for most of the “odd jobs” in the department. Too much expansion, or the wrong kind, results in performance degradation.
For more information on the IDC CMO Advisory Service Marketing Operations Expands research report (which contains important information on organizational structure, skills, job scope, success factors, and much more) check the MOCCA website or contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.