Marketing operations leaders are are becoming more prevalent on successful marketing teams. With marketing becoming more complex and budgets tightening, CMOs today are placing a greater importance on marketing operations.
Marketing operations are often referred to as the “backbone” of the modern marketing team by marketing leaders. Marketing operations is gradually transitioning from a backstage operational taskforce to a strategic team. As a result, marketing operations has significant influence over marketing efficiency and ROI, drives marketing agility and responsiveness and, and looks after high-value IT investments. In BrandMaker’s 2021 “State of Marketing Ops Survey,” marketing operations was identified as the top priority (tied with marketing strategy) by 62% of executives, with 70% claiming to have a dedicated marketing ops team.
With an ever-evolving marketing technology landscape, new use-cases for martech and data, and a scarcity of trained labour, CMOs must consider whether they are getting the most out of their marketing operations team. Here are three crucial topics to think about in terms of getting the most out of marketing ops in 2022.
Should Marketing Ops Be Local, Central, or WFA?
The debate over whether to centralize or localize operations is not new. Will the move to hybrid work models, however, have any bearing on this debate?
There is a growing belief that digital consumer behavior does not differ considerably by location, so localized marketing may not surely offer responsiveness or agility. However, according to the State of Marketing Ops report, 90 percent of marketing teams struggle when it comes to global campaign coordination, citing challenges such as delayed localization, shifting resources to respond to market changes, and lengthy content creation approval cycles.
CMOs can build an excellent marketing operations structure to best serve business goals, regardless of where talent is situated, as remote working becomes more mainstream and teams get better at virtual collaboration, especially in digital-first roles like marketing. While factors such as global presence, company size, customer needs, budgets, and even local rules influence the decision to become centralized or decentralized, what matters most in the end is investing in a team with well-defined structure, roles, training, and processes.
Realigning the Core Responsibilities of Marketing Operations
Is it necessary for CMOs to redefine the marketing operations mandate? To get the most out of this increasingly expensive and strategic, marketing leaders may need to set some limits for what goes via the marketing operations desk. This means focusing marketing operations on areas where it can have the most impact, rather than allowing it to become a catch-all team for anything automation or data-related.
While the ubiquity of martech, data maturity, and a focus on privacy and CX have made marketing operations crucial to success, it’s also critical to empower the rest of marketing via training, self-service for standard use-cases, and thorough documentation. This can help leaders get the most out of their marketing operations spending without having to slow down marketing execution.
Many marketers in 2020 used marketing operations abilities to drive agility in unpredictable times across areas such as content development and distribution, financial planning, and brand management. While some argue that marketers should manage creative, content, and campaign planning, the reality is that no aspect of marketing can function without data, processes, and technology.
If seamless CX is the goal, the question is whether marketing operations should support all of the data, processes and technology that go into it. Should they focus on strategic areas with the biggest revenue impact, leaving the rest to regular marketers?
Getting the Most Out of the Marketing Ops Team
Marketing operations, despite its strategic value, doesn’t always get its due especially in terms of being included early and deeply in strategic marketing discussions. The CMO should establish and coach the marketing operations team in order for them to be a vocal contribution to the marketing team’s overall success. It’s a mistake for marketers to think of operations as a support desk. People in operations are problem solvers by nature, so there’s no better place to look into a problem or come up with a solution. However, rather than using marketing operations as a quick-fix resource, it’s crucial to consider the long-term, big picture scenario.
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