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Marketing Operations Goes From Misfits To Major Players

MOESMarketing operations is no longer an island of misfit projects, inhabited by IT guys spitting out reports and financial types poring over budgets. Today’s data-driven B2B marketing organizations rely heavily on marketing operations to improve the performance, effectiveness and accountability of the overall marketing efforts.

“The demand for measured marketing coupled with the evolution of marketing technologies and processes have made marketing operations the nucleus of the marketing organization,” said Dustin Ritter, VP of Marketing, MarcomCentral. “Marketing operations enables marketers to quantify their efforts like never before and is essential in achieving progressive initiatives such as the real-time use of data, marketing automation, hyper-relevant content, and closed loop reporting.”  

Due to the need of marketing operations to serve a variety of functions, the backgrounds of the staff are becoming “more balanced,” said Craig Moore, Service Director, Marketing Operations Strategies for SiriusDecisions at the recent Marketing Operations Executive Summit 2013 hosted by MarcomCentral. “Marketing operations is growing into a more strategic role. The future is about understanding strategy, the business that you are in and how marketing can have an impact.”

Moore cited a number of statistics driving this shift: 67% of buying journey begins online; 58% of leads are web-based; 52% of lost sales due to challenges of sales enablement; and there has been a 200% increase in contributions from marketing to the sales pipeline. He also said that 10% to15% are making a significant investment in predictive analytics.

These strategies and technologies support the three pillars of marketing operations, as described by Moore: proving ROI, driving growth and improving operational efficiency.

Companies with more than $1 billion in revenues are making significant investments in technologies for marketing planning and data management, Moore said. He noted that about 20% of B2B companies are currently using marketing automation, but expected that to grow to 50% over the next three years. There is room for growth even among companies that have marketing automation, as 85% believe they are not using it to their full potential.

Tactical Treadmill

Moore cautioned against the “tactical treadmill” and noted that there can be diminishing returns if proper attention is not paid to campaign planning and budgeting. He said there needs to be a solid campaign framework, including reputation building, demand creation, sales enablement and market intelligence, which he said is a new feature of campaign planning.

Market intelligence was among the eight marketing operations functions outlined by Moore. The others were reporting/analytics, budget management, planning, process management, syndication practices, training and data management/quality.

Moore said data quality and maintenance are integral tasks of marketing operations because while it may cost $1 to get a $100 to keep it up to date and turnover averages 30% a year.