Marketing Operations MaturityClearAction Continuum conducted the Journey to Marketing Operations Maturity benchmarking study which revealed that the Marketing Operations (MO) function continues to evolve, with wide variance in both definition and scope. Nine key MO organizational challenges were ranked by respondents. From high to low priority, the top three areas of focus are:

  • Measurement of marketing ROI and demonstration of Marketing value.
  • Balance between Marketing strategy & tactics.
  • Tying marketing success to the goals of other groups.

On the path to improvement and maturity of the MO function, the key area of focus is increased accountability. Marketing Operations success is closely tied to clarity, executive support, and effective process development and execution. Obstacles to MO success are often the inverse of MO success factors and include unsupportive culture, lack of follow-through, environment that penalizes risk-taking, and infrequent delegation. Here are 22 key findings and insights:

The MO Evolution and Potential Impact on Organizations
1. As Marketing Operations evolves, its definition and scope expand.
2. Best Practice Firms focus on the sophisticated elements of Marketing Operations.
3. As the scope of MO progresses over time, it also moves toward increasing sophistication and value.

The MO Journey
4. Marketing Operations moves through stages of maturity to reach and optimize the use of sophisticated elements.
5. Marketing Operations scope differs according to company maturity.
6. High-priority Marketing Operations challenges emphasize metrics, strategy and cross-functional goals.

Key Factors in the MO Journey
7. Clarity & consistency, executive support, process management, and performance measurement are key to Marketing Operations success.
8. Unsupportive culture, lack of follow-through, risk-taking penalties, and infrequent delegation are obstacles to Marketing Operations success.
9. Accountability plays a key role in the journey to Marketing Operations maturity.
10. The journey to Marketing Operations maturity is driven by clear goals, formal reviews, and cross-functional interaction.

MO Reviews and MO Journey
11. Marketing operations reviews are instrumental to achieving Marketing Operations maturity.

Impact of Key Company Character Characteristics on MO Effectiveness
12. Large companies build Marketing Operations sophistication through process, automation, measurement, and change management.
13. Midsize companies build Marketing Operations sophistication through resource optimization and processes that address lead generation or compliance challenges.
14. Financial performance enables more sophisticated Marketing Operations and expanded Marketing Operations scope.
15. The phase of a company’s maturity may not determine its Marketing Operations effectiveness.

Impact of Marketing Stature Charter on MO Effectiveness
16. Relative stature of Marketing & Sales organizations relates to marketing’s ability to operate strategically, share knowledge, and leverage processes.
17. The balance between strategy and tactics relies on stakeholder alignment, knowledge management, and accountability.
18. Length of CMO tenure relates to ability to move forward with key Marketing Operations initiatives.
19. Selling model breadth provides opportunities for Marketing Operations added value.

Impact of Structure and Scope on MO Effectiveness
20. Formality of Marketing Operations function plays a role in marketing’s effectiveness and overall contribution to enterprise success.
21. Centralization of Marketing Operations function relates to the degree of balance between corporate control and local authority.
22. The scope of Marketing Operations function relates to marketing’s self-reliance.

marketing operations modelMarketing Operations Partners believes that MO is generally defined too narrowly and that a too-limited scope inhibits both the power and productivity that a company could otherwise realize. When too narrowly defined, the overall Marketing function is short-changed relative to the potential value-add of its MO practices. These areas address the entire discipline of MO:

  • Strategy: fact-based decision making
  • Guidance: competency development, marketing governance
  • Process: LEAN Enterprise, Six Sigma, supply chain
  • Metrics: customer profitability, predictive analytics, enterprise metrics alignment
  • Technology: enterprise marketing management, portfolio management
  • Ecosystem: key drivers (change management, shared vision) that enable a Marketing organization’s successful collaboration and alignment with key stakeholders

It is important to emphasize that none of these strategies or focus areas should be implemented in isolation, positioned as “magic bullets” or “quick fixes” or be viewed from a *=”one-size-fits-all” perspective. Access a wealth of recommendations by downloading the Journey to Marketing Operations Maturity Benchmarking Study.

For more information, see 10 Ways Marketing Operations Creates Value