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The role of operations management was originally applied only to manufacturing processes and systems. With the proliferation of marketing automation tools and increased pressure from the C-Suite to prove the value of Marketing, marketing ops management is gaining traction; for all but the smallest organizations, it is now a "must have."

Our performance management study first explored the role of marketing operations (marketing ops) in 2007. It found that companies were beginning to explore adding marketing ops to the marketing function to help ensure that systems, processes, and tools were in place to support marketing performance measurement and management.

By 2009, the Lenskold Group and others began to incorporate questions about marketing ops into their studies. The 2009 Lenskold Group/MarketSphere Marketing ROI and Measurement Study uncovered a key business statistic that supports the benefit of implementing the marketing ops role: Companies with marketing ops in place were twice as likely (11% vs. 5%) to be high-performing companies—i.e., they report having highly effective and efficient marketing.

Five years ago, the scope of Marketing Ops was typically marketing project management and marketing governance. With marketing performance management moving to the front burner, especially for best-in-class marketers (those marketers earning top marks from the C-Suite for the ability to measure Marketing value, impact and contribution), the role of Marketing Ops is expanding.

The 2014 VisionEdge Marketing/ITSMA study found that the role of Marketing Ops now includes the following (in no particular order):

  • Performance measurement and reporting
  • Campaign analysis and reporting
  • Technology and automation and pipeline management
  • Budgeting and planning; financial governance and reporting
  • Data management
  • Workflow process development and documentation
  • Project management
  • Strategic planning
  • Organization benchmarking and assessments
  • Customer, market, competitive intelligence, research, and insights
  • Analytics and predictive modeling
  • Talent and skills development

Best-in-class (BIC) marketers can be characterized as value creators because their primary focus is on using data to make market, customer, and product/service decisions that create value for customers and shareholders. Accordingly, the following are top roles for marketing ops function among the value creators, in priority order:

  1. Customer, market, competitive intelligence, research, and insights
  2. Analytics and predictive modeling
  3. Data management
  4. Campaign analysis and reporting
  5. Budgeting and planning; financial governance and reporting
  6. Organization benchmarking and assessments

Source: 2014 VisionEdge Marketing/ITSMA MPM Study

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image of Laura Patterson

Laura Patterson is president and founder of VisionEdge Marketing. For 20+ years, she has been helping CEOs and marketing executives at companies such as Cisco, Elsevier, ING, Intel, Kennametal, and Southwest Airlines prove and improve the value of marketing. Her most recent book is Metrics in Action: Creating a Performance-Driven Marketing Organization.

Twitter: @LauraVEM