Marketing Operations

The Evolving Role of Marketing Operations

The time seems right to take a moment and reflect on the evolution of the Marketing Operations (Ops) role. Only a few years ago, the scope was typically Marketing project management and/or Marketing governance. With the increased pressure on Marketing to measure its value and contribution, Marketing Performance Management (MPM) and be more agile, the role of Marketing Ops responsibility has expanded.

Before we launch into the evolving role of Marketing Ops let’s take a moment to clarify the phrase Agile Marketing. Workfront asserts that this phrase refers to “a tactical marketing approach in which teams identify and focus their collective efforts on high value projects, complete those projects cooperatively, measure their impact, and then continuously and incrementally improve the results over time.”Agile Marketing isn’t so much about a way of doing Marketing as it is about running Marketing. Hence the increase emphasis on Marketing Ops.

When Marketing Ops first emerged the need was for a “more transparent, efficient, and accountable view of Marketing”. Since then, with the proliferation of MarTech and the increased pressure from the C-Suite, Marketing Ops has taken the copilot seat in the cockpit through which Marketing proves its value to the business.

In Best-in-Class Marketing organizations, the Marketing Ops role has expanded beyond MarTech or program implementation. The Marketing Ops function among this class of Marketing organizations encompasses

  • the development and implementation of the processes
  • systems, tools and skills necessary for Marketing to drive business results to manage and measure performance
  • facilitating the usage of data to make strategic decisions related to customers, the market and products, and program direction and investments.

In many of these organizations, Marketing Operations is the function responsible for MPM, strategic planning and budgeting, process development, professional development, and marketing systems and data.

These BIC Marketing Ops teams activate Marketing and serve as the control center for the organization by developing these five critical traits:

  1. Rapid decision-making and execution
  2. A high-performance culture
  3. Ability to access the right information at the right time
  4. Accountability and credibility
  5. Teams that can flex

Expand the Role of Your MarketingOps

The Role of Marketing Ops is Evolving and Expanding

From our MPM Studies we have found that the role of Marketing Ops among the Best-in-Class now includes the following:

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

We delved further into the results to learn what Best-In-Class (BIC) marketing organizations (those that earned 90 or better score out of 100, from their leadership for their ability to prove their value and contribution) are doing in the realm of Marketing Ops. Of note was how committed the BIC group is to using data to make market, customer, and product/service decisions that create value for customers and shareholders.

Six roles surfaced for Marketing Ops function among the BIC (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 & assessments

These six capabilities enable Marketing to be more agile. Agile is raising the bar. Transforming Marketing into an agile, more collaborative organization, requires balancing standardization and flexibility. It takes a different kind of Marketing Operations function.

Get My Complimentary eBook

brand assessmentBuilding Your Lead-to-Revenue (L2R) Machine

Download your complimentary copy to learn more about the 8 critical components of a L2R Machine for your business. » Free Download


Yet, the research shows that fewer than 20% of marketers leverage best practices when it comes to engaging Marketing Ops. If you are committed to stay in, or aspire to join, the ranks of the BIC, it is essential that you integrate these six capabilities into your Marketing Ops function.

Are you wondering whether your Marketing Ops is among the 20%? Assess how well your Marketing Ops excels at each of these five critical competencies:

  1. Organizational Alignment And Value: The degree to which your marketing ops functions ensure Marketing is aligned with the organization’s initiatives.
  2. Performance Management: The extent to which your Marketing Ops function assists with establishing performance targets and reporting on results.
  3. Data And Processes: The capabilities of your Marketing Ops team to assess and build operational processes, data management processes, and measurement processes.
  4. Systems And Tools: How well your Marketing Ops function facilitates the infrastructure (the data, systems, and tools) that the Marketing organization needs.
  5. Marketing Skills And Proficiency: How well your Marketing Ops anticipates and builds the capabilities related to market and customer analysis, planning, program development, execution, and reporting.

Learn more with these capabilities with our timelss, popular and FREE white paper Marketing Operations: Enabling Marketing Centers Of Excellence.

Laura Patterson

Laura Patterson

Laura Patterson is the co-founder and President of VisionEdge Marketing. Laura was among the first pioneers in the area of Marketing Performance Management and is the driving force to bring science to the discipline of marketing to help clients to use data, analytics, metrics, and processes to prove and improve the value of their Marketing. She has been helping CEOs and marketing executives at companies such as Elsevier, Howden, Kennametal, Safe Systems, Southwest Airlines and TUV. She is the author of the book “Metrics in Action: Creating a Performance-Driven Marketing Organization”. Laura spent 20 years in the industry before co-founding VisionEdge Marketing in 1999.
Laura Patterson

You may also like

Leave a comment