6 massive takeaways from our 2021 Marketing Operations Report

June 11, 2021 Chuck Leddy

The evidence is in, the jury has spoken, and the verdict is loud and clear: business organizations that have a defined marketing operations (MOPS) function significantly outperform organizations that don’t have a MOPS function. Despite the open and shut business case for MOPS (more on that below), only half of all B2B organizations that generate $1 billion in annual revenue or more have a defined MOPS function. For smaller organizations, that MOPS number is even lower. So while MOPS clearly adds business value, most organizations have yet to fully tap into that value.

MOPS as a discipline embraces many important sub-disciplines, including lead management, data management, martech, attribution/reporting, and more. We looked into trends around marketing operations with our 2019 MOPS Maturity Benchmarking Report, and now we’ve done it again. Here are the six biggest takeaways from our new 2021 Marketing Operations Report, with commentary on each takeaway from our managing partners Rebecca Le Grange and Dan Vawter.

1. Having a defined MOPS function helps organizations successfully manage change and also outperform organizations that lack a defined MOPS function.

The report says that companies with a defined MOPs unit are 51% more likely to strongly agree that marketing is effective in managing change and implementing new initiatives. So whether change arrives in the form of a global pandemic, digital transformation, or evolving customer demands, having a defined MOPS function helps organizations effectively adapt and pivot as needed. MOPS also help organizations obtain more leads and also convert a higher percentage of those leads into sales.

Le Grange: MOPS serves as the foundation for how organizations operate and execute marketing. MOPS enables those organizations to fine tune marketing in order to support change rather than starting from scratch every time customer behavior or expectations change.

Vawter: Many marketers know their audience and are able to put together a really strong demand generation program. But how do you turn that demand and lead gen into pipeline and revenue? It sounds simple, but there’s a lot that needs to happen. It is the MOPS function that nurtures those leads, progressing them through each stage of the funnel, coordinating with different marketing channels to ensure that the messaging is all tied together and drives sales.

2. Businesses with a defined MOPS function outperform their peers in lead generation.

B2B organizations with defined MOPs groups were 53% more likely to have significantly outperformed their sectors in H2 2020 than similar companies without the function. Their success relates to having superior capabilities in lead management and funnel optimization based on high quality data analysis that delivers actionable intelligence.

Le Grange: There's so much technology, data, people and processes involved throughout the process from lead to sale. All of it requires a mature MOPS function to pull things together. If the balance isn't right and you're focused too much in one area, and you've got gaps, leads and revenue will simply leak out of your funnel. MOPS is there to close any gaps.

3. MOPS optimizes the relationship between marketing and technology. 

Almost 90% of those organizations with a named MOPs group say that it “helps marketing and technology work together.” This results in strengths across the organization in the use of technology, including better utilization of existing solutions and the integration of new tech to faster turnaround on technology needs.

Vawter: We sometimes see companies purchase technology quickly and without a plan for its successful adoption and utilization. The stronger a company’s MOPS function, the better job they do (1) deciding upon the right technology in light of their strategic goals and (2) integrating it into their organization, meaning, not just integration from a systems perspective but also getting the right people with the right training involved so that the tech gets utilized and delivers real value.

4. MOPS helps organizations drive better results with their data.

Companies with MOPs are over 2X more likely to strongly agree that their data management processes increase the value of data in their organization and help them achieve measurable results. MOPS not only helps organizations enhance data quality but also helps them utilize that data more effectively to drive revenues.

Le Grange: Data is the foundation for analysis and reporting. And with a richer, data-driven understanding of your customer, organizations can drive better marketing based on monitoring results and adapting their campaigns and engagement. With good data and analysis, marketers can understand how campaigns are impacting revenues. They can have marketing attribution and increased credibility too.

5. MOPS helps deliver cross-functional alignment

A stunning 97% of companies with a named MOPs function say their marketing is aligned to key business outcomes. MOPS helps organizations connect their marketing spend and efforts to attributable revenues. It also helps marketers align with Sales and other business units that impact customers and revenues.

Vawter: An organization with a strong MOPS function will be in a constant, ongoing conversation with sales and other areas of the business that impact revenues. For example, MOPS is going to know the number of leads delivered to Sales, how many were rejected, how many were accepted (and why). MOPS enables marketing, sales, and other functions to be completely aligned on goals, on who is doing what and when.

6. Marketing is elevated by the MOPS function. 

With stronger data and insight capabilities, marketers working within organizations with a defined MOPS function were 33% more likely to have had an expanded role in setting corporate strategy than their peers at other organizations (without MOPS). That focus is supported by the standardization and common metrics provided by MOPS; 82% of those at companies with a MOPS function say that it “gets everyone on the same page.”

Vawter: With a strong MOPS function, you're going to understand all of your systems and processes, how they're integrated, and how your data fits together. And you're going to be able to present to leadership a set of defined, accurate results. In companies without MOPS maturity, marketers will present their metrics and the rest of the organization sees them as unrelated to the overall business. 

Le Grange: MOPS can bridge the gap between marketing and other departments, and that creates credibility. I think it comes down to how MOPS professionals bring more of an analytical, scientific approach to conversations and processes. You develop a hypothesis about what's going to work, then make experiments, tweak things as you go. You're looking at all the variables, at the data around what's working or not. That evidence-based approach offers marketers a lot of credibility within the senior leadership team.

To learn more takeaways, download the full 2021 Marketing Operations Report.

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