State of the Marketing Operations Professional Report: Evolution of Martech (post 2 of 2)

February 15, 2023 Chuck Leddy

Marketing Ops remains a relatively new function, but it’s evolving rapidly. In its annual report State of the Marketing Ops Professional, (the community-led platform for Marketing Operations Professionals), surveyed almost 600 Marketing Ops pros from multiple industries to better understand the trends driving it. Those trends can be broken down into two large categories: (1) “people” and teams and (2) tools and martech deployed by Marketing Ops.

In this 2-post blog series, we cover the findings of the must-read 43-page report under those two categories. In this post (#2), we’ll explore the evolution of martech and how marketing ops deploys it to prove and improve marketing ROI.

4 key Martech trends

Marketing Ops teams are tasked with selecting and deploying martech to drive marketing efficiency. Whether they’re choosing or using martech, Marketing Ops teams “are prioritizing tools that are able to grow and scale with them, and that integrate with their existing martech stack,” says the report. Here are four key martech trends highlighted by the report:

1. Most popular “general” tools. The #1 tool Marketing Ops pros use is - wait for it - spreadsheets, a surprising finding since spreadsheets have been around since 1979. This finding is a bit like learning that Pac Man is the #1 video game decades after its creation (not true, by the way – the most popular video game today is Candy Crush).

The #2 and #3 most popular tech tools are the collaboration/project management platforms Asana and Jira. As one senior Marketing Ops leader recommends in the report, you should either be using your tools or losing them: “Audit your tech stack and ask if anyone is using the tool. If not, get rid of it. Ultimately, you want every tool in your stack to contribute to revenue. When contracts are up for renewal, really think about their value, current features, and overlap with other tools.”

2. MAPs and martech tools. Adobe Marketo Engage is the most popular marketing automation platform, with HubSpot, Salesforce Marketing Cloud, and Oracle Eloqua following, in that order, within the MAP category. About 80% of surveyed Marketing Ops pros report being either “very satisfied” or “somewhat satisfied” with their current MAP. 

Unsurprisingly, Salesforce is by far the most popular CRM. More than 50% of Marketing Ops pros surveyed have a martech stack that includes a dedicated email and/or landing page creation platform.

3. Most important factors when choosing a martech provider. The most important factor when Marketing Ops selected new martech in 2022 was the tool’s ability to integrate within their martech stack, with 69% of Marketing Ops pros citing that factor. Second was the tool’s ability to scale along with the company, with 53% of Marketing Ops pros citing that factor. 

The next four most important factors in choosing a martech provider were:

  • Ease of use (39%)
  • Ability to meet compliance challenges, especially around data privacy/GDPR (29%)
  • Price (26%)
  • Service and support levels from provider (20%)

4. The top coding language Marketing Ops pros know is HTML, with about half of those surveyed knowing it. About 30% of Marketing Ops pros know JavaScript. When it comes to knowing the #1 coding language in 2022, Python, only about 5% of Marketing Ops pros know how to use it. About one in four Marketing Ops pros say they don’t know a single coding language.

The good news, of course, is that in-built automation and other martech trends around “consumerization” are reducing the need for any user to understand a programming language to create value.

The future of Marketing Ops: 3 ongoing trends

“The State of the Marketing Ops Pro” report concludes by looking at the ongoing trends that will continue to shape the function. Three of the biggest “future trends” are:

1. More clarity and definition around the role. Marketing Ops remains relatively young, and it tends to be an “everything plus the kitchen sink” role in many organizations. Marketing Ops pros, the report says, “want a more clearly defined role in their organizations.” The future will see more headcount, increased resources, and more specialized roles within the Marketing Ops function.

2. Marketing Ops talent will be harder to find and develop. The function is so challenging because it’s so collaborative and cross-functional. The ideal Marketing Ops pro is strategic and data-driven, conversant in new technologies, a great communicator who can gain “buy-in” from Sales, IT, and senior leadership, and a dedicated, lifelong learner. Where does such a person find time to sleep, let alone perform their challenging and ever-evolving responsibilities?

Marketing Ops will basically develop alongside the capabilities of the professionals working within the function. The future may indeed be about martech, but it will also be about the creativity and commitment of people.

3. There’s room for more digital transformation and growth at 93% of organizations, even if they already have a Marketing Ops team. Average Marketing Ops teams might have 2-10 members today and use a limited number of martech tools. The future will see more demand for what they do as well as larger, more specialized Marketing Ops teams deploying a bigger martech stack. As we’ve seen in Sojourn’s Marketing Ops reports done in 2021 and 2019, the level of maturity among Marketing Ops talent and martech is growing but still leaves a lot of room for more growth.

In fact, “The State of the Marketing Ops Pro” report says that only 7% of organizations surveyed have a fully developed digital maturity level, with integrated systems, complete lifecycle nurturing, and personalized content. That means 93% of organizations will continue to need big investments in their Marketing Ops capabilities in order to achieve marketing goals.

Read post 1of this 2-part series now. 

Want to learn more about Marketing Operations and its impact on driving the efficiency and effectiveness of your B2B marketing? Contact us today.

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