Marketing Operations remains a relatively new function and profession, but it’s evolving quickly. In its annual report State of the Marketing Ops Professional, MarketingOps.com (the community-led platform for Marketing Operations Professionals), surveyed almost 600 Marketing Ops pros from multiple industries to better understand the trends driving the function. Those trends can be broken down into two large categories: (1) “people” trends impacting Marketing Ops pros and teams and (2) martech trends impacting the tools and technologies deployed and supported by Marketing Ops.
In this two-part series, we’ll cover the findings of the must-read report under those two categories, beginning below with trends impacting Marketing Ops pros.
7 key findings on Marketing Ops pros
Who are Marketing Ops pros? They are problem-solvers who take a strategic, cross-functional, and data-informed approach to proving and improving marketing value/ROI. The important work they do requires a thorough understanding of what other people do within the organization - Marketing Ops pros must align with Sales and other teams. It also requires a deep understanding of business processes, the customer/buyer journey, data analytics, and how technology impacts all of it.
Here’s what the report found about the evolving role of Marketing Ops pros:
1. The Marketing Ops function is expanding and maturing. 80%+ of companies have a dedicated Marketing Operations individual or team (up from 65% in 2021), says the report. While 80% of Marketing Ops pros have at least 3 years of experience, 30% of them report having 10+ years of experience. Only 1 in 10 pros working within the function have less than a year of experience.
In terms of age, survey responses indicate that most Marketing Ops pros are either Millennials or Gen Z, so they tend to be lifelong learners who skew younger.
2. The Marketing Operations role can be different depending on the organization. The Marketing Ops function is anything but a standard, cookie-cutter role, which is why it’s so challenging for its practitioners. As the report explains: “Marketing Operations can look different at each organization. Some Marketing Ops pros are dedicated to managing software tools, naming structures, integrations, workflows, and the technical aspects of the marketing team. Others work closely with GTM teams to define leads, lead handoff processes, automation, and ensure the end customer experience is streamlined.”
Clearly, the Marketing Ops role requires a learning mindset, both because the role requires working across multiple parts of the organization and because Marketing Ops continues to evolve and expand in scope. Regardless of the setting in which the Marketing Ops pro works, communication skills are essential because Marketing Ops is tasked with driving change across the organization. This means they must speak “the language and lingo” of multiple areas, from IT to Sales to Finance and others.
3. The top job responsibilities involve tech, processes, and data. The report found that the top four job responsibilities for Marketing Ops pros are:
- Developing and implementing software or system integrations (54%)
- Designing, implementing, and optimizing operational processes/procedures (48%)
- Evaluation of tech stack and assessing what tech is needed (48%)
- Data analysis and data reporting (47%)
So Marketing Ops pros must keep pace with trends in martech, including automation, artificial intelligence, and data management, while also keeping up with their organization’s various use cases for technology.
4. Marketing Ops is like a coach helping the marketing function prove and improve its value. The report is clear about the most common, and most important, role of Marketing Ops: it operates “like the coach of the overarching marketing team, planning out the strategy, monitoring execution, and making sure that everything is running smoothly so the players can succeed.”
The Marketing Ops function, as we’ve said repeatedly, is ultimately about proving and improving what marketing does. That takes investments in technology, but also in training and enabling people.
5. Marketing Ops is a well-compensated function. According to the report, about 7 in 10 Marketing Ops professionals make more than $100,000 per year. Those that report being at the Director, VP, or Executive level typically make $250,000 per year or more.
As Marketing Ops becomes more defined, so will the specific titles and specialized roles within the function. It’s clear that more organizations are not only deploying a dedicated Marketing Ops team – with an average team size between 2 and 10 people – but are also seeing the need to fairly compensate and retain Marketing Ops talent.
6. Marketing Ops pros report working most closely with Sales, Demand Gen, and Sales Ops. This is no surprise given the cross-functional nature of the role. Marketing Ops seeks to foster alignment in order “to figure out the best strategy to reach and convert more prospects and to engage with existing customers,” says the report.
The alignment of the multiple teams that impact revenues and customer experience is foundational for Marketing Ops success.
7. The top four priorities for Marketing Ops teams are, according to the report:
- Supporting revenue operations and pipeline
- Improving campaign efficiency
- Data cleansing/hygiene
- Improving/updating the tech stack
Conclusion: State of the Marketing Ops Pro Report
The Marketing Ops function is complex and multi-faceted, requiring its practitioner’s to have a broad-based skill set, as well as a mindset of continuous learning/growth. “The State of the Marketing Operations Professional” report highlights the multiple challenges Marketing Ops pros face – especially around alignment, processes/data, and technology – and how they are meeting them. In our next post, we’ll explore the technology and tools Marketing Ops pros are deploying and supporting to get the job done.
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