Econsultancy has just published the 2019 Marketing Operations Maturity Benchmarking Report, in partnership with Sojourn Solutions.

The report includes findings from a survey of 171 senior executives familiar with marketing ops, at B2B companies with 2018 revenues in excess of $250 million.

The results of the survey are fairly startling, and reveal a series of challenges for mainstream B2B businesses seeking to support marketing ops and therefore the rest of the marketing division.

First up, what is marketing ops?

In the forward to the report, Rebecca Le Grange and Dan Vawter, Managing Partners at Sojourn Solutions, provide a useful precis of the discipline of marketing ops:

“Marketing operations delivers value in so many ways that go beyond just buying and implementing “cool” new martech. The role is to equip the entire marketing team and ensure best practice across the department. Top-performing marketing operations teams deploy the right martech, but also have a clear strategy and roadmap, effective data management, the right processes, change management capabilities, and data-enabled customer-centricity that allows them to drive ROI.”

The report examines many of these facets of marketing operations and, as the case with much of modern marketing, it’s not as easy as it sounds to align these disciplines. The study’s benchmarks fall into the categories of strategy, talent/skills, processes for data/leads, processes for marketing, technology and customer knowledge.

Here’s a sneak peek of some of the findings:

Two thirds of large B2B companies are experiencing profound or significant changes in their markets or customers

This is the context for the increasing importance of marketing ops – change is afoot, in customer behaviour and in the market.

Sixty four percent of respondents said that their companies are experiencing profound or significant changes in their markets or customers.

As the report author notes, a new focus on customer experience (CX) “demands a cross-functional approach because the customer is affected by every corporate function.”

For example;

  • Finance has to work with the marketing and IT/Tech groups but CX investments take time to yield dividends.
  • Customer service and marketing must work together to define the CX itself and seamlessly hand off between teams.
  • Is an airline mobile app marketing, service or product? It’s all three and the lines are similarly blurring in most sectors.

In some ways, the speed of flux in marketing is the proving ground for marketing ops but also presents big challenges to its execution.

Only 17% of mainstream companies have the knowledge and skills to support marketing ops

Respondents to the Econsultancy survey are divided into top performers, the one-third of organizations that reported having exceeded their top 2018 marketing goal and the mainstream, comprising the remaining two-thirds of the sample. Only 17% of mainstream companies fully agreed with the statement that “Our Marketing Operations team has the knowledge and skills required to support all MOP-related functions”.

This figure was fully 41% amongst top performers.

60% of mainstream companies still struggle with marketing data management

Twenty six percent of mainstream B2B respondents report no process to increase the value of data in their organization and help achieve measurable results. A further 34% said they ‘somewhat’ have such a process.

Marketing technology is not properly resourced at mainstream B2B companies

Martech appears to be one of the weakest areas in B2B marketing operations. As the report notes, “this is remarkable in a phase of marketing development that is so strongly linked to customer data and real-time response.”

Even more remarkable than the fact that only 39% of mainstream companies report (‘fully’ or ‘mostly’) having strong processes to help identify the technologies necessary to their marketing goals, is that in many instances this martech cannot be taken advantage of, once in place.

Amongst mainstream B2B companies, 59% of respondents, when asked if their technology is supported by proper staffing (headcount and skills), said ‘somewhat’ or ‘not at all’.

Top performers’ use of marketing ops reflects modern marketing

There are plenty more challenges detailed in the report. Each chart reinforces the notion that, relative to their mainstream peers, top performers are further along in their marketing operations evolution.

This striking consistency, the report notes, “reflects the interconnected nature of modern marketing; few disciplines within MOPS can exist independently.”

For more on the topic of marketing ops, download the 2019 Marketing Operations Maturity Benchmarking Report, in partnership with Sojourn Solutions.