Transformation has added strategic marketing support for the CMO and marketing effectiveness to the role as it becomes more critical for their organisations
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Marketing Operations is ramping up its role and taking on a more strategic function as major multinationals seek to transform their marketing organisations.
New research by the WFA in partnership with Flock Associates has found that Operations teams are increasingly leading the marketing performance element as well as having a strong influence in marketing strategy and capability planning to ensure the marketing department is fit for the future.
Sixty-five percent of the multinationals who took part said capabilities development was part of their remit with 39% also taking on marketing strategy.
The study also saw signs of an emerging strategic function helping to ensure the marketing team is fit for the future, more data-led and truly digital with 50% taking on responsibility for data management, systems and technology.
Such changes represent a marked transformation in the position of a role that traditionally focused on consumer research but has now moved into areas such as software-based solutions that can increase efficiency and drive agility within an ever-changing marketing landscape.
The findings are based on a survey of 30 companies spending a cumulative total of $21bn in global communications spend. All respondents had global or regional responsibilities.
What’s critical to the success of Marketing Operations is their relationship with the CMO. Reporting into a supportive CMO not only enables the business to communicate effectively with clear reporting lines but also leads to less confusion on roles and responsibilities within the team members.
Eighty percent of respondents said their team reported directly to the CMO, with their support cited as the No. 1 factor for success (5.4 out of seven), well ahead of staffing levels (4.4), the team (4.1) and data (3.9).
Legacy processes and behaviour, siloed thinking and organisational design, plus the changing agency landscape with data and technology becoming more and more the key driver for change, are all challenges for the marketing operations function.
Perhaps the biggest challenge facing the function is that while 88% of respondents agreed that Marketing Operations plays a critical strategic function, 67% felt their colleagues are often unclear what they do.
“Integration has long been a gap to bridge for marketing organisations within large multinationals. Marketing Operations is increasingly well placed to help overcome silos and connect stakeholders. With increased involvement in marketing effectiveness and behaving as a strategic partner for the CMO, this role could be a catalyst for a more unified approach to the benefit of all,” said Rob Dreblow, Head of Marketing Services at the WFA.
“Marketing Operations has been described as ‘Marketing’s New Hot Job’. This important study by the WFA shines a light on Marketing Operation’s growing influence and what it takes to be successful. Flock has been delighted to support the WFA with the study and is committed to the on-going development of the Marketing Operations specialism,” said Simon Francis, CEO, Flock Associates.