Thursday, December 20, 2007

The Marketing Operations Function - Can we Maintain the Momentum?

I first studied the rise of the marketing operations (MO) function early in 2005; and MO professionals and teams have made significant progress since then. However, much work still remains; and the momentum of marketing operations leaders' strategic impact is at risk of being lost at many organizations. Here are some key findings/insight from my 3rd annual study of the MO function to help ensure the continued success of this important role in the marketing organization:

1. Make the case for an MO function that reports to the CMO if you haven't already, and leverage IDC research to justify staffing levels for this function. Based upon IDC's Marketing Performance Matrix, 90% of companies in the Marketing Leadership quadrant have one; and your position and your marketing organization's success depends upon the strategic planning and process discipline that this role brings to the table. IDC's overall guidance or "rule of thumb" for staff allocation to the MO function is 2–4% of total marketing staff and one MO staff person for every $10 million to $15 million of marketing budget.

2. Know your CMO's priorities. To ensure that the marketing operations team remains highly relevant and successful at a strategic as well as a tactical level, its objectives and priorities must be in alignment with the needs of the CMO. The more advanced MO teams will help to identify these priorities for the CMO.

3. Maintain Your Team's Focus on your Top Priorities. More and more MO teams are becoming overwhelmed with the quantity of projects that they're involved with, resulting in a loss of focus; which is impacting their efficiency and effectiveness. Be realistic about your goals, and focus on the areas where you can make the greatest impact in your organization in the short-term while laying the foundation for longer term efforts.

4. Drive the MO team towards continuous improvement and innovation. This may include improving existing processes or acting as the catalyst for development and execution of new, innovative ideas.

Want more information on this role? Feel free to send me an email at and I'll be glad to share some of the results of this study with you.