Marketing ops today: Who are these people?
A new report takes a deep dive into the present of marketing operations and draws lessons for its future.
A new report packed with data describes the state of MOPs today — who they are, where they sit in their respective organizations, the technology and tools they use, and the future of MOPs. Here’s the current state of play: “With constant requests for reports, growing responsibilities, and being siloed from other departments, ops professionals don’t have the support and resources they need to scale and empower others with data.”
But that doesn’t mean the outlook is gloomy: “The future of marketing operations is more marketing operations teams and less individuals. More alignment between teams. More resources and training for marketing ops. And more collaboration and community between them.”
Key findings. One clear aim of the report, compiled by the MO Pros community (in association with HubSpot), is to reach outside the ops teams and introduce them — and their challenges — to the rest of the marketing organization and to other business teams. Among the key findings:
- 72% have been in marketing operations for three or more years;
- 62% feel fairly compensated — which means 38% don’t;
- 18% take on three or more side projects or clients per year (4% take on 10 or more);
- The main reason is to make more money, but they also do it for pro bono reasons;
- Most are likely to earn between $51 and $100K;
- Most report to CMOs; and
- The preferred next career move is to go into management and build out a team that reports to them.
Introducing the ops pros. Based on data collected from more than 750 pros, the overwhelming majority (70%) are aged 21-40, with 31-40 (well over 40%) as the leading age group. The cohort is fairly equally divided between male and female, and most respondents work at small to medium-sized businesses with between 11 and 100 employees.
The sample is heavily skewed towards ops pros working for technology and software companies (almost 40%), which may reflect the make-up of the MO Pros community.
Marketing operations is a problem-solving role, with a lot of hands on activity. It is considered a separate role from the creative, brand and comms side of marketing, but ops professionals will tell you that campaigns and content are only as good as the ability to execute them and measure the results. That’s not always clear to everyone: “Without executive buy-in and understanding, resources may be allocated that put the cart before the horse” — although Mike Rizzo, founder of MO Pros does say: “On the whole, marketing ops professionals now feel their role is more understood. This is a major improvement over the last ten years.”
In terms of technology, it’s perhaps not surprising that HubSpot, Marketo and Salesforce Pardot are the tools commanding most ops attention, and 87% are satisfied with their primary marketing automation platform.
The future for marketing operations. As we’ve seen, the future for ops professionals at an individual level is to head into management and run a team. In this sample, just over 40% have already made that move and 4% are at the director level. There remains a healthy number (12%) who want to stay in a hands-on technology role.
This is how MO Pros encapsulates the ongoing evolution of marketing operations: “The ways of Don Draper were retired for the new world of inbound marketing. Now, marketers are amplifying inbound marketing efforts with data-driven strategies and an optimization mindset.” Operations is at the heart of those developments.
Why we care. Marketing operations professionals are in most cases part of a marketing (or perhaps a revenue) organization. On the one hand, they’re not to be confused with marketers — in the traditional sense of the teams responsible for brand, campaigns and creative ideation. On the other hand, it becomes clearer almost by the day that data-driven brand and campaign initiatives, with actionable metrics, just aren’t a realistic possibility without execution by marketing operations.
We believe ops professionals will increasingly have a seat at the table when it comes to strategy and planning. We also believe there is enough commonality between what ops does and what the rest of the marketing organization does that they can speak the same language and share the same priorities.