When research firm SiriusDecisions held its first summit six years ago, the term marketing operations was a barely formed thought in the b2b world.
“It was spoken of,” says Jonathan Block, Vice President and Service Director at SiriusDecisions, “but as more of a competency rather than a dedicated role.”
These days, you’d be hard pressed to walk through the offices of any b2b marketing department without bumping into a marketing operations manager – or team, for that matter.
“It has now become a recognized function within an organization that needs to be staffed,” Block says. “It’s been a fairly rapid change.”
The research bears him out. According to SiriusDecisions’ benchmarks database of b2b companies, marketing operations share of overall budget is steadily trending upwards. And companies tend to adopt faster when they invest in marketing automation.
The marketing operations – or “marketing ops” as it is often referred to – is often tasked with six key areas, Block says, including planning and budgeting; researching and delivering data on the success of organizational campaigns; involvement in core marketing responsibilities such as demand generation and brand reputation; overseeing the selection and implementation of marketing technology; benchmarking organizational performance against itself and the industry; and “collecting and socializing” best practices.
“What we’ve seen is an organic, evolving role,” Block adds. As a result, that role has had a significant impact on SiriusDecisions yearly summit, which takes place on May 4-6. Two or three years ago, many of the panel discussions and speeches were evangelistic about marketing operations, at this year’s summit (Disclosure: Eloqua is a sponsor of the SiriusDecisions Summit) there’s little need to advocate for the role. B2b businesses have a deeper understanding of the core technologies available for sales and marketing, and, as Block put it, “are asking tougher questions” from potential vendors.
“We see operations looking at those skills now from a more of holistic point of view,” Block says. That means the summit will feature more sophisticated topics that marketing operations managers and teams are particularly interested in like the “Marketing Investment” presentation, which zeros on the issues of alignment and accountability.
From the fringes to the fashion, marketing operations will be a big part of this year’s conversations at the SiriusDecisions Summit. Will you be there?