Blog post

Marketers Must Shore Up Operational Martech

By Sally Witzky | October 14, 2020 | 2 Comments

MarketingContent Marketing and ManagementMarketing Organization and TalentMarketing Technology and Emerging Trends

In Gartner’s 2020 Marketing Operations Survey, about 43% of marketing leaders cited they are still using spreadsheets or nothing at all to manage key marketing activities. Only 35% use a marketing work management platform to manage the work of the marketing organization. They are not focused on operational martech.

Efficiency isn’t a barrier. It’s an enabler.

Yet many of the problems that marketing leaders experience are a result of this gap in their martech stack.

Gartner clients often ask us to help them solve a myriad of operational problems with questions like:

  • Can our marketing team become more efficient? If so, how?
  • How do we become more strategic?
  • Can we improve the visibility of the work?
  • Can we add agility and operational martech to pivot and respond faster to market shifts?
  • How can we justify more resources?
  • What are the ways we can prove the value of marketing to the business?

The list goes on. In 2020, the most common words that arose during client calls as they were seeking help were:

  1. Speed:  Our marketing organization must be fluid and deliver faster with greater speed and turnaround times.
  2. Responsiveness:  Similar to speed, our marketing organization must become more responsive to the market to quickly meet consumer demand and shifts in shopping or buying behaviors.  This includes marketing the right products and services at the right time in the right way using the right mediums.
  3. Accountability: Our marketing organization is expected to be accountable to the business through cost management, agency and media results, solid marketing strategy and more. We have to be accountable to the CMO. But we also must be more accountable to the business, internal stakeholders, the CFO and the CEO. The isn’t new but the stakes are higher.

Therefore, marketing leaders are doubling down on the marketing operations role and function. To support that and their teams, they are looking at missing pieces of their martech stack that help them manage the operational side of marketing.

This is true for small and large marketing organizations, those that are centrally managed and those that are global or more decentralized. Marketing leaders must get a grip on managing both an efficient and an effective marketing organization.

The marketer must review their martech stack to ensure it solidly covers the following:

  1. Creative Operations
  2. Content Operations
  3. Marketing Operations (which would include data operations)

These 3 are related and some martech are unique to each, and some can be common to all. Particularly when reviewing potential and seamless integrations. For example:

  • Creative operations:  A marketing work management platform integrated with Adobe Creative Cloud or Atlassian’s Jira
  • Content operations: A marketing work management platform integrated with a Content Marketing Platform, a Digital Asset Management platform and a Web Content Management platform.
  • Marketing operations: A marketing work management platform integrated with financial or budget scenario planning tools, performance marketing tools, CRM, analytics, or other marketing management tools.

Focus on Operational Martech

Making these additions and integrations in the operational martech stack will begin to solve many of the marketers operational problems. These solutions include a reduction in organization friction and drag, increase in communication and collaboration, and smoother operations.

Given all we have covered about marketing operations, it is dumbfounding that only a little more than half of respondents are using operational technology.

Efficiency leads to freeing up valuable resources to dedicate more time on value creation, strategy and insights. Plus, all the higher-level work that marketing organizations can’t seem to devote time to accomplish. Marketing organizations can no longer be reactive to market shifts. They must effectively capitalize on market opportunities when they arise.


Additional Reading for You:

Martech in 2020: Agility, operations and decisioning are vital to success

Maximize Marketing Impact with a Marketing Operations Leader (On-Demand Webinar)

Marketers Must Change How They Work

Cost Optimization With In-House Agency

Marketing Operations Survey 2020: A Successful Function That Requires Change to Sustain (GML Seat Required)

Market Guide to Marketing Work Management Platforms (GML Seat Required)

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  • I like the split of operations into separate areas but wouldn’t you also look to add ‘data operations’ as a category?

    • Sally Witzky says:

      Sorry for the delay in responding to you. Yes, data ops could be added but that is most likely included – as are many other types of “ops” – in the wider Marketing Ops category. From Gartner’s 2020 Marketing Operations Survey, data sourcing/consolidation/management as well as performance measurement/benchmarking/analytics are all under marketing operations now. They were included in marketing ops before but when we asked what marketers were adding to marketing ops function in the next 12-24 months, these two were at the top of the list.