Blog post

CMOs Tackle Marketing Operations as Budgets Tighten

By Sally Witzky | July 08, 2021 | 2 Comments

MarketingDigital Marketingmarketing operations

CMOs are fixating in on how important marketing operations is to their team and their success.

In Gartner’s 2020-2021 CMO Strategic Priorities Survey, CMOs were asked, “If you had the opportunity to improve you personal skill set, in which areas would you focus your efforts to sharpen your skills?”  Do you think the top answer was innovation or digital experience? Nope. Forty-seven percent listed “operations and execution” as the top answer so what does this survey finding tell us about what CMOs feel they need to fix?

Gartner Strategic Priorities Survey 2020-2021 Top CMO Skill Needed

This raised the issue that CMOs feel there are opportunities to improve efficiency and effectiveness of their marketing organization and budget spend. So that’s where the marketing operations function comes into play.

Marketing operations helps the marketing organization by building sustainable systems to include improved processes and automation. The function includes the following capabilities:

  • Financial management, budgeting and cost optimization
  • Martech management
  • Resource management
  • Strategic planning facilitation and scenario planning
  • Performance management, which may include data and analytics

As a result, CMOs can effectively manage their marketing organizations. After all, marketing ops is similar in role as the COO is to the CEO based on Gartner’s 2020 Marketing Operations survey.  The CMO can’t create a formidable, results-oriented function by adding one or two people, although it could start off that way. The size of the team would depend on how complex the marketing organization is today.

The goal for the CMO is to employ a modern marketing organization that effectively operates with speed, agility and flexibility.


Related blog posts:

Marketing Ops: When Everyone is Responsible, No One Is

Marketers Evaluate Their Hybrid Agency Ecosystem

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  • Quite an interesting set of results. I would have expected that CMOs are prioritizing “digital know-how” in 2021. But these statistics don’t support that at all.

    I wonder how important optimizing digital strategies is to this same group of CMOs? Because digital tools are (in my opinion) best fit for improving efficiency and effectiveness within a marketing department.

    Thank you for this data.

    • Sally Witzky says:

      Thanks for your comment, Bret. It is also possible that they already feel they have the digital tools, competency and skills and are not feeling weak there within their own talent/skill set or within the marketing team.