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Whatever we call them—rock stars, super heroes, trailblazers—marketing technologists are no longer the elusive “unicorns” they once were. These professionals are becoming more and more embedded in marketing teams, allowing them to exert tighter control over the tools and data that are multiplying at an exponential rate.

Operations managers, or “maestros” to borrow Brinker’s catchier word, are becoming more and more recognized as being essential for keeping the marketing show on the road. According to research, 44% of CMOs presently have one in place, and 28% are either hiring or looking to do so.

The marketing stack can be managed by a professional operational expert, bridging gaps on several fronts. They are responsible for filling capability gaps and ensuring that every tech component is linked and operating at its full potential. They are also in charge of ensuring easy access to insights and establishing smooth data flow throughout pipelines as part of that. Teams can leverage a shared understanding of cross-channel performance to steer operations and reduce inefficient or redundant efforts rather than diverging in various directions.

Only 51% of marketing teams can now access data from a central lake, and 43% of CMOs acknowledge that teams spend more time gathering data than really utilizing it. This shows that many teams, as well as marketing operations experts, lack the infrastructure needed to operate like well-oiled machines and make unified insight readily available. To provide a solid foundation of data collation, synchronization, storage and dissemination for operations leaders to work from, it is crucial to cover fundamentals such as implementing automated data integration. Not to mention avoiding wasting their time and expertise by sifting through disorganized data stores.

Maintaining stability in a changing business environment is just as difficult as keeping up with erratic consumer behavior, particularly in the wake of Covid-19. Teams must be prepared to adapt when conditions for their organization and target sectors alter in addition to coming up with clever ideas. That essentially means they require quick and comprehensive insight.

As a satellite position, marketing operations also includes overseeing data quality and taking the lead on analytics in addition to fine-tuning mechanical parts and components. Instead of waiting weeks for stale insight and passing up possibilities, the ideal goal of total oversight of marketing data is to power rapid supply of usable and correct intelligence. This will enable teams to determine where actions are succeeding and whether adaption is required. In effect, marketing ops can enhance flexibility and the ability to retain a sharp competitive edge.

The lack of essential infrastructure is undoubtedly a hindrance to maximizing the value of data, but it’s not the only one. Instilling a data-driven culture is the major problem for 43% of CMOs in the most recent report, with 17% citing difficulty winning over the rest of the c-suite. Clearly, it is difficult for CMOs to quantify their influence and gain support for the insight-based strategy due to the difficulty in leveraging data to demonstrate concrete results.

A marketing operations job can greatly reduce this strain. Enhancing CMOs’ access to aggregated and detailed performance analysis will give them the real data they need to prove their value to the CEO, CFO and others.

The benefits that come from data-assisted work may also start to alter company culture as data is viewed as a resource for business-wide decision-making rather than just in marketing.

No technologist, no matter how talented they are, is a magician. The ability to advance greater data maturity is severely constrained without teams that are on board and knowledgeable about how to exploit data. And as the MarTech research also emphasizes, this is creating significant problems: 58% of respondents name finding enough time, talent and budget as their main challenges and another 19% mention supporting those who require help utilizing marketing technology.

Technologists’ role in helping teams through the complex marketing landscape will only increase as the value of data rises. Even while CDOs get most of the attention, marketing operations stands out since they need the support of a strong infrastructure. Businesses that recognize the fundamental importance of a marketing operations specialist will put their teams on the fast track to insightdriven success in the short and long term.

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