Why Organisations are Expanding Marketing Ops Teams

The Marketing Ops function continues to grow, with a majority of organisations planning to increase investment in this area over the next 12 months.  

According to an LXA survey conducted for our State of Martech & Marketing Operations report 2023/24, 63% of CMOs expect to increase the size of their marketing operations function in the next 12 months. 

With evidence of headcount being reduced in other areas of marketing, this represents a strong indication of the growing importance of marketing operations.

Why is marketing ops becoming more important? 

To answer this question, let's look at some more data from our report, this time showing barriers to martech investment.

With martech now playing a key role in marketing strategy, the ability to make informed decisions and invest in technology that elevates the customer experience is all important. 

The majority of the barriers to investment outlined by CMOs here are issues that fall right into the remit of marketing operations. 

A marketing operations team can provide the skills and technical knowledge to assess and evaluate the wide range of tech tools (more than 11,000 in the latest martech landscape).  

barriers to martech investmentIn addition, they have the knowledge to make the business case for investment, enable effective integration within the stack, and train the marketers who will be using these tools on a day-to-day basis.

The following chart shows the key functions owned by marketing operations and martech teams, according to CMOs.

Marketing operations teams can enable more successful martech projects by aligning technology with business goals, integrating new technology into the stack, maintaining data quality, training users, optimising and measuring performance, and driving continuous improvement.

marketing operations key tasks

Essentially, you might have the best technology on the market, but without the skills and knowledge to use it effectively, then it will be wasted.

According to Darrell Alfonso, Director of Marketing Strategy and Operations, Indeed.com (and course instructor for LXA):

The increase in team sizes is a vote of confidence in marketing operations. Many CMOs are seeing the under-utilisation of the martech stack, as well as a gap between the digital experiences marketers want and the actual experience that customers receive.

Marketing operations plays that critical role between strategy and tactical execution, and making sure companies have a full bench of marketing ops talent should be a top priority. 

How big should marketing operations teams be?

This is an interesting question, and the answer will of course vary according to the size and type of organisation and its needs. 

One way to look at the issue is the ideal ratio of marketing operations people to marketers. Darrell Afonso recently asked marketers on LinkedIn about the ratio at their organisation. 

marketing ops team size

Darrell himself recommends one marketing ops person for every three marketers, so at enterprise level, this would be a marketing ops team of 100 for 300 marketers. 

With one in ten the most common answer, and 44% of organisations with a ratio of one to 25 or higher, there is certainly scope for further expansion of marketing ops teams. 

For more insight on this issue, check out our  State of Martech & Marketing Operations report 2023/24. We also offer a Marketing Operations Essentials course, led by the aforementioned Darrell Alfonso.