Why Marketing Ops is an Essential Hire for SMBs

By Meghan Bazaman, Senior Marketing Analyst at Capterra

For small and midsize businesses, investing in the right marketing technology (martech) is half the battle. Making sense of the thousands of martech software options available is another challenge. This is where a marketing operations leader can help.

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How SMBs are investing in martech and their challenges

Research shows that SMBs are heavily investing in martech. In Capterra’s Martech Research Survey, 51% of SMBs say martech is among the top three marketing resource costs (among labor, events, and paid media) for their company. Rightfully so, as the majority of SMBs are using a variety of martech apps on a weekly or more basis. (See the bottom of the page for survey methodology.) 

Despite their investment in martech, the survey shows that SMBs aren’t entirely satisfied with the performance of their marketing tools. In fact, 23% of SMBs rate their martech stack performance as fair to poor, indicating room for improvement in achieving marketing goals. 

While the tools may be available, talent also appears to be a challenge for SMBs. Twenty-one percent of SMBs reveal that they lack the personnel or talent to effectively utilize martech capabilities. And as the marketing industry evolves, two in five SMBs also say it’s a challenge keeping up with emerging martech. 

These challenges all point to the importance of having a marketing ops professional on staff. What’s at stake? Marketing teams unable to prove the value of their martech run the risk of budget cuts and poorer campaign performance—making marketing ops an essential hire for any SMB.

How marketing ops drive marketing effectiveness

Marketing ops professionals are focused on optimizing the efficiency and effectiveness of marketing as a function. According to Gartner, their main responsibilities include budget management, benchmarking, customer research, performance measurement, driving innovation, and—most importantly—marketing technology management.  

Compared to SMBs without marketing ops, those who do have marketing ops professionals on staff indicate higher effectiveness across their marketing tools, especially marketing analytics and content management platforms.

How marketing ops leaders help resolve common martech challenges 

In Capterra’s research, a third of SMBs revealed that they lack protocols and visibility around martech tool functions, accessibility, data protection and privacy, and reporting. A marketing ops leader can help your business manage these common challenges:

  • Overlapping martech apps: Poor visibility into an organization’s martech stack and overlapping features leads to redundancies and wasted dollars. A marketing ops professional has oversight into your martech budget and tools and can help identify overlap across apps.
  • Lack of protocols for tool access: Marketing ops leaders help set user access protocols by providing martech management and facilitating tool usage across cross-functional teams, which reduces misuse of martech investments (e.g., inaccurately qualifying leads, collecting insufficient data, etc.).
  • Poor tool usage strategy: SMBs see lower effectiveness across martech tools when they don’t have a usage strategy in place. A marketing ops professional can establish martech strategies and operational processes.
  • Proving value of martech tools: Without tracking, it’s hard to prove the value of your martech, which could lead to future budget cuts. Marketing ops leaders help demonstrate martech ROI by providing insights into marketing outcomes and performance.
  • Managing data privacy and transparency: Marketing ops leaders can oversee customer data sourcing and management that support your organization’s data privacy and transparency protocols.

Data collection and interpretation help SMBs better understand and target their customers. Looking ahead, there will be greater demand for marketers with analytical skills who can help organizations get the most value out of their data while keeping up with increasing data regulations and evolving customer expectations. This means hiring talent with the right knowledge and skills to support this emerging challenge. 

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Making the case for a marketing ops hire

Whether it be limited budget or resources, it’s no surprise that many SMBs have to be nimble to make the most of what they have. So, it’s important to make a strong case to hire a marketing ops professional by showing the value they will bring.

Take these steps to get decision makers on board:

  1. Determine who you need to convince: Whether it be an individual or several stakeholders, prepare your pitch with them in mind. Think about their specific goals for the business (e.g., gaining market share against competitors, scaling budgets, etc.). This will help you frame the conversation.
  2. Assess existing barriers that prevent you from hiring a marketing ops professional: Adapt your pitch based on the current hurdles you’re facing for making the case. For example, is there a lack of budget or limited visibility among key stakeholders of the value that marketing ops will bring to the organization?
  3. Communicate responsibilities and outcomes for this role: Get buy-in by clearly defining core functions and goals for a marketing ops role. Develop a plan to measure the effectiveness of your marketing ops strategy and determine key metrics based on your organization’s broader marketing goals.

Marketing teams are ever-reliant on technology—and for good reason. The majority of SMBs (67% of survey respondents) agree that martech helps them excel at their job. Marketing ops is an essential hire for SMBs to make the most of their tech. Marketing effectiveness impacts the end-user, the bottom line, and ultimately, the success of the business.  

Visit www.Capterra.com for additional resources to improve marketing effectiveness and verified martech software reviews to help you find the right tech for your business.

Survey Methodology

Capterra’s 2021 Martech Research Survey was conducted in October 2021 among 663 respondents to learn more about small and midsize business martech usage and effectiveness. Respondents were screened for full-time SMB employees (500 or fewer employees at their business). They must have used marketing or CRM software within the past two years; a minimum of 150 respondents are martech influencers or buyers.

About Meghan Bazaman

Meghan Bazaman is a senior marketing analyst at Capterra, sharing insights about marketing technology and emerging software. She studied Advertising at The University of Texas at Austin and has experience covering tech, media, healthcare and ecommerce since 2011.

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