It’s the time of the year when those of us in the Northern Hemisphere are enduring the warmer temperatures that come with the summer season. Although this is a basic fact, I’m still amazed by conversations with clients in the Southern Hemisphere, who discuss the very different conditions that their winter brings them. Forrester clients include businesses of all sizes, industries, and locations, but they have one thing in common: They are all approaching the end of the year and just starting to consider the challenges that lie ahead in 2023.

Planning for an upcoming year is often stressful and clouded by uncertainties. Many companies are still recovering from the impact of the pandemic while staying mindful that a global economic downturn may be approaching. These conditions make it difficult to determine where marketing operations leaders should focus their upcoming efforts. Our Planning Guide 2023: Marketing Operations report can ease these concerns; it offers insight into trends, observations, and Forrester’s own recommendations.

Double Down On Harnessing Insights 

Marketing operations has always been a critical part of an organization, but with increased uncertainty comes more reliance on this team. Companies tell us they are likely to prioritize investments in marketing technology and delivering actionable insights to stakeholders.

Our studies have found that these investments are worthwhile. Advanced B2B and B2B2C insights-driven organizations estimate that their year-over-year revenue growth will reach double digits at a higher rate than their peers, according to the Forrester Analytics Business Technographics Business And Technology Services Survey, 2021. Technology and insights, however, are only part of the story; marketing operations is positioned to help drive and enable change within the marketing department.

Due to its unique position, marketing operations is also expected to provide expertise on data strategy, data management, and meeting ever-changing privacy regulations. To succeed in 2023, the group must be properly resourced and closely aligned with the executive leadership team. Our studies have found that most high-performing organizations’ marketing operations leaders report directly to the chief marketing officer. This empowers marketing operations leaders to exercise a degree of influence and exposure that would otherwise be difficult to achieve.

Reduce Waste And Take Calculated Risks 

Taking on additional responsibilities in the new year will be important, as will removing waste and eliminating inefficiencies. Although most marketing teams run as lean as possible, there are always opportunities for improvement. Consider cleaning up your contacts database to eliminate inactive records; consolidating technology platforms; and optimizing existing marketing processes including target markets, approvals, and other inefficient touchpoints. Even if these only provide incremental decreases in expenses or increases in productivity, they may also free up resources to dedicate elsewhere.

Uncertainty also helps to create new opportunities for organizations willing to take risks via experimentation. This may be an ideal time to consider moving from the traditional leads-based demand management approach to the proven effectiveness of the opportunity-based waterfall methodology. You may also consider funding additional research or augmenting buyer records with second- or third-party intent data, providing even more actionable insight to make informed marketing decisions. The possibilities are limitless and can help you respond to emerging opportunities and achieve greater productivity.

It may feel premature to consider planning for 2023 when so much still needs to be accomplished in the current year. But with the flurry of usual year-end activities, planning time will arrive much sooner than we anticipate. Take a look at the Planning Guide 2023: Marketing Operations report to get a head start. Before you know it, we’ll be speaking to our southern friends with envy as they brag about their terrific summer weather.