Global Marketers’ 3 Priorities for Driving Digital Change in 2021


There is constant budgetary, resource and turnaround pressure on enterprise marketers in the best of times. 2020 was not the best of times. Based on the results of the recent BrandMaker Pulse research, that pressure will increase in 2021.

BrandMaker Pulse is our series of global research studies into the key issues affecting international marketing organizations. In the latest study, which was focused on 2021 priorities, marketers told us that their key area of focus is increasing operational efficiency.

Here are their 3 priorities for increasing efficiency in marketing ops in this new year:

Priority #1: Budget accountability

The Pulse research reveals that there are 2 corporate dynamics that marketing leaders must balance:

  1. 60% of respondents report management’s demand for quantifiable ROI on marketing budgets.
  2. 5% expect an increase in budget in 2020. 50% of marketing organizations expect the same or less budget than 2020.

There is an urgent need to find the path forward.

Gartner, in their recent whitepaper, Predicts 2021: Marketing Hits Reset, states,

Predicting the future in the midst of unprecedented global change has never been more difficult. Yet, the need for vision, innovation, and transformation has never been more pronounced.

They recommend that global marketers,

Reorient organizational structures by aligning to shared business and customer goals and breaking down silos that waste time and resources and create customer friction.

Pulse results point to marketing operations as the pathfinder, the way to become more cost-efficient while enhancing ROI.

  • 75 % of respondents said they plan to increase investment in marketing operations for improved workflow and integration.

Priority #2: Work management

Enhanced and automated work management not only decreases both cost and time, it increases creativity. Freeing marketers from low-value, labor-intensive, error-prone tasks opens the door to doing what they do best – thinking and creating.

Work automation that is specific to the flow of a global marketing organization can influence the human element. No longer numb from repetition, marketers can stretch out their imagination, their ambition, and their agility to innovate and dramatically increase results.

  • Gartner predicts that 60% of marketing teams will be running a marketing work management platform in the next three years.

Priority #3: Marketing agility

Marketers realize that they must push marketing operations to evolve, or mature quickly if their organization is to meet the challenges of 2021. Looming alongside the challenges we’ve mentioned is uncertainty. We are in a period of time where you cannot say you know what’s around the next bend. Ops maturity brings the agility required to respond to rapidly changing conditions.

The 3 stages of marketing ops maturity

BrandMaker has developed and championed the concept of marketing maturity and we’ve spent a lot of time working with global marketers refining and defining it further.  To get deeper into the return from, and the benefits of maturity we’ve identified three distinct stages. Which stage best categorizes your organization?

  • Stage 1: Numerous individual stand-alone processes with few integrations and minimal workflow integration.
  • Stage 2: Individual processes clustered into multiple modules with some integrated functions, basic financial integration, and management dashboards.
  • Stage 3: Fully-Integrated marketing stacks that deliver real-time visibility and control of marketing functions as well as integration with functions outside of marketing (SFDC, Oracle, SAP, etc.)

We welcome you to find out more about marketing maturity, and the recommended way to move from stage to stage. It’s all in our recent whitepaper: The Next Evolution in Enterprise Marketing Operations 

Moreover, we’ve turned the whitepaper into an online interactive tool to help marketing ops teams agree on where they are, where they want to go, and the priorities for getting there.

Use the Marketing Maturity Map to:

  • Assess the importance to you of each of the seven dimensions of marketing operations maturity and your current performance
  • Identify where your operations migration should begin
  • Learn about the three paths to operations maturity
  • Share and compare assessments with team members to create a consensus.

If you’re a multinational marketer with significant operational issues BrandMaker would like to offer you some guidance on digital transformation, based on our years of experience with other enterprise marketing teams. Complete the Marketing Maturity Map, share it with BrandMaker, and we will respond with customized recommendations.

2021 is here and it’s time to get going

The pandemic has been a disrupter and has shown global marketers that the inherent inefficiencies of the status quo are ripe for change. 2021 is the year of change, where marketing operations can move from the “back office” to become an enabler of efficiency and effectiveness, enabling marketing’s move to greater agility and effectiveness.

Get your copy of BrandMaker’s 3 Essential Priorities for Global Marketers in 2021 to understand more about the challenges and opportunities for providing high-quality customers experiences, streamlining low-value, labor-intensive work, and embracing agility to meet the realities of the new year.

Dunja Riehemann By Dunja Riehemann

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