MarketingOpsNow Interview Series

What sparked your interest in marketing ops?

Very early in my career, in my twenties, I was somewhat robotic and slightly less human. Everything was about time efficiency. I wanted to make the best use of time, squeezing every second.

I was also a ridiculously competitive individual. I learned how we could produce more campaigns and sell more courses or event passes. Although I was in a marketing role, there was a commission. The more campaigns, the more revenue. And a higher amount on my play slip.

MS Excel was my first Martech tool. Using different formulas and structuring data gave me the first feeling of being in marketing ops. MS Excel gave me a direct competitive and strategic advantage. Pretty soon I asked myself: Why doesn’t everyone think like this?

Can you imagine what would happen if we applied that way of thinking on a much broader enterprise level? You can raise an enterprise to a different level with marketing ops. It goes deeper than just being efficient and saving time. Being able to demonstrate a strong return on time, allows you to get to a stage where you’re also able to have greater, deeper insights. The better you understand your customer and their journeys, the better you are able to diagnose what will really leverage success..

How would you define marketing ops?

We often draw a Venn diagram to make a distinction between marketing ops and martech capabilities. Both circles overlap to a major extent..

Marketing operations is a mix of efficiency and effectiveness. Efficiency is about driving return on time and productivity. Effectiveness is about driving return on marketing investment, improving the customer experience and measuring that.

Underneath that, we break it down into several components

    1. Program and project management relates to marketing technology solutions as well as data.
    2. Campaign operations is about systemizing tagging and tracking of campaigns to be able to measure success and reverse engineer to improve the process..
    3. Overall marketing and data governance is the documentation of the processes.
  • Sales and marketing enablement is about helping other people do their jobs better through enablement and training on processes and systems.
  • Database management, is making sure the team is competent with respect to data collection, health, sourcing, and consent.
  • Legal compliance & IT vis a vis GDPR or any other relevant legislation.
  • Performance measurement is about (competitor, product and campaign) benchmarking and (audience) insights.

How do you see the role and value of marketing ops in the next decade?

The world has changed. We have become more digitized as technologies have evolved. First we had the Internet, then we had mobile, followed by social, now we have the pandemic. All these things have accelerated the digital transformation of businesses.

Three things have happened in the past decade.

  1. Things got more digital
  2. There is more data
  3. There are more channels.

CMOs face more pressure than ever. They’ve moved from managing a marketing and media budget to managing a big chunk of a technology budget too. They have moved to the driver’s seat when it comes to transformation, driving revenue and customer experience. The increased pressure urges the teams to get more done. Who helps you get things done? Marketing operations professionals!

Not only does your marketing operations profesional think about efficiency and effectiveness, they also understand the correlation between reported numbers and every day performance. Marketing ops should be thinking a lot more strategically, so that they can then advise CMOs, the board and senior management, and demonstrate value and impact in real time.

What top 3 trends do you foresee in marketing ops?

I think that marketing ops will drive more effective marketing – more personalized, more relevant, and more contextualized omni channel messaging.

First, I see that CDPs will be as common as a CRM. Every company needs a meaningful amount of data to allow them to do more intelligent, more sophisticated, customer-centric marketing.

Second, integrations. Core APIs are the components that make us successful. Some of the most challenging work that marketing ops people currently do is integrating different technologies and different datasets. Managing integrations will become easier and more organized. It will also integrate with budgeting and resource planning to measure the ROI on individual efforts. What does success look like and where should you or shouldn’t you spend your budget?

I think from a modeling perspective it gets much easier to measure attribution. We can finally answer the age-old question of which half of your marketing budget is wasted.

Third, I think we will continue to see technology democratize. Democratizing martech will enable marketing ops people to do even more. Martech democratizes data management and that will free up more time. I think that artificial intelligence and machine learning are absolutely going to have a strong impact. It ties in directly with the democratization of technology. It will automate labor-intensive tasks, which allows marketing ops to cover a greater breadth of work, because it has been reformatted, organized, connected, and cleansed automatically.

There is also a caveat here. Some things won’t perfectly fit in a dashboard. There is some magic that happens outside of the realm of measurability. And sometimes you need that level of human thinking to move forward.

What is the one thing nobody talks or writes about in marketing ops, but shouldn’t be overlooked?

Governance,. Documentation.. A blueprint to help scale -understanding, structuring, organizing the foundations of smart, efficient ways of working. It is about documenting the way we can optimize and scale the way we work.

Please join us

BrandMaker’s “Marketing Ops Now” podcast series has officially started. In each podcast industry luminaries and deep thinkers share valuable marketing ops ideas for both management and marketing executives (some worth stealing).

For every podcast in the series we’ll do a blog post to share the highlights with you. You can listen to this 20-minute. podcast here.

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