I talk to a lot of marketing ops folks in my marketing ops consulting practice. I love geeking out about the processes and data infrastructure that fuel productive marketing teams – it’s literally one of my favorite things. From tracking leads through the funnel, to optimizing the handoff points between marketing, SDR, and sales, to running better campaigns and avoiding making bad decisions more than once, there’s so much to tackle in marketing ops these days.
But I find that the people with marketing ops titles are rarely doing the “fun” stuff. In fact, they’re usually relegated to the mindless drudgery: importing lists, formatting emails, and manually cobbling together reports for the weekly sales & marketing meeting in what can almost always be described as an elaborate CYA exercise.
And while all those things need to get done, I’d posit that most CMOs drastically underutilize their marketing ops assets – because they bring a lot more to the table than just pulling levers in the marketing technology stack.
In the best companies, the marketing operations manager is a strategic member of the team, not a junior person who does “all the technical stuff” because (s)he is the only one who knows how. Great marketing ops professionals drive sales & marketing alignment through a shared understanding of the lead management process and KPIs. They enable marketing to be more data-driven and prove their impact to revenue. And they continually increase team productivity by automating manual processes that suck up too many hours every week.
So why are marketing ops people so underutilized?
Two reasons: 1) the CMOs hiring them often don’t appreciate the role. Today’s CMOs are usually experts in brand or product marketing, and while most have embraced technology and metrics to some extent, many view marketing ops as a means to an end instead of a complete transformation in how marketing functions; and 2) marketing ops people often grow into the role after being a junior associate on the team, so they haven’t yet learned to drive change vs. tackling everything that’s thrown at them. Thus, you normally see very productive marketing ops folks who understand the systems and the data, but who are completely removed from any real decision-making. And to me, that’s a big problem.
In February, the DC Marketing Tech Talks meetup is hosting its second annual conference, Marketing Tech Magnified, with a session dedicated to a topic I’m very passionate about: elevating marketing ops to increase overall marketing performance. I want to show CMOs what great marketing ops looks like and the strategic value it brings to an organization. And I want to teach marketing ops professionals how they can get out of the mindless drudgery to make a bigger impact and grow their careers.
I’ve recruited three colleagues from high-growth companies (h/t to Jason Keller at Logi Analytics, Andrew Cutting at Cvent, and Ema Gantcheva at Snagajob) to share their stories on what marketing ops can be and how it should fit within a modern marketing team. They’ll share the highs and lows that they’ve experienced and provide a template for other companies looking to embrace marketing ops as a strategic asset in 2018.
Join us at Marketing Tech Magnified on February 2, 2018 at the Silverline Center in Tysons Corner, VA – early bird tickets are on sale now!
This article was contributed by Jessica Sprinkel who is the Founder and CEO at Sponge Software and believes marketing should be consistent, revenue-driven, and fun.