Tag: Marketing operations (MOps)

  • 5 critical leadership skills every marketing ops pro needs

    5 critical leadership skills every marketing ops pro needs

    Marketing operations can be chaotic, and mastering leadership skills in such a dynamic environment can be an uphill battle. While the web is overflowing with leadership listicles, these suggestions must be taken further to determine what skills are needed and why. It’s time to move beyond advice like “become a better communicator” and use language that makes this actionable for everyone. Below are five key skills to help you tackle the challenges of a rapidly evolving industry. 1. Become a strategist, not a firefighter Developing effective marketing leadership skills begins with learning to think and plan strategically. Part of this requires stepping past the reactionary day-to-day and taking proactive action for the sake of the business.  This is a challenge in many environments if the marketing function has been understaffed or underresourced, leaving the team to merely react to the items. However, at some point, this shifts. It’s critical to see the potential for fires before they even start.  Marketing leaders must hone their ability to address complex problems and make informed decisions. That also means considering factors beyond simple financial implications, including: Implementing new technology. Mitigating risks of business processes across the organization. Simply communicating about the MQL to SQL process between teams.  Becoming a strategist means having the ability to do the following: Analyzing business fundamentals Call it “first principles” or whatever you want, but examine the core drivers of your business and be willing to challenge the status quo based on what you find. Rather than jumping on each new martech tool, consider the cascading effects of each new technology across your business. Staying ahead of marketplace trends Keep a close eye on emerging trends and anticipate their impact on your team’s work over the next 12 to 24 months. Proactively communicate this anticipated impact to your team. When your team is prepared and empowered, you can spend less time putting out fires. Shift focus to long-term planning Develop the capacity to pull yourself out of the weeds and move towards more of a planner/advisor role. For instance, these days, you might be asking, “How will our organization use AI? What are the implications? Drawbacks? Ethical concerns?”  Dig deeper: Rethinking the marketing planning process for an agile world 2. Interpret and showcase data correctly For better or worse, leaders can create a powerful effect on behavior by carefully choosing what to measure and what metrics they expect employees to use. To excel in marketing ops, you must possess a strong understanding of marketing analytics, be excellent at discerning valuable insights and communicate those findings in an impactful and concise manner. Organizations differ in how they define data-driven, though Forrester sums it up nicely: “A data-driven organization identifies the insights it needs data to inform. It effectively manages that data and empowers its team to use it.”  While data should help drive decisions, you must balance that with speed. In our organization, we often say, “Companies grow at the rate of decision-making.” You can accelerate your organization’s growth by optimizing the speed at which you gain insights from your data and empowering your team to leverage those insights. But it’s hard to create any growth if you don’t know which metrics matter Great leaders recognize the fluff of vanity metrics, but that doesn’t mean you can ignore them. Instead, understand the relationships between lead and lag measures and make sure your team understands. People in your organization will have different opinions on which metrics matter and how to interpret them Empathy and understanding are key. Strike a balance if you need to because different stakeholders will care about different KPIs. Some may give extra attention to lead measures, but these measures can still illustrate progress, even when bottom-line results are not yet apparent. It’s all about learning to tell a compelling story with the data in situations like these.  Dig deeper: Why we care about data-driven marketing 3. Practice empathetic change management Change management becomes important when implementing new processes, tools or technologies — which, in the case of marketing, can be frequent. Whether you’re adopting ChatGPT for SEO or trying to get the sales team to use HubSpot sequences, your goal is to ensure a smooth transition, minimizing disruption to your team. To achieve this, consider a few tips: Education and buy-in Practice empathy for those asked to make shifts and make sure they feel heard in their concerns. By securing their support (rather than just asserting your correctness), you can minimize foot-dragging and/or burnout. Tailor your message Just as in marketing a product or service, tailor your message to each specific group within your organization according to what’s important to them. Remember that people learn differently. For example, create visual roadmaps illustrating anticipated workflow improvements and time savings when introducing a new project management tool. Small wins Focus on finding small wins that support the vision, whether they serve as a step in the right direction or simply as a morale boost to sustain motivation. For instance, when transitioning to a new marketing automation platform, celebrate the first successful email campaign sent using the new tool, showcasing its benefits and boosting team morale. 4. Communicate and collaborate as a team People tend to either retroactively realize they needed better communication or they’re the type to have meetings for the sake of meetings. But just like group projects in high school, you don’t want to be caught doing all the work or carrying the load alone.  Effective cross-functional collaboration is key to aligning marketing efforts with other business functions, but better collaboration doesn’t mean more meetings (which could have been emails). It’s about asking the right questions and fostering free-flowing communication. Create standardized processes across teams For every decision, ask yourself: do we know the criteria we’re using to make those decisions? Start by identifying inconsistencies across functions. Pay attention to differences in response to the same questions.  For example, receiving the same request from different departments in different ways may indicate a need to streamline communication and establish clearer guidelines. Or you might find different teams have different webinar processes. This could mean that teams have different reasons for ignoring a standardized approach, have distinct processes or are unaware of shared resources like a documentation library.  Identifying and addressing these discrepancies will lead to more effective cross-functional collaboration and a stronger, more cohesive company. Don’t jump straight into the deep end with communication It’s great to keep everyone on the same page and establish clear communication channels within/across teams. Sharing insights and best practices between departments can be hugely helpful too. But avoid overdoing it in communication. Going from zero to 100 to compensate for communication lapses can be overwhelming, causing your team to tune things out and creating white noise. Leaders need to gauge effectiveness and pivot as necessary.  5. Be flexible yet structured where it matters Just as a goldfish grows to fit the size of its bowl, our tasks expand to fill the time we allow them to. Agile project management can help you efficiently allocate resources and adapt to changing priorities, ensuring you deliver timely results. Clear communication As with improving cross-functional collaboration, you must establish a decision-making framework to prioritize tasks effectively. Work on communicating goals clearly.  Dig deeper: How to use decision intelligence to tackle complex business challenges Efficient resource allocation Adopt an agile mindset when handling technology transitions. Be prepared to back up your current tools, move to new ones and notify your company about changes in tool usage. Balance time and resources to manage these transitions smoothly since sunsetting old tools bring its own workload. Adapt to changing priorities  Ask better questions to understand priority and impact. Develop a plan that is flexible enough to avoid falling apart at the first sign of change.  Deliver results on time (and don’t hide it) People may forget when you deliver on time, but they will remember when you’re late. Don’t forget to remind and celebrate your team’s successes externally. Staying agile is key By implementing agile project management, you’ll be better equipped to handle the dynamic nature of marketing operations, ensuring that you can adapt and deliver results efficiently. Excelling as a marketing ops leader requires a unique blend of skills. By nurturing these skills, you’ll be better positioned to tackle the challenges of a rapidly evolving industry. It may seem like tired advice, but remember that continuous learning and adaptability are crucial to staying ahead in marketing, so embrace the challenge. Dig deeper: Agile marketing: What it is and why marketers should care

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  • How AI can help address the marketing ops talent shortage

    How AI can help address the marketing ops talent shortage

    You can’t go anywhere these days without encountering a hyped conversation about AI. That’s fitting, given how it is changing the scope of work in many industries. However, as martech evolves, marketing teams scramble to keep pace. Far too many MOps folks are left feeling exhausted and stretched thin. The marketing operations talent shortage leaves businesses to wrangle the three-pronged problem of hiring, training and retaining skilled professionals. The situation has put a strain on management resources and forced a lot of seasoned marketers back to completing entry-level tasks, especially in areas like content production — rather than strategic planning or performance optimization. Burnout and turnover “Without a source of new talent, MOps teams are becoming top-heavy,” according to Demandbase. “The ideal MOps team is structured like a pyramid. A concentrated number of experienced practitioners focus on strategic initiatives and are supported by more junior team members who are responsible for day-to-day operations and execution. But we found that junior-level employees are outnumbered in the average MOps team, leaving higher-level team members to pick up the slack.” With such a huge part of the marketing operations role being the tasks and projects inside of the ops function, it’s difficult to find time to get the strategic work done.  As a result, senior and mid-level staff are either bored doing work that’s too easy or trying to balance this work with larger strategic responsibilities. This has led to burnout and high turnover, leaving companies stuck hiring and training replacements instead of driving the company’s marketing vision forward. MarTech first discussed the shortage in 2022, and the problem hasn’t gone anywhere since then. It may have gotten worse as ops leaders are supposed to continue to do their jobs while also figuring out the role of new tech.  Unsurprisingly, artificial intelligence is poised as the shining knight in digital armor, ready to face the talent shortage head-on and help companies overcome these challenges.  But how exactly can AI improve the marketing ops talent problem? And should we entertain that? Use AI to stay focused on strategy — not busywork AI technologies like ChatGPT are making significant progress in addressing the MOps talent shortage. By automating repetitive or straightforward tasks, AI can reduce the workload for higher-level marketing operations professionals.  This frees their time and energy to focus on more strategic and higher-level tasks, ultimately leading to a more efficient and effective marketing team. Jessica, a MOps professional at a large technology company, enjoys finding technology that can help her bring more value to her work and the company.  She mentions she’s been using tools like Rev, a sales development platform, to help find look-a-like target accounts to seed lists.  “It is a great tool to help you really focus and prioritize your CRM data. It continues to monitor your pipeline / funnel and the AI adapts and changes the algorithm as new deals enter and leave the sales cycle. It goes deeper than just firmographic details like industry, company size etc and looks at custom filters that matter to your ICP and not just the general information.” She also points out tools like Regie.ai with custom personalization in outreach to prospects, helping the productivity of sales reps. It ties in things like hobbies or a prospect’s use case creatively. There are many more to list, but the ability to designate time to find and test the applications is important. It’s not about being tool-heavy but more about identifying good places to bring AI to level up the strategy and execution of functions inside sales and marketing operations. Companies are seeing the value of an integrated system because it’s easier to define workflows, automate processes and identify bottlenecks with everything connected. Dig deeper: AI in marketing: 7 areas where it shines and struggles Where AI can play a key role in marketing operations With the sheer number of tools on the market, it may be helpful to navigate this wild west landscape more from the perspective of task categories and where we can “delegate work” to an AI team member. Process mapping With the right combination of AI tools, you can develop processes that are efficient, organized and scalable. This can start with something as simple as using ChatGPT to turn meeting notes or transcripts into an itemized checklist of tasks.  Ultimately, you should be able to take an inbound request and turn it around in a 24-hour timeline without creating additional work, panic, or rush among your team. Planning From forecasting and budget allocation to campaign optimization and targeting, AI can increasingly automate the button-pushing associated with these tasks. Data flow Disconnected systems are so 2019. You will fall behind if you’re not automating the data flow through your company.  From CRM, email and social metrics to cleaning and updating customer data along with automating reporting and visualization — nobody should be doing these things manually anymore. Code outlines Don’t have a large dev team? Marketing operations professionals with development expertise can use ChatGPT (or tools like GitHub Copilot or Ghostwriter) to quickly write up the initial project code before handing it off to a dev to finish. Data extraction Have a bunch of text or a CSV you’d normally want to hand off to someone for simple tasks? Use ChatGPT to pull out names, dates and keywords or to answer questions based on the source text. Faster content marketing From social scheduling tools like Hootsuite or HubSpot to writing tools like ChatGPT, AI can reduce a ton of legwork for creating and distributing content.  You shouldn’t have ChatGPT write your whole blog post or landing page, but you can quickly draft the bare bones using your expertise. Personalization Whether it’s customer support or lead generation, using large language models like ChatGPT to build custom chatbots for your business can lighten the load.  These bots have been limited in the past. Still, newer options allow businesses to teach the bot everything from brand guidelines to customer profile data, creating a personal conversation that can get passed off to a team member when needed. Summarizing research and briefs While ChatGPT can’t reliably give you factual responses yet, you can paste text from articles, research, or white papers, then have it summarize the findings, implications and potential course of action based on that information. On top of this list, keep an eye on the latest tools to help provide better resource allocation for marketing managers, stronger predictive modeling for strategists and easier sentiment analysis for marketing analysts. Dig deeper: 5 AI writing assistants in action Balancing AI and human expertise With more AI tech, marketing operations has the opportunity to evolve from simple reporting teams and spreadsheet warriors to full-fledged technology strategists who help shape marketing and sales technology vision in the long term. But automating away all the “laborer” tasks won’t replace your need for an architect. Execution without strategic design is a great way to build a house that collapses at the first sign of wind. With everyone else using AI, what sets you apart in this tech race will be your frameworks and processes for using it effectively. Once these standards are established, it becomes easier to communicate to your team when to lean on AI and when you need humans involved. Meanwhile, if you lean too heavily on AI in the wrong ways, you risk making many costly mistakes that damage customer trust. To strike a better balance, companies should help their current MOps teams learn to work more effectively with AI in all its forms, so they can harness its potential while maintaining the strategic human judgment that sets great marketing apart.

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  • Marketing technologists are well-rewarded

    Marketing technologists are well-rewarded

    If you work in marketing technology or marketing ops, there’s a good chance you’re better compensated than your peers among general marketers. That’s one takeaway from the 2023 MarTech Salary and Career Survey. Those members of the marketing operations team more focused on tech and operations (“maestros”) than the design and execution of campaigns earned, on average, $25,000 more than their campaign-focused peers. More maestros promoted. A marginally higher proportion of maestros were more likely to have been promoted over the last year than marketers (49% vs. 46%); and 61% of maestros said “demonstrating/proving a positive impact on the business from martech” was the most rewarding aspect of their job (against 58% of general marketers). The four marketing technologist roles in MOPs. Source: Scott Brinker Responding to these findings, Scott Brinker said: Marketers design and run campaigns. Maestroes manage and integrate the stack, designthe processes and workflows, and — importantly — train and support marketing staff on using martech.Maestros are the giants whose shoulders marketers stand upon. Scott Brinker, VP Platform Ecosystem at HubSpot and Editor at chiefmartec.com Dig deeper: What is marketing operations and who are MOps professionals? Graduate degrees no impact. It was no surprise that, the larger the employer the higher the compensation. Perhaps less predictably, having a graduate degree had no impact on salary. Directors earned, on average, much more than managers and other staff. Why we care. It’s important to us to take the industry’s pulse each year and track the opportunities opening up for marketers and maestros and their levels of satisfaction with their work, their compensation and their promotion prospects. What we clearly see is an industry in which two predominant self-identified types are emerging — those individuals primarily concerned with operations and techology and those primarily concerned with devising and executing campaigns. The place where those professional capabilities intersect is what we call — martech. The survey. The survey, conducted jointly by MarTech and chiefmartec.com, was taken by 419 marketers in December 2022 and January 2023; 401 of those provided salary information. Nearly 70% (286) respondents live in North America; 15% (63) live in Western Europe. The report’s conclusions are limited to responses from those individuals only. Others were excluded due to the limited number. Respondents answered more than 20 questions related to career roles, salary, technology and job satisfaction and challenges/frustrations. They were from all job levels — C-suite to managers and staff. Add MarTech to your Google News feed.     Related stories New on MarTech @media screen and (min-width: 800px) { #div-gpt-ad-6013980-7 { display: flex !important; justify-content: center !important; align-items: center !important; min-width:770px; min-height:260px; } } @media screen and (min-width: 1279px) { #div-gpt-ad-6013980-7 { display: flex !important; justify-content: center !important; align-items: center !important; min-width:800px!important; min-height:440px!important; } }

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  • Why understanding the product is a must in martech, MOps

    Why understanding the product is a must in martech, MOps

    Hopefully, I’m not the only martech or marketing operations (MOps) practitioner who sometimes feels disconnected from our companies’ products. We’re not product marketers; when we’re involved in campaign planning and execution, we’re focused on technical configurations and performance. We work on delivering the message — not the messaging itself. While there’s little difference in managing an email nurture campaign, for example, to sell blenders or airplanes, that doesn’t mean understanding the specific product is not essential for the folks administering the marketing automation platform. Knowing the company’s products helps us understand stakeholder motivations, needs and requirements and better tie their work to the organization’s goals and performance metrics. Here are some examples from my career where making an effort to understand the product led to greater marketing results. B2B Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) A high-level understanding of the product is always handy in B2B SaaS. While working for Zuora, I learned what the company’s products are trying to solve for revenue professionals. This doesn’t require taking a finance or accounting class or earning an MBA. Keywords, for instance, play a key role in digital marketing — from paid ads to running an account-based marketing platform. When the product marketing and creative folks provide a list of relevant keywords, knowing about them helps with system administration.  If a system allows for keyword ranking, it helps to know which ones are most relevant to the target audience. This can also help when designing messaging (webpages, emails, text messages, etc.) by ensuring they are visible or providing guidance for A/B testing of email subject lines and landing page UX.  Learning about such topics made it easier for me to grasp direction from my colleagues and translate that into system configurations or coordination with vendors. That makes things easier for everyone. Understanding — and speaking to — prospective customers’ pain points isn’t just for the business development, account executive and customer success folks. Dig deeper: Product-led growth: 3 important lessons from the front line Hospitality As part of my current gig with Wyndham Hotels and Resorts, I learned that hospitality has significant similarities with fast food. The vast majority of properties are franchised. Wyndham manages the overall portfolio of brands, provides guidance and support to franchisors, builds overall brand awareness and offers other services. Thus, I’m helping sell far more than hotel rooms and amenities — including opportunities for entrepreneurs. Along those lines, although the B2C side of the travel sector is very apparent, there’s more to the picture. Understanding how our martech systems are useful to our franchise partners who deal directly with guests in person when they’re at a property is beneficial. Further, like many other companies, loyalty programs are a big part of the business. They’re a huge deal. “The disclosed pro-forma valuations of AAdvantage and MileagePlus exceeded the airlines’ [American and United, respectively] own market capitalizations,” according to the Harvard Business Review. These programs provided associated airlines with financial cover as travel plummeted during the pandemic. They also allowed companies to continue engaging customers and generating revenue through partners like associated credit cards and retail affiliations.  Dig deeper: Why we care about loyalty marketing Product understanding informs your efforts When martech and MOps practitioners better understand their company’s products, they can skillfully partner with colleagues to coordinate marketing campaigns and better tie efforts to corporate goals. This helps decrease the time butting heads with others to decipher the target audience and broader organizational needs, providing informed insight that can garner success for all We’re the practitioners with technical acumen. A significant part of our duties is to help translate our colleagues’ persuasive brilliance into the digital realm.

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  • Here’s why you need a DAM workflow — and how to map it out

    Here’s why you need a DAM workflow — and how to map it out

    A digital asset management (DAM) system is much more than a virtual storage locker for your company’s intellectual property. It enhances  productivity and efficiency in the search for, and re-use of, marketing assets through artificial intelligence and automation. Reaping the full benefits of a DAM, requires capturing workflows so administrators can address redundancies. For example, most marketing asset management (MAM) systems can’t  create  different versions of existing assets, but a DAM might.  Instead of creating a request in a project management tool then waiting for new versions of an existing image to be uploaded to the MAM, a marketer could create several versions in the DAM within a few moments. This simple change could save many hours.  Given that the largest percentage of marketers are millennials or Gen Z who’ve worked five years or less, business process concepts may be misunderstood. When asked to describe their day-to-day workflows, some may be unable to explain the term.  Dig deeper: We’re implementing DAM! Where do I start? What is a workflow? A workflow is the path one takes from the beginning of a project to the end. For DAM administrators, it represents all the steps between a request for a new asset and the delivery of its final version.  Most of us don’t think about the steps we take to perform common tasks, especially the ones we do most often. Could you write down the steps you take between deciding to go to the grocery store and putting purchased goods away in your pantry? It might give one a brain cramp.  Marketing work boils down to a collection of projects containing tasks that are performed repetitively. While the creative process — inspiration, perspiration and activation — is often difficult for writers, designers and developers to articulate, the work products they deliver are not.  How to sketch out a workflow Here’s an example of the workflow for a typical marketing project: A project request  ideally comes in the form of a brief with detailed instructions about the messaging, look and feel and specific assets required for the project. An initial draft for the client, which may be  a single piece or multiple pieces depending upon the complexity of the request. A client might request separate copy and design drafts or a full mockup of the asset(s) with copy and design in place. A feedback and revision round in which the client returns comments and edits to the creative team. A second draft delivery with subsequent feedback and revision rounds, if necessary, until a final proof can be obtained, A final proof process where one or more stakeholders review the final asset(s) and sign off on all changes. Delivery of the final asset(s) to the client. Completion of the project and migration of final asset(s) to a corporate archive.  Each of these stages can contain one or more individual tasks, such as: Producing graphics. Implementing templates. Getting brand manager approval of particular items such as logos. Editing and proofing of copy. Internal Q&A prior to delivering drafts and revisions to clients. Legal or other regulatory review of certain aspects of copy or design. Other steps within the approval flow to ensure agreement across different operational or organizational departments. Reviewing a process such as this  can help your  team map out their own processes. Using these stages as milestones, they can discuss the tasks they perform to move from one stage to the next. Making a workflow diagram There are many templates and flowcharts available to assist you with mapping workflow. Some are available in your desktop software, such as Word, Excel, PowerPoint or Keynote. Even a simple list of tasks in Notepad can suffice. For example: Project Request Assign project lead Assign copywriter and graphic designer Assign web developer, if required Choose & verify templates and brand guides Write first copy draft Create three graphic mockups for creative team review A project management platform such as Adobe Workfront, Confluence, Trello orAsanar,  can convert these into forms and templates that automatically populate, assign dates and deadlines and send emails to appropriate project members.  Setting up workflow tasks in your DAM Some DAMs have features that will help speed tasks and eliminate speedbumps using automated workflows. Adobe Experience Manager Assets, for example, has  a proof approval workflow  that sends links to internal or external clients and stakeholders, allowing them to OK proofs without needing access to the DAM. Once the project management tool is linked to the DAM via API, the DAM will capture and retain all comments, revisions and updates and automatically email a copy or a link  to relevant parties.  This can  eliminate the final step of packaging and migrating final files, because they immediately become a part of the DAM system. This also  makes it a simple matter for your team to share updates of works in progress to clients without  countless emails or uploading sensitive documents to clouds outside your firewall.  DAM workflows boost productivity and efficiency The steps to get things done mostly reside “in one’s head.” But teams cannot benefit from each other’s creativity and skill without common workflows that save everyone time.  Once workflows are hammered out, DAM administrators can ask relevant questions about what steps take.

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