Welcome to the Marketing Impact Vlog, where we are breaking down how your success in your MarTech stack either thrives OR dies with how you design your Marketing Operations function.

A main focus at most marketing organizations over the past few years has been dominated by Marketing Technology, MarTech for short.

Gartner’s recent CMO Spend Survey shows CMOs spending an increasingly larger proportion of their budgets on technology, specifically 29% of their budget in 2018 VS 22% in 2017. However, to counteract that increase, CMO’s are spending less on staffing: 24% of their budget in 2018 VS 27% in 2017.

Does technology alleviate our staffing needs? The answer is complicated. We can certainly remove manual administrative roles from our teams which are now being automated by technology. However, we MUST invest in MO (Marketing Operations)professionals to truly leverage and optimize our MarTech investments.

In my opinion, hiring an MO team is the most challenging hire in all of marketing. It’s a young science that requires both analytical and technical skills, along with marketing experience and strategy.

Not only do MO professionals need to understand marketing, but they must act as process improvement engineers with outstanding communication skills to liaison with a plethora of stakeholders including information technology, information systems, accounting, sales and obviously all the segments of marketing.

There is a reason these professionals have been referred to as “unicorns”— because they mostly don’t exist. And, if they do exist, you probably can’t afford them!

This is the heart of our dilemma. How do we successfully increase MarTech ROI, without the proper investment and training of our MO team? You can’t and that’s the focus of today’s Marketing Impact Vlog.

We feel that best-of-class marketing organizations hire MO professionals with these critical skills:

The obvious skills:
• Technology and Automation
• Campaign Analysis and Reporting
• Data Management
• Lead Generation and Management
• Marketing Best Practices & Strategy

The not so obvious skills:
• Workflow Process and Development
• Talent and Skills Development
• Project Management
• Business Strategy & Analysis
• Partner & Relationship Management
• Consultation and Communication

Now that you know what you’re truly looking for, don’t forget to fight hard to be sure your MO team reports into marketing. Many organizations lump MarTech into general technology and therefore hire staff that reports into IT.

If your MO team reports to anyone but marketing, it’s a HUGE mistake. The MO team doesn’t just implement technology; they lead adoption, execution and utilization of the technology, plus analyze the data to drive ROI and ultimately your business’s success.

At their core, MO professionals are at the intersection of multiple functions. They hold a unique position, with access to crucial data and insights, constantly communicating new ideas, new processes and new ways to achieve results. They also act as consultants who listen to problems and present and implement solutions.

So how do you find these unicorns and train them?

It’s not an easy proposition, but we’ve identified three stages to get you on your way.

Stage 1: Skills Specification
We’ve already outlined the core skills of an MO professional; you just need to refine the requirements based on your organizational needs. Is your role more technical, more strategic, or is it more execution oriented?

Be sure to disseminate your needs and build an MO description that targets these unicorns. But remember the likelihood of finding a unicorn who possesses all of these skills is not likely, which brings us to stage 2.

Stage 2: Settle & Train
You could wait 6 months for the perfect hire and it will likely not appear. At some point, you need to settle on the best candidates (whether internal or contract) who can grow into the perfect MO professional for your organization. Be sure to make a mental note of where the gaps are in their skill set and offer specific opportunities for that individual to gain the necessary experience.

What they get exposed to determines what they learn. So be sure to get them to the latest conference, assigned to unique projects, and reading white papers, eBooks, and blogs that will influence their professional growth. You need to address these gaps in skills and process from their initial day on the job.

Here are a few hacks:
• Create an MO development rotation in all parts of marketing with emphasis and/or certifications in communications, consulting and technology/analysis.
• Hire someone with a technical skill set and have them take a rotation in marketing.
• Hire a tech-savvy marketing professional and have them take a rotation in technology/analysis.
• Recognize growth with skill awards and certification.

Stage 3: Challenge & Grow
Once you’ve built the perfect unicorn, your work isn’t over.

The MarTech universe is constantly evolving and requires your MO team to have their finger on the pulse so to speak. Build in time monthly, at a minimum, and challenge the team to optimize processes, creatively brainstorm, evaluate strategy and platforms and implement necessary changes to challenge the status quo and advance your MO organization.

No one said it was going to be easy, but success never is. Developing a plan of attack is half the battle.

We hope we were able to provide the blueprint to get you on your way to building a best in class MO team in your pursuit to optimize your MarTech investments.

Thanks for joining us today!

We love feedback, so please comment below and let us know what you think.

If you’re looking for more opportunities to learn about MarTech and Marketing Operations we highly encourage you to attend the 20th anniversary of our Marketing Impact event. This is a Frost & Sullivan Executive MindXchange and if you’ve never attended one, you MUST place this event on your calendar. I’ll actually be running a half-day workshop on the Madness that is MarTech! For more information, please visit marketingmindxchange.com.

As always – remember to Grow Your Brand…And Drive Demand

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