What a conference! Last week, I attended the MarTech West conference in sunny San Jose, California. Along with Cyndi Marty from Sub-Zero, we led a presentation on Sub-Zero’s journey toward decentralized marketing, the steps they’re taking to improve their scalability and how they’re empowering their regional marketers. In addition to speaking, I was able to catch up with old friends, meet a ton of great new friends and contacts and attend other sessions by our peers in the industry. Here’s a sampling of what I’m taking away from MarTech West 2019.

  • MarTech is the place to be for marketing ops people. If you’re in ops, you’ll get a ton of value for your money. MarTech is the annual reunion of people in the martech world, the people who are technical but also strategic. Having just been at Adobe Summit, I can say that MarTech’s crowd was less focused on creative and more focused on the nuts and bolts of getting stuff done.
  • Talk about centralized and decentralized marketing was hot. There were several sessions that covered the centralized vs. decentralized debate. Kathleen Schaub focused on it in her main stage keynote on Friday, and reminded MOPS leaders of the importance of putting up a proverbial “guard rail” on the side of the road so that marketers can operate more efficiently on their own.
  • Transformation stories were big draws. Rachel Beck from Cisco Meraki led a great session on Thursday afternoon. In “Building a Marketing Ops Team from the Ground Up,” she chronicled her experience walking into the job at Cisco as a complete martech newbie this time last year—one who attended MarTech 2018 and soaked up information like a sponge—and has she and her organization have transformed over the past year.

    Rachel recommended three tips for marketing ops professionals who may be in similar circumstances, growing teams from scratch. I share these here because I know this is a situation many of our clients face.

  • Clear mission: Have a clear mission for the MOPS department and ensure the whole company understands that mission and why MOPS is needed to complete it.
  • Diplomacy: Employ lots of diplomacy because you’re going to be saying no to lots of the requests you’re getting
  • Visibility: Ensure your MOPS team is seen in higher management; they can be in a position to align all groups for campaign approbation because they’re in the middle of all of the action.
  • Mindfulness belongs in marketing. One presentation I found a bit surprising and fun was Santa Clara University’s Shauna Shapiro speaking about “Mindfulness for Innovation and Change Management.” While the topic may sound a bit “out there,” the presentation was really relevant—after all, we’re all feeling stressed, we often have trouble feeling focused and mindfulness helps us bring more of that focus back. And mindfulness isn’t just some new age fad; as Shanua pointed out, there’s a ton of science behind it. I suspect we’ll be hearing more about mindfulness as 2019 progresses.

Were you at MarTech West? What was your favorite part? Did you attend our session? What resonated with you? Let me know in the comments—and while you’re at it, download our conference eBook, Strategies for Scaling Your Operations & Managing Your Digital Transformation.