“I’m bored and have NOTHING to do!” – said no marketing operations person ever.

If you feel like you’re continually being asked to do more, you’re right— marketing operations teams are doing more now than a decade ago, and likely, with fewer resources. If we reflect back over the years, we can identify a few fundamental shifts in digital marketing fueling the MOPS bonfire. As such, it’s not a surprise that marketing operations teams often feel like they’re working harder just to keep their heads above water.

So how did we get to overload stage so quickly? And how do we protect the integrity of marketing operations as marketing continues to evolve?

From Marketing Automation to Marketing Operations

When Marketo was first introduced, it was revolutionary. It quickly became clear that it was much more than an email deployment tool and the automation feature was just the tip of the iceberg. Though marketing automation is one facet of operations, it’s not the entirety of it.

“Marketing operations is the heart and science around connecting the right technology, having the proper processes, people, and training so that it can all work well cohesively,” Alexandre Pelletier, CEO of Perkuto, emphasized. “The operations piece is much more intentional than automation. Marketing operations cares about the actual results and impact beyond just the automation.”

Marketing operations is the heart and science around connecting the right technology, having the proper processes, people, and training so that it can all work well cohesively. - Alexandre Pelletier Click To Tweet

Naomi Liu, Director of Marketing Operations at EFI also states it well: “At a high level, marketing operations is a combination of what I like to call the MOPS trifecta, and that is: optimization, governance, and adoption. You’re optimizing the marketing technology stack within an organization, you’re governing the usage – especially as it relates to data – and ensuring that all of the tools within your stack are well adopted in your company.”

What began as a hiring frenzy to get people to simply operate the tools, grew into something more— defining who and how an organization can use marketing automation and the impact marketing has on sales, which quickly raised the need to integrate it with other technologies.

When you’re looking for additional Marketo resources, look beyond technical aptitude— that’s just table stakes. Be sure you’re clear too, on expectations for what you need. It’s likely your new hands won’t just operate the tool, but will also be responsible for training, documentation, adoption, governance— and more. As such, your resource allocation should look at the entire need, not just technical aptitude.

Tech Solutions vs. Tech Headaches

The staggering 8,000 MarTech solutions available to marketers today has proven to be a bit of a Pandora’s box for marketing operations teams, comparative to the 150 or so solutions available in 2011. Though there seems to be a tool for everything now, don’t be fooled into thinking that additional tech makes life easier for your marketing operations teams– at times, quite the opposite. While the right tool can certainly make an impact when properly planned for and implemented, too often it causes discord.

“One of the main reasons that there is a disconnect between the executives and marketing operations is that an executive may be sold on the thought that new technology integration and utilization should be easy, when in reality, it’s really hard to make everything work in harmony across different platforms,” Alexandre cautioned.

Of course, new tools aren’t going to stop popping up. But before making the leap, drill into questions about the business problem the tool will solve and how it will help prove ROI. Without that, the “tech solution” becomes an expensive budget line item and a headache for MOPS.

Additionally, when the tech conversation begins, get complete buy-in— the resources, budget, and time needed to implement the new technology and do it well. Go beyond the software fee and be sure to include the cost of adoption, training, updating systems and integrations to your budget. Managing expectations on new tech integrations is key— and an excellent way for the MOPS team to shine while also adding tangible business value.

Evolving MOPS Responsibilities

With marketing operations being continually overloaded, it begs the question, should MOPS take on more? From requests to do HTML coding to support beyond the marketing team, where do you draw the line?

“Taking on more responsibilities is a good thing for marketing operations because it elevates the discipline within a company, but only if it makes sense and is related to the systems and data that is being supported,” Naomi commented. “Resources and budget need to be appropriately allocated to support these tasks in full. Essentially: do it well or don’t do it at all, because often these tasks are used to make business decisions.”

Taking on more responsibilities is a good thing for marketing operations because it elevates the discipline within a company, but only if it makes sense and is related to the systems and data that is being supported. - Naomi Liu Click To Tweet

Keep in mind too, the more that’s added to marketing operations, the harder it is to fill the role or hire new talent. Understand there will be trade-offs in expertise, wide vs. deep. Identifying the critical needs vs. the specialized ones (which can often be outsourced) will ensure your team is best set-up for success and is less likely to burn out.

Need deeper Marketo expertise or more help executing campaigns? Let’s get the conversation started— talk to us now.