Takeaways from Live MOps Huddles

Whether you missed a Huddle or want to refresh your memory, get Darrell Alfonso’s key takeaways from past Live MOps Huddles below. It’ll almost be like you’re there in person.

How to Grow Your Marketing Ops Team the Right Way

May 2024

Guest Speakers: Jackie Lenaghan, Marketing Operations Manager at Kainos, Jeff Kew, Director Marketing Operations at Uberflip, and Megan Cabrera, VP Marketing Operations at Sophos

Author: Darrell Alfonso

Top Takeaways:

  1. Marketing ops leaders are looking to hire candidates who are accountable, proactive, and empathetic.
  2. Of attendees, 93% had a MOPs team of 10 people or less.
  3. Building a marketing ops team during lean times is all about prioritizing specific types of projects, tasks, and headcount.
  4. Marketing ops leaders are renegotiating their Martech contracts across the board. Now is not the time for “nice to haves.”
  5. Marketing ops leaders are also negotiating with top leadership: “What projects are absolutely necessary and what can we live without at this time?”
  6. Of attendees, 25% are currently growing their MOPs team while 65% are neither growing or reducing headcount.
  7. Here’s a great exercise in prioritization: Create a list of things you will START doing to drive business goals, a list that you will STOP doing that aren’t productive, and a list of things you will CONTINUE doing that are currently productive.
  8. Marketing ops leaders recommend pushing to own analytics and budgeting work streams to quickly secure a seat at the revenue strategy table.
  9. Marketing ops leaders advise hiring team members to focus on data, analytics, and project management.

The Unanswered: All the unanswered questions from MOps Breakout 

April 2024

Guest Speakers: Mya James, Leader Marketing Operations at LiveRamp and Dani Worthman, Director of Marketing Operations and Demand Generation at Headspace

Author: Darrell Alfonso

Top Takeaways:

We answered some tough career questions:

Q: When should I change jobs? Should I stay at this job or look for another?
A: Ask yourself these questions – Am I still learning? Have you outgrown your role? Remember that you should have competitive pay, challenging problems to solve, and a respectful, positive culture.

Q: What should I do if I am starting a senior marketing ops role at a new company?
A: Be a sponge, assess the maturity of your team and company, and figure out the people dynamics before you make decisions. (My personal favorite from Mya James: “Listen like you’re wrong.”)

Q: How do I keep developing myself if I feel like my career has stagnated?
A: Start to get curious. Be curious about your customers, product, industry, and profession. Remember – your career isn’t where you hang your hat. Build your career of skills, experiences, and value and you can do anything. – Ronald Gaines.

Q: How should we think of marketing operations given there are so many definitions?
A: The job of marketing operations is to bring the CMO’s vision to life and to drive operational excellence throughout the GTM teams. Assess the biggest challenges your team is facing and match your skills to right solutions. Other advice is to create definitions, catalogs, and decks of marketing ops roles and responsibilities and shop those around to secure buy-in and support. – Dani Worthman

MOps Heart-to-Heart: Venting With Love

February 2024

Guest Speakers: Britney Young, Director of Digital Marketing at Prudential Financial, Jomar Ebalida, Head of Revenue Technology Operations at Paul Hastings, Elaine Sun, Director of Marketing Operations and Technology at Splunk

Author: Darrell Alfonso

Top Takeaways:

  1. People don’t understand marketing ops: This reflects a fundamental gap in knowledge and appreciation of the role, highlighting a need for education and visibility within the organization.
  2. People don’t see MOPs as strategic: Challenging the perception that MOPs is purely tactical rather than a strategic partner underlines the need to redefine and elevate the function’s profile.
  3. We don’t get recognition: The lack of acknowledgment for the contributions of MOPs teams speaks to broader issues of visibility and value recognition within the company.
  4. Winning companies will be the ones that value and take advantage of marketing ops value: This statement provocatively sets the stakes high, suggesting that organizational success is linked to how well MOPs is leveraged.
  5. Change management is hard, but we realized most of work is change management: Acknowledging the difficulty of change management while recognizing its centrality to MOPs work emphasizes the team’s pivotal role in navigating and facilitating organizational change.
  6. Marketing ops needs to be able to know who they are talking to in terms of audience, and craft the right story: This underscores the strategic importance of audience understanding and narrative control in achieving MOPs objectives.
  7. How to be effective at marketing ops? Become the bridge between multiple teams: Suggesting MOPs as a linchpin in cross-functional collaboration and communication highlights its role in breaking silos and fostering unity.
  8. We don’t get exposure: Similar to not getting recognition, this point further delves into the visibility challenge, stressing the need for MOPs achievements and capabilities to be showcased more broadly.
  9. Need to define what I do and charter: This speaks to the existential challenge of clearly articulating the scope, responsibilities, and value proposition of the MOPs function.
  10. We are not personal assistants: Asserting the professional stature and strategic nature of MOPs work counters any misperception that diminishes its importance.
  11. Marketing ops need to focus on outcomes and deliverables versus projects: This shifts the conversation from activities to impact, emphasizing the end results over the tasks.
  12. We’re seeing a lot more CMOs with digital experience so that is better for marketing ops: Recognizing the evolving landscape of marketing leadership suggests a more favorable environment for MOPs, given the increasing value placed on digital expertise.
  13. One of the projects that will never really get you recognition – duplicate management: Highlighting a specific, often underappreciated task like duplicate management sheds light on the unsung, yet critical, contributions of MOPs to organizational efficiency.

How to break your MOps team’s bad habits

January 2024

Guest Speakers: Chloe Pott, Marketing Operations Leader at Lokalise, Dr. Helen Abramova, Dir of Marketing Tech at Avalara

Author: Darrell Alfonso

Top Takeaways:

  1. Not making time for documentation and internal communication. Set aside regular time, or delegate this, but don’t let it go undone.
  2. Lack of prioritization – many marketing ops teams take on too much and end up delivering too little. Evaluate all requests against top goals and existing roadmap.
  3. Getting very efficient at accomplishing low value tasks. Efficiency for efficiency’s sake is a trap.
  4. Measuring your success by the number of tickets you resolve. When you do this, the only way to improve is to resolve even more tickets.
  5. Intaking requests and tickets without understanding the why. This will always lead to becoming an endless order-taker.
  6. Not building flex time into your team’s plan. If your team is maxed out all the time, small problems can do major damage.
  7. Being responsible for everything under the sun. Set yourself up for success by being clear on what your team will do and what you won’t do.
  8. Making plans in a silo. Vet and align your marketing ops roadmap with sales, CS, product, finance, and others.
  9. When looking for a job: beware of job descriptions that describe the job of four people in one role. That is unrealistic and you will be setting yourself up for failure.
  10. When looking for a job: beware of companies that don’t prioritize and encourage professional development.

Super Live MOps Huddle:

Unpacking the new 4 pillars of marketing operations and sharing 2024 trends and predictions

December 2023

Guest Speakers: Dr. Debbie Qaqish, Principal & Chief Strategy Officer at The Pedowitz Group, Mike Rizzo, Community-led Founder and CEO at MarketingOps.com

Author: Darrell Alfonso

Top Takeaways

  1. Many leaders agree that the future of the marketing operations team will be heavily involved in strategy and planning AS WELL as technology and data management.
  2. Marketing ops leaders WANT mops to be responsible for AI and the customer experience in the future.
  3. Prediction from Mike Rizzo: Marketing ops will become the “Marchitects,” helping architect a holistic and effective GTM motion.
  4. Trendspotting from Mike Rizzo: We’re already seeing marketing ops use first-party data to drive hyper-personalization, even without use of third-party cookies.
  5. From Dr. Debbie Qaqish: Marketing ops pros need MORE skills, especially around data and AI, to be successful in the future.
  6. From Dr. Debbie Qaqish: I’m betting BIG on marketing ops owning AI to drive marketing and customer value.
  7. Marketing ops will take on a major role in determining and improving ROI for marketing in 2024 and on.
  8. There are huge opportunities for marketing ops gains to understand and collaborate with the product team.

Marketing Ops horror stories and how we survived!

October 2023

Guest Speakers: Justin Norris, Director of Marketing Operations at 360Learning, Chris Willis, GTM Operations Lead at Trimble, and Moni Oloyede, Owner/Founder at MO Martech

Author: Darrell Alfonso

Top Takeaways

  1. Marketing mistakes are INEVITABLE. Prepare to accept accountability and address the issue quickly.
  2. Better yet: Have a plan and protocol in place for when errors inevitably happen. Create emails templates for corrections, data issues, customer complaints and more.
  3. Remember: Some of your biggest learnings and growth leaps will come from your mistakes. Look at them in a different light.
  4. You can limit failure in unknown situations by gathering data and seeking mentor and peer feedback.
  5. When your team makes mistakes, give them some grace! A team that is afraid of making mistakes will not grow.
  6. My personal horror story – waiting for perfect data. It’s better to show your prototypes early, and callout anything that isn’t fully accurate yet.
  7. Testing is a life-saver. Test any changes in a sandbox or in a small number of records to identify any unforeseen ramifications.
  8. Transparent communication with stakeholders and leaders is essential and builds trust.

Navigating the climb with confidence: moving from mops manager to director and beyond

September 2023

Guest Speakers: Paul Wilson, CEO at GTM Systems and Jessica Kao, Senior Director, Marketing Operations and Martech at Cloudflare

Author: Darrell Alfonso

Top Takeaways

  1.  The biggest leap is a mindset shift. You need to shift from technical competency to business impact.
  2.  Translation is a critical skills. Translate tech work and project work into increases in pipeline and revenue.
  3. Remember that there are external factors involved, such as limited ops growth path and limited budget for a new role.
  4. 70% of the town hall reported “I have made my career aspirations known to my manager”
  5. 59% of the town hall reported “career next steps from my manager was unclear”
  6. Advice from Jess Kao – make sure you get roadmap buy in from your boss and your boss’ peers.
  7. Always ask: how can you tie your work to pipeline and revenue?
  8. Spread this message: Marketing ops is the accelerant to marketing – we are the rising tide that lifts all ships.
  9. Conduct a maturity assessment in your organization to see if there is a growth path for you. You may need to look elsewhere for a more accelerated growth path.

From chaos to control: MOps leaders share real planning and reporting strategies

August 2023

Guest Speakers: Abby Koble, MBA, VP Marketing Operations at Cornerstone OnDemand and Agness Gaadi, VP Marketing Operations and Martech at A&E Networks

Author: Darrell Alfonso

Top Takeaways

  1. Plan thoughtfully. All your plans and projects should roll up into business goals.
  2. All KPIs should be metrics. But not all metrics should be KPIs.
  3. Unfortunately, not every project can fit neatly into a “sprint.” Plan accordingly,
  4. More than 63% of marketing ops pros present their reports at the VP level.
  5. More than 45% of marketing ops pros plan quarterly, compared to annually or monthly.
  6. When it comes to reports, the board wants to see ROI and spend, not your multi-touch attribution model.
  7. You can’t do good reporting without good data.
  8. Optimization and efficiency aren’t end goals in themselves. All initiatives should map to business objectives.
  9. One recommendation – revenue ops should own dashboards – marketing ops should own insights.

Personal branding for marketing operations (it doesn’t have to be icky)

July 2023

Guest Speakers: Phil Gamache, Director of Growth at Pelago and Melissa McCready, Founder/CEO at Navigate Consulting Group

Author: Darrell Alfonso

Top Takeaways

  1. Ideally, great marketing ops work and results can stand on their own. But be careful not to assume that.
  2. Consider this question when thinking about personal branding: If I were to lose my job tomorrow, would I have any leads in my next role?
  3. Many are concerned about being overly promotional or self-centred. Think instead – what skills and knowledge can I teach others?
  4. One way to build a network is to regularly seek new connections, set up coffee chats, and ask for advice.
  5. Introverts tend to have a harder time with public personal branding. Try asynch avenues instead, such as writing articles or starting a podcast.
  6. Personal branding can drive business, but not the way you think. It’s the second, third, and serendipitous connections you make through personal branding that really pay off.
  7. Many are concerned about getting criticized for posting advice. The truth? Criticism comes in all fields. Focus on the people you will be helping. That’s what really matters.

How to grow your marketing operations team

June 2023

Guest Speakers: Justin Sharaf, Vice President Marketing Operations at Collibra and Naomi Liu, Director, Global Marketing Operations at EFI

Author: Darrell Alfonso

Top Takeaways

  1. Managing up is key. Consistently share with leaders the types of challenges you face and what you can do with additional investment.
  2. Invest in people before tools.
  3. Educating your company about marketing operations is critical: Explain your team’s mission statement, principles, the value you drive, and constraints.
  4. Publish this info on the company intranet or wiki.
  5. Start small when asking for additional investment. Try asking for an intern to help with projects or a small pool of funds for third-party support.
  6. The time you allocate to internal communication grows proportionally with your organization.
  7. Self-service marketing ops might be a solution to scale, but your company’s marketers need the skills to support it.
  8. One way to build a team is to have a team of marketing ops generalists who’ll then specialize in a specific function.
  9. Your people are looking for mastery, autonomy, and purpose.

Finding the perfect fit: How to interview and hire in marketing operations

May 2023

Guest Speakers: Sara McNamara, Senior Manager, Marketing Operations at Salesforce and Charles Eichenbaum, Director, Demand Operations and Marketer Enablement at Google

Author: Darrell Alfonso

Top Takeaways

  1. Interviewees should prepare a handful of stories that illustrate their skills, experience, and impact.
  2. Interviewers should read “Who – The Method for Hiring”. This book pushes them to check for mission, competencies, and outcomes.
  3. ~60% of attendees were more interested in tips to “get hired” compared to “hire better.”
  4. Attendees agreed that most hiring managers and candidates don’t like special projects, tests, or presentations in the interview process.
  5. Hiring managers can check for technical competency by asking behavioral questions and asking to explain specific examples.
  6. Candidate red flags: no company research, unclear of job role, lackluster attitude toward the company and mission.
  7. Company culture assessment red flags: rude hiring manager, they’re unprepared, the job is actually two jobs merged into one.
  8. Most hiring managers dislike canned questions like “What is your greatest weakness?” However, it can be helpful to ask, “What is your greatest failure, and what did you learn from it?”

MOps goal setting: How to drive purpose and impact with your marketing team

April 2023

Guest Speakers: Kimi Corrigan, Vice President, Marketing Operations & Strategy at Expel and Chelsea Kiko, Director, Marketing Operations at McGraw Hill

Author: Darrell Alfonso

Top Takeaways

  1. Close to 75% of participants use OKRs.
  2. Marketing ops professionals usually set goals around efficiency, implementing technology, or completing projects. However, they want to set more related to revenue.
  3. Some marketing ops leaders don’t have goals as they must focus on large projects, such as a MAP or CRM migration.
  4. Marketing ops goals should be set in collaboration with leadership and key stakeholders.
  5. Most marketing ops pros conduct a quarterly goal-setting process. Some do this annually.
  6. One of the toughest parts of marketing ops goal-setting is quantifying impact.
  7. While some marketing ops leaders don’t have specific goals, most agree that monitoring their team’s progress on key projects is critical.

MOps vs. RevOps

March 2023

Guest Speakers: Brooke Bartos, Director of Marketing Operations & Analytics – Enterprise Solutions at EngageSmart and Lorena Morales, Director of Global Digital Marketing Revenue Operations at Jones Lang LaSalle Inc

Author: Darrell Alfonso

Top Takeaways

  1. Everybody agreed that sales operations simply “rebranded” as revenue operations are NOT revenue operations.
  2. Marketing ops pros want to stay in marketing ops but think there are career growth opportunities in revenue ops.
  3. Overall, participants agreed that alignment is more important than organizational structure.
  4. Most participants agreed that marketing should not roll up to a CRO.
  5. Revenue ops can shine when leaders look objectively at marketing and sales ops to determine how to solve problems.
  6. Marketing ops must find more ways to support and stay connected to revenue, regardless of structure.
  7. Siloes are a killer problem for sales and marketing that revenue ops must solve.
  8. In theory, having revenue ops as a separate, strategic function outside of sales and marketing may work well as a model.

Can you recession-proof marketing operations?

February 2023

Guest Speakers: Moni Oloyede, Owner/Founder at MO Martech and Danielle Balestra, Director of Marketing Technology and Operations at Goodwin Procter LLP 

Author: Darrell Alfonso

Top Takeaways

  1. Ops leaders are cutting low ROI tech.
  2. Stay close to executive sponsors to understand changing priorities.
  3. Create a “gas pedal” budget, a list of investments to make if you get more approved.
  4. Strategic leaders are now creating agile one-year and ideal three-year plans.
  5. Teams are now forced to justify all spending.
  6. What you must define in your ops roadmap: North Star, supporting pillars, outcomes, and key projects.
  7. Work with your team to identify automation opportunities to increase impact.
  8. Even in a down economy, you should still “focus on good marketing.”

How can marketing operations be more strategic?

January 2023

Guest Speakers: Jessica Kao, Senior Director, Marketing Operations and Martech at Cloudflare and Paul Wilson, CEO at GTM Systems

Author: Darrell Alfonso

Top Takeaways

  1. Execs don’t care about naming conventions. Show them the meaningful business impact.
  2. Instead of saying “No,” say, “What would you like to deprioritize in place of this?”
  3. Treat your marketing ops like a product. It has users, features that benefit customers (external + marketers), and results.
  4. Create a “walking slide deck” of your marketing ops plan and how it delivers value—use it to get support from key leaders and partners.
  5. Protect your team from burnout with careful planning, intelligent resource management, and clear communication of bandwidth and output.
  6. Grow your marketing ops career by solving bigger problems. At the highest levels, the issues become more about people and revenue.
  7. Constantly refine internal communication and strategy proposals. An executive should quickly and easily understand them.
  8. Talking too much about the details is a mistake. Focus on the headlines, clear solution paths, and strategic recommendations.

Strategic planning and 2023 predictions

December 2022

Guest Speakers: Marisa Rybar, Former VP Web and Marketing Operations at ZoomInfo and Mike McKinnon, VP of Go To Market Operations at Snow Software

Author: Darrell Alfonso

Top Takeaways

  1. The economic state forces marketing ops to do more with less.
  2. Successful marketing ops pros own the conversation about proving value to leadership.
  3. Some marketing ops have resorted to automating laid-off colleagues’ work.
  4. The downturn is forcing tech stack consolidation, but many don’t see this as a bad thing.
  5. Smart marketing ops can quickly and clearly communicate capacity or lack thereof.
  6. Advice from marketing ops VPs: Learn to speak the language of the C-suite.

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