We recently spoke with Scott Brinker, the author of chiefmartec.com. Scott examines the intersection of marketing, technology and management. We talked to Scott about his marketing strategy, and specifically about marketing operations and systems. We wanted to learn how he leverages different technologies to improve productivity. And how he automates his core marketing business processes to minimize the administrative burden.
Often there is confusion around the role of marketing ops. The role has transitioned a lot in the last few years. “In some ways, marketing ops has been around for a while, but its scope was pretty limited. They were essentially the report folks,” explained Scott. Now, the role of marketing operations has exploded, largely as a function of all the additional touchpoints with customers and prospects.
Scott believes one of the challenges that organizations face is how they think about innovation, and how they think about operations. The simplest version of marketing ops innovation exploring possibilities and experimentation. On the operations side, companies are looking to exploit the things that work and achieve standardization. Scott claims the difficulty lies when marketing operations wear both hats. The role of marketing operations needs to be clearly defined in order to succeed.
One of the critical elements of marketing ops is setting the objectives of the team and developing an executable data plan. How does Scott do these two key things?
First, he determines what data he needs. With all the available data, what are the important insights? Once he has determined that, he maps out how to structure, manage and process the data. Scott also recommends making sure your marketing team isn’t producing this information in a silo. The goal should be to produce something that can be handed off and used by the sales team. Because at the end of the day, sales is your customer.
What stands between marketers being able to successful leverage marketing technology? Scott claims it is simply understanding. Understanding of how you are going to apply the technology. Ultimately, if it’s perfectly integrated, how will it affect customer experiences? How are you going to change the way the business operates with new tools? Scott recommends putting an emphasis around figuring out these answers when it comes to marketing technology.
Then, with answers like those, it becomes easier to leverage technology to utilize meaningful data. For example, your strategy should be informed by your data. And sales and marketing teams can and should use prospect and customer data to influence their processes and behavior.
We asked Scott to wrap up with a key piece of advice marketing leaders can do immediately to evaluate their needs for marketing operations and systems. His recommendation is to really understand the problem you’re solving. Too often, marketing leaders rush into solving a problem with technology. Instead, look at your larger marketing strategy and understand how the technology can support it. Ultimately, marketing operations and systems needs to be part of a well-articulated overall marketing strategy. This is the only way marketing leaders can make their number.