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How to climb the ladder in marketing operations

With more than 10 years’ experience as a leader in marketing operations, Simon Daniels of Percassity Associates, knows his martech.

As data management becomes ever more critical for marketers, the marketing operations consultant shares his tips for success in both client-side and consulting roles.

What does it take to become a marketing operations leader?


Simon:

Marketing operations for me is about ensuring people get the most from marketing data, systems and processes to drive demand generation and commercial outcomes. An MO leader needs to be confident and competent discussing issues across these elements, including data governance, analytics, marketing technology, lead qualification, sales alignment, budgeting and more. There’s also a certain resilience required, as MO tends to be on the receiving end of many of the issues that arise and need rapidly addressing!

What’s the best way to lead a team of data analysts?

As with any team, analysts want to be assured you understand the challenges they’re facing and will provide support when needed. Analysts will tend to be responding to briefs and so ensuring this process is well managed is key. A good analytics team will comprise the right mix of technical as well as soft skills and it’s important to ensure there is a plan for ongoing development. Make time for experimentation and side projects, which helps keeps things interesting. While it’s crucial that an analytics team delivers a clear return on investment, avoid performance measurement mechanisms that do not recognise their technical contribution.

How do you keep up with new technology and changes to how marketers use data?

I’ve always prided myself on keeping up-to-date on the latest developments, trends and hot topics. I do this through being as widely read as possible (including B2B Marketing of course!), looking out for interesting webinars, attending events and just talking to industry colleagues. A discipline to which I try and adhere is tweeting something daily that I think would be interesting to others working in marketing operations. As well as hopefully providing a useful ‘thought curation’ service as I like to call it, this provides an incentive to make sure I’m always looking for something interesting to share.

How does working as an independent consultant differ from working client-side?

The crucial difference is that working independently generally entails always being on the look out for your next project or piece of work. The great thing about consulting is the variety and opportunity to address a wide range of challenges at different organisations, but the lack of security brings its own pressure. Working client-side reduces this anxiety and makes it possible to really focus on specific issues, and of course bring in a consultant to help with really nutty problems. Working for the same company can mean getting involved in certain corporate policies and activities that independents tend to avoid.

What’s your top tip for marketers looking to progress in operations and tech?

Keep on top of the latest developments and talk to people in other organisations to maintain a fresh perspective and avoid getting stuck in a rut.

What’s your top tip for keeping a work/life balance?

I try to be disciplined about when I’m responding to communications. This is especially tricky when working across time zones, but even if you check your email last thing at night for anything urgent, avoid doing so all evening, or it will feel like you’ve never left work.


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