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The importance of implementing marketing operations with Propolis Hive Expert Karla Wentworth

Martech is great, but a lack of time and resources to use these technologies in the optimum way is a common challenge, but why is it important to use marketing operations in the first place? Editor for B2B Marketing David Rowlands sat down with Karla Wentworth, Propolis Hive Expert in Marketing Operations, to find out.

DR: In our Marketing Operations and Process Hive report, which is only available to members of Propolis, we looked at just why it’s so important to have someone responsible for marketing operations in the company. From a personal point of view, why is marketing operations so important? What challenges can it help solve? 

KW: Let me start by giving you the football analogy I’ve used for some time. In a football team there are 11 players, all performing very different roles. If your football team was full of strikers you’d be pretty ineffective at one end of the pitch and maximising that effectiveness is the sweet spot that Marketing Operations fits right in to. For your striker to score a goal, you need to have the support of a faultless goalkeeper to keep your own goal line safe, a solid defence to protect every inch of your half and a forward-thinking midfield who can build a strategic charge forward alongside your talented strikers and release them to complete their purpose. Now if you’re a striker in life, the last place you want to be is in goal. And whilst you may have practised the principles and must occasionally put the goalkeeper gloves on, you’ll always want to be making the dashes up front and smashing balls into the back of the net and that’s where your focus will remain. There are two very distinct types of people in the marketing world; the dreamers and the doers. The dreamers are people that are thought of when you say you work in marketing. Creative strategists who have their finger on the pulse of what’s happening out there and know just the right places to take the risks. They are your strikers. And then there are doers. Doers are turned on by process. Often found planning, organising and obsessively analysing data, they see the value in automation, efficiently and technology. They are your goalkeeper and defence. It’s really important to understand that the skill sets are very different but equally important – like scoring or saving goals.

DR: Why do you think then that more organisations don’t have a marketing operations person or department? Is it just a case of struggling to justify the expenditure of more people on the payroll? Or is there more to it than that? 

KW: There are a few reasons, some payroll, headcount and the usual business budget restraints. But mostly it’s about lack of experience, understanding and ultimately the definition of Marketing Operations that is not 100% written just yet. I would say a majority of ‘Marketeers’ think that the Ops work is part of the generic marketing role and in some cases it has to be. Small or start-up business situation does not often afford the ability for you to be a specialist in anything. There are Marketing Operations colleagues out there that don’t even know that’s what they are doing. And there are some CMO’s who are so focussed on sales targets that they front load the Marketing with high performing marketers who then dilute themselves trying to get and analyse their own data, use multiple automation tools, manage suppliers and much more. Every business has its own story, but the job of improving this sits squarely with that CMO or leader. They have the tools and authority to educate the business and the team, to apply budget in smart places and to lobby for the benefits good MOps talent brings.

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