There are no unicorns: How to recognise, develop and recruit for the skills needed to succeed in marketing operations
With the UK’s leading martech conference, Martechopia, fast approaching Okta’s senior manager, marketing technology EMEA, Holly Gage gave us an exclusive taste of her talk on talent in marketing operations. Lucy Gillman reports.
About Holly’s session
“Marketing operations has been around for a long time. But there’s still some confusion about what it really is and the skills that are needed,” Holly states. As she outlines, job adverts encompass a wide range of skills from experience in marketing and sales, the ability to talk at board level to running reports and connecting campaigns.
“Essentially they’re looking for unicorns,” she elaborates. “There aren’t any unicorns - don’t look for them, don’t try to be them. At my session I’ll talk about how organisations should know what marketing operations skills they should be hiring. And, as a marketing operations person, how you can prioritise the skills you should develop.”
Why marketing operations? Why now?
“Marketing operations has become more and more important because digital marketing has become more important - I mean digital marketing is just really marketing now,” she quips.
It’s no secret that the pandemic has accelerated digital transformation; Holly references Microsoft’s Satya Nadella’s claim that during the pandemic we saw two years of digital transformation in two months. “If you’re going to fundamentally change the way you do business or marketing, it’s not just about having the right tools and technologies. You need to have the foundations in place. And that’s what marketing operations does so well.”
Holly’s session addresses precisely that. From those looking to build out and ensure where to start to structuring a mature team or “those that have already established a small marketing operations function but are asking themselves what they need to grow,” there’s something for everyone.
“As the number of marketing tools available increases exponentially you need to build a team that can implement the right processes and governance to manage these tools,” she continues. “I’ll be talking about the critical MOPs skills you should be looking for and the people to grow your team.”
“The distance from the day to day gives you the space to think”
Enter Martechopia. “The biggest benefit with any conference is that you’re out of the office, out of the day to day. You can think more strategically about the issues you have and what you need to fix,” Holly comments. “It’s really important that Martechopia focuses on technology and operations. It’s key to think about how we use that tech to meet business needs rather than just accumulating shiny objects. It’s not just about what tools do, but how they’re being used to achieve business goals.”
But it doesn’t stop there. As she outlines, Martechopia is a chance to get inspired, think about the problems you didn’t even know you had and look at things through a new angle. “Doug Kessler is really interesting,” Holly adds. “Karla Wentworth and Simon Daniels always have some compelling things to say on the development of marketing operations. I’m really looking forward to hearing from them.”
“After the last two years so much has changed. It’s more important than ever to get out and have conversations with people and spark new ideas,” she continues. “You’ll get the chance to talk to people who make you realise you are in the same boat as them and discover ideas that you never thought of.”
Want to learn how to realise your martech dreams?
Attend Martechopia, the UK’s biggest martech conference on 23 March, virtually and in-person, in London. Book your tickets today to hear more from Holly and other industry-leading experts on how you can tackle your martech issues head to come out on top!