I have spent most of my professional life in marketing operations. It has been a rewarding and exciting journey. I have worked with many startups as well as quite a few large enterprises. I have implemented and operated marketing automation tools such as Eloqua and Marketo in many companies. Indeed I was involved in designing and developing a marketing automation platform, at one point which was used to compete with these well known platforms in their early days. As luck would have it, the product I worked for did not take off so well.
I have spent almost two decades working in marketing operations and have interacted with various stakeholders such as sales development representatives, marketing campaign managers, and marketing executives. In this blog, I choose to write about the 3 most important lessons I have learnt from being a marketer.
Marketing Ops is All About Targeting & Segmentation
The task of marketing operations managers is to make all the targets, segment and create campaigns to reach out to. The task from marketing managers is often simple, but it is not that simple at all. With the advancement of technology, profile, activity and campaign membership based targeting is nowadays built into the marketing operations platform. However, still a ton of work needs to be done when the filters run across product ownership, support entitlement and any of the firmographic information.
Three key ingredients to perfect the targeting are
Data Capture – Capture all the profile, activity and MQL related data at the time of form submit or activity itself. When possible, prefer API based data enrichment over batch processing. Batch processing has a huge negative impact on scoring and nurturing.
Data Management – Enrich the profile and firmographic data as needed. Do not over enrich as it may create confusion. Keep in mind that about 3% of the data is made absolute every month. Keep the database clean and remain free of duplicate records. It can cost upto 100 USD annually if there are too many duplicates in our database
Data Mapping – Not all records are mapped to each other, especially account/company information is not mapped to lead. Use a state of the art lead to account matching tool, so that you can establish relationships between lead, company, opportunities, product ownership and support entitlement etc.
Do Not Over Automate
With the power of cloud computing and API, it’s natural to want to go on overdrive and automate everything. But not all automation is worth doing. Some automation saves you only 20% of the effort, but some take 80% of your time; given that go-to-market (GTM) and lead management strategies change almost every quarter, I highly recommend you be better off doing some manual data entry/scripting once a quarter rather than trying to automate the task to save you 10 hours a quarter. Some examples include:
- Program to identify junk records in the database – No need to create a super smart fuzzy text analysis tool to identify less than 0.01% of the junk records in the database. Once or twice a year, you can use one of our simple methods to identify junk records by looking at data that you have manually flagged as junk.
- Multi Track, Multiple Feeder Cross pollinating nurture campaign – There are two main reasons why creating a multiple track nurture campaign can be problematic. Firstly it is difficult to build, because there are all these different platforms and sources providing leads, so you can easily get lost in the data feeds and miss leads. Secondly, if you don’t manage and plan these campaigns out properly then your messaging will change far too often making it difficult to manage this campaign effectively.
- Over complicated Scoring – Similar to multi track nurture campaigns, do not create a super convoluted scoring. It may be satisfying to build a truly state of the art scoring program, but if you are not able to explain it to the sales organization within a minute, most likely they will not be interested in the leads you score. That is the hard reality of life in marketing operations. Build simple models that work and focus on optimizing conversion rates instead of building complex models in hopes they will convert.
Know Your Numbers
While marketing operations managers are expert at fixing the plane while flying, they certainly can not fly blind. Reporting and analytics are extremely critical for efficient execution of marketing ops programs.
I recommend you categorize your reports into Operational and Strategic reports. Key operational reports include
- Email performance – Regularly monitor old school email metric such as email open, click, unsubscribe rates
- Website activity – Know the most productive web pages and blogs so that you can focus your SEO efforts on these.
- UTM tracking – UTM tracking is important for keeping track of all the ad purchases and leads generated through these.
- Database Growth – Keep an eye on the overall database growth as well as growth by theater and segment
The strategic reports help identify the best performing campaigns and tactics. Key strategic reports are
- Campaign & Offer Performance – Create a campaign and offer mapping strategy to create this report. It is important that your marketing team is well trained on this mapping.
- MQL by Source – Set on the first or last campaign strategy and follow it religiously. Changing it often will break the historical reporting.
- Net New Logo – Since we are in marketing, do a net new logo based on the MQL created
- Marketing Contribution to Pipeline Report – This is somewhat debatable. Almost all pipelines have some marketing influence, however, try to establish a direct relationship between opportunity and marketing effort. Don’t over do the contribution reporting. The moment it becomes hard to explain to sales, it is a lost cause.
About the author: Deepak Kumar is a seasoned Sales and Marketing Operations professional, with about 2 decades of experience in the field. Deepak has consulted many F500 enterprises as well as startups on Marketing Operations and Strategy. Deepak is a co-founder at LeadAngel, and is leading the product development. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org