Enough to drive a MOPs person crazy:
A Marketing Automation Architect is perusing the marketing calendar and looking at emails scheduled to go out for the day. She spots an email marked as “operational,” meaning it will send to unsubscribed leads and will not include an unsubscribe footer. Upon further inspection, it seems this email should definitely not be sent as operational as it is definitely not transactional. She approaches the Marketing Manager who created and scheduled this email.
Marketing Operations Architect: Hi, Marketing Manager! How are you today? I noticed that you have an email scheduled to send as operational, but it’s not a webinar confirmation or an asset download delivery. Was that a mistake? I’m happy to fix it for you.
Marketing Manager: No, it wasn’t a mistake. I styled the email to look like it was coming from Outlook. If I sent it from Outlook I wouldn’t have an unsubscribe footer. What’s the difference?
Marketing Operations Architect: *screams internally*
Sound familiar? Contrary to what you might have heard during the sales process, Marketo is complex and running marketing through it requires a particular set of skills. Organizing your marketing team to account for these skill sets will ensure that you are getting everything out of Marketo that you can.
Specialized MOPS Team Structure: The Scalable Solution for Marketing Automation
Companies generally approach creating and launching programs in Marketo with either a generalist team structure or a specialized one.
- The generalist team structure attempts to have Marketing Managers themselves build programs and architecture in Marketo after having received (at least some) training in Marketo. These Marketing Managers develop the campaign and write the copy, then build and schedule the program and campaigns in Marketo. Sometimes one of these Marketing Managers takes more of an ownership role over Marketo, but as a generalist instead of a full-time responsibility.
- The specialized team structure introduces dedicated Marketing Operations specialists to the team structure. The Marketing Managers continue to develop campaigns and write copy, then hand off the information to a MOPs Specialist who builds and schedules it in Marketo. The Marketing Operations Architect provides ongoing support for the instance.
Most companies start with the generalist team structure, especially when marketing teams are lean and each person has to wear multiple hats. This team structure doesn't actually scale though, for a few reasons:
- Gaining expertise in Marketo is time- and effort-intensive and requires a more technical skillset. Marketing Managers might not be impassioned by technical duties. Even if they are, it eats away at the creative time they need to develop campaigns and write copy.
- You only need a little knowledge to execute campaigns in Marketo, but you need a lot more knowledge to build them right. Extra steps (like progression statuses) weren’t critical for sending communications at the time, but a year later, you find that you have sloppy data, can’t report on campaign successes, and have a Marketo instance (and corresponding CRM data) that is impossible to untangle.
The specialized team structure resolves many of the problems inherent in the generalized one by distributing tasks to the appropriate skill set.
Specialized Marketing Team Structure Roles
A professionally scaled marketing organization setup recognizes the roles that need to be filled on a nearly full-time basis:
- Marketing Operations Architect: This person is the ultimate power user in Marketo. The person knows it inside and out and is the ultimate end-all of knowledge in the platform. Because of their depth of knowledge, MOPs Architects manage the submission process, marketing campaign templates, and overall governance of Marketo.
- Marketing Operations Specialist: This is the person who builds the campaigns in Marketo. The Marketing Manager has provided all the copy, images, campaign schedule, and necessary materials. The MOPs Specialist is the one who implements the program and campaigns in Marketo, making sure that the emails and landing pages all function as expected, makes sure that programs are structured properly for reporting, and creates the assets to follow the overall governance structure for Marketo.
- Marketing Manager: This is your traditional marketer, someone who thrives on creativity, designing resounding marketing programs, campaigns, and emails. The person in this role plans the marketing campaigns, pulls together the marketing copy and the incentives for leads to engage with the business, and gathers all the pieces of the marketing campaign together for handoff to a MOPs Specialist.
The Marketing Operations Architect creates the overall process and ensures that system-wide governance is enforced in Marketo—things like naming conventions, folder and campaign organization, and any time-saving initiatives in process. The Marketing Manager submits all the campaign information to the MOPs Specialist, who then builds the campaign in the platform. In most cases it’s an iterative process: some back-and-forth with the Marketing Manager on length of the copy or changes to images, for example. The MOPs Specialist stages the campaign and hands it over to the Marketing Manager to review for quality assurance (does the copy look right in emails, on landing pages, and so on). Once the Marketing Manager approves it, the MOPs Specialist launches the campaign in Marketo.
Setting Up A Centralized Submission Process to Optimize Project Management
A centralized submission process is a fundamental method of scaling marketing operations and marketing efforts. It establishes QA processes, eliminates errors from the building processes, and solidifies Service Level Agreements (SLAs) between marketing and marketing operations. It is the essential tool for scaling marketing in a complex enterprise organization. In a centralized submission process, Marketing Managers input their copy, images, schedule requirements, and so on, into a worksheet in your project management system, then submit it to the Marketing Ops Team. The worksheet has been developed to align with tokenized program templates. Individual sections, such as titles and headlines and body copy, are mapped to individual program tokens for the marketing programs. Here's how it works:
Why Centralized Submission Process and Not Just Email Back-and-Forths?
A centralized submission process is a great way to combat last-minute requests from Marketing Managers, over-communication to prospects, rogue marketing programs, inadequate QA for marketing communications, and scaling inefficiencies of the marketing operations teams. It standardizes the way Marketing Managers send their requirements to the Marketing Ops Specialists so that all relevant information is gathered before the campaign is implemented. It sets up an iterative relationship between the Manager and the Marketing Ops Specialist, which means errors are more likely to be caught and corrected before they reach your prospects’ eyes. It also provides a level of governance that guards against rogue marketing requests that disrupt other campaigns, and ensures that the method by which you obtain campaign performance metrics is consistent. Building out a centralized submission process is an iterative approach. Marketing Ops Specialists can build significantly faster when they have all of the build requirements consolidated in one place. Marketing Ops Architects can keep a steady eye on the speed that campaigns are being built, how SLAs are hit or missed, and refine program templates (and project management software) to smooth out problems as they come up between Marketing Managers and the Marketing Ops team.
How a Centralized Submission Process Works
The Marketing Manager submits a request that includes all collateral, assets, due dates, and the submitter’s name, through a project management system. There are obviously lots of different project management systems that you can choose, and each has its own pros and cons and general fitness for different team sizes. No matter if you're using LiquidPlanner, SmartSheet, Atlassian's Jira (my personal favorite), or something smaller, you should configure the project management software to be streamlined and the central area for dealing with ticketing for marketing campaigns.
The project management system alerts the Marketing Ops Specialist that a request has been submitted. The Marketing Ops Specialist reviews the information and, if necessary, consults with the Marketing Manager to clarify ambiguities or request additional information. When the program and assets are created, the Marketing Ops Specialist requests final approval from the Marketing Manager. Once the Marketing Manager approves the assets requested, the Marketing Ops Specialist executes the campaign. With this process, you double the number of eyes on the campaign before its execution. If your organization is quite large and brand conscious, you can also include a QA by your brand team in this step.
Setting Up a Centralized Process
For a fluid centralized submission process, do the following:
- Specify email and landing page templates. A submission process cannot be consistent and expeditious if each new request uses a different email or landing page template. Recommend 4 or 5 email templates and 2 or 3 landing page templates to your Marketing Managers. Ask them to approve the ones they want to use moving forward. Need a landing page template? We have a good one here for you to download.
- Insert program tokens in editable sections of the approved email and landing page templates. For example, data required for emails would include some of the following tokens:
This makes creating email and landing page assets turnkey. Go one step further by housing your email and landing page assets in a templated program. That way you can simply clone an entire program that contains not only the necessary elements for your marketing initiative, but the tokens used for your email and landing pages. To learn more about program templates, we've compiled a full guide here: “The Marketo Expert’s Guide to Program Templates.”
Create a Request Worksheet for Your Marketing Managers. Now that you have tokenized approved templates, create a submission worksheet for your Marketing Managers. Include all the fields the Marketing Ops Specialists need in order to build the requested asset (copy, images, URL links), as well as options for approved templates. Marketing Managers complete the worksheets and send them via the project management system to your Marketing Ops team. Marketing Ops Specialists replace the token values with the content (copy, images, URL links) sent by the Marketing Manager. For example:
More advanced and scaled organizations, can manage the progress of the program as it is being built between the project management software and Marketo by using a program tag to specify where the program is in the build process—drafting, ready for review, QAing, ready to deploy, and deployed.
Scaling Into the Future
Establishing a Centralized Submission Process is how you get into really scaling your team and your marketing efforts. This approach allows you to add in new business units, new business acquisitions, new regions, and it guards you against turnover because there's a standardized way the whole process is dealt with. You get to have Marketing Operations Specialists do the building and QAing of the campaigns, and that gives the Marketing Operations Architects the chance to see how the process is working, identify problems and gaps, and then manage and tweak the Centralized Submission Process so that those improvements get to be felt throughout the whole organization, not just shoddily applied in silo'ed areas or with silo'ed Marketing Managers.
It'll make everyone's life easier in the medium-term, and your organization will start to see the benefits (measured in less money spent on headache medicine) nearly immediately.
P.S., we're hiring! If you thrive in Marketo excellence, send us a note with your LinkedIn profile: Marketo Consultant - Etumos