As technology becomes more advanced, and the skills needed to run, operate and fine tune our software platforms become more specialized, we are finding a stretching chasm of lacking professionals with the experience and talent needed to implement and show ROI on marketing automation investments.
There are a few problems I see in the market:
1. Undercutting the value of our skills with cheap contracts
2. Lack of flexibility in full time employment
3. Knowledge gap of decision makers in the value of training
These three factors play a huge role in the market of Automation specialist and should be considered when making a decision on what is the right choice for you or your company. I could right a book on this topic, but I will try to keep it short and sweet.
1. Cheap Contracts: You Get What You Paid For
In the last three months, I have had a plethora of short-term contracts fixing Marketo migrations, implementations, and template designs from under qualified professionals offering cheap solutions that undercut the value of true Marketo Certified Experts. For one major B2C company, a migration implementation has now lingered on almost 4 weeks in limbo because it was not initially setup correctly. A code pertinent to the tracking functionality of their system was deleted, and now the IT Engineers at Marketo are trying to recover it. It took me a little over 4 hours to figure it out. It took the contractor over 2 months to fully set it up wrong.
DON'T let this be you. It takes years of experience, practical practice, and niche specialization to become a great Marketo Certified Expert. If someone is willing to do the same job at half the cost you may be working with someone who doesnt know what they are doing, but thinks they have a good idea of how to do it. You may also end up paying TWO to THREE times more because of the hours of troubleshooting, and time cost to execute. PAY the up charge for a better more qualified Expert. It will cost you less, and the end product will be worth it. 2. Lack of Flexibility offered in full time employment.
I am going on year 2 of contract only.
The reason? It provides the flexibility, pay, and opportunity for career growth that often cannot be found in full time positions.
In the last year alone, I have worked for Fortune 50 companies to startups with a wide range of services from integrations to strategy. and have gained invaluable insight and skills from these projects. In this field, the best place to be is behind the scenes. The amount of work overflow from Consultant firms keeps many independent contractors busy and on their toes to keep ahead in the game for this field.
Then comes the workload. As an Automation Engineer, we are building algorithms, identifying trends, coding automation and building data machines to drive ROI. This stuff takes time, thought, and general tenacity for excellence. It also doesn't happen in an eight hour work day. We are the mix of an artist and a scientist. Most days I work more than 8 hours. Weekends usually find me typing away at a concept, idea or epiphany. Having a flexible work schedule allows us to work when we are at our best, rest when needed, and keep one hundred percent focused on the end goal of the project. When in an office, it can be extremely distracting, time is taken between driving, ,meetings, and office chatter when we really need to be hands on, focused, and relaxed to produce our best work. If you haven't considered remote, you may be missing out on some of the best employees in Marketing Automation.
3. Decision Makers just don't get it. So your upper management is bought in. They purchase Marketo, and expect results.
Buying an instance without properly training, and investing in on-going training is like buying a build your own car kit with out a mechanic to put it together. Marketo is a technical and strategical tool that requires the knowledge learned only through experience to make it stellar. Since Marketo is not out of the box, it takes an engineer to put it together, a trainer to teach the driver, a designer to make it pretty, and an on-going maintenance schedule for both your instance and your Marketo Administrator. Marketo is always changing, and morphing into a bigger and better tool with expanded capabilities which means companies need to budget for keeping up with the changing technology and ever growing skills gap. Mainly, invest more in your instance and administrator training and it will directly affect your ROI. Your Marketo instance will never run like a race car if you don't invest in the components to make it high performing. Expecting results without the right setup and ongoing care is asking a box car to win the Indy 500, it's just not going to happen.