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.
Companies generally approach creating and launching programs in Marketo with either a generalist team structure or a specialized one.
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:
The specialized team structure resolves many of the problems inherent in the generalized one by distributing tasks to the appropriate skill set.
A professionally scaled marketing organization setup recognizes the roles that need to be filled on a nearly full-time basis:
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.
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:
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.
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.
For a fluid centralized submission process, do the following:
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.
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
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