How Can I Avoid Having Dirty Data?

Hi Jo,

I keep hearing about the cost and risk of having dirty data in your MOPs systems, but I don’t know how to check if my company’s data is up to snuff.

Do you have any advice on rooting out dirty data and preventing it from happening?


Data-driven Dave

pink seperator line

This is a great question, Dave!

It’s one we should all be talking about.

Let me start by making sure we’re on the same page about dirty data (sometimes called rogue data).

The short version is that dirty data is any data with erroneous information.

The slightly longer version is that there are different types of dirty data, including:

  • duplicates
  • errors and typos
  • outdated information
  • prospects that don’t align with your target persona, and
  • incomplete entries (e.g., without an email address).

Examples of dirty data:

For example, you could have an entry from someone who no longer works at a company — so any email sent to them will bounce back.

Or you could have an entry with a typo, like an email address ending in “.con” instead of “.com.”

Duplicate (or triplicate) entries are another common data problem. I’ve worked with companies with thousands of duplicates in their database, which is not sustainable or practical.


Dirty data is a mess

Dirty data can indeed be costly.

Email reputation

Bad email reputation is a huge issue.

For instance, if you’re sending marketing emails to people who shouldn’t be in your database and they mark your email as spam, that counts as a ding against your email sender reputation.

Your sender reputation is a measure that internet service providers take to determine whether they will deliver your emails to the inboxes of the people on their network.

The lower your score, the lower the chance your email reaches your audience. It can be really hard to recover from a low score.

Database costs

Some martech databases will charge per the number of entries in your database.

For companies with thousands of duplicates, that can mean they’re spending way more than they should—which isn’t great.

The costs also add up when you have to spend on tools that clean that data.

Having that many duplicates also gives you a false understanding of how many people are actually in your audience. It can lead you to make decisions that don’t necessarily make sense for your business.


Steps to avoid dirty data

So, how do you stay ahead of dirty data?

You can do it in-house, but it does require some heavy lifting (which we can help with).

Here are my suggestions.

Create a data hygiene plan

Bloated, inaccurate databases cause all kinds of problems.

Data hygiene is a company-wide project that gets your entire team on the same page.

It will standardize how people collect and handle data across systems and conduct periodic audits to check the quality of your data and sources.

We wrote a Tough Talks Made Easy article outlining the steps you’ll want to take.

Build habits into your processes

Every six to 12 months, you should perform checks on your database to identify and remove any dirty data.

This process goes beyond just looking for duplicates and errors.

It requires a concerted effort to identify the people who:

  • no longer fit within your target persona, or
  • haven’t engaged with your content for a particular period.

Take proactive steps

Dealing with dirty data shouldn’t just be a corrective action.

There are also things you can do to avoid creating those errors in the first place.

For example, duplicate entries tend to happen when teams import lists from multiple sources (e.g., Marketo and Salesforce) without checking for repeat entries.

If you’re importing data, ensure there’s a check in place to flag duplicates.

You should also clean up any list (e.g., check if there’s a missing email address) before it gets migrated.

Lastly, building a process to identify and delete common bogus email addresses (like or can help keep your data clean.

Normalize your data

You’ve probably seen that some companies and teams use full country names, like Canada, while others use country codes, like CA.

The best way to keep your data clean is to normalize your entries so there aren’t discrepancies in your data set.

These might sound like small changes, but they’re important ones. Trust me, once you start doing these things, you’ll be able to have a lot more trust in your data.

You’ve got this, and if you need more advice, let us know.

Jo Pulse

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4 Steps to Explain Technical Debt to Your CMO/Marketing VP

TLDR: Technical debt arises from rushed responses to problems created by poor planning. Think long-term about your projects, and you won’t have to choose between speed and execution. 

Technical debt describes the implied cost of making “quick fixes” to your tech stack or IT infrastructure.

Technical debt accumulates when the people building your software take suboptimal shortcuts to complete projects over more effective approaches that take longer. Doing so entrenches flaws into your tech that become more troublesome to fix as time goes on, leading to higher rework costs later.

In this Tough Talks Made Easy, you’ll learn to discuss the causes and consequences of technical debt with your CMO and suggest cultural changes to prevent it from building.


Why technical debt builds

During projects like platform migrations and implementations, a CMO and VP generally focus on contract negotiations.

Their efforts to get the best deal. This focus can, inadvertently, eat into the time needed for the technical work.

When projects start too late, those responsible for building the project will face pressure to make up for lost time and choose “quick fixes” to hit deadlines and achieve results.

While CMOs aim to make the most cost-effective decisions, they often account just for the purchase cost of a new application or platform.

For instance, your CMO may choose a marketing automation platform license cheaper than its competitors without considering the extra admin, consultation, and custom development necessary to make it work.

Add in the cost of training personnel and additional support, however, and you could well face a higher total cost of ownership. Especially if you don’t plan from the beginning to bring these resources on board, or if the project is already running behind schedule.

Short-sighted thinking leads to these negative outcomes:

  • compressed timelines
  • bloated costs and scope, and
  • increased project vulnerability due to mistakes and substandard workarounds.

These decisions compromise a project’s execution and encourage technical debt, making subsequent improvements more challenging to make.


Preventing technical debt

Influencing upwards is an impactful approach against technical debt.

Depending on the dynamics of your organization, a direct line to your CMO or Marketing VP might not be possible. In that case, look to your Operations Manager or Marketing Director as allies with the access and technical expertise to impart the urgency of starting on time.

While it’s impossible to identify every gap a solution has until it’s in-house, you can confidently speak to the consequences of a late start.

Here’s how to sell your boss on the respect the project deserves:

“If negotiations drag out and leave us behind schedule, it will impact our ability to deliver this project on time, on budget, and to the level of competency you want. X will happen if we don’t start as planned, and it’ll take Y additional costs to fix.”


Implementations and migrations

Implementations and migrations are demanding initiatives. The planning phase is crucial to map out all your anticipated costs and labor needs.

Your CMO/Marketing VP can’t expect key contributors to carry their full workload and give their all to an implementation or migration—people who are stretched take shortcuts, and that just leads to technical debt proliferating.

Freeing up key team members to commit and provide the necessary focus to the project gives them space to contribute to the best of their ability, without incurring rework costs.

For instance, sales and marketing leadership could reduce the quarterly targets of the sales reps involved, or lessen the day-to-day campaign execution responsibilities of contributors from marketing.


Create a change management team

The creation of a change management team is a particularly progressive solution to technical debt.

Technical debt arises from rushed responses to problems created by short-sighted planning.

Advocate for a dedicated team of people to support the project from conception, mapping out the ramifications of any change in:

  • costs
  • timelines
  • resource requirements, and
  • post-implementation training.

This increases the project’s resilience to disruption and lessens the risk of technical debt.


Long-term thinking

If projects are delayed at the early stages, you’ve ultimately got a choice between paying upfront or later on.

Do you use the most effective methods to build a new implementation or migration, accepting you’ll be up and running later than planned? Or do you take shortcuts to make your initial launch date, at risk of introducing flaws into the project that carry large rework costs and compromise how effectively it works?

Between the two, it’s not an even trade.

The cost of technical debt often outweighs the agility of completing a project as fast as possible.

Steps to avoid technical debt:

1. Reinforce the importance of making a plan and sticking to it with leadership.

2. Scope out your timelines, labor needs, and total cost of ownership upfront—when things need to progress to meet your deadline, the people you’ll need to be involved in the project, and its real financial cost.

3. Advocate for a change management team to reinforce the consequences of starting late or making changes, and to find solutions in a proactive, planned manner.

4. Take the demands of your project seriously, and you shouldn’t have to choose between speed and execution.

Need more guidance? Get in touch — we’re always here to help.


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Does It Make Sense to Build an International MOPs Team?

Hi Jo,

I’ve been trying to decide whether I should take a different approach to hire for our marketing operations team.

I’ve spoken to recruiter friends, and many are taking a remote-first approach and considering international candidates.

Does that make sense?


Hiring Henry

pink seperation line

Hi, Henry. Thanks for raising this question.

The way I see it, you can’t afford not to make your MOPs team remote first. This statement may sound bold but bear with me.

The global MOPs talent pool is small. There are some pretty big gaps between the number of people companies need to run marketing operations and the people available to take on the jobs.

As MOPs recruiters, we really need to think about how we can find, attract and retain the right people. A flexible, collaborative work environment can go a long way to achieving that.


Change your hiring approach

There are many benefits to hiring a multi-location, remote-first team, including:

  • a broader hiring pool so that you can better find the right people for the job
  • access to better MOPs candidates, many talented MOPs professionals prefer to work remotely
  • cost savings from hiring people that live in places with a lower cost of living, and
  • more flexibility means your team can hand off responsibilities and address issues across time zones.

The reality is that MOPs professionals can perform their roles entirely online. You can track an employee’s performance regardless of whether they’re in the office or not. Plus, many professionals in this space prefer to have their own space for problem-solving and optimizing their marketing automation efforts. You need to be able to give them that option if you want them to accept your job offer.


Putting it into practice

Building a remote team may seem like a daunting task. But it relies on many of the same best practices you’re already using to hire people.

Think about how you communicate the role to people.

  • Are you highlighting that it’s a remote opportunity?
  • Have you thought about compensation and whether it’s dependent on the person’s location?
  • Are you targeting people that live outside of your company’s headquarters?

These questions will help you tell MOPs professionals that you’re open to building a team that makes sense to them.

Consider how you can set these people up for success.

  • Are your current professional development and reporting structures appropriate for a remote-first environment?
  • Do you have tactics for identifying the people who might be struggling and recognizing the people that are succeeding — even if they’re at a distance?
  • Showing your team members that the company supports them will encourage trust.

Ensure that your remote team has the right tools for collaboration and communication.

Even if they prefer working remotely, people still appreciate having points of connection with their peers so that they can get the work done effectively — and build a strong team culture at the same time.

Have you and your leaders thought about how you can standardize your company culture in both in-person and virtual instances? This will be an important consideration for many potential hires.

Remember: Recruitment isn’t just about getting people through the door, you also have to set them up for success. You can’t just hire people remotely, you have to be able to retain people remotely as well.


I know this is a lot to think about — but you’ve got this.

Jo Pulse

How to Help Your C-Suite Choose Between Marketo and HubSpot

TLDR: Marketing automation platforms play a significant role in how businesses engage with their audiences. Marketo and HubSpot are leading the pack, but which one should you choose? Our latest Tough Talks Made Easy post gives you the tools to help your executive team choose the right platform for your business. Take a look.


What you’ll learn here:

  • When choosing a marketing automation platform, Marketo and HubSpot are leaders.
  • Where HubSpot is a centralized inbound marketing platform with multiple functions, Marketo focuses on moving leads through the marketing funnel.
  • You can help your C-suite choose the right solution for your business by exploring these three considerations:
    • your tech stack
    • your products and customer audience, and
    • the maturity of your team.


Marketing automation tools are changing the way businesses operate.

On the one hand, they make marketing and sales teams more efficient and productive. On the other, they’ve made it easier for marketers to provide tailored, personalized experiences that meet their target audiences where they are.

At the top of the marketing automation charts are Marketo and HubSpot, two platforms that have led the way in revolutionizing the marketing space. But, which of these tools is best for your business?

To help you guide your exec team in their decision on which software to adopt, here’s an overview of each platform and the considerations you should make as you evaluate them.


Marketo Vs. HubSpot


HubSpot is an inbound marketing platform that has four functions:

  • marketing
  • sales
  • customer service, and
  • customer relationship management (CRM).

Users can operate their email marketing, CRM software, contact management, and help desk automation from one place with a well-designed user interface.

While many teams appreciate the centralized experience, HubSpot also offers extensibility that allows you to integrate with third-party apps, including Salesforce.

This flexibility makes it easier for companies to customize the experience to what makes sense to them.



Marketo Engage, meanwhile, is a robust marketing automation platform.

Marketo focuses exclusively on moving leads and customers through various stages of the marketing funnel. It does this in a way that’s customizable to the organization’s processes and structures.

What Marketo offers:

  • marketing automation
  • email marketing, and
  • lead management capabilities.

This focus allows users to create highly personalized content to tailor marketing campaigns to specific audiences.


The truth is, this isn’t an apples-to-apples comparison.

When it comes down to it, both tools serve different functions and have to be considered within the broader scope of your tech stack and where your business is going.

So, the question you and your C-suite should really be asking is: Do you need a centralized marketing and sales hub or a robust marketing automation platform that integrates with other best-of-breed solutions?


3 non-technical considerations:

When making this choice, you’ll need to engage with your leadership team to determine which platform makes the most sense for your business.

Here are three non-technical considerations that will help guide your conversation with them.

1. For your CIO: Your existing tech stack

HubSpot reduces complexity for your team

As mentioned above, HubSpot is a centralized solution for sales, marketing, and customer engagement functions.

It continues to expand the offerings on its platform, making it a great place to start if you don’t have any technology serving those verticals—and don’t have the budget to invest in multiple integrated solutions.

The other benefit here is that HubSpot reduces complexity for your team, as they only have one tool to learn. This also makes it easier to transfer data from one function to another for accurate attribution reporting.


Marketo helps you build a best-of-breed tech stack

Marketo is the right choice if your company builds a tech stack with best-of-breed solutions leading their verticals.

The tool makes up for not being an all-in-one solution by integrating seamlessly with leading solutions like Salesforce, Drift, and Bizible.

In fact, Marketo was originally designed with Salesforce in mind, and they still operate seamlessly together today. That said, it’s important to remember that each platform has its own price tag, so you need to have the budget available to build and run this integrated ecosystem.

The other consideration is that Marketo is less prone to evolving its software, making it a more predictable investment.


How to help your CIO: Your CIO likely has a strategy or roadmap for what your company’s tech stack will look like. Talk to them about it and use the points above to determine which platform fits into that strategy.


2. For your CMO: Your products and customer audience

Small product catalogs:

Businesses that only market one product to one or two audiences will naturally have relatively simple customer journeys.

It reduces the need for complex workflows, persona building, and robust attribution models.

HubSpot does a good job of addressing this use case as it easily connects the dots between each step in a single customer journey.


Large product catalogs:

Meanwhile, companies that have larger, more complex product catalogs require more specialized tools across every part of the path to purchase.

That’s especially the case if they have a number of customer segments to meet with the right messaging at the right time.

This is where teams can make the most of Marketo, accounting for multiple considerations and customer behaviors.


How to help your CMO: Raise these points with your CMO to advise them on where a product like Marketo or HubSpot can be more productive.

They’ll also be able to tell you if there are any anticipated changes in how your business plans to market to new or existing audiences, which will also dictate which platform makes the most sense.


3. For your CEO: The maturity of your team

Is your business new on the scene? Or have you been around for decades?

Wherever your team sits on the maturity spectrum should inform how your executives decide on a marketing automation platform.



For growth-stage startups that are prioritizing their product development, HubSpot tends to be the platform of choice.

A centralized, easy-to-use solution can make it easier for the individuals running your marketing, sales, and customer engagement functions to work towards the same goals in a quick and scalable way.

In addition, since HubSpot is continually innovating its platform, it’s an appealing digital solution for companies that are also evolving within their own markets. There hasn’t been significant innovation with Marketo Engage in some time.



Meanwhile, larger enterprises that have invested in building a robust marketing team filled with seasoned MOPs professionals are more likely to have Marketo at the heart of their marketing operations efforts.

With the right combination of tools and people, these companies can get creative with how they reach their vast audiences.


How to help your CEO: This type of insight will matter to your CEO. As you walk your CEO through the platforms, contextualize each within the current and future states of the company.


Making the right decision

With so many marketing automation tools on the market now, it can feel overwhelming to find and pick the right one, but it doesn’t have to be.

The three considerations outlined above should help you and your executives weigh one leading product against another.

We help companies around the world with marketing automation platform setup, migration and optimization.

If you’re still not sure which way to go and would like to continue the conversation, Revenue Pulse is here to help.

How Can I Show My Leaders the Strategic Value of MOPs?

Hi Joe,

I love my job in marketing ops, but I constantly feel that my time is spent on tactical tasks and putting out fires rather than more strategic initiatives.

I know I have a lot to offer, but unless we hire more people to run our marketing ops efforts, I’m not sure I’ll be able to share those insights.

What are the conversations I need to have to ensure that MOPs is seen as more than just a tactical function and brought into the fold more strategically?



Strategic Stacey


I have to tell you, Stacey, you’re not alone.

So often, marketing ops folks are seen as doers instead of thinkers. Since they’re left to focus on executing tasks, they don’t have the bandwidth to play a more strategic role in their organization.

This decision is to the detriment of the company.


The strategic value of MOPs

As a MOPs professional, you have a unique perspective on the organization and any gaps it might have.

You can add valuable insights that inform:

  • how your business moves forward
  • what tools to invest in, and
  • who to hire.

But that hardly matters if you don’t have the time and space to think about these things.

In our latest article, Joe Pulse offers three steps on how to enhance the value of your MOPs team.


Follow these steps

What are the steps you can take to maximize your MOPs team’s efforts and showcase your strategic value?

I’ve thought of three that you can consider.


1. Get buy-in from your manager 

If your direct lead isn’t a marketing ops professional, they might not realize all the ways you can add value.

Start by getting them to approve a certain amount of time a week that you can spend on strategic thinking for your team.

This strategic thinking time can be spent:

  • mapping out the future structure for MOPs at your organization
  • redesigning a process between MOPs and sales that could be more efficient, or
  • having conversations with other technology owners (e.g. Salesforce) to better learn how they integrate with your marketing automation tools.

Once you can think more strategically, you can approach your manager with specific recommendations on how they can boost the role of operations at the organization—and the resulting value of doing that.

Here’s a tip: remember to delegate.

A big part of showing that you’re ready to take on more strategic thinking is removing some of the more tactical elements from your plate and upskilling other members of your team to take them on.

This leads me to my next point.


2. Make sure your MOPs team is the right size

For your MOPs team to really deliver on its potential, you need to have a team of people you can rely on.

Beyond the standard daily tasks, there needs to be room for when things go wrong and for thinking about the future.

Day-to-day projects shouldn’t fill 100% of your team’s time.

This is an important consideration that you should bring up when you’re talking to your leadership team.

I know this is a tough one. It can be hard to make the argument that things could be better when they’re already running well.

After all, people don’t notice when MOPs is running properly, only if it’s broken.

But you shouldn’t let that stop you from having the conversation.

Map out where your team is spending time now—and then talk about where you could offload some work to better spend your time by driving more value for the organization. That’ll get their attention.


3. Set real metrics for MOPs

You know this, the performance metrics your marketing and sales teams use aren’t the right way to evaluate MOPs performance.

You need a specific set of metrics that are tailored to what your team is doing and how it truly provides value to the business.

To get this right—and better show your value to the rest of the organization—take the time to collaborate with the teams you work with to set up a framework that makes sense.


You’ve got this (and if you need more help, let us know),

Joe Pulse

Guide Your CMO and CSO Towards a Successful ABM Strategy

TLDR: Accounts-based marketing (ABM) has rapidly become a staple in the marketing and sales space. But, getting it right takes a lot of time and investment. Successful ABM requires alignment across your marketing and sales teams, targeting and building relationships with individuals, supporting a robust tech platform and so much more. This leads to an important question: should you outsource this function to an agency?

In a recent Tough Talks Made Easy, we discussed the value of account-based marketing (ABM) in landing deals with high ROI. The benefits are clear, ABM:

  • lets you be more efficient by focusing on a finite set of prospects
  • fosters alignment between your sales and marketing teams, and
  • gives you more visibility into where your efforts are being spent.

Today, we’re taking a closer look at the principles that make a successful ABM strategy, and some key considerations that will help your CMO and CSO decide how best to implement it.

Let’s dive in.


A successful ABM strategy

ABM is a strategy for producing marketing campaigns that target particular accounts. So, a big part of that process is determining which accounts you want to prioritize.

This starts by studying your target customer persona.

Your sales and marketing teams should work together to determine the parameters for prioritizing accounts. These can include:

  • the size or market share of the organization
  • how much influence the prospect has in the market
  • the strength of the existing relationship (if any), and
  • whether they have money to spend.


There is no magic number.

You need enough parameters to ensure that both marketers and sales reps are reflected in the selection process, but not so many that it’s difficult to find more than a handful of accounts to pursue.

Once you know who you’re targeting, you need to be able to create targeted messaging that speaks to the people you’re trying to reach.

It could be a two-pager that outlines what you know about their specific challenges and pain points, and how your solution might address them. Or it could be a targeted billboard that you know your prospect will drive by on their way to their office, calling them out to give you a call.

(Believe me, I’ve seen it!)

For that, you need marketers that work closely with sales to create these assets, with enough time to dedicate to these initiatives.


The other consideration is technology.

As ABM has become a more mainstream function for marketing and sales teams, we’ve seen the emergence of various ABM platforms.

This includes the likes of Demandbase, 6sense, and Triblio.

Choosing the right platform comes down to whether it solves the problems you want it to, whether it fits in your budget, and whether it integrates with your existing solutions. But it’s also important to remember that a tool is only as good as the strategy that’s behind it—and the team that uses it.

Any investment in technology also requires a lot of time and effort to craft a robust strategy that has a high chance of success.

Are these all things you and your leaders feel you can accomplish with the resources you have available?


ABM: In-house vs agency?

This brings us to the age-old question that surrounds any marketing function. Should you get outside help?

A lot of the considerations here will be familiar:

  • Can you afford to hire a full-time employee to drive ABM?
  • Do you have the budget to spend on an ABM platform?
  • Are you prepared to build the experience you need to get ABM right in the long run?
  • What happens if your leaders try it out for six months and decide it’s not worth it?


How agencies can create a successful ABM strategy

There are several reasons why working with an agency can create a successful ABM strategy:

  • An agency will come with a wealth of experience and perspective from designing and implementing ABM strategies with other companies around the world.
  • As agencies have their own technology partnerships, they can help minimize the spending that you would have to put towards an ABM platform. They’ll also have guidance on how to best integrate that tooling into your existing martech stack.
  • With their expertise and exposure to the space, an agency team will also help address any knowledge gaps you and your team might have, saving you from making mistakes.
  • An agency that’s entirely focused on your ABM strategy will help you get results faster, but they’ll also be easily decommissioned if down the line you and your leaders decide that ABM isn’t the right way to go.


Help your marketing and sales leaders decide:

Dipping your toes into the ABM pool with an agency will reduce your risk exposure and likely increase the return on your initial investment in this space.

Plus, working with an agency has the added benefit of giving you access to all the knowledge and resources you need to bring the function in-house when and if it feels right to do so.


Start a discussion

There’s a lot to think about, no question.

But, with these points in your back pocket, you’ll be able to have a great discussion with your leaders about what your team’s next step should be when it comes to ABM.

Need more help figuring out how to successfully adopt your ABM strategy? Get in touch.