How to Guide Your Hiring Team on MOPs Recruitment

TLDR: Demand for skilled MOPs people far outstrips the supply. To attract and retain the best talent, your recruitment process should focus on the candidate experience and the employee experience.

The struggle to attract talent: Demand for skilled Marketing Operations professionals has long outpaced the supply. The current job market is especially driven by talent. Top MOPs candidates have the bargaining power to take or stay in roles with the most attractive company cultures and compensation packages, and for as long as that’s the case, companies that hire without regard for the candidate experience will struggle to attract and retain the best talent.

What’s in this article for you? If multi-stage interview processes and a lack of long-term thinking for each hire sounds like your organization’s approach to recruitment, it’s time for a Tough Talk.

We’ll help you discuss what effective MOPs recruitment looks like with your CMO and Hiring Manager, so your team can get great candidates onside and nurture them for long-term success.


The candidate experience

Far too often, companies in the MOPs space operate with the assumption that the logistics of recruitment should work in their favor. Really, the process is a two-way street.

In each interaction, candidates are scoping out whether your organization is the right place for them to work, and considering the scarcity of MOPs skills, the people with real potential to excel in your roles hold all of the cards.


Encourage hiring teams to view their recruitment practices through the candidate’s eyes.


👉 Does a demanding job description position your company as a rewarding workplace?

👉 Is a string of multiple interviews with disparate stakeholders (e.g. Sales, Marketing, IT, Leadership) the most considerate use of a candidate’s time?

👉 Is it respectful to require candidates to perform free labor or attend a full-day interview while working a full-time job?

The candidate experience is not just about extending decency. Practices like these fail at selling your company as an inviting and stimulating place to be, which has real business consequences.

If you can’t attract talent, your company faces spending serious dollars on a recruitment agency. And even then, you run the risk of hiring subpar candidates.

Bottom line: The lost productivity and cost involved in fixing the mistakes of an ill-fitting hire will completely dwarf the size of investments your company should have made into

  • Well-researched role requirements.
  • Building a culture that your talent people advocate for.
  • A recruitment process that puts the candidate’s needs first.
  • An attractive compensation package.


To keep people, hire with a purpose

MOPs roles are often multidisciplinary by design, but many of the industry’s job descriptions read like laundry lists of scattershot and highly advanced competencies.

Just like how the right tools for your business are the ones that effectively support your goals, leadership needs to plan and design new roles around the specific needs of the MOPs team.

Before writing the job description

Before your hiring team sits down to write any section of a job description, tell them all about the skill gaps and upcoming projects in the MOPs team.

This is the basis of an intentional hire. Your hiring team can identify the experience that’s truly important for candidates to bring versus skills that transfer or can be taught.

As an example: Many roles seek experience with a particular marketing automation platform. But experience using one platform is highly transferable to another. Unless particular expertise is crucial to the position, keeping the role platform agnostic will attract a broader range of competent candidates who can learn new skills in the role.

This is essential for employee retention.

Rather than looking for a candidate who fits your requirements 100%, prioritize candidates who are 80% there.

Your hiring team can think of it this way: A 100% fit candidate has already been there and done that. Are they going to be satisfied in a job that doesn’t represent meaningful progression? You might offer them a higher salary than their current position, but there’s no telling if that’ll incentivize them to stay long-term.


“Your 80% fit, however, can truly gain something from taking the job.”


Your 80% fit, however, can truly gain something from taking the job. That makes them a better investment. A candidate who can say your company gave them a chance to develop their skills has motivation. That’s motivation to give their best effort, stay on the team and advocate for your brand to their network.

TL;DR: The perfect fit has room to grow.


Your recruitment brand

Desirable places to work all have this in common: They create environments where people want to stay.

To attract and retain the best marketing ops talent, leadership should focus the recruitment process on two things:

  • The candidate experience, then
  • the employee experience.

Treating your candidates and employees with empathy — practices based on candidate needs, a rewarding culture and compensation, hiring to invest in people — is how you create a workplace that people advocate for.

For any guidance you need with building a MOPs team, Revenue Pulse is here to help.

How Should I Approach My First Days in Marketing Automation?

Hi Jo,

I’m due to begin my first role in marketing automation with a new company, and I’m wondering what I can do to get off to a good start.

I’m interested in the technical and data-driven elements of marketing. But I’m coming from a role focused more on campaign content.

This will be my first time getting truly hands-on with a marketing automation platform.

What things should I prioritize learning? How can I make a good impression on my new team?


New Naomi.

Naomi, congratulations on your new opportunity!

It’s natural that you want to shine and show your new colleagues that you’re someone they can count on. That said, don’t feel pressured to get a handle on all the complexities of your tools and the detailed dynamics of your industry and company just yet.


“Marketing automation platforms have a steep learning curve, and the MOPs space constantly changes.”


Marketing automation platforms have a steep learning curve, and the MOPs space constantly changes. When I first started in marketing automation, I found there to be no shortage of new things to learn. including the:

➡️ technicalities of the platform
➡️ priorities of the business and
➡️ ways that my new teams work together.

Confidence and fluency in these things are what you’ll develop over time as you get comfortable in the role.

For now, it’s best to focus on understanding the:

✅ essence of marketing automation
✅ fundamentals of your platform, and
✅ things your teams need from MOPs to work effectively.

Here are some steps I recommend you take as you settle into your new job:


Think user-centric:

Platforms are all about the user experience.

If someone is reading your content, you have one shot at engaging them further — what does this page or email need to convey to encourage them to download that whitepaper or click through?

Reflect on the principles of demand gen and inbound marketing. They underlie all the capacities a platform has to bring a campaign to life.



Check out your platform’s support documentation, learning hub (e.g. Marketo Engage Tutorials, HubSpot Academy), and community forums.

These resources will help you to become self-sufficient, answer questions, and explore the different features of each platform. And, you can also develop a network by participating in user groups and discussions.

By interacting with people over time, you’ll increasingly establish yourself and learn more about the broader direction of the MOPs space.


Talk to people:

What do various people in your teams like or dislike about your marketing automation platform? What challenges are they experiencing? Talking about these things is a good way to start forming relationships, and it helps to focus your learning of the platform.

If you can discover how to solve problems that people are having, you’ll quickly establish rapport and expertise.


Make small improvements:

Your new team might want you to do things by the book or optimize established processes where you can.

Always be receptive to what your manager asks, but suggest potential areas for improvement along the way. Read our post ‘How Do I Get Management To Listen To Me?‘ for more ideas.

Whether you identify some tweaks to a page that could bring more conversions or introduce new visualizations that make data more digestible, it’s good to subtly show how you can improve things and make peoples’ lives easier.

You’ve got this,

Jo Pulse.

Marketing Operations: In-House, Agency or Hybrid?

TLDR: Is leadership considering a new structure for your marketing operations team? Learn about the suitability of in-house, agency, and hybrid marketing ops models.

You have three models to consider when structuring a marketing operations (MOPs) function:

  • building a fully in-house team
  • outsourcing MOPs entirely to an agency, or
  • a combination of the two.

Each approach can suit the ambitions and needs of your business. The best fit depends on the resources at your disposal and the scale of your MOPs maturity.

In this Tough Talks Made Easy, you’ll learn how each operational model can suit your business.

If your organization’s responding to changes in budgets and personnel, or your marketing leaders are redefining what they want MOPs to accomplish, now’s a great time to discuss the strategic aims that each model supports and the circumstances in which they can work.


Why change business models?

There are several scenarios where exploring different ways of structuring a MOPs function makes sense.

For example, let’s say:

  • Your current setup isn’t yielding the results your CMO wants to achieve. But, your competitor – who uses another operational model – is solving relevant problems and gaining the benefits you desire.
  • Your MOPs team might perform well, but tighter budgets, staff changes, or new growth prospects make it favorable to shift business models.
  • MOPs is an emerging area for your business, without much being established. You’ve completed some projects and have a few pieces of marketing technology. Your marketing leadership see potential to further develop your capabilities.


“A structural shift can help to accomplish your goals.”


A structural shift can help to accomplish your goals if leadership wants to:

👉 troubleshoot performance issues

👉 adapt to financial and operational circumstances, or

👉 increase the caliber of your MOPs function and its contributions to growth.


The three MOPs models

1. The in-house marketing operations model

Structuring MOPs solely as an in-house operation will likely need the most substantial support from your organization. This includes cultural recognition and financial backing.

Internal MOPs teams thrive in environments that perceive and respect marketing operations for its inherent value.

In other words: Your organization doesn’t undermine the marketing ops team with the continual expectation to prove the ROI of its existence.

Otherwise, the team needs a proven leader within the company and industry who can effectively establish the value of MOPs. This internal recognition is critical as it means healthy budgets for investment in digital maturity and growing the team’s headcount and skillset.

Key benefit: Greater access to key stakeholders within the organization which can influence the direction of a campaign or streamline communication.


2. The full-agency marketing operations model

Changing the status quo early in your MOPs maturity is a tall order.

Marketing operations concerns the analysis of marketing behaviors and their impact on revenue. It’s a distinct extension of Marketing that overlaps with Revenue, Operations, and IT.

As a result, many organizations are uncertain where MOPs should sit internally, and in some cases, they’re playing catch-up with the value that MOPs provides.

Sounds familiar? Consider a full-agency model to reach your full your MOPs function potential.

Businesses often have larger budgets for agency assistance than for building internal teams. While leadership may recognize the need to develop your marketing ops capabilities, outsourcing the function is likely an easier sell financially.

Key benefit: Using an agency partner to get projects off the ground provides evidence of the true value MOPs can bring. You can use this evidence to justify the headcount budget to build a team in-house.

Going the agency route also makes sense if your company has struggled to fill open, in-house MOPs positions.

In a job market where the demand for MOPs professionals outstrips the supply, in-house teams are often stretched thin across a breadth of strategic and tactical responsibilities.


3. The hybrid marketing operations model

Hybrid models can benefit small teams short on bandwidth and facing skill gaps. Partnering with an agency means accelerating your work and extending your reach to more ambitious projects. You can drive growth and develop the sophistication of your MOPs function.

Another choice to consider is between centralized and decentralized structures.

In a centralized function, one team manages the entirety of your company’s MOPs, whether that takes place in-house or at an agency.

Decentralized structures see multiple business units or departments use marketing technology to execute on their particular MOPs needs. Marketers around the business may use software like Knak to build their own emails, or have access to a marketing automation platform to build or even deploy their own programs.

Key benefit: In this scenario, an agency can provide additional lift for the single person or lean team running point on a department’s projects. Agencies can also help to create stronger connections and alignment between MOPs and an organization’s general Marketing team or support the work that marketing end users do in a platform.


Assessing the fit

Many organizations see their MOPs maturity begin with either a sole in-house or full-external model.


“The most viable path depends on the resources and hours you have available.”


Based on past experience, your marketing leadership might be strongly for or against using an agency. The most viable path depends on the resources and hours you have available.

Factor in your budgets for hiring and agency support, the expertise of your in-house team, and the available time your team can use to branch out into new MOPs initiatives and capabilities.

From there, businesses typically blend in-house and agency marketing operations, then fluctuate between a hybrid model and a sole in-house team.

You’ll experience a natural ebb and flow of agency needs as your MOPs maturity develops. After you’ve established MOPs to a point where you can bring someone in-house or grow your team, a marketing ops agency can still support you when your team ramps up enough to again need extra help.

At any given time, the ‘best’ model of structuring Marketing Operations is the one you deem most likely to achieve your growth ambitions within your financial situation. And this will shift over time.

Wherever you are on your MOPs journey, agencies can support your business at scale, within the budget and headcount on your side.

Need some help? Get in touch

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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

Should I Join a Remote Marketing Operations Team?

Hi Jo,

I’m in the market for a new job, and so many of the marketing operations positions out there are for remote-first or international teams.

To be honest, I’m wary of joining a team where I don’t get to meet up with people in person (I haven’t had the best experience working remotely during the pandemic) and I’m not sure I have the bandwidth to onboard into a brand new company from afar.

Am I making too big a deal out of this?


Fretting Frankie

pink horizontal line

Hey, Frankie. First things first: your job is a big deal, and you’re more than allowed to ask these questions as you try to find the right one. 

You also aren’t alone with these sentiments. In a recent post, I talked to recruiters about the benefits of building a team with people from all over the world.

But, looking at your question, I’m hearing you say that you don’t think remote work is the right fit for you. Have you ever stopped to ask yourself why that might be? 


A better work/life balance

For generations, we’ve been conditioned to believe that we can only be productive in the office, surrounded by our colleagues. But is that really true?

For me, the fact that I can more easily weave in and out of my work and home lives makes me much more productive in both areas. If I ever get five minutes between meetings, I can put on a load of laundry instead of just waiting around at my desk. 


Managing the social aspect

Another concern might be the social aspect—and I hear you.

It can be hard to imagine how you replace casual water-cooler conversations with text on a screen, but just because it’s different doesn’t mean it isn’t effective.

Slack and all its various integrations (does anyone else use the giphy randomizer?) make it easy to:

  • communicate your insights
  • share style of humor, and
  • meet new people on other teams.

Every day, I see people take advantage of these tools to build relationships both within and outside the professional setting.

Not only that, but joining a remote team helps youexpand your network outside your region. That’s particularly valuable for the marketing operations industry, which has such widespread expertise.


Rent office space

Now, if you’re someone who can’t imagine working at home because you live in a small apartment with your very loud roommate, who also works from home, that shouldn’t stop you from looking at remote positions.

Companies taking a remote-first approach are really looking for the best possible candidates, and if that means providing a stipend so that you can rent a small office, I’m sure they’ll find a way to make that happen.

We’re in an unprecedented time in the workforce, and you should never be afraid to ask for what you need to have an optimal work experience. 


Look at the company culture

Another important thing to remember is that your aversion to remote work might be based on working with your current employer, who had to scramble to figure out remote work during the pandemic.

For a lot of companies, the shift to remote work was messy (at best) and it left a lot of people disillusioned with the idea of joining decentralized teams.

Consider this: Leaders today have spent a lot more time thinking through what they can do to empower their distributed teams, supporting them with the right tools, policies, and processes. Don’t let that one experience put you off from testing out something different.


Lean on your MOps skills

You may be saying to yourself “OK, you’ve addressed a lot of my concerns, but am I equipped to join a new team remotely?”

I think you are.

The skills you need to succeed in a remote team are the same skills you need to be a good MOps professional:

  • proactivity
  • accountability
  • problem-solving, and
  • good communication.

As long as you’re able to proactively think about solutions to any problems that might arise, and communicate those solutions effectively, you’re golden. 


You’ve got this, 

Jo Pulse

P.S. RP. is a remote-first company with a great team and strong culture. And we’re hiring. Visit our careers page to see if there’s an opening that matches your skills.