Hey Joe,

I took the plunge and moved into Marketing Operations. I’m from a Product Marketing background, where I was always interested in data and the technology that powers campaigns. Beyond that, I’m still figuring out my longer-term career prospects. I’m not yet sure where I can specialize or what a more advanced role might look like.
How can I develop a successful career in MOPs? What skills and knowledge should I work on?

Long-Term Lou.


Welcome to MOPs, Lou. It sounds like you’ve noticed that this is a field without a set path of progression. People enter MOPs from all kinds of disciplines, and there’s no universal set of processes or chains of seniority that determine where you’ll go next.

I myself got into the field from a broader-based Marketing role, where I grew interested in how tech can help marketing to create growth. Years later, I can say that this isn’t a static business—there are always new problems to solve, and new tools are constantly emerging to fill capability gaps. For that reason, success means taking the initiative to own the solutions, skills, and knowledge that grab your interest.

That said, some qualities and capabilities are fundamental to the role. You’ll build systems and processes and spend time on technical specs and data flows, but you’ll also have to balance the needs of different voices in the company and advocate for solutions where everyone wins. The strategic and commercial awareness you develop in Product Marketing is just as important as technical skills to performing well in MOPs.

With those observations in mind, here are some tips to help you go the distance:

Learn 1 marketing automation platform and 1 CRM system back-to-front: These two platforms are the beating heart of your tech stack. Look into trial versions and pay-as-you-go models to get started at a minimal cost. Immerse yourself thoroughly, and you’ll gain a solid understanding of how everything fits together. Then, you can experiment with more secondary tools.

Take advantage of company training budgets: Whether you’re looking to become certified in a platform or attend training workshops, your organization should allocate time for training and help you pay for classes. Keep an eye on any qualifications and sessions you might be interested in and ask internally.

Build your network: Product forums, user groups, and MOPs online communities are great opportunities to engage with people who have similar interests. Everyone’s learning as they go, so participating in discussions can help you build knowledge and relationships.

Find a mentor: When you start developing particular interests in MOPs, it’s worth asking for guidance from someone in the company who has specialized in that area. This mentorship can help you pick up the right skills and perspectives to progress in your chosen direction.

Get to the bottom line: Breaking into senior management means shifting from gritty technical details to high-level organizational value. That means knowing your business model, learning how MOPs’ work impacts ROI and productivity and speaking to different audiences with the right strategic vs technical framing.

Expand your horizons: Changing environments every so often can result in valuable professional growth, and every person has a place that fits them. Startups are made for creators and people who value breadth. Agencies let you gain lots of experience fast across different platforms. If you’re someone who wants to refine and improve established processes, large companies are a good bet.

You’ve got this,
Joe Pulse.


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