Do I Have a Future in Marketing Ops?

Hi Jo,

I’m new to Marketing Operations, and it feels like a wide-open field.

On a given day, I’m planning and budgeting for email campaigns, learning how new integrations work, and working with different teams on issues far and wide.

Sales needs leads scoring, Marketing wants to know where to spend ads, and IT and Data Science need input on the processes for managing our systems and data.

It’s a lot.

I appreciate the challenge and variation of my job, but that same nature makes it difficult to figure out if I’m in the right place or how I might progress. How can I succeed in Marketing Operations? How do I know if I’m on a path with a bright future?

Unsure in Utah

Unsure in Utah, you’ve come to the right place.

My journey to marketing operations wasn’t planned. I became the Marketo person for my team while working in demand gen. This was long before MOPs was a carved-out role.


“You’re at the crossroads of
many different corners of the company.”


I got to grips with how the tool works, how to handle and maintain data, and how to run reports — but that didn’t quite prepare me for the real, full-time deal in MOPs.

You’re at the crossroads of many different corners of the company. The good news is you get to choose where you walk.


Determine what excites you

Ask yourself: Of all the things that I’m doing, what really excites me?

If it’s the tactical side of planning and analyzing campaigns, Campaign Management might be for you.

Digital runs on a parallel track, but it takes similar skills with creativity and data, one if you’re equal parts art and science.

Read our post “When Is It Time For a Career Change in Marketing Operations?” for more on this subject.


Everything is a learning opportunity.

Here’s the beauty in MOPs: Everything is a learning opportunity.

You’re around different people with unique perspectives, there are new and interesting problems to solve, and new tools and technology, like AI, give you more time/resources/insights to experiment.

There’s always a need for your skills, so if you take the reins and specialize, you’ll go far and fast at once.


Positive signs you’re in the right place in MOPs

Wherever you are right now, here are some positive signs that you’re in the right place in MOPs:

👉 You’re being challenged — and you like it.

👉 You’ve got a problem-solving mindset, and you’re learning and growing from putting it to use.

👉 You’ve got access to senior figures, managing upwards and making your opinions heard. This is a tell that your company takes its investment in MOPs (and in you) seriously.

👉 You’re passionate (or at least curious about) your industry and space, what you’re selling, and who you’re selling to.


“You’re not an order-taker.
You’re a strategist. A doer.
An expert.”


That’s quite a bit to think about, Unsure in Utah.

For now, I’ll leave you with this. You are not an order-taker. You’re a strategist. A doer. An expert.

That’s your future in MOPs.

You’ve got this,
Jo Pulse

How Can I Get Sales & Marketing in Sync?

Hi Jo,

My sales and marketing teams aren’t working well together.

People from both teams aren’t really talking to each other or sharing information that could help them both to succeed.

As a result, we work in an environment where:

❌ processes are slow
❌ communication is tense, and
❌ Marketing and Sales don’t understand one another.

How can I make my teams collaborate like partners? How can we bridge the gaps between us?

Out of Sync Sally.

pink seperator line

Sally, it’s good that you’re asking how to fix things.

When disconnect is the norm, it’s impossible for teams to work effectively together.

In a past workplace, my Marketing team would publish whitepapers and run events as a separate machine from Sales. Likewise, Sales turned down the majority of our leads without giving any feedback.

You’d have no idea we shared the same goal: Drive revenue for the business.

We were completely misaligned, and worse still, nobody felt they could speak up. That was ‘the way things were done,’ with little hope for dialogue or change.

Three key elements were missing:

✅ Strong purpose.
✅ Shared understanding.
✅ Active listening.

Now that I’ve moved on to manage teams, I realize just how essential these components are to bring people in the workplace together.

Here are some tips for creating an environment where teamwork actually makes the dream work:

1. Have someone representing each team attend the other team’s meetings and presentations.

Having a representative to share feedback and updates, to show interest in helping and understanding each other — will help both teams to work more considerately.

2. Encourage transparency around data, goals, and knowledge.

If Sales shares where they need help fulfilling quotas, Marketing can help them size up the impact of campaigns. Which Marketing webinars are valuable to particular prospects? Who can Sales pursue based on event attendance? How can Sales and Marketing line their activities up?

3. Invite teams to share their updates on a monthly basis.

Common dashboards that visualize key performance metrics, project presentations from people in various different roles—these initiatives help everyone to demonstrate how their work connects to the bottom line.

4. Consolidate your teams on one project management tool

This will get your teams on the same page. It’s a visual tool to show how each person’s activities contribute towards a shared outcome.

5. Create open channels for people to share their successes or ask for help.

The mindset you want to promote is: “How can we celebrate or solve this together?”

6. Ask people what they see their purpose as, and accept honest answers.

If someone doesn’t know their purpose in the company, encourage them to think about the bigger picture and show them the true impact of their contribution. Whether it’s press coverage from Marcomms or products from Merchandising, quality work in every role plays a part in the company’s growth.

7. Get people moving around and talking to each other.

Hotdesking, catch-up calls, open invites to knowledge-sharing and brainstorming sessions; all of these help sociability and belonging as a team.

Ultimately, people want colleagues and leaders they can trust. Make clear that Marketing and Sales are on the same side, and that you’re here to help and encourage them to perform at their best.

You’ve got this,
Jo Pulse.

P.S. If you’re looking for a take on sales and marketing alignment through the scope of data analysis, read this Tough Talks Made Easy.

How to Hire the Right MOPs Leader

TLDR: Is your company looking for a new MOPs leader? Learn the fatal flaws to avoid when designing a MOPs leadership role and the qualities to prioritize instead.

One of the growing pains of Marketing Operations is that many organizations are hiring in the dark. Hiring teams with a hazy understanding of MOPs as a discipline struggle to design roles with realistic skill requirements that candidates find fulfilling.

And nowhere is this disconnect more blatant or consequential than with leadership positions in the space.

If your hiring manager or CMO is searching for a MOPs leader, this Tough Talks Made Easy is for you.

We’ll help you articulate the fatal flaws to avoid when hiring a MOPs leader, and the qualities and experience your organization should instead prioritize.

By having this conversation, you can advocate for a strong vision of what it means to lead a MOPs team, help your hiring team to identify credible candidates, and position yourself to grow into a leadership role.


The split problem

Many job descriptions for senior management positions in Marketing Operations tell stories of confusion.

Companies look for candidates that must have:

  • current platform certifications
  • a wealth of data science experience
  • the ability to manage day-to-day campaign tactics, and
  • suitable knowledge to own the tech stack.

So along with having the technical experience from more junior roles, these desired candidates have had time to strategically lead the same functions they performed.


This is both unviable and uncompetitive

Your CMO may recognize the value of stellar technical skills and reportability, and budget to offer candidates high salaries. Still, the price too often means doing three different jobs in one.

For candidates ready to set strategic direction, roles with heavy platform administration and hands-on tactical work do not represent meaningful career progression.

If your hiring team’s idea of a MOPs VP or Director resembles an “upgraded” platform admin role, encourage them to reflect on other leadership positions in the company. Do any other senior roles have a comparable share of tactical responsibilities?

Probably not, because a 50/50 split between tactical and strategic projects is simply ill-fitting for a leadership position. In a marketplace where the demand for high-level MOPs skills outstrips the supply, it’s unrealistic to attract and retain good candidates with roles that don’t play to their strengths or career goals.


Advice for your hiring team:

Focus your MOPs leader role on setting the strategy, and leave the tickets and data pipelines to team members who’re still learning the tools of the trade.

If forced to flip-flop between two very different sets of competencies, your unicorn candidate will become a master of none.


From ‘management’ to ‘leadership’

The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated digital transformation in many businesses. To stay resilient and competitive, companies raced against the clock to hire candidates with the digital prowess to optimize their technology and data. The urgency for MOPs skills increased in kind. Companies bumped up middle management marketing operations roles to leadership status and pitched them to candidates with around 5-10 years of experience.

Just as the tactical and strategic split in these roles is ill-fitting for prime leadership, it also does not work for those still learning about management.

Your CMO will relate to this: The transition from “manager” to “leader” encompasses more than just a change in job title. This concept holds true for individuals in MOPs as well.

Becoming a MOPs leader is a development from knowing all the corners of Marketo to understanding what drives revenue and growth in your business, setting a vision for the department’s operations and priorities with the future direction of marketing and technology. Candidates with 5-10 years of experience are, broadly speaking, still nurturing that skill set.


Advice for your hiring team:

Giving a leadership position with high expectations (and a steep learning curve) to someone still learning what it takes to be a leader sets them up for failure.

You have two viable alternatives:

1. Downgrade the role appropriately. Give your new manager the time and space to develop their leadership skills.
2. Hire someone who’s truly ready to lead.


The right MOPs leader

Your Hiring Manager and CMO may need help identifying what leadership really means in MOPs. This is where you come in.

You know that MOPs is all about efficiency. Rather than putting out fires, a leader should demonstrate proactivity to set processes up for success and prepare to mitigate risks. They also need a strong grasp of how marketing operations as a function is evolving — enough to see through the spin of vendors and get to the real value of each tool.

From your experience at the crossroads of the company, you’ll know that MOPs demands exceptional communication skills, and nowhere more so than at the leadership level. Your MOPs VP or Director will lead the team that orchestrates data, so they’ll need to interpret insights, share feedback, and sell decisions at levels from C-Suite down to Business Development reps.

In a role that’s focused specifically on setting direction for the team rather than manning the same tools, these are the traits you want to advocate for as a MOPs leader:

  • a passionate student, as MOPs is constantly changing
  • someone who learns through adaptation rather than prescribed beliefs about how the industry works, and
  • is prepared to take new developments and apply them to current and future plans.

By having this talk with your CMO and Hiring Manager, you can set your MOPs function up to succeed with the right talent in the appropriate roles, and position yourself as someone who understands what it takes to lead.

Follow Revenue Pulse on LinkedIn for daily updates about improving communication with MOPs leadership.

How Can I Become a Better Communicator in My MOPs Role?

Hi Joe,

I’ve been steadily improving my skills in MarTech, but I feel like other important soft skills have been lagging behind.

When it comes to building stronger relationships with my team members, communicating with other departments around the company, or even presenting in front of large groups in meetings, I’m really struggling.

Any advice on how I can communicate and present more effectively?


Awkward Alex.

pink seperation line

Alex, I know how you feel, and I’m sure many others out there do too.

Building and developing soft skills for better communication and presenting is no easy feat, especially if you’re a bit more on the introverted side or you’ve struggled with public speaking in the past.

Over the years, I’ve been fortunate enough to have many conversations and experiences that have helped me forge these skills. Here are some tips I’ve picked up along the way!


Lead with empathy

When I think of soft skills, empathy immediately comes to mind as the number one trait to look at for improving communication.

Practicing empathy in all your interactions will help you develop deeper relationships around the company, as well as encourage and inspire those around you.

This goes for speaking with clients as well. Consciously employing more empathy will help you understand your clients’ needs more clearly. Ultimately allowing you to serve them more effectively.

This is one of my favorite Simon Sinek quotes that embodies this concept: “Empathy is being concerned about the human being, not just their output”.


Find common ground

If empathy is number one on our list of soft skills, then close behind it is the ability to find common ground with others.

Whether you’re speaking with sales, marketing, IT, or anyone else involved in the company, there will always be an opportunity to find some piece of common ground.

It could be anything from sports, pop culture, where they’re from, or what companies they’ve worked for — MOPs can be a small world! This is a great way to bolster your professional relationships and it’s a seamless ice-breaker when speaking with new hires for the first time.


Everyone is rooting for you

When speaking in front of an audience – whether it’s an internal meeting, client presentation, or anything else – it’s natural for most people to have some anxiety or fear of rejection.

To help with this, I defer back to the idea that: it’s in our nature to want others to do well.

We don’t want to see others fail or feel embarrassed. So the next time you find yourself speaking in front of a large group, keep in mind that they’re on your side and want to see you succeed.

It may seem simple, but internalizing this shift in perspective will go a long way in helping you feel more poised during presentations.


Company culture matters

A lot of soft skill development also has to do with the culture of the organization you’re with.

Here at Revenue Pulse, we promote a culture of teamwork and support. Mistakes will happen, and being transparent about your flaws in an authentic way will help build trust and strengthen relationships – both within the company and with clients.

It’s also important to surround yourself with people who will give you honest feedback so you can improve.

Give others permission to tell you if a presentation wasn’t impactful or if a conversation felt off – while we need to take our work seriously, it’s important we don’t take ourselves too seriously as well.


Leave your comfort zone

While all these tips are important, the final ingredient that ties everything together is experience.

I don’t know of any great communicator or presenter who is speaking in front of a group for the first time.

Put yourself in front of audiences as much as possible and have conversations often. Getting the reps in will help you build confidence, and you’ll be well on your way to becoming a better communicator.

You’ve got this,


How to Explain RevOps to Your Marketing Ops Team

TLDR: In response to customer churn, technical debt, and siloed working, moving to a RevOps team helps people in marketing operations, sales operations, and customer success collaborate and align on strategy.


Marketing operations as a discipline grew from necessity. Businesses need people who understand marketing automation to master the tools and processes that make marketing teams succeed. As the field develops, MOPs teams are now moving towards a new organizational structure known as Revenue Operations (RevOps for short). This transition requires a comprehensive understanding of the entire customer cycle.

If you’re a MOPs leader managing a shift to RevOps, anticipating the changes in team structure and role demands can elicit some anxiety. Your MOPs team will want to know why the shift to RevOps is happening and what it means for their jobs.

As people question their place in the new order of business, how do you inspire confidence in the team?

In this Tough Talks Made Easy, you’ll learn how to present an optimistic vision for the move to RevOps. This shift can help people in MOPs to remedy historical challenges and make more significant contributions to the business. Convey this, and you can get people excited about the opportunities ahead.


RevOps in context

Multiple teams play a role in the customer journey.

  • MOPs’ contributions—campaign creation, data analysis, lead scoring and handover—kick off the cycle.
  • After MOPs brings good leads to sales operations, SOPs creates efficient lead management processes to help sales win business.
  • From there, customer success teams work to retain customers and prevent churn.

MOPs, SOPs, and customer success are responsible for engineering different stages of the funnel. Revenue Operations unites these teams to optimize the entire customer cycle.

Essentially, it means bringing all three teams under one roof to ask the same questions: How do we improve the customer experience through our tech stack, sales processes, and interactions?


Businesses are more vulnerable to churn

Shifting business dynamics in recent years makes integrating these three teams urgent. The rise of SaaS and subscription models have made businesses more vulnerable to churn. If customers can pay for your products and services on a rolling, short-term basis, maintaining high retention rates takes constant work. Hence, the growth of customer success.

Meanwhile, the explosion of workplace tech has caused companies to go all-in on tool adoption. As people leave roles and take their expertise, MOPs and SOPs teams are increasingly strained by technical debt and dysfunctional tech stacks.

A hard-learned truth: Tools are only as good as the people who use them.

As remote working becomes more commonplace, there is a heightened risk of siloes. Consider how connected MOPs, SOPs, and customer success are in the customer journey. These teams can’t work effectively when fragmented.

Someone in your MOPs team will recognize this one: without access to Salesforce, fixing a dataflow means pulling in someone from SOPs. When teams are disconnected, they get protective (“why are these people making changes in our tools?”). As a result, collaboration becomes difficult, even between teams that share the same goals.


What RevOps offers

MOPs, SOPs, and customer success all exist to support revenue generators. Integrating these teams under one banner helps people align on strategy, collaborate, and share their knowledge.

Instead of technical debt and division, you create opportunities for MOPs and SOPs to coalesce around a selection of tools and technical processes.

No longer working in isolation or with ambiguous impact, MOPs gains visibility with customer success and sales. From the very start of projects, they can work together to set goals and improve processes that translate across the whole customer cycle.


MOPs to RevOps

At this point, the logic of RevOps should make sense—but what does a RevOps role mean in practice?

The field is still new and fluid, but there are some guiding characteristics you can share with colleagues wondering how their roles could change.

RevOps moves away from granular tool ownership and data management towards calculating the impact of practices across MOPs, SOPs, and customer success. With more emphasis on visualizing these insights to leadership, RevOps provides opportunities to make holistic connections, identify the impact on revenue and productivity, and present these findings at high levels.

The key ingredients to RevOps

  • tool knowledge
  • business acumen
  • strategic thinking, and
  • a grasp of customer success and SOPs.

This presents a challenging learning curve for MOPs professionals, but it’s a chance for inquisitive people to get in on a nascent movement, develop new skills, and take ownership for finding problems and figuring out solutions.


Vision and change

RevOps is a team about the constant, integrated optimization of customer journey practices. It’s proactive, planned, and dedicated to winning and retaining business in the most efficient ways.

The shift from MOPs to RevOps responds to new business dynamics and demands, but it also helps MOPs people improve how they collaborate and align with SOPs and customer success.

Within a RevOps team, MOPs professionals can gain new skills and make greater strategic impacts through visibility, interconnectedness and a proactive role in optimizing the customer journey.

Invest in building a consistent experience that solves the challenges of siloes, and your MOPs team will want in on the journey.


Want to know more about RevOps? Get in touch for a chat.

Should I Take the Marketo Certified Expert Exam?

Hi Jo,

I’m in the early stages of my career in MOPs, and I’m wondering if I should take the Marketo Certified Expert (MCE) exam.

Many people in the industry have this qualification, though I’m not entirely sure what doors it can open.

My current role is mostly about supporting campaigns, but I could see myself heading down a more hands-on path with tech.

Is taking the MCE a smart decision for me? If so, what can I do to make sure I pass the exam?

Excited Ellen.

pink separator line

Ellen, it’s great that you’re considering how the MCE can support your career.

The MCE is like a badge of honor.

It tells employers, clients, and the MOPs community that you’re someone they can trust when it comes to Marketo.

Obtaining the qualification can be beneficial in various ways, but its relevance ultimately depends on your goals.


Benefits of MCE

Passing the MCE helped me progress from a campaign operations role into Marketo consultancy and negotiate a higher salary.

Do you like the idea of moving towards strategy or systems operations? If you’re interested in designing the sales, data, and reporting processes in Marketo that allow others to run campaigns and get performance insights, the MCE can give you that momentum.


Other options

That said, not taking the MCE isn’t a hard stop for career development. If you become interested in a more generalist marketing role or a discipline that’s less about managing tech, like field marketing, then you’ll use Marketo in a less administrative capacity.

In that case, you might want to look at the Marketo Certified Associate (MCA) qualification, which validates the functions and skills you need for running campaigns.

Taking either the MCE or MCA lets you practice and prove your skills with Marketo.

While you’ll never use all of Marketo’s features, I find getting either certification helps people in various roles to speak the same language about this vast and important piece of tech.


Tips for acing the MCE:

From my experience taking the MCE, here are some tips I can recommend to ace it on the first try:

  • One year’s experience as a system admin is a good estimate for the time it takes to pass the MCE. If you don’t have admin access, practice processes like implementations, migrations, and integrations in a sandbox until you’re confident in your skills.
  • Try out features that you’re less familiar with. You likely have a good grasp of campaigns, so branch out into functions like reporting and databases.
  • When Marketo’s your day job, you’re effectively preparing for the test by going to work. Think about the test-relevant functions you can implement into your day-to-day workflow.
  • Practice exams and sample questions, like these, are close to what you’ll see in the real exam. Do a few of these and you won’t have any major surprises.
  • Marketo product documents are a great resource for checking the finer points of how things work.
  • Marketo user groups and MOPs community channels are also active spaces for support.

Whichever exam you decide to go for, you want to gradually expand your use of Marketo until you’re comfortable with the fundamental skills tested in the MCE or MCA.

Try not to rush or stress through your prep; slow and steady wins the race.

You’ve got this,
Jo Pulse.

How to Explain Ideal Customer Profiles to Sales and Marketing

TLDR: Ideal customer profiles (ICPs) characterize the customer groups that best fit your services. ICPs aim to help businesses sign more profitable deals with shorter close times. Sales and marketing create ICPs by analyzing data from past customer engagements and deals, coalescing around a shared set of customer profiles to target. Marketing operations helps sales and marketing evaluate whether the data supports the personas created and guide them to refine the ICPs with each reporting cycle.


What is an ideal customer profile?

Ideal customer profiles (ICPs) are sketches of the buyers who best fit your services.

ICPs are similar to buyer personas, though they tend to characterize groups of customers rather than individual buyers. In theory, these groups are the easiest to close deals from and the most productive for sales and marketing to focus on in their initiatives.

Accurate ICPs help revenue teams do more deals in larger sizes and with shorter times to close.

But when sales and marketing teams create ideal customer profiles in poor alignment with each other, guided by personal biases over data, they risk approaching the wrong prospects with disjointed campaigns and processes that don’t attract business.

In this Tough Talks Made Easy, you’ll learn to explain to sales and marketing what it takes to create ICPs that work—a data-driven approach with 100% alignment.


ICP 101

How to get started with ideal customer profiles: Ideal customer profiles begin with data. By analyzing past customer engagements and deals, sales and marketing can identify the most common traits of customers interested in your products and services.

A team will use a variety of behavioral identifiers (e.g., types and topics of content engagement, webinars and events registered) and demographic identifiers (e.g. job title, region, company, industry) to craft ICPs along with sales data.

Sales and marketing use these insights to create personalized content, messaging, and processes to attract increased business from these groups.


The goal of ideal customer profiles:

The goal of ICPs is to help businesses sign as many deals as quickly as possible and as profitable as possible.

Factoring in additional metrics like monthly recurring revenue, time to close, retention rates, and deal size can help sales and marketing succeed by focusing on the prospects most likely to engage positively with the business and return sustainable profits over time.


How to know if your ICPs are right:

There’s no magic recipe for crafting ideal customer profiles, but if sales and marketing are coming up with many disparate profiles, it suggests that your targeting efforts aren’t specific enough.

To get results, both teams should unite around a shared set of ICPs.

Without close alignment, sales and marketing might have completely different ideas about which customer groups to pursue. When marketing’s campaigns and messaging aren’t in sync with sales’ processes and understanding of the buyer journey, it’s unlikely that your efforts will strike a chord with any particular customer profile.

Between your sales reps and marketing colleagues, your revenue team might be a broad tent of past experience and expertise with different industries and customer segments.

Personal experience can lead your team to infer the best customer traits and groups to target, but data is the only reliable basis for your ICPs.

Past success stories and sector-specific knowledge can be helpful starting points for creating ICPs, but sales and marketing need to validate any assumptions by looking at past engagements and deals.


The overall theme with creating ICPs:

More alignment means more success.

Sales and Marketing should use the same bedrock of data to target shared customer groups with campaigns and processes that complement each other.


Continuous success

Ideally, ICPs lead sales and marketing to meet and exceed their targets:

  • Marketing creates campaigns that generate better MQLs.
  • Sales develops these MQLs into higher rates of opportunities, conversions, and accelerated conversations.

To validate that your ICPs are working, encourage your team to think of ICPs as projects of continuous refinement, where each new reporting cycle is an opportunity to reevaluate if the data justifies the personas that Sales and Marketing have created.

MOPs comes to the table as a valuable source of guidance.

By analyzing the composition of your database and where deals come from, MOPs can pinpoint the percentage of leads, opportunities, and closed sales that meet your teams’ profile criteria and advise on the most optimal ways to segment your customer base.

With the latest data, consulting sales and marketing at regular intervals can help answer a range of decisive questions including:

  • How are particular ICPs performing at different sales cycle stages?
  • What profile characteristics can you tweak?
  • How might you account for ICPs in industries (e.g. government, education) that are significant seasonal buyers?
  • Are there any metrics not currently accounted for that are emerging as influential?

Whatever your reporting cadence—weekly, biweekly, monthly—a continuous process of analysis and adaptation is how your ICPs stay relevant.

Sit down with sales and marketing regularly to go through the reports, and you can encourage a well-informed and agile process of decision-making, where teams can pivot fast in response to ICPs that aren’t yielding results.


The takeaway

ICPs are valuable for Sales and Marketing to identify and refine how they target customer segments, but executing them effectively requires 100% alignment between teams and continuous analysis of engagement and deal data.

By working closely with MOPs to arrive at data-driven decisions, Revenue teams can create campaigns and processes that win more lucrative deals with shorter close times.

For any guidance with creating and executing ICPs, Revenue Pulse is here to help.

The Problem of ‘Invisible Labor’ in Marketing Operations

TLDR: Scope creep and burnout are exceptionally common in MOPs. Explain your role’s real value and demands so you get the credit you deserve.

The boom in marketing technology has seen marketing shift from a heavily creative discipline into a revenue engine. It’s increasingly capable of optimizing commercial performance and depicting high-level organizational impact. Marketing ops has assumed the responsibility to steer the ship, but recognition has yet to match the reality.

Does any of this sound familiar? Scope creep, burnout, loneliness. Then this Tough Talks Make Easy is for you.

We’ll characterize the challenges of working in marketing ops so you can confidently speak to leadership about your role’s demands and the value you bring. Whether you want a new role or a helping hand, rewards or respect, it all starts with this conversation.


The many shades of MOPs

Few functions are as multidisciplinary (or as misunderstood) as Marketing Operations.

  • You’re the custodian of an ever-complex technology infrastructure that must surface clean, accurate data and sync correctly between solutions to support campaigns successfully.
  • You’re the analyst that reports on budgets and maintains the performance of systems and campaigns.
  • You’re the advocate for processes and products that increase revenue, reportability, and productivity.
  • And when things go awry, you’re the engineer that fixes integrations by hand to redeem sunk cost investments.

This list is getting long, and you get the picture. In a nutshell, marketing ops makes marketing work.


The big MOPs misconception

The big misconception is that you do this critical work by pushing buttons on platforms and taking orders.

Marketing operations is a highly strategic role at the crossroads of many different corners of the business. It takes an exceptionally well-rounded skill palette and a lot of effort to perform well in Marketing Operations. This fact goes underappreciated by the many departments with whom you interact.

The point to qualify for leadership: In MOPs, the magnitude of this invisible labor is extraordinarily high.

There is no other function in the business facing the pressure to:

  • resolve the age old question of marketing and sales alignment
  • learn the ins and outs of products and play the role of procurement
  • inherit impact reportage from senior leadership, and
  • build systems and dataflows in step with IT, data science, and legal.


Finding focus

Marketing operations is a constantly evolving space, with thousands of new tools entering the market every year. This growth causes expectations and responsibilities to pile up without a greater appreciation of the value MOPs provides.

You may have spent your first few months owning one particular platform or optimizing unused or ill-fitting tools, creating the impression that executional work is the sum of your job. Friction between sales and marketing might be particularly high in your workplace, where your rationale for qualifying leads and passing them to sales is often disregarded. 

Leadership might note that MOPs isn’t the only function challenged by the complexities of workplace tech (just ask IT). But while IT is typically a broader team with an established status, MOPs is often an island on its own, where a handful or even a single member of staff performs multiple jobs at once.

Your CMO or CFO might ask for numbers, but invisible labor in MOPs is difficult to quantify.


The source of out-of-scope work

Every organization has its unique mix of strengths and stressors. A slick data science operation can coexist with a chaotic procurement department.

Because of this, the main sources of out-of-scope work will differ between organizations. But here’s the common thread: as MOPs interfaces with many departments, they’re vulnerable to misunderstandings and dysfunction from all around the organization, inviting excess demands by design.

This is a consequence of a hiring drive in MOPs that has sought generalists for roles designed to do many different things. That many people in MOPs are spread thin, their skills poorly utilized and understood, confirms that this has been an unviable approach to hiring.


The silver lining

If you relate, there’s a silver lining: Slowly, the industry is catching up.

As MOPs shifts to a more specialist field, where expertise in particular areas like attribution is becoming more prominent, the case for a role with more focused responsibilities has rarely been so convincing.

If leadership wants to take advantage of your skills and retain your loyalty as an employee, it’s time to give your role the focus and recognition it deserves.


Work in progress

Most labor in marketing ops is invisible to others.

  • You build complex campaign infrastructure and surface Marketing’s contribution to revenue.
  • You fix the flaws in your tech stack and cut through the noise of new solutions to find opportunities.
  • You coordinate buy-in between teams for processes with leads, data, and product purchases.

This work takes more time and expertise than outsiders assume. As a result, MOPs are spread thin, applying a mix of skills to fulfill unviable expectations.

Despite the progressive energy of the MOPs space, there’s a poor understanding of what it takes to successfully hire and design these roles.

If you’re struggling with excessive invisible labor, it doesn’t necessarily reflect your professional abilities. This causes frustration for many people in MOPs and a look at the active MOPs communities will show that you’re not alone.

Explaining to leadership the true demands and value of your role is the start of you taking charge of your career direction and gaining visibility and respect around your organization.

For advice with defining your role or managing excess work demands, Revenue Pulse is here to help.

I’m All Alone in Marketing Ops, How Do I Get Help?

Hi Joe,

I work in a growing startup, and my role has evolved to become about Marketing Operations.

The problem is I’m the only MOPs person in the company.

As a one-person team, I’m overflowing with deadlines and requests to get campaigns moving.

There aren’t enough hours in the day for me to execute more ambitious projects.

There’s simply more work to do in MOPs than I can handle alone. How can I get help? Where do I even start to manage everything?

All Alone Alvin.

pink seperator line

Alvin, I empathize with your situation.

Even in more mature companies that consciously try to add a marketing ops role, it’s tough to handle an incredibly busy function alone.

I’ve certainly felt the strain of being the lone MOPs person in my company.

Work can become a frustrating and isolating experience without the support of a team or the resources to do your job effectively.

On top of that, your organization may lack an understanding of your role and the challenges you face.

You might feel lost and overwhelmed, but there’s hope. Having grown my one-person MOPs function into an actual team of people, I can say that it’s definitely achievable to no longer be alone.


1. Find your community

Patience is definitely a virtue here. It’s going to take some time to build up the department and get the help that you need.

Even before you reach that point, there are ways to find a sense of community where you can go for help and guidance, including:


2. Build your case for growth

Longer term, you’ll want to focus on building a compelling case to grow MOPs in your business.

For your boss (and their boss) to get on board, your argument needs to have sound financial logic. If hiring someone or working with an agency helps you do more profitable, productive work, then the dollar investment makes sense.

To that end, marketing operations contributes more to growth as your business nurtures it.

Investing in brain power and technical expertise is the only way to move from executional campaign work to advanced projects that drive productivity and revenue like:


3. Collect data

Of the many tools in your stack, you’re likely using just a handful to run campaigns — and that’s time-consuming enough as it is.

The smartest way to use your time is to investigate your stack’s different functionalities. Find out where your data points come from.

Investigating the functionality of your tech stack helps you do two things:

1. Surface good data about how your campaigns generate leads and revenue.
2. Identify areas of opportunity for a new hire or agency to take on particular responsibilities that can fuel the growth of your business.

For your boss, the conflict is between what MOPs can achieve with technical maturity and the limited hours in the day you have to get there.

You’re at a bottleneck right now regarding what you can do. You can advance your case for help by focusing on analytics and reporting.


Key takeaways

Being the only marketing operations person in a growing startup can be overwhelming.

However, by building a sense of community, making a compelling case for growth, and collecting data, you can move from being a one-person MOPs team to a fully functional department.

It takes time and effort, but with patience and determination, it’s definitely achievable.

By investing in technical expertise, moving from executional work to advanced projects, and leveraging the data points from your tech stack, you can fuel the growth of your business and get the help you need.

You’ve got this,
Joe Pulse

How Do I Avoid Burnout in Marketing Operations?

Hey Jo,

For the past month, I’ve been working late almost every night.

I’m stretched thin across all the reporting and maintenance I have to do in a given day, and when I’m not on the clock, I’m still thinking about work!

It seems like there’s always more on my plate. More processes to improve, more leads to bring in, and more requests to handle.

The MOPs world seems to reward this level of activity, but I need to take it down a notch.

What can I do to stop burning out? How can I get time back for myself?


Always On Alex.

Alex, you did the right thing reaching out.

In the past, I’d fallen hard for this mentality of “MOPs never stops.” I thought “no” wasn’t an option, so I said “yes” to everything.

Soon, I was skipping lunches to catch up with reports. All of my reading outside of work was about Marketo. I’m pretty sure I was even dreaming about lead lifecycles.

Sales needs more opportunities, there’s never too much revenue for the business, and every other MOPs influencer has a blog and a podcast.

With that much energy around me, I felt I needed to spend every spare hour catching up, being “productive,” and doing more.

I really didn’t. Neither do you.

Here’s how you take back control of your time:


Structure your goals

There is always something you can improve on in martech, and it’s easy to bite off more than you can chew.

Got a big project on your hands? Break it down into small, achievable goals.

Come up with a plan and agree with your boss on what you’ll deliver and when.

For day-to-day tasks, reach out to your regular stakeholders and figure out workflows that mutually fit. Ordering your tasks based on urgency and time demands helps too—just factor in some meeting-free slots for yourself to really focus.


Ask for help

It’s impossible to know everything there is about a tool or have the time to do it all.

Speak with your manager about the budget for extra headcount or an agency to spread out the work.

Agencies are more likely to be within your reach, so it’s worth talking to other departments about their agency needs; you could score a better deal by approaching one with multiple streams of work.


Say “no” and “yes, but…”

Be tangible about how much time a task takes, the knock-on effect of taking on new responsibilities, and the resources and sign-off you’ll need to do something well.

If a request brings something you don’t have the time or expertise to handle, “no” creates a boundary that helps everyone.

You get to focus on your main priorities, and that task goes to someone more suitable. Voicing the output consequences behind each responsibility sets clear, accurate expectations.


Give yourself space

Near the end of the day ask yourself ‘what am I really excited to do tonight?’

Put the laptop away when you’re back from the office; get up and move around if you’re working from home. What are you watching, reading, or listening to that you can’t do at work?

Whatever your hobbies, do them not because they’re “useful.” Do them because you want to.

Remember: eat right, sleep well, and look after yourself. There’s more to life than the grind.


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