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Campaign Operations

Marketo Champion Britney Young on Hot Campaign Operations Topics

Lindsay DiLemmo May 13, 2022

Britney Young, a two-time Marketo champion, gave a presentation on diagnosing and treating an inherited Marketo Engage Instance at Adobe Summit 2022. Her presentation was such a perfect balance of practical yet strategic insight that we were inclined to take it one step further –  what happens after the diagnosis? 

…..What are some reoccurring issues post-diagnosis?

…..How can users overcome these issues? 

We sat down with Britney to get her insight on these topics. As an added bonus, we also went through a speed round of marketing operations Q&A – from controversial topics like the centralization vs. decentralization debate to examining why Marketo is so hard to learn.

Britney Young on campaign operations

You just diagnosed your Marketo Engage Instance – now what?

From building a roadmap to prioritizing problems down the road, we examined how marketing operations teams can find success post-diagnosis. 

💡 Did you know? Marketo audits have been on the rise since the Great Resignation came into existence back in 2020. With people changing jobs left and right, institutional knowledge of their Marketo Instance is also leaving with them. Pair this with a lack of documentation, and you’ve got an incredibly challenging situation for the next person.

Q: Let’s jump into it! What steps should be taken post-diagnosis?

A: Always back up your findings with data!

After I present a diagnosis, I try my best to support my findings with data. People are always going to have opinions – but it’s important to remember that opinions need to be supported by facts.

I recommend pulling some type of report to present the following:

  • Why you’re doing it this way
  • Why it’s costing this much time

I find approaching the conversation with data-driven insights has been helpful. With that said, I’ve still had times where bosses say “no I want it done this other way” – you win some you lose some.

Q: What’s your approach to prioritizing the different issues that arise post-diagnosis?

A: Use your best judgment – think about the big picture and your big rocks. 

If me taking an hour or so troubleshooting an issue is going to help my team down the line, by all means, I will take that time. Now, if it’s something more pressing that’s impacting our systems (IE – our emails are not getting delivered), I’m going to drop everything to find a solution.

With that said, I always make sure to utilize my team. This means allowing them to be the ones to build whatever that solution is. This way, they’re doing two things: learning and helping the team.

Marketing Operations Speed Round

Q: What does an ideal marketing operations team look like to you?

A: Perfect timing! I can finally say with confidence that my team has finally reached that dream state! Our team falls into these four buckets:

  1. Admin-level (focusing on operational aspects)
  2. Data, reporting, and analytics 
  3. Developing landing and email templates
  4. Executing campaigns 

Q: How can marketing operations teams work more efficiently?

A: If you’re not already using a project management tool, now is the time. 

On the more technical side of things, I’ve learned that tokens help marketing operations teams work more efficiently. The problem is that tokens can be challenging to learn – people don’t always understand the art of the possible with tokens due to the steep learning curve. 

💡 What are tokens and how can they improve the scalability of your Marketo templates? Find out here.

Program templates also help you become more efficient – I’ve noticed that people aren’t utilizing program templates as much as they could be.

Q: We know it’s crucial to be careful when it comes to adding tools to your stack. So, how do you know when it’s right to optimize and when to bring in a new tool?

A: You’ll want to begin by defining your ultimate business goal. 

For example, if you want to communicate with customers efficiently, you may look into SMS solutions. You’ll find that the free or more affordable option may not allow for customizations or insight into analytics, while the more expensive option does. In this case, the second option would best suit your needs.

Ask yourself these two questions:

  1. Which solution will help me meet my goals?
  2. Which will help me be more efficient? (this is even more important if you’re a one-man team, which many of us are!)

Q: The hiring vs. training debate – should you train people in Marketo or hire someone who already knows Marketo?

A: You need to assess your people. I’m extremely passionate about training and sharing my knowledge with my team. 

With that said, it’s about your people at the end of the day. Does your team have the bandwidth to learn a new tool – and does this align with their career goals? In order to effectively train someone, it’s important that both parties are equally passionate about learning the new tool. 

Q: Last but not least, why is Marketo so hard?

A: There are a couple of reasons why:

  1. Marketo language is hard to learn! There’s a good reason why there’s a Marketo glossary – Marketo has coined many of its own terms, and this takes some time to learn.
  2. There’s so much flexibility in Marketo – meaning there are various ways of doing the same thing, which is quite confusing for newcomers. 
  3. Since there are so many ways of doing things, you constantly have to be thinking about what makes sense when setting things up.

Overall, learning Marketo takes time, experience, and a whole lot of patience.

When it comes to training newcomers, I recommend individualizing their experience. Some people learn through shadowing and one-on-one training, while others like to teach themselves through videos and tutorials. And for some people, it’s a combination of the two. 

It’s important to ask people how they want to learn – and cater the training from there.

Campaign Operations Speed Round

Q: Should campaign execution be centralized or decentralized?

A: I’m on the side of centralized. 

From what I’ve seen, decentralization can cause a lack of consistency. When it comes to marketing operations, you just can’t risk that. 

Decentralization can cause problems downstream – anything from a naming convention to where things are saved. There needs to be a standardized process, and in the centralized model, that’s a lot easier to do. 

Q: What is the leading efficiency killer when it comes to campaign execution in Marketo?

A: Not using project management tools. (Forgive me if I’m beginning to sound like a broken record!)

I’ve found that when issues arise, they can almost always be attributed to mismanaged projects. 

Communication is crucial, and it’s important for information to be stored in a singular place. Project management tools help streamline processes and ensure everyone has access to the same information, which is a must in marketing operations. 

Q: How does campaign operations fit into the broader marketing operations mission? What does campaign operations focus on, and what are their responsibilities?

A: The main responsibility of campaign operations is email communications.

In terms of the overall marketing operations function, campaign operations is delegated with the following:

  1. Scheduling and sending campaigns
  2. Building segmentation and audiences

From my perspective, it’s crucial to train campaign operations folks on topics beyond executing campaigns. That’s why I’ll broaden their training to things like data architecture. This way, they’re getting a holistic experience rather than just sending out another email. 

I’m also constantly encouraging my team to speak up – don’t be a robot! If you receive a request and notice there’s a glaring mistake – or even a simple typo or punctuation error, play the QA role and fix the mistake. 

Q: How should campaign requests be managed – whats the proper order of operations to ensure everything goes as smoothly as possible? 

A: I can’t emphasize this enough – you need a project management tool! It’s crucial to have a central location where all requests are coming in.

Another thing you’ll need is SLAs! When both parties have the same set of expectations and details, projects run more smoothly and effectively. 

Q: Which is more important – being flexible or enforcing structure?

A: Again, it’s all about prioritization. You’ve got to balance staying on top of your workload while also testing how to be more efficient. 

For example, if we see an opportunity to try something new that will improve our processes, we’ll jump on it. 

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