What We Learned at the 2015 Marketing Operations Executive Summit

March 23, 2015 James Thomas

What We Learned at the 2015 Marketing Operations Executive SummitEarlier this month, the Allocadia team joined 200 marketing operations professionals at the Marketing Operations Executive Summit in Carlsbad, California. On the agenda: the evolution of marketing ops and the role marketing ops plays in transforming marketing organizations.

When we think of marketing ops, the first thing that comes to mind is technology. In the past, we’ve associated marketing operations with executing details of campaign activities. But the overarching theme of this event wasn’t tech — it was people. Modern marketers need completely different skill sets than they needed just a few years ago. Marketing operations professionals need to know how to gather and interpret data, speak the language of the business and drive change within their organizations. Marketing ops isn’t about campaigns anymore — it’s about having a top-down strategic view of marketing’s impact on the business.

Here’s a recap of what we discussed and learned at the event.

The Future of Marketing

One theme we heard over and over: Marketing is changing, and it will affect the entire organization. According to speaker Mike Walsh, “the future of marketing is not the department, but the platform. For the new marketing stack to be effective, it needs to integrate with the rest of the organization.”

Nancy Fessatidis, head of big data analytics at SAP, echoed the belief that technology is changing marketing as we know it. “Businesses need to rethink our future,” she said. “New disruptive technology is changing business processes everywhere.”

Attracting the Right Marketing Talent

Organizations that want to lead the way will need to attract and retain the right employees. Nicolas Draca, head of global marketing operations at LinkedIn, looks for people who can “get shit done, at scale.” LinkedIn looks for people who are owners, not doers.

Nancy Fessatidis from SAP had an interesting take on marketing talent. The company recently updated its marketing operations team mission statement. Instead of focusing on managing processes, information and tools, the new goal is to provide the best possible customer experience.

After making that change, Fessatidis had to rethink her team’s structure. The demands of modern marketing are different, and some team members couldn’t meet that new reality. To become more customer-centric, she had to staff her team with people who understood how their actions affected the customer.

Getting Strategic About Reaching Customers

“Content marketing” is a popular buzzword, but if your content isn’t reaching your buyers, all of your hard work goes to waste. Rachel Young, research director at SiriusDecisions, says that a full 60 percent of content goes unused. We can solve this wasted content problem by focusing on customers. She encouraged marketers to focus on the buyers — where they are, how they like to engage, and what messages and calls to action resonate.

Understanding How Marketing is Contributing to the Business

Marketers are expected to understand both the art and the science of marketing — and show real ROI for every marketing campaign. We’re seeing marketers getting smarter about how they organize and interpret data, using new, better tools.

I led a session at the event with Allocadia client Juniper Networks. We shared how Juniper Networks improved its internal budget management process to bring clarity and alignment to its marketing investments. Using Allocadia, the team eliminated budget spreadsheets and gained real-time insights about their spending and results.

When marketing organizations have access to data about their actuals and their targets, they can start to predict ROI and understand how the business is performing.

Check out more of the conversation from the Marketing Ops Summit on Twitter.


The post What We Learned at the 2015 Marketing Operations Executive Summit appeared first on Allocadia.

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