Cleaning up the confusion in marketing ops job postings
The marketing ops space needs clearer distinctions and a consistent vocabulary.
I recently was on the job market in search of a new opportunity. As I was reviewing various job postings, I saw ample evidence that there’s plenty of confusion regarding what marketing operations means.
In some cases, a posting for a marketing operations position had the typical marketing automation callouts but also covered a whole host of other disciplines ranging from analytics to UI/UX design to technical strategy. There were also marketing technology positions that were almost exclusively marketing automation and CRM administration.
The field needs clearer distinctions. In my humble opinion, operations specialists should focus on system administration and educating others about the systems’ possibilities and limitations. Technologists should focus on stack roadmap strategy, harmonization of the martech stack as well as how it fits within the broader organization, promotion of strategic decision making, and overall staff training and enablement. Data experts should focus on helping measure and assess campaign and technical performance. Then there are the product professionals. Project managers should bring order to shifting tactical priorities, and product managers should ensure that products — whether acquired or developed by their colleagues — progress toward a defined, cohesive strategic vision. All roles should spotlight emerging trends that the organization may want to pursue.
Below are some high level duties that people can use when drafting job descriptions. Feel free to preface these titles with terms like principal and associate to connote organizational seniority. Terms like coordinator, analyst, and manager can follow them to further fine tune the position’s scope. Further, referencing Scott Brinker’s martech role types (marketer, maker, modeller, and maestro) can help provide further direction. There isn’t a marketer role below since those likely sit in another part of a marketing department, but feel free to share an idea of such a role in the tech/ops arena.
I acknowledge that there’s a need for situational variation. So, a job description may result in a role spanning more than one pillar, but establishing more precise verbiage should help everyone regardless.
Thanks to Ashley Blanchard, Marketing Technology Manager at Adobe for her input.
- Help stakeholders observe vision, commitment, and orchestration
- Manage lead lifecycle management due to its strategic nature
- Champion training and enablement across the stack
- Within the department as well as out of it, including business partners
- Maintain stack documentation
- Influence tech stack roadmap
- Identify deficiencies within stack and processes
- Strategize for short/mid/long-term objectives
- Strategize how to address pressing issues (privacy and regulatory trends, consumer needs, corporate compliance, etc.)
- Identify prerequisite steps to realize medium and long-term ambitions
- Example: Improve data hygiene
- Example: Implement knowledge base for AI-driven tools to use
- Serve as an internal technical consultant to the marketing department
- Help identify strategies to meet needs (buy vs. build, right-size contracts, etc.)
- Help determine renewal and retirement decisions
- Recommend tactics (integrations, training, new hiring, etc.) to help realize what is feasible for the organization with emerging trends and technology
- Liaise with other relevant stakeholders (IT, Information Security, Legal, Procurement, Accessibility, etc.)
- Guide stakeholders through solution selection process
- Shepherd RFI, RFP, contract negotiation, and IT security assessment processes
- Oversee broad picture of stack integrations
- Serve as system primary point of contact when there are numerous stakeholders
- Promote awareness of organization-wide tech stack and downstream considerations
- Power user — perhaps administrator — of tech stack components
- Configure and operate systems to meet objectives
- Collaborate with marketing strategists, creatives, and analysts to plan, execute, and evaluate campaigns
- Help match best tactics to objectives
- Educate stakeholders about possibilities and limitations of tools and channels
- Ensure that UI/UX is conversion friendly
- Promote SEO awareness
- Assist with determining how to measure campaign and tactic effectiveness
- Coordinate closely with IT developers and vendors assigned to maintaining stack components
- Work with user/customer privacy in mind
- Help ensure regulatory and accessibility compliance
- Participate in QA/UAT activities
- Mitigate against unplanned technical deficiencies (outages, service degradation, etc.)
- Serve as a “citizen developer” by using integration as a service (IaaS) tools
- Work with marketing strategists on how to measure effectiveness of campaigns and channels
- Help ensure that data flows properly through the tech stack
- Maintain automated alerts for campaign and channel performance variations
- Create dynamic dashboards for stakeholder review
- Assist marketing operations specialists on calibrating and fine tuning data driven stack component configurations
- Educate stakeholders of the potential and limits of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML)
- Should adhere to established project management practices
- Waterfall, Agile, etc.
- PMP, Certified Scrummaster, etc.
- Focus on shepherding projects
Product Manager (technical or otherwise)
- Adhere to established product management practices
- Ensures that products follow long-term roadmaps that have a clear, defined vision
- Champions collaboration across concurrent projects
- Note: Roles specifically geared toward marketing technology and ops seem rather new and are mainly for companies that need extensive interaction with IT or other departments in regard to their martech stacks.