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Development, March 21st, 2017

Marketing Ops: The art of managing chaos

Marketing Ops: The art of managing chaos

Is knowledge of HTML basics helpful to managing web content or designing better emails? Sure. Does having even the smallest idea about data mining help to keep customer data clean? Yep.

But doing all these things simultaneously requires some good old-fashioned multitasking and task allocation ability.

Rarely do marketing specialists realize that the assumed effect of the strategic decisions they take is not entirely measured, nor predictable. Marketers’ job is much easier with intelligent tools that help to analyze and estimate, but there are always variables that we haven’t anticipated.

The trick is to accept that fact, embrace the chaos and learn how to minimize the risk.

In mathematics, the name “chaos theory” relates to seemingly disordered systems that this theory describes. In fact it’s really about finding the underlying order in apparently random data. Check this article if digital world dispersion is giving you a whiplash – “Digital chaos theory – we live in a world we no longer understand”.

It turns out that soft skills are equally important as hard skills in all the challenges we have to face on a daily basis. If I had to point out three most fundamental elements in marketing operations that help to organize chaos, I would say:

  • analysis
  • time management
  • process development

Let’s discuss them, one by one.

 

Analysis

Working for the second largest production company in Europe is quite a challenge. I didn’t know what to expect until I was actually a part of the team. I had had experience in ecommerce advertisement, category management and B2B relations.

As a Marketing Ops I started from analyzing all kinds of activities we ran, which all have been focused around creating case studies. I quickly understood that analysis is a core value I brought to the company, as nobody had ever analyzed the marketing activities.

I started to study our social media presence, our competitors, our website’s performance. My conclusions made us all more aware and gave our marketing specialists clear instructions on the content we should create to engage and drive sales more effectively.

 

Time management

My time management skills were always flawless (at least that’s what I’ve been told). I work fast and almost every day I find a minute to catch up with all the industry news and learn something interesting.

It’s not an inborn skill. Through years of filling out ‘to-do’ lists or Trello boards, I mastered the art of storing my (and not only mine) backlog in my mind.

Pragmatic and hard-shell time management helped me to control the chaos around me by sensible task assignment and eliminating tardiness.

There are also tons of great materials and blogs on time management tips and tricks you might find useful in your work.

 

Process development

I’ve already mentioned two essential elements in the art of managing chaos: thorough analysis and time management.

The third point of this triangle will be process development.

Agencies and production companies always look up to improve internal processes. Trying out new tools and replacing old solutions is a part of retention.

Been there, done that, got the t-shirt.

50% excited, 50% being scared of all the things that can go wrong I worked out a process that works best with almost any kinds of tools: CRM, social media management, analytics tools etc. If you’re curious on how typical process development look like, check this article on researching and developing ideas, new products and services.

Let’s go through all these steps.

1. Need

First, we notice a need to have a tool that will improve our work, automate some part of it and help to analyze our activities.

It doesn’t really matter if it’s a new CRM integrated with email automation tool or social media management app. It’s always easier to start up from the scratch, in this case steps 5 and 6 from hereunder can be skipped and if you develop good maintenance habits every change you make in the future will be painless.

2. Research

Research is essential for all of us who work with a budget. Every company has special needs, distinctive for its industry.

3. Trial

Then, we test the tool, trying out what kind of data we can pull out of it. If ROI is acceptable considering all the effort we should take to make it work for us, we need to decide on whether it’s good for us, or not.

4. Decision

Trying different solutions, we have to choose the best one that fits our needs, that’s quite obvious.

5. Data cleanse

If we’re switching to a new one we have to clean and migrate our data.

6. Data migration

First we upload a data sample to check if everything went smoothly. We have to have data architecture settled to keep data clean and consistent.

7. Analysis, Improvement and Retention

Every action should include analysis, which should lead to conclusions and constant improvement of our actions.

 

This is actually a never ending circle, which should be a part of any strategic action.

 

Marketing Ops special powers

Being Marketing Ops is a challenge, but it gives an opportunity to grow like no other job.

To manage people and processes, analysis, time-management and process development are necessary. Simply speaking, without planning and measuring each marketing action is doomed to fail.

Especially that marketing is a fast paced, broad term, which is going through major redefinition these days. Marketing specialists often need to demonstrate strong tech and analytical skills.

I personally have to manage web content (being responsible for the website maintenance at the same time), run all social media channels, analyze marketing activities, contact our clients for permissions and many, many other tasks.

Marketing jobs (or the art of managing chaos) require flexibility, having a comprehensive mind and above all, being a fast learner.

P M