There’s always a burning fire in marketing operations.
Our guest uses his passion for data to understand why, and how to use that heat to blow past his goals.
- His fascinating career path from social media to demand gen to analytics
- Dealing with marketing’s particular hiring challenges
- How documentation is absolutely critical in marketing ops
- Optimizing your customer data platforms
Love tackling tricky problems using data analytics and rising to the constant challenges in marketing operations? Let’s explore.
“I want to be able to learn as much as I can to broaden my perspective as much as possible.” — Ryker Morgan
Following the fire
Ryker loves to say that he was “born in social media marketing and raised in data collection and analytics.” He’s always loved learning — as proven by his two Bachelor’s degrees from Weber State University, in Spanish Literature and Public Relations/ Advertising.
He did his time in the customer service trenches as an intern and in demand gen. Then he moved entirely into analytics where he could truly spread his wings.
“Too many people get too comfortable in their lives and careers,” Ryker thinks. And when you get comfortable, you stop growing.
He’s genuinely excited by the complexity of today’s modern data stacks, considering them a fascinating ball of wire to be unwound and plugged in. “It’s really fun to figure out how to get data from one place to another” so you can get to the actionable bits.
Like most people, Ryker has yet to encounter a business, from an operations perspective, that runs smoothly all the time. There’s always a problem, issue, or breakdown, especially in marketing ops, as it’s still a relatively new business function.
He was lucky to get in on the ground floor as the movement was really taking off, as he landed in an environment where he was strongly encouraged to learn.
As he saw where improvements could be made, he began to take ownership. Being there early enabled him to gain expertise and master the then-nascent martech that rules the roost now.
“Documentation is so critical and important with marketing ops, or any ops position in general, where you're managing data flow between different technologies.” — Ryker Morgan
The professional shortage
A huge challenge facing marketing departments all over the country is the crucial shortage of experienced and knowledgeable workers.
Ryker says there are two main problems facing companies today when it comes to finding and keeping top staffers. The first is that a lot of organizations just don’t give marketing ops the support it deserves. There are many drowning teams of one, which hamstrings the pool of talent.
“We have so many people who are kind of good at a lot of things,” Ryker notes, “but master of none.”
He offers two solutions to filling the gaps:
- Be willing to pay for the skills you need — and know that it’s going to be expensive.
- Invest in training, growth, and mentorship, and accept the risk that not everyone will choose to stay.
Ryker believes that investing in your people is the only way to help marketing ops “grow out of its adolescence and into a fully functional and expected organization across any business.”
“To be a more effective marketing operations professional, we need to be striving to help each other grow.” — Ryker Morgan
Lessons for success
Whether your team is one person or several, they need to have a gift for logic and analytics. They need to have a rounded understanding of your business needs.
Many companies fall into the trap of clamoring for more technology to swoop in and solve problems before they’re one hundred percent sure exactly what their problems are.
Ryan stresses that the main component behind the success of his teams is heavy documentation, right from the very beginning.
“How many times do people leave and drop things on the rest of their team,” he reminds us, “and no one knows how to do it, because there was customization there that lived in that person's head.”
Knowledge sharing through documentation is vastly critical for marketing operations teams that are managing multiple technologies.
The next big thing
Is a centralized customer data platform the end-all, be-all solution to everything? Maybe.
Marketing ops teams can take ownership of that and track event info and an individual user’s journey all the way through the customer lifecycle, which is very exciting to someone as naturally curious as Ryker.
These CDPs can give you the ability to target audiences you’ve never reached before by harnessing these mountains of data — if you have staff who understand how it works.
But before you start dragging in every new expensive technological toy, you need to carefully evaluate your business needs to see where the weak points are.
Ryker says that tech unicorns and startups are centralizing everything. Strive for close-knit relationships across each of your teams.
“Otherwise, that's gonna contribute to the fires that we see every day, and while there's a lot of fun in that, we should eliminate them wherever possible,” he adds.