Data can be the marketing operations leader’s greatest weakness and greatest strength. Who owns it? Who secures it? Who interprets it? All this contributes to how — and how well — data is used in your org.
In this episode, I interview Danielle Balestra, Director of Marketing Technology and Operations at Goodwin, about the delicate role of data in marketing operations, as well as how Martech stacks handle sensitive data.
Join us as we discuss:
- Selecting technology — and being willing to switch
- Martech stacks and data privacy
- The difference between brand and marketing operations
- How to do email marketing right
- What traits to look for in hiring marketing operations team members
Take a Flexible Approach to Technology
Your Martech stack is integral to your marketing operation.
In Danielle’s experience, data presents the greatest challenge when seeking to optimize the martech stack.
There are a lot of variables to consider:
- Data ownership
- Data compliance
- User permissions
- Timelines for configuration and testing
- User training
You need to know what data you require and how to keep formats consistent from one end of the operation to the other. That means putting business rules in place for data management.
Danielle recommends that you and your teammates ask the following questions:
- Why are we investing in this technology?
- Are we able to achieve the desired outcome and capabilities by using any current tools?
- How would a new system communicate data with other systems that already exist?
- Would the new system replace one or more existing tools?
- How do our security protocols affect current and potential new tools?
By beginning with the root cause of why new Martech is needed, the selection, implementation and transition processes become smoother for everyone involved.
<“Data can be the biggest problem you will ever have.” — Danielle Balestra>
Martech Stacks and Data Privacy
Your security protocols may have a significant influence over your use of Martech.
Given that your security protocols most likely differ from that of your competitors, there could be challenges you face, unique to your business, while using a specific tool.
This may be in trying to use specific data, like personal information of residents of specific geolocations. If you need to comply with GDPR, for example, but the tools you want to use don’t align with that, it’s going to hinder your operation if you can’t find an alternative.
Strengthen Your Review Process
Many Martech products are released as MVPs.
You could be a lab rat, and your customers’ data is exposed to whatever is going on in that lab, too.
As Danielle says, getting your marketing messages out into the public should never come at the detriment of your customers.
Her advice for safer experimentation with tools: get the minimum amount of data into new systems and then relentlessly check on the state of protection of that data.
Difference Between Brand and Marketing Operations
Marketing operations are akin to architects and contractors: they are responsible for the plan, the blueprint of how things should function.
Brand operations behave as the interior designers. The experience of each room and interior space is under their portfolio.
You need both teams to work together to create the appropriate customer experience and deliver the target impact.
Demographically, Prince Charles and Ozzy Osbourne are identical. They’re both wealthy, they both live in castles and they’re both UK citizens. Their respective interests, however, are completely different.
This is why demographics, alone, are not enough to achieve successful connection with an audience. You need a second layer of finesse applied to the messaging to really resonate with the right people who will not just purchase once, but become loyal to the brand.
<“Marketing operations are your contractors and architects, whereas the brand folks are the interior designers.” — Danielle Balestra>
The Right Way to do Email Marketing
Email is a core channel within marketing operations, but it does get abused by marketing teams (often unintentionally).
Is it really necessary to send 18 emails to encourage someone to buy something basic, like tea?
Respect the people on your mailing list. It’s okay if they don’t open your emails immediately.
Keep your email content relevant for the recipients at all times.
The consequences of not doing so are clear: dismal open rates and almost zero clicks, let alone purchases.
Even worse, your IP addresses are being harmed in the process, as more people unsubscribe, block you as a sender or mark your emails as spam.
<“Focus on the customer experience, don't just inundate them with emails. They will advocate for you, and they will help you grow.” — Danielle Balestra>
Marketing Operations Hiring Advice
Here’s what Danielle recommends you look for when hiring people to join your marketing operations team:
- Intellectual curiosity
- Diversity of thought
- Team players
Check out this resource that Danielle mentioned:
- Purple Cow by Seth Godin