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DECEMBER 14, 2021 hosted by Glenn Bottomly

Ep: 4 - When Curiosity & Grit Fuel Velocity

Posted by Glenn Bottomly on Dec 14, 2021 8:43:22 AM

The name “marketing automation” tends to refer to things like automating email marketing initiatives. The name “marketing operations,” however, speaks to the collaborative value that team members bring to a highly creative role.

Today’s guest made the internal rebrand — with stellar results.

In this episode, we interview Dana Weeks, Senior Manager, Marketing Operations at Crain Communications, about how curiosity and grit fuel her high-velocity (and newly renamed) marketing operations team. 

Listen in as we discuss:

  • How marketing exercises both right-brain and left-brain thinking
  • The motives behind renaming marketing automation
  • Why curiosity and grit are essential traits for marketers
  • Making marketing operations a strategic partner to the rest of the marketing team
  • Strategic moments for being hyper targeted

What Matters Most in Marketing?

Quick quiz:

What matters most in marketing?

🇦 Curiosity

🇧 Grit

🇨 Both

Curiosity matters because it’s the quality of asking questions and figuring things out.

Curiosity is a marketer saying, “How can we do this? Let’s learn!”

In part, curiosity is what drives great marketers to collaborate across teams. It’s the continuous-improvement drive.

Grit also matters because it keeps you keeping at the puzzle until you find the solution.

Grit is a marketer saying, “I will solve this no matter what!”

It keeps great marketers encouraged rather than frustrated by repeated failure.

Marketing operations runs on three things. Curiosity and grit fuel velocity.

“In marketing operations, so much of what we do is figuring out things that we've never done before.” — Dana Weeks

Curiosity, Grit, and Velocity

Curiosity, grit, and velocity form a cycle that goes like this:

Plan ⇨ Do ⇨ Check ⇨ Act ⇨ Repeat

The more you spin that cycle, the faster it goes, the more your velocity increases.


Curiosity says, “How can we do this? Let’s figure it out!”

Curiosity is all about asking questions to understand where the customer is coming from and what is going to make your project successful. 

A new project often has a slower velocity because your agency hasn't done that exact thing before. It's time to circle back with fresh questions:

  • What have we done that's similar?
  • Who else has done something similar?
  • Can I reach out to one of the many fabulous marketing operations communities for help?


Grit says, “I will solve this puzzle.”

Grit makes things happen. It's the determination to keep moving forward — understanding, revising, iterating, launching again, and maintaining that feedback loop throughout the life of the project.

Grit ties back to curiosity. You have to keep asking questions — being curious — until you find out what the solution is.


Velocity can only happen when marketing operations are eager and determined to optimize and collaborate.

Curiosity and grit pair perfectly with a collaborative spirit.

Basically: Never problem-solve alone.

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Why Rebrand to Marketing Operations

Dana and her marketing operations team provide more than just implementation services and automation services. 

As the subject matter experts, they're offering recommendations on the optimization of repetitive tasks and technical strategic direction. They specialize in things like using predictive analysis for entry points on the journey, ways to segment or display personalized content on data available, researching, and implementing. 

The marketing operations team does that with the help of the engineering team through direct integrations. Their ultimate goal is to reduce the marketing team's workload so they can focus on coming up with creative, revenue-generating ideas. 

To achieve that goal, the team had to rebrand.

"I really needed to align the team with one with one of our core values, which is collaboration," Dana said. "The rebranding was a natural step in that process."

What to Do With a BIG Marketing Ops Budget

Imagine more money got dropped in your lap for marketing operations in 2022. What would you do with your cash?

Dana's answer was, "Add headcount."

Dana said she would bring on a dedicated analyst to provide dashboards and KPI reporting, uncover trends, and flag issues. Adding that position would allow the team to be proactive instead of reactive. 

It's a small team right now — just three employees — who do a large volume of work. Adding a dedicated analyst would be amazing.

The other hire Dana would make is an implementation and campaign operations person for every four brands. These team members would own those relationships, which would definitely increase velocity. 

A Key Takeaway (or Three)

  1. Resourcing marketing operation is an integral part of doing high-level marketing.
  2. Creativity requires thinking about how to manage a growing workload even if the team size never expands. Part of the answer lies in collaboration.
  3. The answer to the quiz above is 🇨.

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