Ops Cast | The “Dark Side” of Marketing Ops with Darrell Alfonso

In this episode we talk with Darrell Alfonso about parts of the role that many Marketing Operations professionals don’t like to talk about…but we all know are there. Things like, how it is tough to have a good marketing ops function when the messaging, branding or product is sub-par.  And, we had a literal fire...

In this episode we talk with Darrell Alfonso about parts of the role that many Marketing Operations professionals don’t like to talk about…but we all know are there. Things like, how it is tough to have a good marketing ops function when the messaging, branding or product is sub-par. 

And, we had a literal fire alarm happen during the recording. How appropriate for a Marketing Operations discussion. 

Recorded live on August 26, 2021.

Hi, I’m Michael Hartmann, I’m Naomi Lou, and I’m Mike Rizzo. And this is ops cast, a podcast for marketing ops pros and rev ops pros Created by the MO Pros. The number one community for marketing operations. As professionals tune into each episode as we chat with real professionals to help elevate you in your marketing operations career.

Hello everyone. And welcome to episode 23 of ops guests brought to you by the MO Pros and Michael Hartmann joined today by my cohost family. Lou. Yeah, let me say hello. And Mike Rizzo, you got both of them. Mike, say hello. Hey everybody. All right today, we’re going to be talking about the dark side of marketing ops.

I feel like we should have some ominous music here. Uh, we’ll get into that a little bit, but, uh, to join us in that conversation is today is Daryl Alfonzo, who is in global marketing operations at Amazon web services. Many of our listeners probably are familiar with Daryl who is active on LinkedIn. In addition to that role, he is at AWS.

He is also an advisor with sync. And he helped develop and build marketing ops MarTech training with the MarTech Alliance. And speaking of LinkedIn yesterday, we can start with this maybe Daryl. So Daryl, first off. Welcome. Thanks for joining us. Thanks for having me. I’m a long time listener. First time caller, long time for a time like that.

Um, do we get to call it a long time if it’s like we’re at like half a year, I think, or so we think that we have like word, this is 23 episodes. So 23 feels like a long time. Yeah. Um, all right. So, so we talked about LinkedIn and we were talking about this before he got on yesterday. You posted on LinkedIn.

Uh, a picture that you said sort of represents. I think when a lot of us go through in marketing ops where it was a rock, big old rock in the middle of something with pipes built around it, instead of moving the rocks, it, this sort of represents that, you know, I think that is a great sort of example, of some of the challenges we run into as marketing ops professional.

Um, but you know, when we, you and I chatted, you talked about like, what are some of these things that we think are the dark side of marketing ops? You know, when you said that, you know, what, how, how, what does that mean to you when you, when you said that, uh, so that our listeners sort of have a frame of reference as well?

You know, when I was thinking about this concept, I thought about. First of all, it’s the things that people don’t really talk about, um, when it comes to marketing operations, you know, what happens behind the scenes? You know, I think when we go on LinkedIn and we go on these other networks and even on podcasts, we, we talk about all of the strategic and business type impact that marketing operations is making and how.

You know, undervalued the role is, um, but there are some things I think that we’ll talk about today that, that, you know, need to be highlighted, um, whether it’s like a, sort of a reality check or just some of the less glamorous parts or parts that we kind of hide. So I thought that that was, uh, an interesting thing to talk about.

Um, and I thought about it as the dark side of ops. Um, so. I think that that’s how I like to put it, you know, things that we do and things that we’re probably thinking about. And that I think about often, um, that we don’t really show to the world and maybe some PE and maybe some PE it’d be interesting for some people to know, know some of these things.

Um, but also I think that, you know, some of the things that we’ll talk about, I’m sure that you, you all have gone through and experienced some of them just like the rock and the pipe. Posts that I did, you know, kind of resonate like yeah. I’ve hacked, something like that before. Absolutely. There’s this big blockage and I had to hack my way around it because someone didn’t give me the right resources or time to go do it or whatever.

Right. Well, what’d you say dirt or Daryl or you MacGyvered it, right? Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. I think I, and you know what, before we get into some of these topics, I will say that I don’t think. Any of the topics are meant to be harmful or, you know, some of the solutions that that I’ll recommend. I don’t think they’re meant to be prescriptive.

I think they’re just interesting things to think about, you know, one of my favorite. Authors is Malcolm Gladwell. And if you read, read any of his books like outliers or, or blink or tipping point, you’ll find that he just makes an observation. And then it’s the, the, the sort of, um, conclusion or what do you do next is sort of up to you.

You know, it’s like, it’s something that you ponder and, and that’s how that’s sort of the spirit that, that I was thinking about when I w when I started to list some of these things about the dark side of ops, you know, I don’t know if any of them are necessarily bad, or this is exactly what we should do to solve it.

I just think they’re interesting things. Do you think about, I love it. I’m excited. I can’t wait to dive into this. I like the Gladwell and I like, um, the guys who do Freakonomics, right. They both sort of have this. They’re very, like, the observations are interesting and they kind of lay out a lot of stuff, but they don’t always come to conclusions, which can be frustrating for some people.

But I think it, I think it makes a point of right. There’s not always an option. Right answer and Eric was right answer to some of these things. Um, I, you know, it’s funny, you, you talking about these things that are like unseen someone. I was talking to somebody earlier today about. I try to find an analogy that works for what it’s like to be in marketing ops.

And I think I’ve settled on the one that it’s like a duck on the water. Right. It’s like, it seems calm on the surface, but down below, right. Those feet are going like crazy. We’re like the iceberg where you just see the tip, but it’s actually right. Yeah. So, um, okay. So let’s get into the somebody scenarios and let’s talk about.

One of the first things you talked about and sorry to all those product marketers out there in front of development teams, but you know, it’s, it’s hard to be good in ops if, um, you’re dealing with sort of crappy product or crappy marketing. So just curious, like without naming names, can you think of some examples of where that kind of scenario has played out where it was a challenge to do good marketing ops?

I think that, so here’s an example. Let’s say, you know, with marketing ops, we’re always trying to figure out, Hey, how can we repeatably and scalable? Um, repeat marketing initiatives, right? Like a, like an event or a webinar series. Um, you know, if we’ve done four webinars this quarter, how can we make that eight webinars?

You know, how can we make it regional? How can we make it personalized? Um, and I think that the interesting thing. And we can, we can do all that and we can, you know, make it as efficient as possible and as scalable as possible, but it kind of sucks if the webinars themselves aren’t good. You know, and if, if I think we’ve all gone to them where it’s only.

An internal speaker, right? It’s like the, the, the head of product, or even worse, the head of sales is coming onto a webinar and telling you all of the things about the industry. And you’re kind of like, this is incredibly bias and, you know, not really helpful content. Um, so, so, so that’s, that’s something that, that, that I think of, of when I think about.

There’s only so much marketing ops can do and make an impact if the content, if the product or if the pitch isn’t good. You know? Um, so I think, I think that, that, that, there’s definitely something there. Um, and, and, and this is also like, it’s also sort of a marketing, a general marketing problem, too. When with, with what, with what you were talking about, um, Michael, where you can have the best copywriting and best pitch in the world, but when the customers start using the.

And it doesn’t meet their needs or they have such a hard time. It really kind of starts to fall apart, especially when it comes to retention. There’s no, there’s going to be no references. There’s going to be no word of mouth marketing. It’s actually going to be negative. Right. So all of the good things that you’re doing up on the front end actually sort of falls out the funnel later on.

And I think that, I think that that’s, that’s such an interesting, interesting, interesting concept. So I think that, I think that for marketing operations, it’s, it’s a good idea. Well, I think there’s two things you can do. One is if you have the option is to sort of select, to be really choosy about selecting, where you’re working, maybe the clients that you’re working for.

Um, and, and making sure that you’re working with good people, um, because it’s very much of a team right. Business itself, and sort of the entire go-to-market function is a team sport. Um, and even if you’re the best point guard in the world, it doesn’t mean that you’re going to be winning the games. If the other people aren’t playing their part and it’s, and it’s not.

You know, and I, I bring this up a lot just because I, you know, as you all know, marketing operations is hard to define. Um, and I like to say, I like to start narrowing down what marketing operations is by defining what it’s not. And, and it’s, and it’s not the message. Um, it’s not the sort of branding and creative.

Um, and it’s, it’s not really how the product functions, you know, it hurts to say that sometimes I think because we’re all, you know, I think we’re all business-minded. So we all have like influence and influence and opinions about how all these things should operate. But at the end of the day, we have a role to play.

And so. So I think that, that, that has been an interesting thing that I I’ve been thinking about. You know, even though we, we play our marketing ops role to its utmost potential, what happens if the other parts don’t? Um, and I think that that’s just an interesting thing to, to park there. Yeah. If they’re, if they’re missing the mark and the messaging or the strategy on delivering that message.

Um, the question though is like, is it, and you, you, you said this right, like marketing ops is. The brand, it is not the product that’s, that is not the responsibility. It doesn’t mean that you can’t share constructive feedback and have an opinion, and maybe try to be a part of that team that influences maybe you have an idea on how to improve the delivery of that message or that content in that webinar for your, for the example you were providing, but it’s not your responsibility to, to QA and, you know, check for messaging correctness for the right audience.

However, It is maybe our responsibility to figure out how to pass that information and that feedback loop back in and how to capture those variables as it’s coming together. So that post production, you can say, all right, categorically, I took the time to look at across all of these webinars. We ran and I labeled them a, B and C.

Where a is this content strategy? B is this one and C is this. And here’s how they performed relative to engagement metrics and all of these things that you can create systems to advise strategy on. Maybe how do you go to market in the future? And I think that is a super, super creative and strategic way that you can influence maybe more of that messaging in the future that you do have control over.

But some of us don’t found, see ourselves marketers, uh, and don’t want to be involved in the marketing end of that, that stuff. But it is fun to figure out how can I pass data back about this, but that’s, that’s just where my head was going when you were sharing some of that stuff. Yeah, I think so. You’re right on.

So, so one of the ways to. Make that situation better is to provide though those reporting the metrics, the sort of signals back to the teams to see, to indicating if what they’re doing is working or not. I think that that’s, that that’s, that’s so key and that, that I think, and I’ve been advocating that for the longest time is the first step almost.

Two from becoming a marketing ops order taker to that strategic advisor, strategic partner role is to lead with data and then to help your stakeholder help inform your stakeholders on, on what they should be doing. Um, but I think so, so that’s the exact approach that I would take, but I think that there’s a difference between letting them know and giving them the information.

Then it being filtered down from the top and it, and you leading with that, do you know what I mean? Because you’re still, even though, even though, even though you’re passing back this critical data, you’re still a partner and you’re still an advisor. And they still have to do it. You know what I mean? So, so I think, I think that there’s, that’s, that’s a, that’s interesting now I think in Mo in most cases it should be fine because you’re not going to be working with completely incompetent people.

So I think, I think that that’s, that that’s something that, you know, I recognize. So, so ideally when you’re passing that information back to, um, your stakeholders they’ll have the sort of. You know, there’ll be practical about it and then be able to, to, to make those those changes. And I think, I think good people and talented people, um, uh, smart people can do that.

Um, but, um, I, I think there’s, there’s something to be said around. You know, I think just going back to the whole idea of the, of it’s a team sport, and if there’s, if, if there are some functions that are severely lacking, um, you know, it’s going to hurt everyone. Um, so I th I th I think that, I think it’s an important thing to think about, but I think most of the time, if you, if you provide the data to, to make better decisions, it’ll put you on the right track for sure.

So I, I have a comment or an observation and then a question follow up. So what if the observation is really one of the things I’ve seen happen that is you, we get stuck on this, um, in some organizations straight there’s this push to do. Tons and tons of tactics. So you get on this sort of execution treadmill, and you’re never able to, to do this stop and do the evaluation of what worked cause I’m with you.

In fact, we had a guest, a few episodes back who was talking about, you know, addressing that question, right? If you could start to provide insights to the CMO or the head of marketing, wherever, right. You become seen as a strategic partner. So I totally buy that, but I think there’s a challenge there in that.

What do you get busy? It’s easy to fall back into. We just gotta get shit done. Right. And, and focus on that. Um, so that’s kinda my observation. I don’t know that I have a great answer and how to overcome it other than just, you know, putting in extra hours or maybe pushing back a little bit, but it would be interesting to hear other thoughts.

Um, the, the second is this also begs to me a little bit of a question about how do we measure marketing ops. Right. What, because if we’re not the ones responsible for the, the branding or the messaging or the, you know, the overall campaign execution, how, like, what do we get measured on as part of that? So curious to hear your thoughts, Naomi, you’re also in a big organization, I’d be curious, your thoughts as well.

Yeah. Yeah. I mean, I, so I hear two questions there, so I actually answered the second one first. So the things that I measure myself and my team on are, you know, because we really don’t come up with like you, you mentioned like my team does. Touch dementia. And we don’t write content, you know, we’re not dealing with social stuff or even PR branding and awareness.

So a lot of the things that I look at, look at in the metrics are around things like how many projects do we have in the queue? What is the workload like for folks on my team? Um, what is the time to close for our projects based on the types of campaigns that they are. Um, and another big one is technology adoption because I really, really, really hate paying for things that we don’t use.

And so I want to make sure that, you know, for every single product or tool in our tech stack, what is the average adoption? Is it like green? Yellow or red. Right. And so that way, at the end of the year, when we’re doing budgeting, I can say, well, nobody’s using this, even though I see great value in it, there’s no point.

Right. So, um, those are the things that we measure ourselves on the other piece is the other question, your first question was around, you know, how do you kind of move away from making the donuts to, you know, marketing the donuts really? Right. And so something that I started doing this year, um, and I actually posted about it on the slack channel and actually got a whole like.

Uh, an overwhelming number of direct messages about, um, my outline is I started doing quarterly business reviews, um, with each of our business partners. And so, um, it’s like, uh, you know, seven or eight part deck and we cover everything from, you know, how is your business performing? How, you know, How many campaigns has our team generated for you?

What types of campaigns have we been doing? Um, reveal of goals, EMA analytics, uh, best and worst performing campaigns in that quarter. And then we talk about, um, analytics around, you know, other tools that we use, like yard, Google outgrow, um, and then just some educational component, because there’s always changes that happen.

Right? So things like, you know, the new data protection law for Brazil that, that came out in August, um, the apple privacy. Changes that are happening with the mail app. Like these are all things that my team is exposed to that our business partners may not necessarily be on top of. So we take that opportunity to also like the back half of the call kind of come to them almost as like, okay, these are the things that you need to know.

Um, we’ll handle it on your behalf, but as subject matter experts, we’re kind of like giving you these industry updates of how it may potentially impact you. So I’ve found that since we’ve been doing that, um, Y, and we’ve gotten some like really great reviews. People really just love the format. And two, it’s just been really eyeopening for them that we are considering, you know, Again, donut makers for them.

We are kind of partnering with them to help them, you know, along their marketing automation journey. So, yeah, that’s great stuff. So one of the things we’ve touched on here through the conversation already is kind of gets towards one of the other topics, which. Has to do with marketing ops, being able to be effective has something to do with the relationship with, you know, field marketing or demand gen or marketing in general, depending on how you’re structured.

So yeah. Daryl thoughts, like how do you, how do you address like that relationship? How have you successfully seen a work or wherever you’ve seen it? Maybe not work so well. I th I think I’ve, I, you know, I first want to comment on maintenance. You know, um, quarterly business review. And because I think that, I think that, that, that sort of answers the question too.

And I’m such a big fan of that, um, whatever sort of cadence that you like to do it, I think quarterly is nice. And then monthly it’s also good because, because one is, you’ve got the transparency and the visibility, but it’s also the accountability part of it. And that is like, There’s there’s, there’s two parts of it.

One is externally or, or, or, or outside of your own team, you’re going to be held accountable for what your stakeholders are asking questions about. Um, and you know, in the, in those meetings, they’re sort of requests needs and sort of goals will be surfaced. Um, so that’s, that’s one part of it that external accountability, but it also is.

Uh, sort of self accountability, um, measure, right? Because each time that you’re put to you put together the report, you’re sort of looking behind and then also looking ahead as to what you accomplished and what you delivered in that certain timeframe. Um, so just the sort of habit. Of regularly reporting and, um, reporting on your progress and sort of the things that you’re working on and the things that you’re delivered, I think just makes you a better business.

Perfect. Um, in general and, um, you know, at, at, at Amazon, we do, we have two versions. We have a weekly business review, which is like all metrics, um, for all marketing regions, all the way up to, to, to marketing leadership. Um, and then we have monthly business review, which is specific to, you know, marketing ops specific to email.

Um, and, and it’s quite comprehensive. And I think that. You know, when, even when you’re working on your own projects, you can kind of sort of keep a good pace because you know that you’re going to be reporting to others and, and, and letting letting them know what’s happening. It’s almost like, I don’t know if you ever done this personally, but it’s almost like having an accountability partner, you know, when you, like, let’s say you want to go to the.

And you say, you do tell your friend, okay, I’m going to meet you every Monday at 6:00 AM at the gym. That sort of accountability, um, is, is good for both, you know, your, your friend like you as a, as a pair and then just for yourself too. Um, and I I’ve just been such a big fan of.

I really, excuse me. I really liked the accountability concept there. And this touches on just, you know, I think the broad term of transparency, right? Um, across the board, whether that’s to your team or to stakeholders across the business and. Um, I think it was Justin Sharaf. Um, he recently published an article on CMS wire.

Like I think as recent as yesterday that was talking about this idea of, of enabling that kind of transparency and collaboration across the organization, by doing things like. Um, I think he called it a MarTech road show where they kind of laid out their plans for how they were going to implement, you know, technologies or add features into the tech stack that they already had and deploy them that would solve challenges for different departments, team members or the business at large, which, um, I, I just pulled it up here.

I think that they, they said it, they removed, um, some of this like. Shadow MarTech that was being deployed, like stuff that was going on behind the scenes by creating that type of, uh, transparency, because some, one of his stakeholders had said, well, if I had known you had this plan, you know, I wouldn’t have bought that tool or spoken to a different vendor or something like that.

So it’s like incredibly important to, to think, you know, touching on that idea of like looking back while also thinking ahead, those QPRs, you’re doing all that stuff. Just yeah, super, super critical, but I would love to dive back into some of like, what is the, what is the dark? I really want to know, like some dark and dirty stuff, like the dark, dark hole of marketing operations.

I really want to pull out some more of that darkness. I’m interested in this. Well, wait, we could move on totally to what I think is going to be the, maybe the most provocative one, which is, you know, Let’s face it in any, in any, uh, profession, right. There are people who probably shouldn’t be in that profession.

Right. So one of the, one of the dirty secrets about marketing ops just is, you know, there are probably some people in there that really are not very good at it. Darrell thoughts. Okay. And I’ll, I’ll, I’ll, I’ll share an example and I’d love to hear what your thoughts are on about. But so first of all, we’re in marketing ops, right?

So the first word is marketing. So you naturally have to have some baseline marketing understanding. And I think we’ve probably worked with, with some people that. Are definitely just the ops part. Right. So that is truly the it for marketing. Yeah, totally, totally. Um, and I, and I think that, that, that comes to sort of what the objectives of marketing arm and, and, and, and, and the business part of it.

Um, and then I think even with marketing officer PE, people that are, you know, have a good understanding of marketing. I think that, and this goes for myself too. There is that slippery slope of just getting way too, in the weeds and building things, building your tech stack and adding things just for the sake of it, you know?

And I’m sure you’ve had this feeling before of you wanted to connect two tools together. Or, you know, build a process just to see if you could do it, you know? Yeah. And then, and then, and then you kind of wonder, you kind of look back and say like, did that really do anything though? You know? And, and, and I’ve had, I’ve had this experience before where I spent so much time creating these, like, um, creating these, that this automated report was in March.

And, uh, oh yeah, it was like, um, I actually built reports based on program membership for like the entire database. Um, this is a little bit in the weeds, but, but you can actually assign every single record in Marketo to a program and then have them have a specific program status. And that’s how you can actually report on like the entire database.

It’s a really interesting thing to do. Um, I looked back after I spent so much time. That’s all right,

I’m going to pause what happens. This is what really happens. This is like, literally we got to go put out a fire in marketing ops, right? A literal fire drill. Well, so what, well, well, well Daryl’s figuring out if he has to evacuate. Um, yeah. You know, I was thinking about this, like, Let’s get it gets back to right.

One of the things that I think differentiates people in marketing ops is that they just curious and they want to figure stuff out and they want to understand how stuff works. But it can be a trap too, right? You go down too far and you lose perspective. Okay. Sorry. All right. He’s bad. Seriously. Putting out real fires now.

I love it. Hey, just so you know, Darryl, it’s a daily occurrence in my home, so don’t be embarrassed. So I guess the point that I was coming to is I go through. And, and, you know, I go through, I go through slack, um, and sometime in the various channels, and sometimes I see what people are working on and it’s always this mix of, Hey, has everybody, has anybody ever connected a to B or B to C or connected this thing to this thing?

And it’s like, the most random is piece of software. And sometimes it’s something completely random. Like, I don’t know. I can’t even come up with an example, like, like connected my, like my, like SharePoint to this. And then, and, and I look at the, the biggest thing that I want to ask is like, why, like, why are you doing that?

And do you have the time to see if these two things connect together and like, what’s going to happen after. You know, and it’s, it’s so hard not to think that they’re just doing it just to see if they can. So, and I, and I feel like I’ve seen that for since, since the community has been. Um, I’d love to hear your thoughts as to if you feel that a lot of these conversations that are going on in the communities are the things that they’re working on are truly valid or is it, is it more of kind of what I’m talking about?

I dunno. I, I, yeah. Um, I’m with you. I tend to find myself actually asking why, um, just yesterday, in fact, someone asked a question and, um, Product a little bit. And I said, you know, well, what’s the eventual outcome that you’re looking to achieve is that, that you need it to not do something or you needed to do something and then take a different course of action based on the input, you know, like share a little bit more of the context of what you’re trying to accomplish.

And then maybe people will be able to make a tool suggestion or a different process or program implementation that might help you. Uh, and then that I took that conversation kind of one-on-one. After I had asked a couple more questions, but I do think that I think it’s a mix of two things. Like there are people who just love the challenge of it and just want to see if it can be done.

And then there are, I don’t know, I don’t know if this is definitively only two things, but then there’s also. Folks like myself who were earlier in their career, you know, at one point, and I was like, Hey, this tool could do a lot of really cool stuff. And then like, I’m talking to people, I’m like, Hey, why aren’t we like using more of this functionality?

Like, can we find an excuse to implement this? And it’s literally just because it’s available to you, like you want to try to use it and there’s no business stage. Right. And so it’s not that I just want to see if I can do it. It’s that it’s available and we’re not using it. And I want to try to use it.

There’s like an ROI efforts in that, right? Like this thing can do something for us, but I’m like reaching almost grasping at straws to try to like pull in business value from the, from the tool and its functionality that we’re not leveraging. But earlier in my career, I struggled with how do you present that requests to the business to turn.

You know, to try to tap into more of the capability. So I think it’s a little bit of, of that. Like I have this thing, I want to try to do it versus I have this challenge and I want to see if I can, you know, uh, move the rock, sort of build hard, build around the rock instead of totally, totally. And there’s two problems.

One is it perpetuates the idea of marketing ops as just these. People that are sort of just trying stuff, you know, and they have these little tech hobbies. And if that’s the kind of, and I’m not saying this about you, I’m just saying this broad, broadly that on that, if that’s the kind of. You know of, of teammate that you are, well, then you probably should be in an order taker role for a while, you know, until you have like, get some business sense.

Um, and I think that the other thing is. If that happens, you know, if, if you see that happening all the time in the slack communities, it begs the question. Are there other things, these people are wasting their time on, and I know that that’s harsh too, but I’m just, I’m just saying the question now. That’s good.

That’s kind of the point of this whole conversation, right? It’s like, this is like, people need to probably be, if you’re doing. Some of these things where you don’t have a clear business value that is going to come out of it. Um, and that’s not to turn away, like stop all experimentation and trail of stuff.

Right. But at the same time, there’s gotta be a point where you say, okay, I put enough time into this and not gonna, it’s not bearing any fruit we’re gonna quit, which is I think a good it’s the sunk cost fallacy. Right? And that know if you can’t recognize that you’ve gone down a path, that’s not going to work and you need to turn around, then we’re just stopped and you probably need to be rethinking where you are.

Totally. And I, and I think, look, when you look through the communities, we were only seeing a single sentence of someone. Work-life so there’s a lot of like assuming and judgment. That’s kind of going on. We don’t really know. So maybe someone’s trying to connect SharePoint for a good reason. I’m just assuming that.

I don’t think it’s a good reason. I don’t think he should be doing that, but maybe for some reason there is so, so I, I want to point that out. And I also want to like soften my statement a little bit by saying, you know what, by bringing some solutions there, not everyone’s like that, but I think that if you focus, if you stay focused on solving problems and solving like the critical business problems that you’re facing, this usually leads you in the right direction.

Um, the, the, the idea of taking a look at your tech stack and figuring out which bells and whistles you haven’t used yet is flawed from the beginning. Um, it, you should always be thinking what are our highest critical problems right now, and then, which are the most important. And then how do we use technology to solve it?

Right. I think that that’s the way that you should go in that shouldn’t lead you to. Um, Compared to, you know, um, I think that the experimentation and like just building the tech stack to see what’s going to happen. I think that that can be saved for like the last 10. What does it call 10% time or whatever, whatever companies like have that, you know, or maybe on the weekends.

Um, but, but I think the bulk of your time should be spent solving really big problems. Um, and we can do that with tech. We definitely can just earn like I’m with you a thousand percent on all of that. And it’s hard to get into that role earlier in your career to understand what are the business challenges.

Um, and we’ve talked about this a lot, you know, on different episodes on, uh, you know, How do you get involved? How do you even learn what these business challenges are that need to be solved by technology? And so if you’re just stuck in a place where you’re not having those conversations yet, figure out a way to advocate for your desire to learn about those.

And then, um, an advocate for yourself as someone who’s a technologist or someone in charge of technology to say, I would like to find ways to creatively leverage technology, to help with our business challenges and just put it out there to your mind. Um, but don’t do you know, to your point, Darryl, like, don’t just spin your wheels on how could I better, you know, hack this current stack together, uh, based on something that I think might need be needed or, you know, this feature that we’re not using, how do I use that?

You know, or some best practice. Yeah. Right. Which leads me to my one, like my pet peeve, one that is out there, I think. W falls into this dark side category, which is the fallacy of best practices, right? It’s like, there’s, there’s some sort of cookie cutter solution that works for everybody and it drives.

Bananas, honestly, when I hear that and it’s just, it’s so ridiculous. It’s, I’d be shocked if he doesn’t try it, all maps people literally connecting, like I see job postings, things like that. Like people are used to like, what are the best practices you get interviews? And like, what are your best practices that you think of for this.

Yeah, the real answer is it depends, but it feels like a cop-out in some ways. Right. But, uh, Darrell, I know you and I talked about this a little bit. Right. You know, and I think this, uh, there’s also, I think part of that goes into size and stage of the company, right? That there’s not, I think a big part of why there’s not really a best practice.

That is a best practice. That is everywhere is because there are so many other things in variables, including size and stage of company. So. Thoughts on that. Naomi, I’d love to hear your thoughts because you also have been kind of going through. Yeah, I know your story, right? You went from team of one to, yeah.

I mean, I’d love to hear what, um, feedback they’re always going to have first. And then I can add commentary or color to that because Amazon is like huge. Right. And I’m always impressed at how you can manage that within Amazon. Like even that, like, that’s something that I can even learn from. Right. So I have a lot of thoughts on this.

I like, I think I’m the same as, as Michael. So, so first, first there’s like, I think in marketing in general, there’s the fallacy of best practice, which I love by the way, the fallacy of best practice. Because if everyone follows the bed, I don’t have a copywriter, your freedom. Okay. If everyone follows the best practice then in marketing, then all of a sudden it’s actually not really the best thing to do.

And the best thing is like, Send date and times. Those are, those are like the, the, the, the, the most, I think, perfect example of we fall in best practice. Don’t send on Friday that on Friday. Right? So, so, so the best time is Tuesday at 8:00 AM. Right. But then everybody sends Tuesday and all of a sudden, it’s the worst time.

To send it because you’re competing with everybody else. So that’s part of the file C of best practice is once everyone starts to converge on doing something, um, it, all of it, all of a sudden sort of diminishes everything that you’re doing. So that’s marketing in general. I think that when it comes to marketing operations and best practice, what I think about.

And puts me in such an interesting thought pattern is, well, who came up with this? That, that’s the thing that I think, you know, is, is the most probably concerning question, because if you think about, especially back in the day, so much of our best practices came from the vendor. Right. They came from the people whose tools that we’re buying.

They’re not going to say, well, there is a best practice, you know, a feature that you could use, but we don’t have that one. So you probably will have to buy another tool to do that. They’re not going to tell you that they’re going to tell you if a platform has lead, nurture, dynamic content and lead scoring.

Can you guess what best practices they’re going to tell you to do. Right. It’s going to be those three 50 automation, right? Like marketing automation. Um, so, so I, and, and, you know, I think that that can, you can fall down a rabbit hole of this, this whole concept of, of listening, what, to, what the vendors are telling you.

Um, because I feel like it’s quite scary. Are you saying we should do the opposite. So whatever the best practices do the opposite send on Fridays at night on weekends Monday morning. First thing I think that, Hmm. You know, I, you know, I have noticed though that I’ve been the recipient of some like, uh, marketing emails on, on weekends.

And I don’t, I don’t mind them, you know, there’s some, there’s some companies out there. I think it was certainly yeah. Or sending consistently on weekends. I mean, most people have, you know, especially with all the mobile devices, most people are checking emails. I know I’m guilty of it outside of normal working hours.

So I think it just goes back to those, those two, those two ideas of one. Are you really trying to be like everyone else? Uh, is the first is the first. And then the second is really sort of vetting where the ideas came from and why they came about the way that they did. Do you know what I mean? And, you know, I think, I think, I think the best way that you can sort of reality check yourself is to think about, think about your customers, you know, both externally and internally.

And if there’s something, you know, if there’s something that you want an experience that you want to create for your customer, that Marquetto doesn’t support, or it’s a feature that Marquetto doesn’t have, you shouldn’t stop there. You know, you should never get into this. Um, and I was like this in the past.

You should never get into the mindset of, well Marquetto, can’t do that. So we’re going to have to figure out something else or we’re going to have to come up with a different strategy. That is, I would say that I would say, I don’t know if this is the opposite, but yeah, like we must do that because Marquetto can, yeah.

Right. Or Merdod or Eloqua or whatever, or HubSpot. So, yeah, I think, I think it’s an easy trap to fall into Naomi. He said you were going to offer some additional color, bring it on. I mean, I think it’s, I mean, if I’m picking it back in piggy backing off what Darryl’s talking about, um, I think that. You know, one of the challenges that I have, um, at EFI is that, you know, we do support multiple business units and each business unit has different needs, different ones.

Um, and a lot of times, a lot of my questions that I get on a daily basis are can, where can I do this? Can I kind of do that? And I’m like, well, technically yes, but why do you want to do something? Right? And so a lot of times, I don’t know if you deal with this too. They’re all is. Just because you can do something doesn’t necessarily mean you should do it.

Right. And it’s kind of like being that gatekeeper of like, okay, do we even want to go down this path? Because there are, you know, potential points of failure down the line, or it could be something that you spend a whole bunch of time maintaining, and then it gets abandoned in two quarters and nobody ever, you know, and it’s just a waste of time or is it something that can actually benefit the entire organization if we either do customizations or figure out if there’s additional tools or add ons that we want to plug in.

It it’s, it’s, it’s a juggle, right? Because I don’t always want to be that person. That’s like the no person, but I always want to ask the questions of like, well, why are you doing something this way? And a lot of times, to be honest, we already have solutions for what they want to do. Um, but maybe it’s just a bit of like technology adoption.

Or education, um, that needs to be delivered to some of the marketing business partners that they just may not be aware of. Right. And it’s like, oh, actually we have been doing this for someone else. And you know, you can potentially piggyback off of this because I think inherently like simpler is better.

And most people that, um, That are working with my team are not trying to like complicate things, right. Either from their perspective or from ours, it’s just, they want to streamline it all. Um, they’re all, I don’t know if you’ve come across that. Like, do you often get people asking you. Hey, can we do this?

And if you say, yes, it’s like, okay, let’s implement this and can we get it next week? Totally all the time, all the time. And I think that theme just touches pretty much on everything that we’re talking about is that type of mentality is the sort of order taking mentality that we were talking about. I want to do it just because, and just, just to see if I can.

Um, so, so I think, I think that that’s, that’s the one side of it. And then the other side, which is what we were touching on is if there is something that you do identify that is good for the. Um, you should push past, you know, and, and search for a solution that doesn’t necessarily, it may not really live with your tech stack as it exists today.

It could be something that you build. It could be something that you buy. Um, but, but, you know, sort of taking a vendor’s word for whatever you know, should, and shouldn’t be what should, and shouldn’t be done on behalf of your customer. I think is not a good, like, sometimes it’ll go well, but most of the time, I don’t think it will.

I think that, I think you have to make that choice and that term determination. I got an email from one of my business partners the other day, I’m going to read it, but I’m going to admit some of the, you know, identifying things. But it actually, I was like, wow. And you know, I felt so I felt like happy when I got this and it, it goes, um, I finally got my head above water and submitted the reboot for the blank campaign.

I’m sure you’ll have questions. There’s some customizations and there’s some things that, you know, I’m not sure are possible, but please let me know as always I’m looking for your, and your team’s advice on how to best run these programs to make it streamlined. I was like, oh, wow, thanks. You know, that was just like a great, I know.

I was like, wow, that’s a really great, uh, you know, And then this, like, make this donut it’s, uh, you know, what, what flavor do you think we should make tonight? You know, that’s interesting. So the other, the other, the other variation of, I think that same thing that I try to do is when someone comes and says they want to do something, especially if we don’t necessarily have the right technology or whatever is, you know, is there something we can do that moves towards that?

Even if it means a. Low cost, low effort, but probably manual right experiment. We can do to see even if, so the example, like I’m actually in the middle of trying, like, we want to try text messaging and, you know, does it make sense to go and. It really just for some very specific things, like, does it make sense to go out and do a full RFP?

Like, no, but can we do a cheap test to see if it actually is going to work first and then go figure out, does it make sense to then start to integrate new tech or whatever? Right. So I’m like, I’m a big fan of doing that stuff. I think actually this is one of the other sort of dark secrets of the whole vendor platform is that.

Nah, none of them are set up in a way that lets you do experiments like that without like a trials, never enough. And it usually gives you all the bells and whistles that you probably, you may or may not get if you actually buy. Right. And I would love so all you vendors out there, if you could start doing like short-term contracts to let people try things in real, like I would love to hear from you, like I’ll take your calls.

Yeah. Right. Proof of concept projects with. Yeah, I know I worked in an organization where we, we allowed for some of that to take place, but I will say it’s hard for. So I know, unfortunately, I think, I think we could put, like, we may need to have another one of these conversations with you, Darryl. Cause I feel like we just barely touched the surface of, of these topics.

It’s been great chatting with you. Thanks for your insights. I love this idea. I D I definitely think we need to continue this, whether it’s online or somewhere else, but Darrell, if folks want to, you know, keep up with you online or follow what you’re doing, what’s the best place for that to have. So LinkedIn is my favorite.

Um, I connect with everyone, so send me, send me a connection invite and, uh, and, uh, I’ll be, I’ll be sure I’m a little bit slow answering DMS that’s for certain, I think, I think the LinkedIn. Inbox could use some improving. So that’s what, I’m one of my, one of my bad habits, like a, let messages go by for several days.

Um, but I will respond eventually if you reach out to me on LinkedIn that’s right now, and I recently changed jobs. So my inbox on LinkedIn has been full of congrats, low, low value. I’ve never spoken to you before, but congratulations. Right. My favorite one is that the birthday wishes? Oh, I got tons of them.

Tons of those. That’s why I never put my dipper date on those platforms. Like, I don’t need that crap. Sorry. Um, anyway, so Darryl again, thank you so much, Mike. Naomi, thank you for your time. Uh it’s while our listeners thank you for continuing to support us, uh, feel, remember to rate and review and, uh, as always continue to subscribe.

If you’re not already using some podcast player platform by until next time everyone buy everybody. How much fun? Thanks for having me. Bye.

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