Marketing Ops Will Never Be Easy. But It Can Be Easier

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My favorite band has an extremely catchy song titled, “Is it ever gonna be easy.” Over the last 18 months, I’ve found myself singing it, asking it out loud and repeating it in my head anytime I’m struggling.

“Is it ever gonna be easy” is a question that can be applied to so many areas of life right now, both personally and professionally. I’ve referenced it both on LinkedIn to my professional network and on Facebook to my personal network. It just fits.

And you know where it fits like a glove? Marketing ops. Because for marketing ops professionals, their job is never gonna be easy. And if we’re being honest, that’s why we love marketing ops.

I started a new role as VP of marketing ops at Collibra a few weeks ago. Of course, I’m in the honeymoon phase. But the challenges and the complexity are what excites me. I like and want the challenge, and am motivated knowing that even after one complex problem is solved, another is waiting to be tackled.

Even though marketing ops professionals jobs are never gonna be easy, they must still be able to identify ways to make their lives easier. With that in mind, here are some tips and tricks for marketing ops professionals and marketers to make the lives of marketing ops easier.

Tip 1: For Marketers: Stop Thinking Marketing Ops Is Trying to Slow You Down or Act as a Roadblock

Marketing ops doesn’t want to slow you down. In fact, they want to accelerate the business as much as possible. If it feels like they are slowing you down or acting as a roadblock, then you probably didn’t think through or scope your idea fully, or you didn’t bring in marketing ops early enough.

When you realize marketing ops is an enabler and an accelerator, and not a roadblock, life will be easier.

Related Article: CMOs: Your Marketing Ops Team Is a Secret Weapon

Tip 2: For Marketing Ops: Once You Show Your Roadmap and Vision, Marketers Will Stop Going Rogue

I had this lightbulb moment a few years ago during a meeting with a stakeholder that my team supported. He said, “If I had known you had this plan, I would never have talked to Vendor X.” Fast forward three to six months after my team had completed a “MarTech Roadshow,” we had completely eliminated all shadow martech conversations because the marketing team had visibility into our plan, trust in our process, and transparency in our priorities. When marketing ops shares their plan, life will be easier.

Related Article: Marketing Ops’ Secret Superpower: Procurement

Tip 3: For Marketing Ops: Invest in Self-Service Options

A common flaw for marketing ops professionals is they only trust themselves. However, to be a successful marketing ops pro, you must be willing to let go. Imperfection is OK. Sometimes you must allow people to make mistakes in the short-term to achieve long-term success.

The best way to move from distrust to trust is through enablement and self-service. When marketing ops allocates an appropriate amount of time to documentation and training programs so marketers can help themselves, life will be easier.

These three tips certainly won’t bring you to nirvana, but if you start with these and focus on small wins, you’ll be answering the, “Is it ever gonna be easy?” question with a smile and a nod!

Justin Sharaf is a marketing and marketing operations leader who has worked at some of the biggest names in B2B and B2C during his 15+ year career. He is currently Vice President of Marketing Operations at Collibra.

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