Talking marketing operations with Matthieu Baril, Marketing Operations Manager at Causeway

Matthieu Baril leads marketing operations at Causeway, a technology platform for the construction industry.

FINITE podcast host Alex Price sat down with Matthieu for a deep dive into Marketing Operations, exploring Matthieu’s day to day work, tips and tricks and approach to marketing ops at various levels of maturity in B2B technology companies.

This episode covers: 

  • Matthieu’s career experience and pathway into marketing operations
  • What marketing operations entails 
  • How marketing operations has adapted to MarTech
  • How Matthieu created the marketing operations role at Causeway  
  • The importance of scalable and repeatable internal processes
  • The value of marketing operations for both small and large businesses 
  • The four areas of marketing maturity 
  • How to keep up with the rapid growth of MarTech tools
  • Aligning marketing operations with business goals 
  • Network maturity for the benefit of the whole business 

Listen to the full podcast here:

& once you’re done listening, check out our other episodes here!

Full Transcript

Alex (00:07):

Hello everybody and welcome back to another episode of the FINITE podcast. Today’s episode is with Matthieu Baril. Matthieu is the Marketing Operations Manager at Causeway Technologies, and Causeway is a B2B technology company in the construction industry and Matthieu heads up marketing operations there on a marketing team of eight people. He’s been there on the campaign side as well, and as the need for the marketing operations role became more apparent transitioned into that function.

And so we’re going to talk about the rise of the marketing operations role in this evermore marketing tech data driven world that we find ourselves in as modern B2B marketers. And hopefully you got some really handy tips from Matthieu on going about marketing operations, how to apply some of those things to your own marketing operations. So I hope you enjoy.

FINITE  (00:55):

The FINITE community and podcast are kindly supported by 93x, the digital agency working exclusively with ambitious fast growth B2B technology companies. Visit 93x.agency to find out about how they partner with marketing team and B2B technology companies to drive digital growth.

Alex (01:16):

Hey Matthieu, thanks for joining me.

Matthieu (01:18):

Hey Alex, thanks so much for having me on.

Alex (01:19):

I’m looking forward to a deep dive into marketing ops. It’s a subject we haven’t yet covered in the podcast in a kind of standalone episode, but as I guess, it’s come up in a number of different forms in different discussions. I said to you before we started, I did an episode with a CMO recently, you said that the first hire that he would make these days is the marketing operations role. So I think that says a lot and maybe sets the scene for the episode, but first as we always do, let’s dive into a quick background and get to know you a bit more. So tell us a bit about how you got into marketing and what you do now. 

About Matthieu’s career in marketing

Matthieu (01:57):

Yeah, absolutely. So thinking back to it, I actually fell into marketing rather than really planned for it. So after some work experience in early stage startups, during my time as a student, I was then asked to be part of a new marketing team for a company called Causeway Technologies for whom I still work. And what I found at the time is that marketing, and then what I would find out about marketing operations, is that it was well suited to someone like me who enjoys process, numbers, creative problem solving and thinking about continuous improvements. So I’d call it technologies.

What we do is that we sell construction software solutions that span the complete life cycle, the built environment. So that’s everything from design software, cost estimating, project controls, and maintenance to name some of those areas. And our marketing team started out just over five years ago, with four marketers working on marketing campaigns for different business units within the company.

And since then, we’ve grown to now eight marketers where we’ve got half a team working on planning and running campaigns. And then the other half of the team working as a central operations team in which I work and the operations team is primarily focused on promoting process, best practice, ways of working within our team, marketing automation and lead management.

And what’s really interesting to me about marketing operations is that I feel that that’s really the place where you can create the condition for sustained growth by creating processes that are scalable and repeatable. So in a way it’s a bit like the engine room of the marketing team, that’s where you can really make a long term impact on how effectively the team operates

Alex (03:31):

Makes sense. And I have to ask, cause I think of all the episodes I’ve done, I might be wrong, but I’m pretty sure I haven’t interviewed one person that formally studied marketing at a degree level or anything else, there might be one. I had a marketing professor on, so he’s pretty academic in the marketing world. But aside from that, I think everybody’s kind of fallen into marketing as you described.

What did you study and how did you end up there? And was it something that you were kind of always aware of or a kind of true accident?

Matthieu (03:57):

Yeah, so I did an undergrad degree in economics and then I worked for a year and then I went back to studying and did a master’s degree in management. So actually during that degree, we did have some marketing courses, but it was more about marketing strategy and more about big frameworks rather than really understanding the things that I do now in day to day.

So understanding data, understanding reporting, understanding process, those are all things that I sort of got to know while on the job. And what I found interesting within my journey is to have started as a marketer planning and running and monitoring campaigns. I come to marketing operations with that experience of what would actually be useful for me if I was actually running and planning these campaigns.

Alex (04:49):

Yeah, that’s interesting. I mean, that’s something we can talk about, whether that’s a prerequisite of doing the marketing operations role successfully. Maybe it’s having that kind of true understanding of what it’s like to be doing the campaign based stuff every day. And I think some marketers say that they feel like they have to have worked on the sales side to be an effective marketer to truly understand what sales challenges are. And I think there’s a lot of those kinds of parallels that can be drawn.

But before we go into that, I guess for the sake of everybody listening, should we start by defining really what marketing operations is? And as a concept and as a function, something that is definitely on the rise, but in some cases it might be perceived as being relatively new. So from your perspective, I know you’ve just kind of described it as the engine room of marketing, but yeah, what’s the kind of marketing ops definition almost?

What is marketing operations? 

Matthieu (05:33):

Yeah. So the way that I see it, if your organisation wants to grow and become more efficient, you’re going to need to consider how you’re going to scale your processes. So one of the ways in which I think about marketing operations and how to define it is essentially how do we make everything scalable and repeatable.

And so having a team that isn’t in the day to day of campaigns and is able to set their sights on a longer timeframe to be able to address these more foundational issues, that’s what I would consider to be the marketing team, but maybe I can go a bit deeper into what those areas actually mean on a practical basis.

Alex (06:08):

Yeah. That’s interesting that separation between the operational side that’s away from the day to day campaigns. And cause I think you need that, you probably need that formal separation, right? To be able to just even have the head space, to think about scalable processes versus being in the thick of a campaign and the kind of relentless energy of one after another. You can’t really juggle both.

Matthieu (06:29):

Yeah. That’s, that’s how I feel as well. I feel that if you’re a marketer who is being measured on the number of leads that they’re producing that month or that quarter, it’s difficult to at the same time, have your mind on a project that might last for 12 months and that’s going to require a lot of foundational work. So I definitely do think that there is that need for that separation.

Alex (06:51):

And marketing generally is becoming, we all know, a much more kind of MarTech enabled landscape. I think any marketing team has got a whole suite of tools and technologies they’re using now. I guess maybe a few years ago that sometimes there was a situation where like the IT team were looking after marketing tech almost, or maybe the development team were kind of involved.

And it was like, who owns this stuff? And who’s responsible for all the kind of MarTech and tools that are quickly becoming more sophisticated. And I’m sure everyone’s familiar with the MarTech kind of super map thing that’s created every year with a number of logos on it. I guess how do you see the marketing ops role is kind of rising out of that complexity?

How has marketing operations adapted to MarTech?

Matthieu (07:33):

I think that’s one of the big drivers that’s actually led to the rise of marketing operations as a function. So as you’ve said, the market landscape becoming more and more sophisticated, it’s becoming more difficult to expect, you know, a single person to have all the skills, to be able to understand the MarTech stuff and also to have the head space to think about marketing campaigns and message audience fits and understanding the product inside outs. So yeah, I think that the rise in the marketing operation function, it’s grown in large part due to the increased sophistication of the MarTech stock that we’ve got at our disposal.

Alex (08:11):

And so you started actually I say kind of doing the marketing, you’re still kind of doing the marketing now, but on the more campaign side. I think you said a team of four people, I guess the marketing ops role didn’t exist when you were a team of four people and was it a new role that was created and you kind of moved into it as it was needed and as things grew?

How Matthieu created his marketing operations role

Matthieu (08:27):

Yeah. So the marketing operations role, we started to focus on that at Causeway probably about 18 months ago. And one of the things that actually helped us make that switch is we hired in people from the outside who really made the case for why marketing operations was so crucial. And when they made that case to us, I kind of saw straight away, well actually, yes, this is something that I want to move into because it’s something that I feel is going to, to fit my skill sets and my way of thinking better.

So when we get into the sort of different areas that marketing operations touches, I think I can really identify that those are things that I really love doing, you know, above and beyond the sort of day to day of campaign planning and execution.

Alex (09:14):

Interesting. And was that you said outside views, but it was that at like a consultancy or agency or kind of who opened the eyes to the function?

Matthieu (09:21):

It’s actually a new person that we hired onto the team.

Alex (09:23):

Okay. Cool. Interesting. It’s great to hear that I guess teams are kind of receptive to that outside view and it’s how, you know, one person coming in can have such a big impact on the future direction of your career for a start, but also a whole kind of marketing function, which is cool. I guess I was going to talk a little bit about the kind of training side of things, which you’ve touched on, but I think, I come across it from different perspectives.

Marketers are often involved in, as you described, like the bigger frameworks when it comes to learning and education, and there’s not much that’s particularly tactical or hands on and for good reason, right? Because by the time you’ve written the textbook on a MarTech product or SEO or whatever, it’s out of date by the time it’s even been printed for the first time. So how does marketing operations support that side of things? And I guess the fact that most marketers are learning on the job and Googling every day.

Creating internal processes

Matthieu (10:15):

Yeah. So when I think about the remit of the marketing operations team, I think one of the remits is to actually train the rest of the team on how work should get done within the team. Right? So, I mean, in particular, when I think about the different areas that marketing operations takes care of, the first one that comes to mind is internal processes. So that’s essentially thinking about how you want work to get done within your team, right?

At a campaign level. So how do you plan your campaign? How do you then build the campaign? How do you execute and monitor a campaign? And so defining those best practice processes upfront so that we’re not reinventing the wheel every time that we do a campaign, I think is something that gets you a long way into making things repeatable and scalable. And for organisations that are really wanting to aim for sustained growth, it’s really vital to have processes that do that, that are scalable and repeatable.

And I think that one of the things that’s actually helped us a lot at Causeway to be able to do that more effectively is we’ve been using some quite handy project and task management tools. The one that I’ve enjoyed using a lot is called Wrike. And what that allows you to do is essentially you can create blueprints for different project types or different campaign types. And when a marketer wants to start planning a campaign, they can use that blueprint and fill in the details that they need.

And so a blueprint is essentially a series of tasks that we have created and ordered and linked in a particular way with timeframes and assigning to the right people and what that does, what that facilitates is that when a marketer wants to run a campaign type that they’ve not run before. So let’s say they want to start running LinkedIn ads, and they’ve not done that before. So LinkedIn ads is a campaign activity. They can go to the campaign blueprint that the marketing operations team has built and work from there.

And as they do that, they’ll be using all the terminology that we expect to hear within the teams that there’s no ambiguity, there’s all the questions there that they have to answer so that when we get the campaign build, the operations team has all the right information. And one big advantage of taking that approach as well is that it makes it much more easy to bring in freelancers or agencies because you can then link them into your project management tool.

You can share the relevant tasks with them, and that way they’re going to have all of the relevant information that they need. And you’re going to get rid of a lot of back and forth and lots of emails and things like that. As I think about my role as a marketing operations person, sorting out the internal processes and making sure that they’re understood and distributed across the team is one of the primary things that I work on.

Alex (13:00):

I have to say there’s like a side of my brain, which makes all of this sounds so appealing. Like there’s, maybe we have a similar kind of we’re wired the same way, but I just know from working across so much different marketing activity, that the key to scaling growth is there’s this kind of process. And it’s something that so many people try and do on the fly, in the midst of things. And it never gets saved from the templates not created. And there’s so much value in investing the time upfront.

But I said, I guess, you know, a lot of B2B tech marketing teams, even in some quite seizable businesses of, even in the hundreds of people that maybe just one to three people in a B2B marketing team can often be quite isolated. And I guess I wonder whether you think it’s possible to kind of do some of the stuff you’re talking about alongside being also on the campaign side and actually doing the day to day. And cause I think it’s a struggle that most marketers have in their career and actually, I think any job has now you go to your busy phase where you just think, God, I wish I’d laid some foundations here and this would be so much easier. And you think I’ll do that for next time. And then you probably don’t.

Do you think it’s possible for, I guess the lower end of the scale is just a one man marketer, right? Say I’m a 30 person business has just raised a series A, they’ve got a huge mountain ahead of them. Marketing’s starting to kick in, but there’s one of them, limited resources, maybe a bit of agency help. Like how do they even begin to approach?

Matthieu (14:24):

Yeah. And I think that’s a really crucial question because within marketing operations, so for the moment I’ve talked about the internal process parts and there’s lots of other similar areas that marketing operations takes care of. And I think that to your point, it’s really important for a marketing team to understand what the expectation is of their business and to make sure that they have the right resources to be able to meet that expectation. Right?

So if you’ve got a one person marketing team, there’s a lot you can do, but there’s also a lot that you can’t do. And so I think a lot of this is about setting the right expectations as to what is it that one person can do. And what’s the limit to that for that particular person? And it’s also going to depend a lot on what the skill set of that one person is.

So one of the things, to take an example, is unless you’re doing a lot of foundational work with your data and with your campaign channels and with your marketing automation platform, you’re not going to have a very solid understanding of marketing attribution and definitely not a good understanding of your multitouch attribution. And so if you’ve got this internal stakeholder that asks you a question that relies on you, knowing that information well, it has to be said upfront that given our current processes technology, we’re not able to get that level of granularity. This is what we can tell you, but these are the gaps that we can’t get to unless we spend more time refining those things.

Alex (15:56):

I think that’s a big challenge and something I see so often is the lone marketer. I think ultimately probably working in a business that in a lot of cases doesn’t quite understand the value of marketing or we don’t understand what marketing actually is. And I think that’s a tough position for any marketer to be in, but they’re kind of like the weight of the world is on their shoulders. And they’re not even allowed any agency or consultancy help. They’re just expected to run every channel and do the operational side as well, which I think, yeah, it was difficult even before the kind of MarTech enabled landscape that we’re in.

Before we dive into the maturity side a bit more, I’m just going to ask you one last thing around when I mentioned at the start of hiring the marketing ops role and was this the first person on the team and what value you think that brings to the table? If that was kind of the first role in the door?

The value of marketing operations 

Matthieu (16:40):

Yeah. Well, first of all, I think that if I heard that there was someone who wants to start a marketing team and start with a marketing operations role, that would signal to me that that person is quite mature in their thinking about marketing. Because they can really see the value of marketing operations and how central it is to the whole marketing team. And I think that in a scenario where the first person is a marketing ops person, they’d be able to set up a structure that would enable future marketers to work within. And that would actually help the future marketers to essentially be able to have more confidence in the reporting that they are distributing and have more confidence in the dates that they’re using, have more confidence in the targeting that they’re able to do.

So I think that it’s definitely a very attractive thing for me to think about if there was a team that was starting. The first person being marketing operations, that would sound like a great opportunity in terms of being able to start from scratch, no legacy, set things up, structure things, how you want, because I think one of the things that can get quite tricky in these situations and that a lot of organisations are dealing with is that, because the mind, the timeframe of marketing operations can be a bit longer than what’s typically expected of a lead generation marketer.

That might mean that, you know, we’ve got to take our internal stakeholders on our journey with us to really communicate and explain. This is why we are running this big project, because these are the outcomes we’re going to get. This is the position we’re in now. And these are the gaps. And by running this project, we’re going to be able to fill these gaps. And so I think communicating with your internal stakeholders about those kinds of balances are really important.

Alex (18:24):

So the bulk of what we’re going to talk about was around marketing maturity and you shared some really interesting concepts with me around, I guess there’s four key areas of maturity that you feel the marketing ops role should always be striving towards and looking to achieve. So I think we’ll talk through each of them in a little bit more detail, but do you want to lay out your thoughts?

The four areas of marketing maturity 

Matthieu (18:43):

Sure. So the way that I see it, these four areas of maturity are really quite essential to a marketing team. And to really understanding how mature a marketing team is. So as the marketing ops person, I’m really interested in the effectiveness of a team and how the inputs relate to the outputs and what are the leavers that we can pull upon to make sure that those inputs are being more effective at getting results.

So the first level that I think about is essentially functional maturity. So that’s the internal, getting your ducks in a row within your team, are you doing things in a consistent way? The second level would be cross functional maturity. So you’ve got your own house in order within your own team, but then are you actually having good working relationships with the other teams in your organisation?

Now, once you’ve sorted your own house within your own team, you’ve got good relationships within your organisation. It’s then time to really make sure that you’ve got supplier relationship maturity. And that’s all about making the most of the innovation that’s taking place outside the four walls of your organisation with their suppliers and your vendors and your agencies perhaps.

And then the fourth level is network maturity. So that’s really providing value to the marketing industry. So you’ve gone up the first three levels. You’ve got your house in order, you’ve got a good working relationships within your organisation. You’re making use of the innovation of your vendors and suppliers, but then what are you doing to contribute back to the industry?

Alex (20:12):

So you’re on level four, you’re on the FINITE podcast, you’re getting there.

Matthieu (20:16):

So yeah, all of these levels, I think we’re constantly working towards, we’re always revisiting them, but I think what’s important to understand in this framework is that unless you build upon a foundation of functional maturity, you’re not going to be able to actually have good working relationships with the other teams in your business. You’re not going to be able to actually make use of the innovation that’s taking place at the point of your marketing automation platform, for example. And you’re not going to have that much necessarily to provide to the industry.

Alex (20:48):

So I guess this is the concept as you’ve said, of getting your ducks in a row effectively, making sure that from a day to day operational perspective. And I think this is actually the one that is maybe the most obvious when we talk about marketing operations. It’s the one that I guess I would have thought of first whereas the other three, maybe a little bit less obvious. I know we’ve talked about some of the tools you’re using for standardising processes and getting work done and stuff.

I think one point you mentioned around definitions is quite interesting, particularly around lead funnel stages. And, I know from talking to a lot of marketers when we even ask, like, what’s the difference between MQL and an SQL a lot of the time, they don’t really have a sufficient answer for answering that question. So yeah. Do you want to talk about that? And maybe some of the other kinds of points that you see as being key to functional maturity?

Matthieu (21:31):

Yeah. So having a consistent definition of your lead funnel stages is really key because otherwise you don’t really know what you’re measuring. You don’t really know what you’re aiming towards and it’s something that can cause a lot of friction with your sales team, because marketing can say, well, we’ve generated these hundreds by these thousands of leads. You know, why aren’t you guys able to convert them? And then sales will go, well, those leads actually aren’t warm enough for us, or they’re not useful to us.

So, you know, for the last year and a half, because we’ve really been on a journey to really implement a new lead management process where we found lots of gaps in the way in which we were measuring our leads before and the way in which we were attributing, what leads should, are ready to pass over to sales or not. Right? So that’s something that we’ve addressed by implementing a lead scoring model, which is facilitated by our marketing automation platform.

So we use HubSpot. So we’re able to essentially create lots of rules and criteria that score leads depending on how much they’re engaging with our campaign content. And once they pass a certain threshold that then sends them over to our business development team. And when we share those criteria and those definitions with the sales team, there then becomes a much better understanding of, okay, so now we understand why this is considered a marketing qualified lead, but more than that, I think one of the things that we’ve gotten a lot of benefit from is further to that marketing qualified lead stage.

We’ve then been able to break down the next few funnel stages with more granularity before everything was kind of all under one bucket. And so we would pass over leads to sales, but we would then have no way as a marketing team of understanding how they were progressing and whether the lead of the losses associated with those progressions was actually appropriate and what we expected.

So I think the whole area of aligning with your sales team around a common notion of what is a lead, what are the different lead stages, what is expected of each party at each lead stage? We’ve even put in some SLAs with regards to how long leads should stay at each lead stage. And we can report on all of this, we’ve got timestamps. So that way that really helps us to identify where leads are getting stuck, where leads are getting left behind within your lead funnel.

Your leads should always be moving in some way. And if they’re not moving, there should be a good reason why they’re not moving. So to have all of this defined really helps you identify where the gaps are and where you should be putting your attention.

Alex (24:08):

I love that idea of SLA. Isn’t it again, I think it’s only companies with certain size and scale and maturity that gets to that point and set them up between sales and marketing. But I think that’s, I think that’s a great way of achieving that alone.

Matthieu (24:18):

Yeah. And it’s a really key thing that we found to help us align sales and marketing. You know, it’s a cliche thing that we always hear about sales and marketing don’t get along. I think that this is really one of the key things that you absolutely must have in place in order for that working relationship to function.

Alex (24:35):

I guess there’s a number of things that you mentioned, terms of nurturing and data cleanliness and just all the other kind of functional day to day stuff. I guess one of those was quite interesting before we move on to the other stuff was where you mentioned capabilities of the MarTech stack and, you know, I’m a HubSpot user and work regularly with Marketo and Pardot and all these products move forward at a rate of knots. And there’s a whole product roadmap of stuff being implemented. HubSpot I think have recently launched some kind of ABM type functionality within HubSpot.

So I guess staying up to date with all of that is in itself nearly a full time job. Do you kind of make the team aware of certain things? Do you package it up as training? Like on a tangible level? How do you know when you come across a new feature? I think that the temptation of a lot of marketers is just to start playing maybe a bit too soon or without a clear direction. But how do you kind of circulate those insights and best practices amongst the team?

Keeping up with MarTech 

Matthieu (25:27):

Yeah. So firstly, on how I stay up to date with those developments in HubSpot’s case, they’ve got a monthly email that goes out with a video that sets out the new functionality in the product. So that’s definitely something that I found helpful.

Something else that’s been very helpful for us is some of the agencies that we work with are very familiar with HubSpot and they actually keep up to date very well with all the latest developments. So actually you mentioned the new HubSpot ABM functionality. So I had a call with one agency last week where they took us through the new capabilities of ABM and HubSpot because you’re right. Like this is an area that you could have a full time person just making sure that your team is actually up to date with all this stuff.

And then in terms of distributing it to the team. So yeah, you mentioned training. That is something that I do for the team. Sometimes it’s one or two sessions a week. Sometimes it’s less frequent than that. But when I come across a bit of functionality that I think is useful for the whole team, I’ll usually set up 45 minutes to an hour and take the team through it. And in order for it to kind of fit within our task management platform, I also record the session, put it on that platform so that, if anyone in the team wasn’t there that day or someone wants to revisit it, they can then go onto Wrike and check out the recording and the instructions that I put next to it.

But I think that it’s first of all, it’s something for the operations team to first consider how they want to use the functionality. Because as you know, with HubSpot, there’s so much that you could do with it. And especially I find that in the last year, year and a half, they’ve really added on a lot of really interesting functionality. You’re not going to necessarily be able to use all of it all at once.

So that’s why I think it’s really important to make sure that your strategy as a marketing operations team is really aligned with the goals of the business, right? In particular, I think that nowadays with the conversations that I’m having with other marketers, a lot of people seem to be trying to refocus on customer retention rather than new business growth.

And so if that’s going to be your focus, that’s going to have an effect on what kind of tools that you need within your MarTech stack and what part of HubSpot you want to use most fully. So I think when we’re in a situation where we’ve got multiple tools at our disposal, we need a way to prioritise what we use. And I think the way to do that is to align with the business priorities.

Alex (27:56):

Absolutely. I think we’ve been heading to this point for a while, cause we’ve talked about sales and marketing alignment quite a lot, but 0.2 on your kind of list of maturity items was cross functional maturity. And I guess that means alignment with other teams inside the business sales and marketing alignment, as you say, as always the one that everyone wants to talk about and everyone kind of jokes about.

And yeah, the thing that comes up in nearly probably nearly every podcast episode I record, we somehow get to sales, marketing alignment in some form, but there’s other teams in the business too. For which marketing plays an important role or marketing has an impact on. So yeah. Tell me your perspective on it from a marketing ops angle.

Aligning marketing operations with business goals 

Matthieu (28:35):

Yeah. That’s something that when I started in marketing, I didn’t quite realise, but as I’ve had more experience in marketing and in Causeway, I’ve come to see the value that a solid marketing team can offer to the business. But that can only really happen if you’re working well with your other teams, because marketing, can’t just operate in a silo doing its own thing by itself. It’s got to be aligned to the business goals and it’s got to be aligned with all the other teams that have to work with marketing.

So I think one of the other teams where marketing really needs to have a good relationship is with the IT team. And that’s a discussion we’ve not really touched upon yet, but the whole concept of your company’s data and knowing what they say you have within the company, what system it lives on, are your systems integrated or not? What can you do to address that? So

I think being able to work with your IT team to make sure that there’s a clear understanding of who owns the data, what can we do with it? What are ways in which we can perhaps restructure our data to make it more useful for marketing, but for other teams, right? Do we have standardised data that are consistent across our different platforms that allow us to then lead score based off of seniority and jump function, for example. So those are all conversations that need to happen with IT teams.

Alex (29:55):

And then the others. I know there’s obviously finance, product. I mean, where do you think you have, I guess I’ll throw it the most touch points as a marketing ops person. Do you think it’s the product side? I guess there’s a reporting side in terms of going back to the C-suite and kind of reporting upwards and managing expectations there. Which one do you find you can converse with most?

Matthieu (30:16):

I would say for myself, it’s been a lot with finance out of those teams. And so the discussion there is a lot around KPIs and making sure that finance or actually trusting the KPIs, that you are actually reaching them. So we’ve had to do some work in order to make sure that there’s an alignment regarding what is important, not just to marketing, but to the business.

And then having an understanding of what the business requirement is for measuring marketing performance. Does marketing have the capability and the processes and the data to be able to actually report on those things and to be able to surface that information that is easily digestible and actionable?

Alex (30:55):

Another interesting side of this is I guess the external side. You’ve just described how an agency led you through some new features within HubSpot. And it’s great to hear that you’ve got those kind of external relationships, which are adding value in different ways. And it sounds like a proactive and good relationship on that front.

Obviously there’s a lot of innovation, and I guess the role of any agency or consultancy or third party working with a client is to kind of keep up with innovation. It’s kind of one of their key roles, but I guess it’s not something that I’ve ever really thought about. And even being on the agency side, a lot of the time away from FINITE, I’ve never really thought about the marketing ops role. I guess, setting that relationship up for success.

And so what are some of the things that you think you can do from a marketing ops angle to make sure that that relationship actually works well?

Matthieu (31:42):

Yeah, so I think the first thing to realise is that within your role as a marketing operations person, you’re not going to be able to seek out and do all the work yourself in terms of understanding the development of these platforms. And once you realise that you’ve got an account manager at HubSpot, for example, who’s actually got all that information or who can put you in touch with someone who can give you access to that information, then suddenly you start to realise how valuable that can be. Right?

So I mean, some of the things that I found valuable with regards to HubSpot is simply just to have regular account management calls. Where you can raise issues and where the person on the other side, on the agency side, or on the vendor side can actually make you aware of what the latest developments are.

And so I think it’s just very important to make sure that that relationship is always warm so that whenever you do come across a big problem that you’re trying to solve, you’ve actually got someone that you can go to who you trust, who can help you solve that problem.

Network maturity 

Alex (32:44):

Makes sense. I guess the last point on the maturity list was around network. And I think this is really interesting concept because I think there’s this idea of giving back and engaging with the wider network and the community, particularly the marketing community. You’ve just touched on how talking to HubSpot and account managers might actually get you some answers to questions, but it could potentially actually shape the kind of future roadmap of certain things.

And I know certain companies are different sizes. It doesn’t always feel like you can make much of a difference with maybe a Salesforce versus a kind of small MarTech startup where you are one of the first users. But at the same time, I think contributing back to user groups and ideas and things that supplies might be involved in, but just more generally to the FINITE community and the podcast we’re doing now is hopefully a good example of that.

I guess sometimes it’s maybe hard to build the business case of doing that. And for you to know, not necessarily that it’s all happening on kind of work time as such. And obviously if you’re passionate about what you do, I’m sure, put in time some of these things kind of around the edges, but how do you view it, I guess, from a kind of wider company perspective, not just your own kind of learning and personal development perspective?

Matthieu (33:49):

Yeah. I think that ultimately what you want to get to is with this whole concept of network maturity and providing value to the marketing industry. It’s also something that can actually be very positive for your company, because if your company has a marketing team that is working with, let’s say think tanks and writing, helping them write research papers or articles, or if your company is applying for marketing awards, let’s say, and is then able to have a platform to talk about the work that they’re doing within their team.

That can be something that is actually very positive for the organisation, because it signals to the markets, hey, we’ve got a marketing team, that’s a high performing team that’s putting itself out there. That it’s sharing its ideas and its experience. And so I think from the standpoint of, in a way, the brand of the company and of the potential of people wanting to join that company, I think that’s something that can be really attractive.

Alex (34:50):

Yeah. I think the employer brand side is really interesting in terms of, if you’re growing a marketing team. Seeing that you’re kind of active and contributing is quite interesting. Are there any, obviously aside from FINITE, but are there any other places where you think people should check out? Or things that you regularly kind of engage with or read or follow?

Matthieu (35:07):

Yeah. So one organisation that I found quite helpful is Sirius Decisions. So that’s, S I R I U S. I find that they’ve had some really great content. That’s really challenged me to think about, well, to think about the maturity of our marketing operations function in Causeway and where we can take it. So that’s where I’ve found a lot of value.

I’ve also found a lot of value in the HubSpot user groups that are being held and at the moment they’re being held virtually. So it’s quite easy to join them and they’re open all marketers, even those that aren’t users.

Alex (35:41):

Cool. Couple of good tips. We’ve touched on a few different tools as well throughout discussion. Wrike I’m right in saying it’s spelled W R I K E right?

Matthieu (35:48):

Correct.

Alex (35:49):

Awesome. So hopefully people can have a look into that. I know that I’m going to look into that straight after this, because it sounds like an interesting tool, but thank you so much. There’s some really interesting, insightful, tangible things that I think even if you are the one person marketer somewhere, you can kind of try and take away some of this and apply it.

But hopefully we also inspire a few more experienced marketers or others to invest in the marketing ops role as a standalone function, because yeah, I think there’s a ton of value to be added. So, yeah. Massive, thank you for giving up your time and for openly sharing all of your insights.

Matthieu (36:20):

Yeah, my pleasure. Thanks Alex. Thanks.

FINITE (36:24):

Thanks for listening. We’re super busy at FINITE building the best community possible for marketers working in the B2B technology sector to connect, share, and learn along with our podcast. We host a series of events here in London, so make sure you head to finite.community to subscribe and keep up to date with upcoming events.

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