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DevOps for Marketing – Is it time for a MarketingOps Manifesto?

July 31, 2018 - Marketing - , ,
By: Yolanda Fintschenko

Introduction

The very first principle outlined in The Agile Admin’s version of the DevOps Manifesto is that the “highest priority is to satisfy the customer through early and continuous delivery of valuable functionality.” The dirty little secret about marketing is that marketing often has two customers— the one paying for a product and the one paying for marketing as a cost center—sales. It is often said one cannot serve two masters, but marketing does it all the time. The end result is that product marketing, demand gen, and marketing automation people are siloed. So perhaps it is time for a MarketingOps manifesto that acknowledges the only way to satisfy all customers is to create a seamless workflow that streamlines execution and delivery so that sales and marketing can work effectively as one—to serve the customer of the company’s product and not just the consumers of their marketing effort.

It’s all digital

Let’s just assume that the Customer Experience is at the center here, and it’s all digital. This isn’t about making marketers full-stack and able to handle messaging, digital outlets, SEO, automated marketing, email, and data collection. At this stage of the game, this should be a given. A functioning marketing team should be full-stack (able to create campaigns with an understanding of the digital tools they can use) and implement them. If that’s not true for your company, just reference this blog post to your boss. If digital isn’t your default, make it so.

Continuous delivery for marketing

This isn’t trivial. Much of marketing now is content marketing. Content marketing has to be created as sales-enablement material and for the customer. This is not the same kind of content—not by a long shot. Additionally, if you are marketing to developers, engineers, or scientists, it has to be technically accurate. Messages must engage the customer’s emotions about technical issues in their work life. It requires close coordination with your own product development technical staff and the sales team, with a clear understanding of the customer’s persona in order to create this vision. However, development teams are busy with technical details and rarely deliver, and sales is also in the trenches, asking for more material to overcome objections (marketing automation) or attract customers (demand gen) to the top of the funnel. Meanwhile, you still have to communicate directly to customers.

Save your tech team for sales

Creating problem/product awareness and educating the customer is your job. Don’t make it theirs. For a product launch to work, you should already be creating anticipation for your product by creating brand awareness and authority by raising the issues the product solves. Leave your product team alone, and engage practitioners from outside your organization. By beginning with a practitioner content marketing awareness and education campaign, you pave the way for the time when customers need to make a decision and sales has to walk them through a spec sheet.

What is practitioner content marketing?

Leaning on your tech team to create technically sound marketing materials surfacing technical issues and solution approaches is a waste of time. Even if they create it, a skeptical technical audience won’t believe what you’ve written. However, if you engage a practitioner who looks like your customer from outside your organization, suddenly, your content is relevant and credible.

Practitioner networks can be created by you, or rented by contracting with a company like Fixate IO. When you work with a practitioner content marketing company, not only do you get the content, but you also benefit from them taking on the expense in time, money, as well as expertise of running the content workflow.

This includes creating a topic strategy and distribution strategy that can increase your share of voice in the space where you need people to listen to you so they await your product with bated breath. This way you can focus on sales enablement, while practitioners hum away producing compelling code-level content.

The takeaway

Marketing only helps the customer when it is delivered to them by sound systems. You need to create the system that talks to the customer your company sells to, and the system that talks to the customer that gives you the sale. The marketer is responsible for both. Recognize the different needs that demand gen, marketing automation, and product marketing require. Create all the content, but deploy practitioner content marketing to your customers, and engage your internal tech team for sales training and sales enablement materials. Ready to implement MarketingOps? Sign up here to download The Practitioner Marketing Playbook to get started.


Yolanda is a scientist, writer, marketer, coach and avid runner who lives and works in Livermore, CA.  She founded Common SciSense, a marketing company for technical products, and co-founded founderTRACTION, lean marketing services for startups. 

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