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The State of MarTech Report

There has never been a more exciting time to work in marketing and technology. The world was already digitising rapidly, but the pandemic has accelerated this digital transformation. Companies that have been forced to adapt to evolving customer behaviours to survive now have an opportunity to thrive.


Five Tips to Skyrocket your Marketing Ops Career

Marketing operations is a fun and challenging career path. There are so many different directions and initiatives you can contribute to, and you're constantly learning more.

However, it can be difficult to know how to chart a career in marketing ops, and continue to grow.

Marketing ops is a relatively new function, t, so milestones aren’t as well-established as traditional marketing, sales, or product roles.

Here are five tips that can help you grow in marketing ops, and continuing improving for the rest of your career.  

1. Develop strategic marketing ops skills

Many new marketing ops professionals make the mistake of only learning digital and technology skills to help them advance in their career. While technical skills are important, the factor that will serve you the best long term is your strategic contribution to the business.

What does this mean? When it comes to marketing operations, strategic contribution means how the marketing people, processes, and technology add to the most important business objectives.

Does the Martech that you are managing help support revenue generation? Does it help build brand and awareness? How about contributing to effectiveness and productivity?

One of the best ways to become more strategic, is to study and apply business frameworks. A simple framework that I continually use is the Impact – Effort Matrix.


Rank all of your projects based on how much impact it will have to the business, and how much effort it will take.

Quickly act on high impact, low effort priorities, and start to deprioritize low impact, high effort priorities.


2 Level up your platform-specific skills

Now that you have your strategic skills in place, it's time to hone in on the executional nature of marketing operations.

Marketing ops is all about making great marketing happen, and in today’s digital economy, learning how to actually produce and execute within digital platforms is paramount.

So which platforms should you study and learn?  

My advice is to go after the low-hanging fruit first, and this will be core platforms that you already have access to and that you use in your job. Even if they are not “best of breed” platforms, many of the fundamental concepts will translate to different tools and technologies.

Your goal should be to become the subject matter expert for the Martech in your organization. Start with the free training provided by your vendor, and if necessary, ask your manager to expense paid martech training.  

The number one way to learn however, is to actually build campaigns and projects in the platforms themselves.

Once you are skilled enough to perform all the tasks required for your job, dedicate 15 to 20% of your time to experimenting with new features and new technologies that will help you grow your skillset and experience.

3. Become a business practitioner that specialises in marketing operations

One pitfall I see very often is that new marketing operations professionals like to implement marketing tools and technologies just for the sake of it.

While building and trying new things is fun, we can’t forget that all businesses exist to serve customers and to make a profit for their shareholders. If you spend all your time working on pet projects that don’t contribute real value to the business, you will never get ahead.

How do you become a savvier business professional? The first thing to do is focus on improving your business writing skills. Business writing is different than creative writing or copywriting.

Business writing is clear, is written so the reader can quickly understand problems and solutions, and helps many stakeholders get their work done. Study the writing of top business executives, and listen to earnings calls from publicly-traded companies.

These professionals take incredible amounts of time and effort to create a message that is clear, and focused around business priorities. I also recommend taking an official class or course on business writing as it can help you master the basics.

Secondly, familiarise yourself with the most crucial reports for the business. This includes revenue reports, profit and loss statements, balance sheets etc. This will ingrain in you the concept that businesses need to generate revenue to exist, and without revenue, the business will eventually die.

Even though revenue isn’t the only thing that matters in business, it will help you frame your work in the right way and help you secure and retain a seat at the decision-making table.  

4. Study project management  

Does this one surprise you? The truth is, project management is turning ideas and strategy into reality. If you really think about it, all work is project management at some point.

When it comes to marketing operations, each of your major initiatives will fit into a project or a program (group of related projects). For example, you could consider database health a program, and deduplication a project.

Regardless of how you organize your work, learning the basics of project management will help you become more effective and efficient, especially when it comes to working with other teams. Which should you learn, traditional project management or agile?

The truth is, there are benefits to learning the basics of both traditional project management and agile project management. For example, the planning, milestones, and communication tactics of traditional project management will never go out of style.

Agile has its own benefits, such as frequent standups/check ins and making sure you aren’t working on too much at one time.

While you don’t have to become officially certified in any of these methodologies, make sure to pick up a good book or watch a video on project management as it will greatly improve your work.  

5. Network with a community  

When I started out in marketing operations, there weren’t many resources that could walk you through the ins and outs of this function. Who did I turn to? I was lucky to stumble upon a community of marketing operations experts that I chatted with online, on the phone, and even met up in person with at conferences.

One of the key benefits of learning from a community is that you get an unbiased take on many of the marketing technology platforms out there.

Unfortunately, getting most of your education from a Martech vendor can skew you towards buying more from said vendor, but talking to your fellow marketing operations professionals will rarely lead you astray.

My favourite communities are Slack groups, conference attendees, and cohort-based learning programs that connect you with professionals studying similar areas.


In summary, there are many different ways to level-up your career in marketing operations.

By applying these strategies and adopting an “always be learning” mindset, you can be sure to keep your career trajectory growing long-term.

Darrell Alfonso is Course Trainer for our Essentials of Marketing Operations open digital learning course.

Enrol now for July 2022 to elevate your marketing ops knowledge and skills to drive your company and career forward.