How to Continuously Learn and Grow in Marketing Ops with Raja Walia

Michael Hartmann: [00:00:00] Hello everyone. Welcome to another episode of OpsCast, brought to you by, powered by the MO Pros. I’m your host, Michael Hartmann, today joined by Naomi Liu. Naomi, I think this is one of the few times you just, just you and me,

Naomi Liu: so I know. Just the, just the two of us. Just the two.

Michael Hartmann: Okay. I don’t, I don’t think we

Naomi Liu: need me singing.

Can’t harmonize with you.

Michael Hartmann: No, wouldn’t, I’m not sure that would end well. So we’ll just cut it. Um, like I even had, couldn’t even really do much in that, that rap song that Mike just reposted recently. So, uh, anyway, so let me move on then. So, joining us today, uh, we’re gonna be talking about how to learn and grow in your marketing ops role.

Uh, and joining us to talk about that is Raja Walia. Raja, I should have asked you before, like, did I pronounce it right? Well, you can get to,

Raja Walia: yeah, no, you’re good. Yeah, no, you’re good. Yeah. Raja Walia is good. Uh, a lot of people call me Raj or Raja. Um, [00:01:00] I will tell you, a lot of people just call me Raj, so.

Michael Hartmann: Got it.

Okay. That’s whatever works. So Raj is the founder and principal consultant of GNW Consulting, a marketing automation CRM consulting company. GNW is the latest in a series of marketing and marketing operations, and, Automation consulting organizations that he’s been a part of. And, uh, I think he had a little bit of a stint in, uh, in-house in the marketing role.

But, uh, Raja welcome and thank you for joining us today.

Raja Walia: Yeah, no pleasure to be here. And actually I’ve never had an in-house role, so it’s, ever since my career kicked off, I’ve always been in consulting outside of like, you know, whatever jobs you get after college and whatever comes up, uh, whatever comes up and whatever jobs will accept you after you get your degree.

Uh, but I’ve always been in consulting, so ever since. Oh, okay. Career.

Michael Hartmann: All right, there you go. So I, there’s failure number one for me day. So, well, at least first one on this. It’s probably not the first one on the day, but, um, so, okay. So I really, I think this is gonna be a good one for the folks who are our listeners and, um, [00:02:00] because I think a lot of folks, I know I get a lot of questions, we see ’em in the community about like, how do you learn, what should I learn next?

That kind of stuff for our folks. But before we get into that, um, . So we just highlighted a little bit about your career. Why don’t we, you share a little bit about, you know, your career, um, and, uh, you know, what led you to stay in consulting the whole time. And, and maybe one of, one of the things I know I’m interested in is, are there sort of, sort of points in your career where you sort of could have gone down path A or path B that you, you know, kinda led you this way and or are there people that you think were significant in, in kind of helping you through your.

Raja Walia: Yeah, no, absolutely. Um, so can I give you a background by myself? Uh, me, myself, I started consulting, I wanna say in 2011. Uh, I worked for a consulting agency at the time, and that was actually just when marketing automation was kicking off. At that point in time, I don’t think Marketo had branded [00:03:00] themselves of Marketo, but they had just rolled out certification after the first year of consulting.

Uh, so I was one of like, I think the first 10 pilot members of the original, original, original Marketo Certifi. Exam or whatever, whatever essentially that was, that was called. Um, uh, real quick, the second part of your question, as far as what made me stay in consulting, so

Michael Hartmann: yeah. So because I know I, I started in consulting, different kind of consulting way back in my career and then I.

I shifted away and I always, I think, I always thought I would go back to consulting and then never did. And,

Raja Walia: you know, consulting’s, one of those things is that once you, either you hate it or you like it, and I always, and I just gravitated, gravitated towards it mainly just because there was so much. Uh, differences, right?

There’s so many companies that you work with. There’s so many marketing strategies, there’s so many flavors and so many builds that you learn across platforms. So, you know, I originally started with like, you know, Marketo and then I slowly expanded to HubSpot, Eloqua. At one point in my career, I was certified in [00:04:00] Pardo and Marketing Cloud, and I’m active certified in the Salesforce and Dynamics.

you know, slowly kind of go down the, uh, realm of strategy. And I think one of the best parts about consulting program me was that it was never the same. I think one of the things I always felt going in-house is you market one product. Maybe we have expansions, there’s upsells, and it gets, and it gets a little bit like, uh, I wanna say it gets a little bit repetitive, right?

Because essentially you’re marketing one product and the life cycles are always anonymous, closed, one where are upsell opportunities. But with consulting you get the idea, you get the benefit. I wanna say not even with the. Um, well, you have to have ideas actually, with consulting, you have to have ideas for multiple organization, whether it’s B2C or whether it’s b2b.

So I think that’s one of the things that just made me stay in consulting for the longest time, because when one project stops, another project starts. and sometimes there’s 10 projects that starts and you have to be very quick on your feet and you have to be very intuitive enough to know what a company’s or what, what a company’s goals is.[00:05:00]

Goals are, sorry. And how does that tie into their current tech tech? How are they leveraging it? Um, so first when I started, um, you know, I think everyone had every strategy in the world, right? They would, they would talk about like lead scoring as this mythical thing. And they’re like, you can score. Leads and you can organize them and people will know that the points make them more, the points the better.

And now I think, uh, kind of tie into the topic is like, you know, what, what makes, uh, like how do, how do you grow and your marketing ops career is like, we’ve come to a point where you really have to kind of like know your shit. Like there is no more pie in the sky strategies anymore. Like you have to understand technology cuz if you.

you might be able to pitch yourself and you might be able to sell yourself, but as soon as you start actually doing the work, people will catch on relatively quickly that Hey, you know what this is, this is someone that has either been doing it for a small amount of time or it’s just been bullshit, like from the get go.

So, and I think that’s one of the cool things about consulting is cuz [00:06:00] you’re constantly getting knowledge checked. You’re constantly getting, does this person actually stand behind what they’re saying and do they know how to do it? Like actually physically do. Compared to not do it. And I think that’s one of the things that kind of keeps me on my toes is because even though I founded G N W Consulting and you know, we’ve grown exponentially over the last four years as an organization and we have clients that are with, you know, various marketing automation platforms, not just one is that you get knowledge checked and you have to be, you have to do your due diligence and make sure your knowledge is on point.

If not a person that just started that’s been doing more research will find out very quickly if you’re, you know, if you’re just blowing hot smoke, uh, or if you’re blowing like hot air their way. Yeah. So I think that’s one of my favorite parts about consulting.

Michael Hartmann: That’s interesting. Um, I’m, so, I’m curious going a little bit off track here, but I wanna follow up on something.

So I’m curious when you, that that being checked for knowledge that aligns with my experience in being consulting, right? So you’re sort of forced to stay up with stuff. I’m curious, do you [00:07:00] get called in. Either clients, new clients or existing clients when they’re considering new, new technology. .

Raja Walia: So, um, well, it’s not too off track, but we get called in at various stages of, with our clients.

So it could be they, they could be in the vendor selection process. And since we have clients that, you know, have different platforms, they’ll ask us, which is our favorite one, and then based off on their skillset, like if someone’s more techn. Advanced and you know how to write sequel phrase and run code and you’re a B2C customer.

Well, hey, guess what? You know what Marketing cloud might be the king. But if you have someone that’s a very good mar marketing strategy person, but you know, it might be like an ops role or they might not be very technical. Then you have other platforms like Marketo, which is huge that comes in the play, right?

So we will either get pulled in from a vendor selection, we’re trying to do this, what is our tech stack to, we have this tech stack. What do we do with it? Like, are we optimizing like the standard consulting type of [00:08:00] questions people get asked, right. So, yeah. Well, it’s

Michael Hartmann: it, sorry. It was so, it was top of, not sort of top of mind for me because I had a, I was in a conversation earlier today with somebody talking about, uh, who was, it was actually is a MarTech vendor was asking for input on like, how should we be selling to marketers or marketing tech people and, and, um, Like they were struggling and I was like, I think part of this is because.

Yeah. Marketing tech or marketing ops people tend to be a, they’re really busy, right? And so like to get their attention alone, right? So they’re, they’re gonna be wanting to get, move stuff along. And we’re used to sort of evaluating stuff. Like I, I was, we got in the conversation about if I asked for a demo, I want a demo.

I don’t want you to be asking me a bunch of questions. And at the same time, so we actually had a couple of episodes on this, uh, like a year ago on, like, we actually talked about how to sell to mar marketing ops. And then we, we actually had a couple sales people. Wanted to counter that, which was great. We actually had a really good conversation, but at the same time, I’m [00:09:00] like, the reason I’m saying that is because I know that your demo’s gonna be like a really clean Right con controlled environment.

Yeah. Of data and SY in a, that is like, this is the best case scenario, but I’ll also be looking like, okay, I want to know. , given what I know about my shit storm, right. in my environment. Right? What or what, you know, maybe it’s not even a shit storm, but I know that there are issues or nuances or difference in the way we go to market than the way they think about it.

That, um, I, you know, I, I can pretty much go like, okay, I get the. The strategy or the potential of this, but I’m not sure I could, it, it will match up with us right now. Right? Or I

Raja Walia: might, yeah. And, and see that that what you said right there is probably like one of the most key things in the modern day marketing automation space, right?

Like knowing what I know and knowing. What it is like, does that strategy match up with the technology and does that, does that strategy match up with, from a business objectives? Right. So when you, when you wanna grow in your [00:10:00] ops role, whether you’re starting, you have to make sure that c, I mean, the tech landscape is so huge and people will sell you the most.

Pristine conditioned environments. And then when you get it and you start setting it up, either data isn’t there. And that as something, as consultants, you just know, right? Like Naomi said it like, you know, you said it like, it’s just, you just know, like that is not the current state of things right. For yourself.

And I think when you grow into your ops role, that’s something that is, is, is tenure. Like you just, you just learn that over time, rather than kind of believing a flashy demo. Yeah.

Naomi Liu: Mm-hmm. , what did I say? What I always say, um, Michael, is, uh, I wanted you to present your deck backwards. .

Raja Walia: Ah,

Michael Hartmann: yeah. That’s really, that’s, that’s the secret with

Naomi Liu: Naomi.

Yeah. Yeah. Present your deck to me backwards cuz I wanna see the end . Yeah. I don’t need to see what Fortune 500 companies also utilize your

Michael Hartmann: platform . Totally. I was like, I don’t need to see your logo page. Like I don’t care. Not right now. Like at some point if we get further along, maybe that makes

Raja Walia: a difference.

You know, it’s [00:11:00] funny, it’s funny cuz when I actually do pitch to extra companies and you know, they wanna know what about our consulting, like, you know, packages and services. The second slide is a bunch of logos and like, all right, this is my validation page. These are the companies we’ve worked with and we.

From that one, right? Like this is, the logos are just there to give you some sort of, you know, some sort of easement. Like, okay, it’s just not like, you know, a a, a mom and pop shop or something. Or it’s not, it’s not something like local or something that you made up. Like these are actual companies that have trusted us and we move off.

It’s like a one second slide. And that’s how it’s exactly its pitch. So I have

Naomi Liu: actually gotten that question like, a couple of linked, like a bunch actually of people on LinkedIn being like, do you ever want to see logos on a presentation? And I’m like, well, actually, yes. Yep. And it comes when I’m trying to do internal selling.

Exactly. And I’m trying to tell the people who hold the purse strings, right. These are what our competitors or people in our industry are using and we need to do the same or [00:12:00] similar, right? So that’s when I do want to see logos, especially if they’re competitors of ours are in the same

Michael Hartmann: landscape. That is exactly the same for me, right?

Mm-hmm. , like it’s, it is important. Just not, I don’t, I think it’s important at the different time. So I’m curious. So Naomi, I’m. So what Rod said about, um, like seeing new stuff all the time, having been in consulting, like that resonated with me and like I, but I’m in a, I’m in a big. Like in an organization where I think his, his description of like the same, basically the same stuff.

Selling the same stuff, the same audience, right. No, no, no.

Raja Walia: I’m not saying it’s boring or anything,

Michael Hartmann: I’m just No, I, I, no, but I think I’m curious though, cuz Naomie, you work for, you also work internally, but you just, even like you work with across multiple brands, right? Mm-hmm. . So do you, do you feel like you get some of that kind of creativity of.

Applying stuff in different ways because of that for sure.

Naomi Liu: Because every business unit has its own needs, right. And, um, not all of the [00:13:00] requirements are gonna be the same. So we are, we are, my team is run like a small, like an internal agency for. The company definitely. Um, it sometimes feels like you’re working for a bunch of different companies, but, you know, trying to align everything under the same, um, end goal, so,

Michael Hartmann: yeah.

All right. Well let’s, so let’s get into some of the things that we we’re gonna talk about, Raj, with you, about, um, kind of how you like. Because you’ve been in consulting for a while, um, and you’re sort of forced to keep up with stuff. Maybe going all the way back, I think you mentioned this, like you were in, call it an og, right?

With with Yeah. , was it Marketo or whatever, but yeah. What, like what have you seen kind of in the landscape of marketing automation or MarTech in general, right? What do you see that. you’ve seen that has come along and gone, gone through that way, and what have you learned and what do you think we should be looking, you know, how do you think people, whether they’re in-house or consulting, can then kind of try to.

keep up with what’s going on.

Raja Walia: Yeah, no, I mean, a lot [00:14:00] from the very, very starting, I think if you go back to like 2011 when Mark, uh, when Mark Tech or marketing operations, even before MOPS was a mops, right? Like before even the word mop, marketing operations consisted everyone were like marketing manager, and you had a, you had a platform that you used,

Michael Hartmann: you know?

Yeah. I, I was an e-marketing person for a while, like whatever that was like, nobody uses that anymore.

Raja Walia: I was a marketing manager. Yeah, you, I’m not sure where the one was or where the two began or where the three began or anything like that, but I was originally a marketing manager one, and this was before Marketo had programs and before, you know, marketing operations was a thing.

But one of the things that I’ve seen kind of change drastically is that, you know, circle ba, what I was saying is like the knowledge of something new can be kind of overhyped and fluffed up. And I think there were a lot of strategy that. Existed that no longer kind of applies or is kind of like what we were saying is.

Yeah, obviously, right? Like the whole [00:15:00] pitch deck backwards. We know in what you’re selling us, and it’s the hardest thing to do as to sell to marketers, is because when you look at a pre-header, you don’t look at it as a pre-header that has something, you look at what the pre-header is, what the subject line consists of.

Is there a hero image? Is there a c t A button? And I think one of the biggest changes with marketing operations over time is that more and more. , the next generation of marketers are just more tech savvy, right? So it’s very hard. Even though technology and the concepts are kind of the same, you can’t talk about concepts anymore.

You have to talk about actual, you know, rolling up your sleeves and doing the work and how does it. How does it trickle down into what you’re saying into worse, like versus just talking about this unicorn jumping over a rainbow, shitting Skittles, and all of a sudden you have marketing operations in a nutshell, and then all of a sudden you have revenue.

Right. Um, that’s, I think the biggest change is that if you talk to someone that’s a c t or a cio, or [00:16:00] even at the highest level, they know their products in and out. And from a marketing perspective, the biggest thing that’s changed is when you. You know, someone at the sea level, they need to understand the product and the technology in order to devise a a cohesive strategy.

And I think that’s one of the biggest things that I’ve seen change, is that you can’t walk into a group of people such as yourself or even Naomi or into an org and say, Lead scoring will solve everything. Okay, well how, like, how is it gonna solve it? How do we implement it? Where do we start? Where all those questions were never asked.

Because when we used to pitch decks to companies and we said, lead scoring is this amazing thing and you can rate your leads and you know, they’re hot, warm, and cold leads and people are like, that’s amazing. That’s the most, that’s the most brilliant thing I’ve ever heard. and now it’s more of like, okay, well what’s a hot lead?

Like how do you define it? What are the characteristics? What are the what? What is the ideal customer profile? All of those other components you have to be able to talk to, but you also have to be able to know the [00:17:00] product that where it’s being implemented to truly kind of graft a strategy. That makes sense.


Michael Hartmann: That’s interesting. Um, how do you think, um, do you think that’s become even harder as there’s been this proliferation of marketing technology platforms that are like, I I think of ’em as very sort of bespoke for really niche things, right? That Yeah, you generally, you have a core, right? Some sort of marketing automation platform, a crm, and then after that, like things.


Raja Walia: sort of a quick that’s sort of content. Yeah. Some sort of content manager. Yeah. Um, I, I don’t think it’s, and this is obviously my personal opinion, I don’t think it’s become more difficult. I think it’s just choosing, uh, of what array of products are the easiest for your team to use and get to your goals.

Like, it’s not ne like a b m strategy conceptually Makes sense. But what product is gonna help you achieve your ABM strategy and which one can you use [00:18:00] easily and train and net new people and onboard as fast as possible? I feel like those are the items that people have to look into, into, like, you know, sometimes when people go with a big name company and they’ll be like, yes, we need this.

Why? Because everyone’s using it. Not necessarily the case. Cuz you’re onboard to onboarding time is where it’s gonna kill you, uh, the most. Right? Like, so Yeah.

Michael Hartmann: Like, I think it’s interesting. So for like ABMs a great example for me. Like I’ve never actually implemented ab. Platform because every time I get into the conversation with the companies I’ve been at, I always push back and go like, I don’t think we’re ready from an organizational standpoint to just go and buy technology.

It’s not gonna fix our strategy or how we approach things. Right? Yeah. So like we have to think differently and like, and I think we can probably make some steps forward with our existing, like our Cortex stack without buying new stuff. And what was interesting, the one in particular, I’m think. , like we couldn’t even get to a top hundred account.

Yeah. So what’s the point of ABM technology at that?

Raja Walia: Well, so [00:19:00] ABM is a huge push, right? Like everyone wants ABM and there’s a lot of product and vendors out there. And what they do is they can, they consolidate all of what you’re talking about, the technicalities of it easier. Like they just make it easy for you to identify what your target accounts are.

Well, if. Know, once again, what your target accounts are or what the digital makeup of those target accounts are. Those technologies will give you whatever that you plug in, and if you don’t know what you’re plugging in, then the output is gonna be just as you know, as just as. Bland, so you don’t even know what you’re paying for a product.

And that’s where people get into conversations like, why are we paying for something that we’re not using? You know, traditionally ABM strategies really fall under like two concepts. You know, one are doppelganger accounts and one are la land and expand model. And you can do that within your c r m, like, you know, you don’t need, you don’t need a, a piece of software to essentially kind of show you, you just need a piece of software to make your life easier to consolidate all of those things.[00:20:00]

Michael Hartmann: Yeah, so this is really interesting. Uh, my dogs agree with you there, . You can hear ’em.

Raja Walia: They’re just talking. Um, they’re just like all about abm, I’m telling you. That’s right. That’s that. That’s how hot of a topic is. Even people don’t understand abm. You mentioned ABM and people’s ears perk up, . Um, I’m, I’m speaking on ABM at B2B mx, just regarding that topic.

Uh, particularly, uh, topic, but I so reason shows that topic is everyone’s ears are always out, cuz that’s what Google’s top 10. ABM strategies going into 2023 blogs are, you know, taking over everyone’s feed and so, right.

Michael Hartmann: So, um, shifted a little bit here. So one of the other things we’ve talked about is like, how do it, like are there differences in the type of marketing or marketer that you are like, so I think, I think it’s probably safe to say the majority of the people who, who are lister, podcaster mostly b2b, um, So probably some b2c, we’ve had a few guests on that were more b2c.

So, um, I guess there’s a difference. But one of the things I’ve noticed lately is a [00:21:00] lot of B2B marketers talking about like, needing to kinda bring in perspective or similarities, some of the B2C kind of things. Like I think basically saying, don’t be boring. Right? Try to be Yeah. You know, but, um, do you, what do your, what is your take on.

uh, like are there, are there more common things that are common in sort of, I hate to use the term best practices, but principles, I guess, for b2b, b2c, and you even mentioned something B to student, which we could elaborate on maybe if you want, but, or do you see there, there’s more differences in, you know, what do you, what are you seeing that’s common or different?


Raja Walia: So, so business a student or BDS is essentially just mailing for the higher ed space that I’ve done consulting and that’s what they’re called, their BS model.

Michael Hartmann: Make sure, make sure you get the two in that one

Raja Walia: there. Yeah. The number two. Yeah. The B two s. Yeah, the bs. Um, but that’s common in the higher ed space cuz they always market, you know, they refer to their, you know, prospects of students.

We refer to our prospects of prospects and. Refer to them as clients, uh, you know, obviously they’re students, [00:22:00] uh, that are continuing their education career or something along those lines. Oh,

Michael Hartmann: I’m very familiar cuz I have a high school senior right now.

Raja Walia: Yeah. All right. Um, well, so the difference between B2B and b2c, I, you know, this is gonna be very, I’m not sure if it’s gonna be an unpopular opinion or I don’t know if it’s gonna be a popular opinion.

I’m not too sure. A lot of people talk about these components as like very separate. They say, well, B2B marketing is your marketing to the business. Business and consumer, you’re marketing directly to the consumer. So consumer side has to be more flashy because you have to get a person’s attention. Right?

That’s the, that’s the, ideally like, oh, they have these buttons, they have these graphics, and one of the things that technology has changed is everyone’s removing themselves from the conversation of the main purpose of any type of marketing is getting, like getting. Prospect, I’ll just call ’em that, to notice what you’re talking about and to believe what you’re saying is true.

And you can have the flashiest email, email in the world, but if it doesn’t drive home any kind of messaging, it’s [00:23:00] kind of irrelevant. Um, design, I feel like has gone the way of, you know, Cascading style sheets inside. You know, it’s just design inside email is very, is very heavily looked at as the end all be all to get someone’s attack, uh, uh, attraction.

But as consultants, we know that if person never gets your email, because every single company has so many filters blocking it. It’s, it’s never gonna work. So when people really talk about in a consulting space, like, Hey, we want to be more like b2c. It’s not that B2C emails. If you look at, you know, MailChimps or whatever, companies like open rates, and that’s where like the strategy drives from.

That’s not necessarily like b2c. Open rates are drastically. Crazy high because of the del, because of what they’re delivering, right? Like is what the design or what the messaging is. But a lot of B2B marketers think that the emos need to be more B2C related. But what is B2C selling? What is the product?

Their volume of people that [00:24:00] they’re marketing is a lot higher, right? Uh, So I think, um, to original, like, you know, to go back to your question is like, you know, what can B2B take from b2c? I think they can, B2B marketing can really kind of take away like what is a good cadence? You know, not every email needs to go out Monday, Wednesday, Friday at 8:00 AM you know, bus business to a consumer marketing is.

Seven days a week. Yeah, I check emails on Saturday. You check emails on Saturday, right? There’s a big thing at Myth, you know, a myth host and B2B is we only wanna deliver Monday. People are busy. We’re gonna send an email Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday at optimal time. Don’t send Friday. People are gonna drive home.

And B2C is just like, we don’t care. We’re just gonna send you an email. We’re gonna send you an email cuz we know that you’re gonna either read it or you. Talked to messaging and a lot of B2B clients that we worked with, we’ve just randomly AB tested. We just shot an email out on Saturday and lo and behold, you know your kids are, I mean, I have two young kids and they go, they go to naps [00:25:00] effectively between 12 to 3:00 PM and we just shot an email out at 11 or four or something like that, and glance, and there you go.

You had a higher conversion rate just because people are not busy through the day of the day. So like, I think that’s the, those are a couple concepts to kind of take away from B2B versus B2C marketing. It’s not getting structured into that.

Michael Hartmann: Well, I think that’s an interesting, like, that’s a really interesting point in that, um, cause I think a lot of people when they see like, what can B2B take from b2c?

They think about the, the creative elements, right? And the copy and the like. The, the tone of voice, things like that, but

Raja Walia: a lot of exclamations and emojis.

Michael Hartmann: Well, yeah, but not even that. But I think your point of like, oh, well actually, like don’t be afraid to challenge your assumptions about like, is it okay to send on a Friday afternoon?

Like I tell our, I’ve actually, I remember years ago seeing some stated, and I have no idea if it’s still accurate, that Friday afternoons were actually, were a great time to get senior executives if that was your target [00:26:00] audience. Cuz Friday afternoons they’re not in meetings, they’re cleaning up their email and if you catch ’em while they’re in their inbox Right, you get a chance.

So like, um, yeah.

Raja Walia: And you know, one of the, one of the biggest things to, to not take away is that B2C marketing. And the design heavily focused is gonna, is gonna actually deter you because, uh, when, when I say deter your, like, open rates or, or your engagement rates is because in B2B marketing, a lot of people use Outlook.

We have scanners, like if we work at corporations, oh, you know, B to B2C marketing is Gmail, Yahoo, iCloud, you know, top three and then a couple other ones I can’t think of right now. Hot Hotmail still, ya. Yeah. Live or, yeah, an outlook. And in b2b, if you go very design heavy or you start using custom font and you start throwing Google fonts in there, that’s an immediate, you know, we did, we did so many validity tests through Everest, and we just found that.

If you, the more design you have, and b [00:27:00] I mean, everyone knows this, right? It’s not like something, it’s not like a a, a crazy strategy that I’m saying is that in B2B marketing, you wanna take design from b2c, you’re not gonna get the same return as B2C because they’re sending to people that have Gmail accounts for y mail accounts, and we’re sending to Outlook and, you know, yeah.

We were sending Outlook or business domains that are very heavily monitored. So, yeah.

Michael Hartmann: Curious, Naomi, like in your, have you. had challenges with that. Like people saying, oh, we can only send on certain days and times a day. And have you ever

Naomi Liu: challenge that? Yeah, I think, um, yeah, actually it’s interesting because just a couple weeks ago I had like an email trends and best practices call with my internal business partners who we kind of debunked a lot of these things.

Um, and saying like, well, who said who said that? What’s the source? Why? Yeah. Right? And how, and then I actually pulled, um, our business partner. I was like, how many of you actually. Email on a weekend. How many of you actually check email on in the evening? Right. Um, and so it was, I think it was pretty eye-opening for everybody and I was just like, you know what?

We don’t [00:28:00] know until we try and it’s better to try an AB test and to just make these assumptions based on information that is potentially out of date that we just don’t. Have any basis for, so why don’t we just try? And so I think that was really well received and there’s definitely, um, uh, more openness I think to, you know, it, it seems to be this like mental block where people are like, I don’t wanna send work email on a Saturday or not a work email, but like a work marketing email on a Saturday.

Right? Right. But, but, and

Raja Walia: I’m like, why? .

Naomi Liu: Yeah. Worst that’s happened. They’ll get offended. I, I don’t know why. You

Raja Walia: know, and, and that’s the, and that right there I think is like consulting 1 0 1, right? And that’s what I love about consulting is like, how do you know if you haven’t tried? And the worst thing that they’re gonna do is they’re gonna unsubscribe to you anyway.

Right? Like no matter what, like they’re gonna unsubscribe whether they receive an email on Monday, Wednesday, Tuesday, but it’s not like someone’s gonna get a email on Saturday and be like, these. Unsubscribe, like, you know, the, if we can work until 10:00 PM and the whole work from home. Items and [00:29:00] everything that’s talking about, like all of this stuff, people check emails during the same time.

It’s, you know, the worst case scenario if someone unsubscribes, but they’re gonna un if that person was gonna unsubscribe, they’re gonna unsubscribe Monday through Friday just as much as Saturday and Sunday. Well, I,

Michael Hartmann: yeah, I think, I think it’s like the more important thing is like, regardless of when you send it, is it, is it gonna be useful and valuable to the recipient?

Right. And if it’s not, it doesn’t really matter when you. . So, yeah. You know what I mean? All right, so let, let’s get into this. So you already talked about like as a consultant, you’re expected to be sort of the expert on probably a lot of things, even things that are like new. So what, what are some strategies that you apply to keep up with stuff and kind of continue to learn that our listeners could benefit from that they could try to apply to their own sort of career and development?

Yeah, so

Raja Walia: that’s kind of a. Question because it’s one of those things, it’s a mindset. There’s not really anything that I apply, like, I [00:30:00] don’t go out of my way to do something. I, it’s not like I, I, I’m not gonna sit here and tell you, like, read every tech notes that come with your platform. You know, I, I’m a big fan of technology and one of the reasons I’ve stayed in consulting and martex along is because I like technology, right?

So, if you like something, you’re gonna pay attention to it. I’m really, really terrible at fantasy football because I have no idea what’s going on. Why? Because I’m not vested into it. So it’s not. I don’t have, I don’t have a subscription to a newsletter. I don’t get like a 10 type type, uh, you know, top 10 topics.

This is trending. I think if you’re in the mop space and you’re looking at, like, even in your guys’ channel, you know, for the, for the Slack channel, like I feel like being part of communities in my personal opinion is a lot more important because in those type of communities, that’s where people are asking questions.

Like, there’s so many questions. I. Answer it inside like your Slack channel where someone posts something and there’s stuff that someone is posting that even I didn’t know about because they found a different solution to it. I feel like those to me, [00:31:00] matter most, like being engaged and being part of those communities.

I feel like that’s what helps you learn. Like asking people that have either done it or doing it or have D done something or will be doing it right, like I feel like those are where I kind of put all my time. I mean, yeah, I reach patch notes. I kind of have to, right? Like you have to know what Marketo is changing or what marketing automation platform is changing.

But I think that’s probably would be my recommendation is join communities and connect with people that are actively working on projects. Doing it and then see what you can learn from them. Seeing what takeaways, because that’s the best way to, you know, increase your skillset. Like that’s the skillset I have.

I don’t have a skillset of reading documents or watching YouTube videos. I have a, I have a skillset of doing and listening and working with other agencies, uh, in my career, and that’s where I learned everything from. Yeah,

Michael Hartmann: it’s interesting. I, I. Early in my career, a lot older than either of you, I think.

But I, like I say, [00:32:00] tricky up with stuff I subscribe to, like very nerdy, like publications that were free, and I was pretty consistent about reading ’em. I mean, the idea, like there wasn’t really this idea of a community, but it’s interesting just again, just today, earlier today in the marketing Slack, I had posted a question like last week.

People chimed in and someone actually, I was like, Hey, can you talk about this? Cuz it’s like, I didn’t, I, something I hadn’t seen. And that person gave me a call. We talked for 15 minutes and I learned a whole bunch, like in 15 minutes just like that. So it’s,

Raja Walia: yeah, it’s, that’s where. That’s where you and I got connected, right?

Like there was, there was no, like, you know, LinkedIn is such a broad atmosphere and you know, there’s so many agencies, there’s so many companies, there’s so many people working on stuff. But that’s where you and I got connected and that’s where we had our conversation as far as like, hey, like what do you do?

Yeah. That’s where we

Michael Hartmann: started Naomie. How, like, I’m curious how, like, how do you, like, how do you and maybe your team, like how do you help your team keep up, uh, kind of up like learning and [00:33:00] developing on. Whether it’s technology or process or whatever.

Naomi Liu: Yeah, I think, um, and this goes back to how I structure my team, right?

So everyone on my team is a subject matter expert in their own area. Um, it’s a, what I did not want is a team of kind of marketing general generalists. So the way that my team is structured, everybody can, you know, execute a campaign end-to-end. Everybody is, you know, very proficient in Marketo. Either has passed their CE or is taking their CE within the next couple weeks actually.

Um, and. So every, so everybody has that same baseline, right? So that helps with things like coverage and holidays and, you know, people being out of office and things like that. But additionally, every person has their own kind of like area that they’re responsible for. So I have a full blown web developer on the team.

Um, a data operations person, a process slash documentation analytics person, and then somebody that I, who. Sit on the ops team, but um, is on a different team. But I, [00:34:00] I do rely on for some design stuff and how that has benefited the team is that not everybody has to know everything exactly perfectly right?

So they’re, everybody is responsible for their area and there’s. Situations where, when we’re on a team call or whatnot, um, if there’s things that will impact, you know, the way that our team functions or process or what or um, how we kind of aid our business partners, they will let the team know. And so that way everybody, we can just mind share and it’s just a lot better than everybody trying to keep on top of everything, all at.

Um, like that movie, what is it? Everything Everywhere. All at Once or , um, right. Yeah. So it’s just, it, it’s, it’s made it much easier to handle because like, as you all know, everything changes all the time.

Michael Hartmann: Yeah. Yeah. That’s interesting. Yeah. In my case, cause I’m going through a little bit of like shifting a little bit of kinda responsibilities around it, but part of it is to also build in coverage.

Just like, yeah. Like we [00:35:00] didn’t have that. There was not a lot of slack for that. and, but one of the things I do is I try to make sure as I’m working with them, especially for the folks who are relatively new either to the business or to this function, is try to answer, like provide the context about why we’re, why, either why I’m suggesting something or doing something.

But I want them to understand the why. Cuz I think beyond the technology, cuz I think we’ve all hinted at it, right? There’s usually more than one way to solve a business thing, especially in marketing, right? with technology, there’s not necessarily one that’s better than the other set of trade offs, but I try to help them think about like the, the broader perspective, um, particularly if we’re talking about things that tie in with like marketing to sales, kind of lead, lead flow and things like that.

Because there’s just so many things that are downstream that you have to take, think about. and that, I think that’s the thing I try to do for my own team. And then yeah, for myself, I, I try to keep up with stuff. Community is definitely [00:36:00] a piece of it. I mean, I probably said it several times on these podcasts.

Like if it, I could, I’m trying to, like, if I could imagine what my career would’ve been like had this been around 20 years ago, like it would’ve been. , I think of actually different experience. You would’ve

Raja Walia: retired cause you would’ve invested in Slack , right? Yeah, yeah. But I mean it’s Naomi’s point, like even as you know, A as g and W consulting has been growing, what she said is a hundred percent what you have to do.

Like everyone has to be do. Everyone has to be able to do some. of a role in marketing operations, right? When we were, you know, when I, we were like, uh, I still talk about it like where every, everywhere where I worked when I was still starting, and one person could build campaigns and you know, if that person went on vacation, you would have to wait.

Why? Because like that skillset was still being developed. Right? So if you think about growth in marketing ops, like. You cannot, you cannot be afraid of doing something. Like you have to be well versed [00:37:00] enough to know that I can run a campaign, I can set up a program, I can execute an email, uh, you know, coding and stuff like that.

Yeah. There, eventually that gets into specialty skills. But even as g and w Consulting has been growing, the idea is everyone has to learn everything and let, then let’s find. What your, uh, then let’s find out like what your skillset is. What, like what is the thing that makes you you and then you have your baseline and then you have something that you’re very, very specialized at.

Michael Hartmann: That’s a good, I think. Good way. All right. So one other thing that, uh, Raja you and I talked about is you, you had mentioned something and, uh, total transparency for our, our audience. Right. I I didn’t take very good notes when I talked to Roger. So, um, he, he, you mentioned something about, um, kind of on the ground learning or, or like in real time I think is maybe how you would’ve phrased it, but like, what do you mean by that and kind of how, how, how do you, how does that fit into this whole kind of idea of trying to continue to learn?

Raja Walia: Yeah, [00:38:00] I’ll, I’ll give you a prime example and I, I don’t recommend anyone trying this at all. Uh, even remotely. At first when I was starting in consulting, when I mean on the ground learning, I mean, it’s just like doing something, following instructions well enough and. Not failing as hard as I’ve had cuz I’ve straight up deleted a company’s Google Analytics account.

Now I don’t recommend anyone doing that. Right? That taught me a lot of things, . But at the same time, when I talk about like actual lesson learned on the ground, what I’m really talking about is actually doing stuff, you know, not just talking and. Theoreticals and, you know, strategy and like getting wrapped up into like all of these, the top 10 things to optimize your marketing operate.

Like, are they really top 10 things or they really like two things somewhere over there. Like so on the ground. Just, you know, it is just a way of meaning. It is just a way of meaning. Like, you know, do it, test it, you know, you don’t ha. Marketing automation platforms [00:39:00] currently allow you to send yourself an email, like be the target audience for yourself, and execute a campaign with one person and knowing that you’re gonna send it to yourself and walk through that.

Entire process. So that way, you know, you learn by doing right. And that’s really what it means, right? Like, you know, knowing that hey, something’s gonna go off. Was it like, I think like last year, hbo, which is like a huge company, send out like a giant email with someone like Lead Token, and they were getting like, you know, made fun of and they released a statement and all of that good stuff.

That’s all I’m talking about. Like if that person, whoever did that, they learned by doing and they will never make that mistake ever again in Ter in inside their entire life. Just like I will not delete a Google a. Account for the entire company, cuz I was up until two in the morning calling Google saying, can you please, please restore this account?

My life and my job depends on it. Like, and like, once again, I, I wouldn’t recommend people doing that, but , that’s kind of the, that’s kinda like the, um, the backbone behind, behind it. I [00:40:00] think

Naomi Liu: anyone that works in marketing ops has horror stories like this or anyone who’s worked in the industry long enough knows, has like instances where it’s.

Wednesday at like three in the morning, and then they immediately wake up and like crawl to their laptop or bring it into bed, and it’s like, let me just double check that I’m sending this in the right time zone to the right people. , mm-hmm. . So

Michael Hartmann: yeah.

Raja Walia: Yeah. Mm-hmm. , so. So that’s, that’s the premise behind it, right?

Like, until, until you do stuff like that. Because once again, until you do stuff like that, you’re never gonna not do it ever again. And I could tell you about my team, you know, that, you know, some relatively new, some tenured that have done stuff, you know, a as g and w consulting and been growing. We talk to clients, we’re very open about it.

We handle it, but. That’s, that’s the premise behind it. So

Michael Hartmann: yeah, I mean, I think there’s so much, there’s a couple things there that pick up. One, I think is like, don’t be afraid to try stuff, even if you feel like you don’t know it all the way. Right. You can learn from just trying. Um, the other part, [00:41:00] and, and I, you know, I haven’t thought about this as much lately, but I think it’s really easy.

I’m not like, it’s, I think it’s important to. You know, care about the work you do. But at the end of the day, for most of us, right, in these roles with, I’m sure some exceptions, right? If you have an email that goes out with tokens in it, or you delete the Google Analytics account, right? The world’s not gonna, like, nobody’s gonna die.

Um, nobody’s, like,

Raja Walia: nobody’s, we’re not sending, we’re not sending people in the space. It’s not hard search.

Michael Hartmann: I mean, um, like I, I, I. sort of fortunate enough that I have a, I have a friend who’s literally is a neurosurgeon, right? And so like, I don’t know how he, he handles that kind of stress. Um, I may have some idea, but like, I, that, to me, I’m like, okay, that’s like, that’s a job where you know, like your decisions can actually have true.

true important consequences. And so yeah, it’s, it’s, it’s easy to get caught up in the, in the frenetic pace of what we do and the expectations of always being [00:42:00] on and that kind of stuff, and delivering more faster with less Right to that it, it matters more than it really is. So, yeah. Um. Interesting stuff.

Okay. So what, I guess I’ll just leave it with, is there anything else that you wanna share with our audience about like how, you know, learning growth, kind of keeping up with technology that we haven’t already covered?

Raja Walia: Yeah. One of the main highlights is that, you know, we’re a technology agnostic. I’m a technology agnostic person, meaning I’ve, I’ve, I know HubSpot, part up Marketing Cloud.

There’s things, even though they’re unrelated, you can learn from other platforms. , I would say don’t put yourself in like. , I am a professional at one software and system. There’s stuff that you’re gonna pick up from another platform that’s gonna carry over, right? You’re, who knows what the future’s gonna hold.

So as long, the best way to like kind of diversify your skill is to learn more than one platform. Like do not be. The best Marketo person on the face of this [00:43:00] planet be a really good Marketo person, but a really good HubSpot, really good qua, really good, like dabble into all of these items because that’s what’s gonna really round out your skillset.

And I feel like that’s where I’ve personally had the most success at is that when someone’s like, oh, you’ve used Qua, you’ve used HubSpot, you’ve used these items, you’ve used Salesforce, you use Dynamics, and you know, pretty much don’t, don’t funnel yourself into just. One item and learn it because there’s things that you’re gonna learn.

And we ran it, we ran across this. I, I, I pitch it. I, I, I say as much as stuff, uh, there’s stuff that I’ve learned and there’s stuff that, you know, consultants that work at g w Consulting and that we’ve learned, that we’ve solved, like as issues and problems that we’ve solved in one platform. where we’ve gone into another platform and we have a resolution because we already solved it in something else, or we already know how this would work, uh, or how like a workflow or sequence is gonna affect a smart list or a flow.

Like we’ve already seen those elements. So yeah, that, that, that would be like, [00:44:00] I guess the biggest thing is like, don’t you know the technology space is growing so much. Don’t combine yourself into just one platform.

Michael Hartmann: Got it. Uh, I think that might generate some debate, actually. , I think that’s a common kind of thing we have here.

So, good stuff. Uh, RA Raj, thank you so much. If folks do wanna keep up with you or what you’re doing, uh, what your agency’s doing, how, what’s the best way for them to to do that? Um, yeah, I

Raja Walia: mean, uh, go to the website, obviously. Hey, you know, you can go to gw Uh, we have a blog, uh, you know, there’s a LinkedIn page.

The LinkedIn page is continuously updated as well. Uh, there’s a lot of good stuff on there. There’s a lot of good stuff on the website. The cool thing is I’m not a big fan of gated content cuz we live in a world where everyone’s information is readily available. So if you wanna go to the website, you can click on stuff, you can download.

And you know, whenever people are ready to talk, you tell me like, you’re not gonna have to give me your entire information because we live in a world where I already can technically have access to all [00:45:00] your digital profiles. So , uh, LinkedIn or the website is pretty much the best bet, so. Sounds

Michael Hartmann: good. All right.

Well, Raj, thank you again for sharing with our, with our listeners and our audience. Appreciate it and thanks to our audience for, for, uh, continuing to support us and provide us good feedback. And, uh, if you are interested in. A topic that you want us to cover or a guest you want us to include or you wanna be a guest, feel free to reach out to Naomi, Mike Rizzo, or me either LinkedIn or the marketing community.

Um, Naomi, thanks. It’s always fun to get on one of these with you, so we’ll have to do this more often. I know you guys definitely. So, um, Raj, thank you to everyone else. We’ll talk to you now another time. Thanks. Bye.

Raja Walia: Thanks everyone. Take care. Bye.