Privacy and Loyalty – two sides of the same coin? With Zach Priest

Michael Hartmann: [00:00:00] Hello, everyone. Welcome to another episode of OpsCast brought to you by the MO Pros. I’m Michael Hartmann joined today by Naomi Liu. We may get an appearance with Mike Rizzo later, but Naomi say hello.

Naomi Liu: Hi.

Michael Hartmann: Hello. All right. Today we get the pleasure of talking to Zach priest who is growth operations lead at V 7, about his journey to marketing ops, the importance of privacy and his connection to loyalty.

He’s joining us from London. So thanks for staying up late for us. And he previously lived in Australia, so we are continuing to get this to be a global podcast. We’re enjoying getting this different perspectives around the world. Prior to his current role, he was at loyalty lion and he’s held other roles in marketing management, leadership sales, operations, marketing operations.

In addition, he also hosts a podcast, the super licensed formula one podcast, and it’s related to online community. Thank you for joining us today, Zach.

Zach Priest: No worries at all. Thank you so much for having me. That’s the important thing, right? The [00:01:00] F1 podcast, all the marketing ops sales ops, all that stuff can sit by the wayside.

And instead we can talk about how everybody’s loving drive to survive. And we’ve got all these new F1 fans.

Michael Hartmann: I think one thing that our audience in marketing ops, I always tell people is they like lots of different things. I’m always blown away at the different kind.

We, I think we had somebody who was a musician or actually I think he was He was an engineer for recording music or something like that. So we’ve like we’ve had, we’ve got different people with different care abouts. I think they’ll be interested in that. So if you haven’t already go and you’re interested in car racing, go check out the super license formula one podcast and let Zach know where you found it.

All right. We’ve had a number of ongoing conversations with folks about their path to marketing operations and it’s, I’m always blown away at all the different ways we, that people have gotten into there. So maybe let’s start with this. Why don’t you kinda walk us through your career path, your journey and how it got into the ops world, especially since you started out on we’ll call it the dark side of, B2B selling

Zach Priest: the sales [00:02:00] side.

It’s always the the best builder of rapport and buy in, right? When you can go to a sales team, go to the BDRs, the SDRs, the AIS, and be like, I was once like you, I understand these struggles, please let me help you on the upside to make your job easier. You just need to go and fill in the CRM in these ways.

So goodness me. Yeah. B 2B sales many moons ago selling What I mean, depending on which part of the world you’re from might be called premiums, or it might be called events, gear, swag, all of that kind of stuff. Years and years ago selling the freebies that people needed.

And as I started to. Build up my client base and get a better understanding of what my clients needed. I started to see more of the overlap of what that of where sales and marketing kind of met up. And you start to get that feeling. I wish I could work some of these more at scale. I’m starting to see a repeatable process here, and I just started to get more interested in brand.

I decided to study marketing just, a night course, a diploma of marketing whilst I was working full time and built that, that up over time. Until I started to [00:03:00] introduce more and more of that kind of working the market. As a whole, especially cause I was essentially an agency as opposed to that one to one sales process, I still managed to hold onto some of my accounts, which always kept my one of my early bosses always said, it’s always good to keep your hand on the sales tools, stay close to clients.

And that’s something I’ve always kept close to me is whenever you can talk to the market, you always should. One of my definitely marketing mantras that anybody in my team, I always. To stay with them or make sure they’ve always got in their pocket is that if you’ve got an opportunity to talk to a customer, why wouldn’t you, if you’ve got an opportunity to talk to a prospect, please do.

So yeah, I moved from quite a B2B sales role started incorporating more of our marketing work because we were a small company, started taking over some of the email marketing, social, that kind of thing, a little bit of PPC two. And then when I moved to London, which is about seven years I started at a hardware company and doing more content marketing work that started to take over some of the systems [00:04:00] operations, because those are the kinds of problems I like to solve.

I don’t think. And maybe this is something that, that all ops people share is that I don’t like to solve a problem just once to solve it in a repeatable, predictable, consistent way. I think all ups people find it frustrating when you see the same problem coming up again and again.

It was a different kind of problem solving. I liked the systems element too, but I think by being more of a general marketer and I think again, a common path, more of a general marketer, and as I moved into more, managing your people bigger projects, then it starts to become more marketing operations for me.

Which is what I’ve been doing. Solely for the last few years especially at loyalty line. And now I’ve just moved to a new company called V7 where I’m expanding my horizons a little bit more into growth ops, which will give, I think me a little bit more of an opportunity to help more teams out with process, but with also a more integrated marketing sales partnerships approach to the market so that We can reduce all that siloing.

So yeah [00:05:00] that’s the whistle stop tour of my career. Nice.

Michael Hartmann: So I, I wanted you, you mentioned having those opportunities to talk to customers. And now Naomi, I’m curious, like I don’t usually get a ton of opportunities to talk directly to customers in a marketing ops role. Do you, are you, do you get a chance to do that or do you push for that for you and your team?

Naomi Liu: Very rarely it’s it’s it is very rare. The only time I ever really interact with our customers is when we have our annual customer conference. And that’s when I do get a chance to talk to them. But other than that, unless they’re emailing us directly or, we’re talking to them through some email issue, Hey, I’m not getting your emails.

Can you make sure that I’m getting them? That kind of thing? I generally don’t. So it’s super fascinating. I would love to be able to pick their brains. It’s it’s usually. Either filtered through sales or our marketing managers, or even through feedback forms and surveys and whatnot.

Michael Hartmann: Yeah. I’m curious that kind of, cuz you’ve had a general marketing role in addition to some of the ops. Do you still think that’s an, would you argue that’s a pretty [00:06:00] important piece that if, if we’re in marketing ops, we should be pushing for having a little more access directly to customers.

And how would we frame that? I don’t like, I think we would have to have a pretty solid this is why we want to get that feedback directly as opposed to indirectly.

Zach Priest: Yeah. It’s always about value exchange, right? It, you don’t want to come across as someone’s Hey, I just wanna go and have a little powwow with some of our customers.

I think the account managers way, but but why, it’s hard enough us getting, we just don’t, we

Michael Hartmann: Don’t trust you,

Zach Priest: that’s it, right? Yeah. That’s pretty much it, even though I got my biggest smile on and I’m you gotta create buy-in. So I think it’s important to always. Let, especially account managers and teams know that this is about helping, the rest of their customers too.

I think that being market facing is exactly what marketers are. We just tend to work sometimes that one step removes and kinda a little bit top down approach and getting right to the coal face, getting right to the front lines, I think is really important. The way I would face that sometimes is.

What I would do. And [00:07:00] what we’ve done in previous teams is listen to some demos, have teams that are recording demos meetings. Introduce that into your cadence your marketing team or your ops team to, every, maybe just once a month, have everybody listen to the same demo. One of my previous Managers introduced that into our team a couple of years ago.

And it was super useful because everybody gets a, it’s almost an intimate experience hearing one of your sales reps or one of the account managers talking to either a prospect or maybe it’s one of your current customers. Maybe it’s a discovery call and there’s a few people on that call. Just to get a sense of what’s actually happening.

When we talk to the market, when we talk to these individual prospects and it starts to put a little bit more meat on the bones as well, when you’ve got those. Specific examples and it makes you a better better ops person as well, because you can actually, when you go to either change a process or introduce a new process, you can pull some of those direct examples too.

So really, I think it’s about, as I said, building a bit of buyin from the other teams, especially in sales to help them understand that it’s actually gonna be useful coming [00:08:00] back to them. So yeah, start with listening to whatever’s being recorded and then, start to see if you can just you don’t even need to.

Talking on those calls, it can just be an observation thing first. And then, you always have another slack channel or a chat going on the same time when you’re on a call and be like, oh, could I just, could you ask this question or do you mind if I unmute and ask this question too, is now a good time?

Just so you’re not disrupting any of the current process, but yeah it’s invaluable and it always, grounds you, I think as someone in operations and in marketing, especially because, there’s real people on the other end of those marketing comps. Yeah,

Michael Hartmann: I think to me, part of the reason that I think it would be valuable is I often think of one of, one of the things we should be doing is marketing ops leaders or people is to be an advocate for the customer’s journey customer’s experience, whether that, that is, gets into privacy and things like that, which we’ll talk about later, but also just in general.

We, I think it’s really easy to go. Oh, like a good, simple example. For, yeah, we want to pre-qualify people as much as possible before they get into [00:09:00] sales. So we’re gonna ask, a bajillion questions on our contact us form, as opposed to asking a few and putting a little more work on us internally.

I think those kinds of trade offs are really important to understand. Yeah, I think that wasn’t something I thought was expecting us to talk to, but I think this is really interesting. One that I. We encourage those who are in the market, our listeners to, to try to find ways where they can get that direct connection to some customers.


Zach Priest: like the idea of seeing, you can settle. Yeah. And you can, if there’s any nerves internally, just make sure everybody understands why you’d be doing it because you’re not there to critique someone’s like demo process or form to be like, oh, why did you ask that question? Didn’t you hear that?

We’re ready to move on to the next stage. And you could have introduced pricing earlier. That kind of stuff. You’re not there for that. It’s tempting from me, someone who’s worked on the sales side. Really it’s the, just to create value for everyone. Totally agree.

Michael Hartmann: All right. So let’s kinda go back to your career a little bit.

I’m curious is there, are there any, like any people, I think you’ve mentioned maybe a couple people, but any people in your career that, were, you think were, or episodes in your career that were pivotal in sort of your path going from sales to [00:10:00] marketing and then the ops a little bit that you think back?

That was when I look back on it, that was a really important sort of fork in the road for me.

Zach Priest: Yeah. When I was at a company called bounce PADD, which is my first job here in London. The managing director there who became my, my, my boss directly a little bit of time into my career there, or my time there.

One of the things that always stuck with me and he still sits on my little like virtual panel of advisors. I always think, oh, what would someone think was all about giving me context. So would never stop at, if I asked a direct question or if I asked her, why do we do that this way? First of all, made it a relatively fearless space to ask those kinds of questions.

Even it was outside of my stream, pay grade, whatever. Maybe it’s the Australian in me, that’s a little bit direct sometimes. It’s like, why don’t we do that? That way? That’s all in. Yeah. In the context of the asking, but he never stopped at giving me the well. Because we’ve always done it that way, or that’s how our, our head of sales likes it set up or that’s how the CEO thinks it should be.

It was always let me show you. And he was [00:11:00] a big advocate and still is a big advocate of show. Don’t tell, might as well be stick a PostIt note on my computer screen. I feel like I say it every day. Always giving me the opportunity to. See the real information, whether it was in like our E P and looking at the order, like the deep in order information or information on accounts or information on, where were we with our, with our revenue targets, that kind of stuff really early in my career and time there immediately started to open my eyes up to the rest of the business, especially at a, small growing fast growing business, scale up business, understanding that you shouldn’t just stay in your lane and that you need to make decisions.

With context and that there are stakeholders you can’t see sometimes, but make, but having him there to always make sure that there was a bit more information. Knew where to point me next as well. If I knew, if he didn’t know the answer, he’d be like I’m talking this, but really you need to go and speak to that person over.

There was just, it sounds, fundamental, but really it was about making implicit knowledge explicit so that, it wasn’t [00:12:00] trapped in his head. And that I could say that he built that up in lots of people at bounce pad. So that essentially created almost, Whole set of people who were really good at up managing because they had the right information.

So yeah, definitely wherever you can give context to people, whether they’re in your team direct report or otherwise, I think it’s, I think it’s key.

Naomi Liu: How do you deal with confidence? Like where did you get your confidence in marketing ops and. Being able to drive and dictate, how does a team get structured or built, especially people who are coming in new to an organization where there may traditionally not have been a marketing ops org.

What are your thoughts on, how do you set that precedence? How do you develop that confidence for folks who maybe just be entering

Zach Priest: The industry. That’s a very good question. It’s confidence is something that’s built. And not just, you’re not born with that confidence.

I don’t think I think there are two things that I was told this by a sales coach years, like a decade ago.[00:13:00] Two great ways to work with anybody. Assume best intentions and seek to understand those are the two things all the time. So go into every conversation, knowing that this person either didn’t do that, maliciously or that, they’re gonna give me a good answer or they’re gonna at least want to hear from me and seek to understand somebody else.

Else’s point of view as well. So especially in the operations space, we get questions. That sometimes on the face of it don’t really make sense. You’d be like, oh, I didn’t know you were doing that way. Let me unpick this photo. Oh no, that’s a big mistake. As opposed to, who did you get taught that when, did you, where did you find that from?

Is that from some existing documentation? So where the confidence I think comes to ask good questions and to, try to unpick some of that context, I think is going in, as I said, with seeking to understand and assuming best intentions, if you go. Immediately that way. No, one’s gonna hurt you. It feels you can silence some of that quiet in some [00:14:00] of those anxieties.

I hope. But then the next thing I think is to always make sure that. Everybody’s getting a little bit of something out of what, whatever you’re asking that you can always clearly show, oh, I’m asking this question because, or I was gonna go and make this change, cuz I, it will help in these ways and it’s gonna help you.

And you is that, have I got that right? And then you can really understand. If you’ve got your responsibilities, right? Do people understand what you do and how you’re helping? So being able to provide those pretty straightforward examples of how your work can help people will also build confidence too.

You get a few good workflow changes under your belt, or you help solve a few problems. Confidence starts to. To increase. It’s just, whether it’s in sales, you make your first couple of deals or you have a first good couple of calls, whether it’s in marketing, get your first leads come through.

Or you have a successful campaign with good engagement. It’s the same in operations. Once you can prove a couple of improvements, confidence starts to build.[00:15:00]

Naomi Liu: Oh, that’s great. I think that’s, I think that’s really great advice because especially for folks who have been in marketing ops for a while it’s something that, you know, you never, you didn’t have a playbook to navigate. I don’t know how you feel a bit about Michael, but like you just, you were just wing it and.

doing, figuring it out as you go. It just, I think now I feel like we have such strong, a strong community, lots of blogs, podcasts, this podcasts that there’s definitely more of a framework for, the questions that a lot of us who started in this industry a while ago, didn’t have at the.

so I wish

Michael Hartmann: I did. Yeah, totally. And I think it’s really interesting, Zach, you bring up, you brought up a couple of points that really resonated with me and I try to do too. Was just the idea of understanding context. I work with yeah. People on my team and I’ve always told them if you don’t understand why someone’s asking you something, including me, you’ you have the right and you have the responsibility almost to ask the why. So that you understand and it’s, and that’s really something [00:16:00] I like trying to provide that environment where that’s okay. Because I don’t expect everybody to know doll nor do I expect myself. Like I also wanna be able to do the same thing.

Sometimes I need to ask lot of questions and I absolutely 100%, maybe 200% agree with the idea of assume the best intent, because I think that. A lot of people, especially when it’s written, which is, we all rely too much on email or slack or, I am of some sort right to communicate. And it is, it was so easy to infer some other intent behind something when somebody asks and I’m like, I’m always being, trying to be mindful of, okay, this communications.

Looks like it’s maybe an attack or a put down but maybe it really wasn’t. So I want to go clear it up. And a lot of times I’ll just pick up a phone, right? Nobody like call somebody on slack or call somebody on IM whatever, just to be, make sure oh, is this what you meant? Cuz this is what it sounded like to me.

And I think it’s so important to have that, and then the other one I would add though, Like [00:17:00] also as confident as you are. I think part of Naomi, your point about being confident and have it building in confidence is also being humble a little bit. I think it takes confidence to be humble and to realize that you don’t know those things and be willing to ask questions that you think is this a stupid question?

Or but I think it’s a totally worth it to spend. Take that extra time to ask a question and to clarify. Especially if there’s, there’s a chance for misinterpretation of something. So anyway, I’m

Zach Priest: off my it’s an interesting tension, right? No. Naomi, I thought you, when you said, we were writing the handbook a lot of the time.

I think that and Michael, what you said there about the, have we done it before building confidence, those kinds of things. That, that, that is a really interesting tension to me for ops professionals, because. Usually I can’t, there aren’t very many circumstances where someone hasn’t had the problem before, either at your organization or somewhere else.

So someone’s probably salted in some way or another. That’s where, Mo pro’s community can be super useful or, whether [00:18:00] it’s the community boards for whether, or like whatever automation platform you be using, anything like that. God, head to Twitter and just ask a question out into the ether.

But then the other side of that coin is that whatever solution other people have used is probably not gonna fit perfectly for your own organization either. So I think that’s where the humbling nature comes in as well is, I’ve just changed companies relatively recently. And so I’m my.

A lot of the time, my gut reaction or my instinct is to be like, oh, this is how we did it somewhere else. I’ll just put that in here. But it’s no, you’re lacking context. You don’t fully understand the problem yet. You can’t just go and swap things in like whole cloth almost, and so there’s, as I said, there’s that tension between I’m an expert, but not really, but I’ve got solutions, but not quiet.

And I could. How difficult is this problem? It’s probably been solved before though, by someone else it’s always there in the back of your mind. And I think, yeah, you just gotta constantly balance that tension all the time.

Michael Hartmann: Totally agree. Let’s switch gears a little bit here. One of the topics that is, I think [00:19:00] becoming increasingly important for us in marketing ops is the one around. Data governance, privacy and you being, being in Europe as well as having been in Australia and most of our audience really being us based.

I think you can provide a different perspective of more of a global one, but. We’ve had a couple of people on talking about this and the connection between privacy and data governance and things like that. But what’s can what’s what are you seeing out there in, in the space that are important trends that we should be paying attention to, or our listeners should be paying attention to.

And. What do you like, what do you think are we should be like, if you’re not addressing this issue, then you probably should be,

Zach Priest: I think the big change that things like GDPR, whether it’s iOS 14, 15 changes, anything like that. I think what, consumers, prospects, our leads are seeing.

What we need to understand about them is that they have a. A new relationship with their own data so that they start to the everyday person is starting to [00:20:00] understand a little bit more about what their data is being used for, no longer, especially in the marketing space, somebody learns their ear marketing.

And they’re like, my phone is definitely listening to me, Instagram, serving up ads for jeans, because I mentioned it to my cat yesterday and it’s and you’re on the marketing side. You’re like actually they’re just targeting you really well. And in fact, you probably mentioned it to your cat because.

Of an ad you saw yesterday. You just can’t remember that ad. But I think that relationship with data is starting to change and, we’re all consumers on this call and listening as well. And even if we’re in the op space or not, we’ve been beginning to get a better understanding of where our data is being used and even the types of data as well.

So something that we were seeing definitely in a loyalty space and something I’m seeing just as working in ops is that the. With that growing understanding of personal data, we’re seeing more opportunities to collect zero party data. So this is the data that, our leads, our. Want to give us actively handover, whether that’s their preferences, whether that’s personal information about themselves, because they can get value back in [00:21:00] return.

It’s not tracking data in that same sense. And it’s also given freely because there is an expectation that it will be handled correctly to. And these are becoming the table stakes for merchants, for companies, for data, handlers, processes. is that the expectation is that your data is, if you hand it over is going to be looked after correctly.

You don’t expect to find out about a leak who you don’t expect it to come up in ways that are creepy or odd or weird. You expect it to be used to enhance your user experience. So let me can,

Michael Hartmann: let me interrupt for a second. So you use the term zero party data. I think we’ve all heard first party and third party like, how do you dis I think I’ve got an idea of what the distinction is between.

Zero party and first party, but maybe walk us through what, like a Def almost a short definition of the two and how they’re different, how they’re alike.

Zach Priest: Sure. First party data, you’ll be collecting on your own systems on your own site, in your own. If you’re a merchant or a company, it’s collecting that [00:22:00] information from a consumer customer lead.

You’ve told them that you’re collecting it. If you’re into under GDPR rules Regions, you’ll be saying, Hey, this is the kind of information we’re collecting, and this is why we’re collecting it, but that’s not quite the same as zero party, which is there to say can I either need this piece of information for this very specific purpose that might be, tell me your shoe size so I can show you shoes that make sense to you.

And I’m gonna collect that debt and use that to, to give you value. Something we see in the loyalty space and company used to work out loyalty line. You can reward that kind of information. So tell me your birthday so that I can send you, double points on your birthday or a free product or something like that.

So the, the consumer, the person, let’s say, I always say person, if you can, the people who are out there, the humans on the other side of this are freely giving that information. And it’s not being tracked. By some sort of system they’re handing it over into a, in a field or they’re putting that there, they might, Hey, they might verbally be saying it to a cashier.

Who’s putting that information into a computer somewhere [00:23:00] so freely given, personally and not with a track and cookie or something like that.

Michael Hartmann: So let me see if I can rephrase a little bit and see if I’ve got it right. So I think in both cases, right? First party and zero party, we should be doing it with.

In agreement that we’re, they know that we’re collecting it, even if what the first party one is they’ve, they’re navigating our site in part of our terms are say that we’re gonna collect data sort. In the background, but so it’s implicitly we’re capturing that da data, whereas zero party is a little more explicit, right?

Not only did they agree to give us that they have, they’re the ones who have explicitly provided that data directly. Is that a good distinction?

Zach Priest: Yeah. Think of it as somebody volunteering the data. Yeah. Wanting to hand it over. And why is that important? It’s because it starts to build trust between.

You the brand and the person, because that’s now shared information between you, that someone is willingly handed over, and it’s the kind of information you can, [00:24:00] as I said, start to use to build a better experience, to build better experiences, overall better user experience, but also it’s the kind of information that Could be then used to help build like community building behaviors with these, with consumers as well, because it’s, you’re now turning that into essentially better and improved two way communication between you, the brand and then the customer,

Naomi Liu: I’m curious what your thoughts are around like building and enforcing a culture within the company that cares about data privacy, right?

Because, are you just the messenger? How do you enforce it? What does that look like? I feel like I’m constantly battling uphill, with that, because I’m like I feel like, don’t shoot the messenger or I don’t always wanna be the bad cop, but no, you can’t do that. You can’t take this list that you found on the internet and import it into our systems and just start emailing them.

Please stop, so I’m curious what you think about that? How do you enforce it? Yeah. When is it gonna you build that culture? Where are like, your colleagues are like, yes, we care about this. And this is something that we are [00:25:00] passionate about too. Not just finding ways to like circumvent, the

Zach Priest: rules.

Yeah. When it stops being a lot of no, no nos and starts to be a little bit empowering too. I think that data collection’s gone crazy. I remember, I can’t remember who gave the talk at the MarTech conference in London last year, but oh, she hate me for not remembering her name, but I maybe I’ll send it to you in the show notes or something, but The we’re moving through these phases of, we used to have no data as operations marketing and then we have all of the data.

So repetitiously re you know, acquired or zero party, first party, second party, third party, whatever party. It was a big party of data. And we’ve got all of it. And now we’re moving into a phase of we can’t use any of it. So what are we actually going to do now? And so when do those, as I said, the nose start turning into instead, can we, you.

Have a look through the other end of the kaleidoscope and start to see some of the opportunities. One of the first things I’d like to think about around data governance is in trying to change that the conversation from. Like [00:26:00] handcuffs and instead to clarity so we can collect everything, but why don’t we just collect the things that are actually important?

And can we talk about why they’re important as well? So just collecting every single data point just creates havoc for, especially us in ops. If we’re. Looking after the reporting. If we are looking after data visualization, all of this kind of stuff, we are just creating so much noise that we can never really get to the truth of the matter.

And it starts to create really, I think and I’ve seen it. You get. Correlations, but not a lot of causation in your data, you start to be like, oh wow. Everybody who was born on the 28th of February who lives in Chile absolutely loves our handcrafted scarves. It’s yeah. But is that like really true, targeting data and or is it just.

Is it just coincidence? Is it a coinkydink? We don’t know. So collecting the data that’s actually important, I think starts to, it’s not gonna make an immediate change right away. [00:27:00] However, in the, the midterm, you can start to show that value to sales teams, to marketers a little bit further up the funnel to improve their targeting.

And also. When you’re starting to think about when I think about, the accounts team and they start to say, why do we have 30 different, analytics platforms that are all costing us so much money. Maybe we could reduce some of that down to so I can load a little faster, all this kind of stuff that starts to force the culture to think about.

What’s actually important to you, to them and to the company as well. So I’d start.

Naomi Liu: Oh, those are all great tips. Yeah. I think those are all valid points and I’m curious, Michael, like what your experience has been at the companies that you’ve worked at, has it always been a, let’s find a way to circumvent the rules that are in place under the radar?

Or is it, I, or is it a situation where people are embracing and trying to figure out how to work with, within the boundaries

Michael Hartmann: that are. Yeah, I well, so a, I think the boundaries [00:28:00] have been shifting a lot over the last no, 10, 12 years. Yeah. Goalpost. Yeah. And not only are they moving like the goalpost in different places, in different markets, right?

So where it is in Canada, where you are versus where it is in AMEA versus where it is in the us. Like even it’s different states in the us now are starting to be different. It’s I think that’s part of the challenge of knowing what is. Allowed the way I think I agree with Zach.

Part of it is trying to educate them on the, like the, I think there’s a risk element to this that really comes into play. And the way I’ve always, or the way I’ve gotten to the point of reframing. It is when people come to me and the classic example, Naomi U said a sales has scraped a list from something, whether it was an event or something on website, and Hey, let’s upload this so we can start targeting them.

I always caution them. There’s a risk when we do stuff like that. And the risk is really in at least two ways. One, one is actual like penalties. We could be legal sort of part of it. The other is more of a [00:29:00] reputation thing. And I would almost argue that the reputation part of it, if this gets out right, that we’ve violated that trust with those customers, that could actually be more damaging than the legal aspects, cuz the reality of the legal aspects for most people, unless you’re one of the deep pocket, big companies out there, you’re probably not gonna really at risk of significant.

Issues, but I think the reputation part of it is one where it’s really hard to recover because trust. Regardless of it’s a one-on-one kind of relationship or, your relationship is an organization with your customers and prospects that trust takes a lot of time to build up and it’s really easy to break it.

And then it’s even harder to build it back up again. And that’s the way I would frame it. And I try to really, Does that mean that I always go. Okay. Yeah, if you really wanna do that, you’re willing to take on the risk, upload that list. No, because I still think that’s wrong.

So how about you?[00:30:00]

Yes, you Naomi. Oh, you can. Every people here on the,

Zach Priest: on the listening we’re pointing at each other on

Naomi Liu: camera. no we’re pointing at each other on camera. No, I agree with everything you said. I think that, as, and I will always say this, that people who are marketing ops touch customer data.

Probably even more so than sales, like we are the closest to it. Especially if you support the support teams, professional services, if you work in sales, if you work with sales, enablement and sales op doing data hygiene and if you touch customer data, you have a responsibility to protect it. Agree. And it’s not I don’t necessarily like being the no person and saying, Hey, you can’t do this. Or, Hey, we’re gonna put a block on this email address. So you can’t email them anymore. I don’t. Necessarily like being that person. But I also feel an inherent and I would think that a lot of people in marketing ops feel an inherent responsibility to protect their database.

And that isn’t just let me merge the duplicates and make sure all of the emails are lowercase. It’s you know, how do I make sure that everybody who’s in here legitimately [00:31:00] should be in here? Totally agree. And I guess one of the questions I do have is. does it make sense? At what point does it make sense to apply?

What’s the diminishing returns in order to splitting your database where, you had mentioned Canada has different rules in GDPR, then CCPA, then the Brazilian one, then the China one, like at what point do you just say, I’m gonna apply the most strictest blanket across our entire database and just say, we’re gonna do explicit.

Optin double optin for every. I think we’re getting to that point, at least at EFI. I just, I don’t know what other folks think there is a level of complexity to split it like that. Yeah,

Michael Hartmann: no I, in general, my perception there is take whatever the most challenging acceptance or opt-in is that you have globally and just apply it everywhere, just cuz the parsing it out country by country or state by state becomes, I think too, it’s just too much to handle and probably is gonna lead to.

Somewhere along the way you got something wrong, it’s gonna break, no matter how [00:32:00] much you test it, that’s just by general take.

Naomi Liu: Yeah. There is always pushback though, for folks in the us where it’s more of an opt out situation. Yeah. And a lot of that becomes a little bit political

Zach Priest: so yeah.

It’s tricky though, right? Yeah. I could just to round out that point because. The it’s almost the different comms types too. Having worked in B2C and B2B, where that starts to apply that idea of legitimate interest, still being able to outbound. I think this all comes back to the idea, as we were saying earlier about seeking to understand.

And I think if someone wants to, whether it’s a team or an individual wants to upload a list and start sending him emails or SMSs, who knows I think that can sometimes be a symptom. As opposed to the problem itself that needs to be fixed. I think we’re three or four steps down the line of a bigger problem.

If that’s our reaction, if it’s oh, what, okay. Tell me a little bit more about tell, always that. Tell me more question. And then maybe that’s, again, coming from sales, just like empty someone of all of the [00:33:00] information that they have. Why do you, why that list? Okay. What do you wanna do with that list?

Why do you feel like you need to upload a list that are leads that you’re getting inbound not good enough? Is this, how are you gonna qualify? Those leads? All of these kinds of questions might not all the time, but sometimes gonna lead back to. A little bit further up the decision chain a little bit to the point where it’s oh, okay the reason now, whether it’s our sales team, marketing team, whatever feels like they need to put a list of a hundred thousand contacts into a system and send them all an email could be hinting at, a lack of integrated market approach.

It could be something a little bit more strategic or is this just either how someone’s always done it? Or are they just looking for a quick silver bullet play the numbers game? Not gonna hit target this month so quickly, let’s go pull in a whole bunch of leads and just shotgun from the hip and hope for the best.

Like I don’t, I would always query that as opposed to the straight up. No, of course. It’s a, no, you definitely can’t put the list in. Don’t do that. But as the little bit of but tell me why you felt like that was the right way to solve this problem.

Michael Hartmann: Yeah, I think it’s [00:34:00] what is it the, I think I’ve heard it called the five whys, right?

Ask why five times and you really get to the heart of what’s going on. I will tell you, I think there’s also, and part of why I think it’s hard for folks in marketing apps. To maybe push back or challenge when those come through is to your point, Zach, that sometimes it’s a top down kind of driver or issue.

In fact, I, one of the hardest things I had to do in my career ended up being fine, was actually to push back to the head of our business. One time he wanted to. Data. And so I, I made a pretty strong case and I was six months maybe into the job. So he didn’t really know me. And I was, I had to push back and say, I know you, what you wanna do.

I understand why you wanna do it. Here’s why I don’t think we should do it. And I went back to, I said, and then I came back and I said, if we are gonna do this is the only way where I feel comfortable supporting it because I think the risk. Is real. And we outlined what that process was, ultimately we’d end up doing it, cuz that process became too [00:35:00] cumbersome.

But it was, that going back to that conference. I had to feel like I was pretty scared about doing that, but I knew it was the right thing to do and I wasn’t doing, I wasn’t just saying no, I was pushing it back to the decision about whether or not we do it as a business one because they’re trade offs and that was.

That was the way I framed it. But I was, I wanted to make sure that I was really clear what my position was, but also that I was willing to support whatever his decision was and that’s, that was a tough thing to, to swallow. You

Zach Priest: know what I mean? Also be able to offer up a. A variation on a different solution.

Yeah. It’s always the hardest when we put in positions just to say no to things, as opposed to being like the water and letting it take someone’s energy and move it into, a different kind of solution you try to get to the reason why I, I definitely, I had a similar thing when I started a new company of we just need to.

The pipeline isn’t as full as we need it to be. We know exactly our target market. We could just go and email, 25,000 people tomorrow and you can put it up blockers of oh, what will that do to our, domain [00:36:00] authority, all that kind of stuff. And you can come up with solutions of we’ll just email 500 people a day, but in the end, Being able to capture that energy and say, okay, we wanted to do that kind of outreach.

Why don’t we funnel that into some better qualification? Can we take those resources and put them into something else that will maybe okay. Let’s pick a smaller part of the market that we could put all of that energy into. And if we’re gonna send out that many emails or could we get our SDLs on the phones instead?

Or could they maybe go and do some LinkedIn outreach or could we use that budget in a different way over here? Not exactly the same as your example. Wasn’t exactly a Hey, you’re the biggest decision maker, still being able to, but the difference between the soft no, and the hard, no.

Michael Hartmann: I think your point about understanding the context and why this is why it’s so important, if you don’t know that it’s really easy to get to the no, absolutely not. We can’t do it. And that’s puts you in a position where, it, you’re not seen as an, someone who’s gonna support, but all, just someone who’s trying to create hurdles and right wrong, [00:37:00] we’re different.

They may seem. Just arbitrary and that’s no, no fun. So let, yeah, we talked about this a little bit. This connection maybe to between privacy and data governance to, I think I phrased this as reputation, but it could be, I think loyalty, if you put it in the customer’s perspective, right?

What, what do you like, how do you think about that connection? And I know we’ve talked a little bit about, is there anything that we haven’t talked about here yet that you think is an important connection piece between yeah our role, as in terms of data, privacy, governance, and then supporting.

Customer loyalty and retention and that kind


Zach Priest: stuff. Yeah, sure. I think loyalty tends to be based on a few factors. One of the something that’s coming up far more often in the last couple of years and is trending still is the kind of shared values between the brand and their customers and customers to customers.

You don’t really have a community unless your customers are talking to each other. And building [00:38:00] communities you don’t have to be super deep. We don’t necessarily need all of our customers going out for lunch every day together or anything like that. But building strong communities is a really good way to, to create that customer loyalty.

And so what goes into all of that is trust signals and showing your customers that you’re gonna use their data for their game as well through to improve their experience. That you’re gonna be a protector of that data that you’re using. Wisely. And I said I know it’s qualitative, but that kind of, that creepy way, you don’t, whatever you can do to stay away from that.

Wherever you are, using your own, your data intelligence to guess at something, but your customers can sense that already that’s where it starts to get a little bit icky, but if they can really feel like they’re valued, if they can really feel like you are using the data that you have from them or about them in order to say Remind them that they’ve got an offer expiring or say, Hey, you didn’t take full advantage of this thing.

Or, there’s only a few of these left, or we know you bought this before. [00:39:00] It’s something that, a company I buy wine from always does. They’re like, you always buy this wine. It’s just come back in. We know you really love it. And you usually buy on these kinds of cycles. Why don’t you get some now, or we know you usually don’t buy that way.

So why don’t we just reserve some for you? Something like that can be used to build trust is where that loyalty, continues to grow. And then you can start to rely on the As a customer, you can say they have all of my information. They understand all of my preferences.

They look after that really well. Why would I switch? Why would I go somewhere else? When I know that I’m gonna get this fantastic experience. And I think it’s a really good ator of what people used to get from going to their favorite stores when someone knows your order. And you can walk in and say the usual that’s data.

And if you can go to an eCommerce, site, or you can go to a brand I know I’m using eCommerce as this, the space here, but that’s was my space. But if you can walk and say the usual. And the store knows and uses that data effectively. I think that’s good data governance and that’s loyalty.

Michael Hartmann: Definitely. Good. [00:40:00] Wow. We’ve covered a lot of ground, just we’re probably gonna need to wrap it up here. One last question that we’ve been trying to ask as many of our guests as possible, who are in the space. So one of the, one of the, reasons behind the MO Pros community is to help provide, resources for those who are either in the roles or want to be in the roles.

But one of the things we’ve bounced up against. A lack of clarity about what the role is and what should be included in that. So one of the questions we ask is if there was such a thing as a marketing ops professional certification, right? What, yeah. If you were designing that, what would be one of the, yeah.

Top at the very top of your list, like you have to have this as part of that process to, to get that certification.

Zach Priest: I mean on the qualitative side, it have to be consensus building. If you can build consensus, if you can take people from disparate teams, different points of view, different context, different needs and say, okay, we need to make a change to process here.

I need to introduce a new process. It’s gonna have to fit all of [00:41:00] you. Can some, can you walk through the room and build consensus? I think that puts, instead of, putting tools first or putting process for the sacred process or operations for the kind of sake of operations, you’re putting it fully in the consensus building, make us go faster, more predictable, more consistent.

That’s what I would put at the top of the list. And if someone told me they had a, certified marketing operations, professional cred, That’s what I’d expect them to be able to do to able to walk into a room and start listening and start putting together, plans that, that take everybody into account.

Michael Hartmann: Love it. Yeah. Consensus building. And I, we, we don’t have time for me to go on my side tangent about what I, how I’d define that. But I think it’s an underrated skill. For sure is being able to do that. So Zach, thank you so much. We already talked about your podcast, but if people want to connect with you or follow what you’re doing these days, what’s the best way for them

Zach Priest: to do.

You can find me on LinkedIn. You can just search Zachary priest. That’s P R I E S T. I’m sure. It’s probably written in the show somewhere. [00:42:00] Will be there. You can follow me on . You can follow me on Twitter, if you can stand the formula one and probably arsenal tweets as well. But every now and again, there’s some marketing operations, usually retweets of someone.

And my little opinions there. So yeah. At Zachary priest on Twitter as well. The only thing I know is you won’t be

Michael Hartmann: retweeting me cuz I don’t can’t remember last time I actually posted something on Twitter.

Zach Priest: You must be able to have a TikTok shortly. Oh,

Michael Hartmann: of course. Right dancing. Like crazy. How about you name?


Naomi Liu: dancing ones. Yeah. Uhhuh. No, I’m not a talker and I don’t tweet that much, but I read a lot, so I’m more of a lurker .

Michael Hartmann: Sounds good, Zach, this has been great. Really appreciate it. Thank you so much, Naomi. Thank you for being a part of this, helping us move along. We missed our co-host Riz, Mike Rizzo.

So with that thank you also to our audience. Thanks for being a part of this and continue to support us and give us your feedback and suggestions on guests and being guests and all that. Until next time we will talk to you later. Bye now.[00:43:00]