The importance of Finance Knowledge within Marketing Operations with Jaime Garza

Michael Hartmann: [00:00:00] Hello, welcome to another episode of Opscast brought to you by MarketingOps. com powered by the MoPros. I’m your host, Michael Hartmann, joined today by one co host, Mike Rizzo. Hey everybody. In chilly Southern California. In chilly Southern California.

Mike Rizzo: Yes. Yeah. I shouldn’t laugh. I, I, you know, I acknowledge that other parts of the world, nay, like the U S are actually experiencing things that are very uncomfortable.

So. It’s not, it’s laughing in jest, right? Um, certainly if you need support, like I’m here

Michael Hartmann: to chat with you. Our guests, who we’ll get to in just a minute, and I both live in the Dallas Fort Worth area, and um, we’re kind of, I think, joked about by people who live in quote real. You know, cold climates because they see what we do of like just the threat, right?

And things shut down or stores get cleared out. So,

Mike Rizzo: well, I wouldn’t want to see what it looks like here in California

Michael Hartmann: if that happened. No, no kidding. [00:01:00] All right. Well, so this is our first episode back after, um, hitting a hundred episodes. So, and, and for, for our long time listeners or people who’ve just Have had to tolerate me for a while.

You’re going to know that I’m going to get excited about this topic, which is going to be the importance of having finance knowledge, uh, for marketing ops pros, and I would just argue like any, anybody who’s got aspirations professionally, um, finance knowledge is important, but so join us to do this, to do this and talk about this topic is our guest Jaime Garza.

He is currently the senior manager of marketing operations at SolarWinds. Prior to joining SolarWinds, Jaime has had in house roles in marketing operations, program management. And even as a founder, he co founded a company in the real estate media industry. Uh, he is also a veteran of the U S army green beret and the Texas army national guard, where he served in combat and trained other military.

Uh, if I got that right, um, Jaime, thanks for your service. First of all, and thank you for joining us today. [00:02:00] Yeah, no.

Jaime Garza: Awesome. Um, thank you for that, Michael. And, uh, uh, Mike, um, you know, awesome to be here. Kind of, uh, you know, um, be part of this stuff here. So thanks for inviting me. All

Michael Hartmann: right. Well, we’re going to get into this.

This is a, this is a topic that I get, I get wound up about, so you’ll have to keep us steady.

Jaime Garza: Yeah. Yeah. I don’t know if I can keep you steady. I’ll get excited about it too,

Michael Hartmann: but let’s do it. All right. So I, yeah, so people do know, um, we’ve listened to you a little bit that I have a strong belief that everyone.

Everyone in ops should really know the basics of finance and for a number of reasons. But so when this, this came up, I can’t remember if this was from a LinkedIn post or exactly how it kind of came about, but Jaime, um, you know, before we get into that, why don’t we do this? Maybe do a little bit about your career journey.

I mean, that’s one of the things that I think is fascinating about ops folks is there hasn’t been a, like a real consistent pattern for how people like end up in these roles. So maybe just share with our listeners a [00:03:00] brief history of your career and how you ended up in marketing ops and where you are now.

Jaime Garza: Yeah, it’s a, it’s a good question. Um, and probably similar to people listening and other people out there. It was not kind of like your traditional. I intended to go into operations and certainly not marketing operations. Um, I would say, you know, my career is broken down into 2 main areas. Obviously, I started off in the military.

Um. I was on active duty for about seven years. That’s where I did a bulk of my, you know, full time within the military served there. Um, and when I came out, um, finished up school, finished up college, so kind of a non traditional path there. One of my first jobs coming out of that was, um, actually working for the, um, For the Air Force as a civilian, where I first got into program management, managing large international training programs for some of our foreign partners, worked with a lot of different countries throughout the Middle East and somewhere along the routes there.

Someone kind [00:04:00] of put an opportunity for me to kind of transition from the government civilian sector into technology. Um, and that’s really what brought me up from San Antonio up here to the. To the DFW area, um, and I worked for the company called Intuit, which y’all, most people will know for like TurboTax, QuickBooks, and those type of things there.

And there I’d led, um, everything around the go to market program. And that was kind of my first introduction to kind of marketing operations. Uh, I was in, I was kind of like the only program manager in the marketing department. And they’re kind of like, what do we do with this guy? Um, other than like, they knew they wanted me to kind of corral.

This large team and lead our annual go to market launch plan. Right? So that was my first foray into like marketing operations. That was back 2015. So it was marketing operations was kind of still kind of building itself up as a formal discipline in those types of things there.

Michael Hartmann: Can I, sorry, can I interrupt real quick?

I’m just, so marketing program [00:05:00] management, I’m going to guess that it’s not a common thing that people have titles in. Um, and I, I know I went to like an idea of what I thought it was, but, um, let me see if I’m right. So I think based on what you described, you’re talking about like less about the technical piece, but really helping to coordinate all the different parts of the marketing organization on getting stuff to market.

Right. So like. Both the planning and execution, is that a fair assessment?

Jaime Garza: Yeah, exactly, because, um, the offering we had there, it was a tax offering, it was a tax offering for CPAs primarily, so it’s not very popular to the everyday person. Yes, it was everything from really traditional program management, right, of You know, assemble the team, define the scope, lead the project from inception to completion.

So every year since, you know, in the U. S. year, the tax deadlines, April 15th, come April 16th, we would reset everything. And when I mean everything, we would reset everything. Everything from the [00:06:00] website, the messaging, our campaigns, our emails. Our pricing structure. So it was, it was very informative. Cause again, the team was very cross functional.

I got to work with, you know, business analytics, uh, business operations, resetting SKUs, discounting the pricing committee, product management, um, marketing and messaging strategy documents across the board. So that was kind of like my introduction. And that’s really kind of, um, you know, I kind of stayed within that realm of like, Now, when you think of marketing operations and they have different facets and functions of within marketing operations, you know, program management is probably one of my deeper skills within that foray.

And when I was there at, um, at Intuit, um, I don’t know how it really happened other than like somebody was kind of charged with managing the budget. Um, but not really. It was kind of very loosely like, uh, you just track the budget and people were not happy. Kind of like the management of it and how accurate it was.

And [00:07:00] I said, you know what? Just give it to me. I’m just. You know, I said, just give it to me and I’ll just pick it up. Right. And that’s kind of how I got introduced to managing a budget for a marketing department. Um, yeah, so long story short, I go from there, um, broke out from there, worked on our business, which still exists here in the DFW area.

Um, did that for a bit and then fast forward, I did a small iteration there at Zillow, again, doing a lot of, you know, program management. Um, Almost product management stuff there, but within the marketing department of really understanding marketers needs, um, and how we would implement or solve of problems for them through technology.

And then now that led to my role here at, um, SolarWinds, we’re just kind of leading the marketing operations department for them, um, on that. So, yeah, and then, so currently. In this row, you know, my remits are everything marketing budget, which probably consumes a significant amount of my my time, um, program [00:08:00] management.

So we lead all the strategic initiatives for marketing. I have a small team of those and then, uh, campaign operations at a very tactical level from standing up a Salesforce campaign, webcast, moderation, et cetera, those things there. So that’s the. The long answer to your short question.

Mike Rizzo: No, no. I love, I love hearing about the journey that everybody goes on.

Um, And I think our listeners, you know, there’s there’s going to be a lot of folks that identify with that journey and someone are saying Oh, that sounds interesting. We should go explore that. So we always appreciate it. Um, serious though on I I am I don’t want to say like, it’s not one of my OKRs for the year for marketing ops or anything like that, but I am personally and professionally very curious about how more marketing operations folks that are more in the B2C category can start interacting with our [00:09:00] community, because I think, I think on the B2B side.

You know, marketing apps, and I don’t know, maybe maybe you agree, maybe disagree, but you know, largely marketing also sort of born. It feels like in this B to B sass category and sort of group grew up in that. But what I always share with folks, at least when the subject comes up is. B to C markers have been doing marketing ops a lot longer than we’ve ever called it that.

So it’s actually existed for much longer. Um, and so I just wanted to maybe poke at like, you know, Zillow, uh, I have weird eyes into that ecosystem. Good, good friend of mine, my best friend, he’s, he worked at an organization called RealtyTrack, uh, now it’s Atom Data, I believe, um, Zillow would siphon off bits of data from that data, uh, you know, provider to be able to build its, its database.

Um, and so, you know, there’s, there’s certainly a B2B component. [00:10:00] For both, I would imagine, Zillow and SolarWinds, but, you know, there’s also a B2C component, right, where they’re trying to, to reach individuals. Which part did you sit on more, or less of, or was it all of it? And then did you notice any distinct differences?

And I apologize, this is probably way off track from what we were going to talk about

Jaime Garza: today, but I am curious about that piece. Yeah, so it’s, um. It’s going to answer your question, which is more specific around Zillow. Um, because SolarWinds is more traditional B2B enterprise, ABM type stuff that, you know, there’s a lot of content and people within that section there, Zillow was broken down into, um, you’re kind of right.

You’re hitting it there. Like we had a B2C and a B2B, right? So if you think about like how they make money, right, is. There are it’s a platform play, right? And really what they’re trying to do is drive users to their app, which everyone probably has it here on their phone, right? And [00:11:00] even though you may not be in the market, you’re searching somebody’s home and just checking out the neighborhood.

Michael Hartmann: I was doing it just like last week, because I saw somebody I was talking to, and he lived in a. City in Oregon, random city in Oregon. I had no buzz. Like, I’m gonna go check out what house prices are there.

Mike Rizzo: Your house is now worth, uh, you know, some ridiculous amount of money.

Jaime Garza: It’s like, that’s not true. Yeah.

They’re really good at that. So that’s kind of like everything that y’all just kind of mentioned there. That’s all B2C, right? That’s the play, right? The play is to get you to engage and drive unique users to the app. Cause then the value proposition to them is we have 200 million unique users per month.

In this app, right? And if you’re a realtor, you want to tap into that and then I’m going to charge you for a lead, right? So then so the business gets separated at that point. You have to have people focus on driving Engagement with the app, you know through different features and stuff like that Um, so I worked a bit on that side of that stuff there and and they did, you know Since then they have come out with specific customer offerings [00:12:00] as you know As an example like a mortgage right or something like that where they’re trying to go direct to the consumer But um As far as I know, most recently, most of their revenue still does come from Realtors, right, who are paying them for leads or to be kind of advertised on their platform.

So that’s a little bit, um, of a B2B play on that stuff there, but the marketing technology, marketing data there was probably the strongest that I’ve seen. Like I haven’t been everywhere, but they are like fanatical about data. Absolutely. They have deep, deep like data. They have PhDs like in data scientists.

They’re like building, you know, algorithms and modeling and propensity models and stuff like that. And they’re, they’re really sharp at that. Um, so, yeah, I don’t know. That kind of gives you some insight into that. Yeah, it’s, it’s,

Mike Rizzo: it’s interesting. And, and were you, and then we can dive back into the finance, uh, topic here, but were you supporting more of the B2B side then?

Or did you have to look at [00:13:00] integrating B2C and B2B systems to. To work together in a new

way.

Jaime Garza: No, I was working more on the, the B to B side, right? So the, the, you know, campaigns kind of targeted towards getting either Mike or Michael here to kind of. You know, like you’re getting those notifications, right?

Or you get an email and says, Hey, the price reduction on 1, 2, 3 Elm street or stuff like that. Or again, how do you personalize it more? Or, um, there was a lot of work around, um, segmentation and personas, right? Like, really trying to dig into that as you would suspect they measure every how long you linger on a certain part of a listing, right?

What kind of captures your attention? What button do you click? And if I change that just slightly, right. Right? That that got more engagement. So it was just getting into like every little detail of like it looks like on your phone is just like, Oh, you just scrolled. It looks like a little simple layout.

But, um, going on behind the scenes. Yeah, there’s a lot of [00:14:00]

Mike Rizzo: science happening. That’s cool. Very cool. Thanks for sharing. I

Michael Hartmann: appreciate it. I think it’s really interesting. I think your background is interesting too. And by the way, I was thinking about this. You’re this at least the second guest that we’ve had on who started career.

Military and ended up in marketing ops and did the same thing, right? Military school. Um, and then kind of career. So, um, the thing, the thing that really stood out to me that I think was interesting is that, cause I think of Intuit as a relatively large, Company, right? I don’t think it’s the hugest, but it’s not.

It’s definitely not a startup, right? Um, is the amount of exposure you had to so many different parts of the company and the experience of working with all of them. I think a lot of people think you can only get that at an early stage startup, right? And I think so. That’s if anybody’s looking for a way to do that, right?

I mean, I think there’s Program management is probably actually a really good place to, to be for that. All right. So let’s, let’s, let’s get back into the finance stuff. This is, um, I know this is always fascinating to hear people’s story. I’m trying to [00:15:00] stop myself from asking more questions right now. All right.

So, so I mean, so when we were talking, uh, before about this episode, um, you told me that you, you kind of learned about, or kind of the, the light switch went on for you, I guess, about how important finance knowledge was when you were going to get your MBA. Um, can you maybe talk to the, tell our audience, like what, you know, what was it that triggered that, what you learned, you know, maybe through the program or, or, or whatever that resonate with you and why you see it as a really important sort of bit of knowledge for people to have?

Jaime Garza: Yeah, it’s a, it’s a good question. I guess, um, during that period, before I started my MBA and I was working on, um, Or my personal business. Um, I always had kind of questions about finance, right? Like, how does like, you know, you always know that it’s important at some level and stuff like that. And to me, I always felt like a little bit of an outsider of like, what are these people that are successful, you know, financially or [00:16:00] whatever in business and stuff like that?

What is it that potentially they, they know that I don’t know, right? Like, how are they using money and different components of that stuff there? So that was actually one of. One of the leading motivations for me to go pursue, you know, my additional education through an MBA on those things there. And so through that program, um, I think one of the better classes I had there, um, they were all really good, but one that kind of, you know, I reflect on a lot was around the analysis of markets.

So in essence, like marketing analytics, they’re right. Um, and my professor at that point, um, You know, he brought up the statement there, like marketing is the new finance, right? And I think the rationale as I kind of think through that is, um, if you think of like traditional finance, right, which has always been very, it’s about numbers and it’s very data driven.

It’s about analyzing the numbers, the risk and how much potential return could I get for a potential investment, right? And then this whole, Risk reward type thing. And now if [00:17:00] you look at the marketing and all the data that we collect, right, kind of how we’re just talking, whether you’re a B2C, B2B, you have all these platforms, you have all this data on a potential customer, a prospect and lead, you have all this campaign performance, um, you’re able to measure how much, if you’re doing it correctly, how much you’re investing to pay for Google ads, to launch a campaign, To build awareness and et cetera, right?

So now it becomes very similar to like a finance right to me And if you’re looking at this it becomes about data it becomes about numbers and you start saying All right, if I invest a hundred dollars here What is my potential return for this campaign or if I invest a hundred dollars in campaign b?

What’s my potential return there? Now obviously if you’re you can just let the the numbers guide you then you would just choose the one With the highest return, um, there is still a little bit of art into that, right? Because you may say, Hey, I may be willing to take a slightly lesser return on my money.[00:18:00]

If you have a specific secondary goal, like brand awareness is always very hard to kind of tease out financially a bit. There is, I think, potentially some models you could look at for that stuff. So that was really kind of. You know, the what ties into the marketing is and you finance it is very data driven numbers driven and it is, um, you know, we’re in the past, right?

It was maybe and maybe potentially still exists. Marketing is kind of considered a, uh, unnecessary evil or a cost center, but, you know, when done right, it’s actually a growth department that you can actually look at. The numbers and analyze the K for X amount of dollars. What’s my return is if you get sophisticated enough, there’s a ways to break these things down into like marketing mixed models, right?

To really say, all right, I got a million dollars for the year. What is the right mix to get me the maximum result dollar wise on those things? So I think that’s very cool, right? Being able to apply that. [00:19:00] So when you get asked difficult questions, you know, from leadership or others, like, where should we put this money at?

You’re like, if you have the data and you’re able to analyze it, you can kind of approach it sort of like a financial analyst would, right? Yeah, well, based on this, like. This is what the number is telling

Michael Hartmann: me. Yeah, I think for, for me, sort of the, the thing that triggered it for me was I couldn’t even point to a single event, if you will, was pitching ideas for projects or changes or enhancements to whether process or technology, things like that in various different roles.

And to me, it always like, this is an obvious, like we should absolutely go do this and it would get. You know, there’d be a lot of pushback and sometimes it just never happened. Right. And I always struggled with understanding why. And when I finally worked with a finance partner who explained to me, and I knew a little bit about finance from doing previous consulting work in, [00:20:00] um, with real estate financial services companies and things like that was when I finally understood that the way that first off, those people don’t know what I know.

Right. That’s the first thing. The second was that the way they think about. Especially on the finance people who actually hold the purse strings, right? They’re the ones who need to know enough to feel comfortable that you know what you’re talking about. And they want to know that you put through some thought into what a reasonable financial model for something would be, even if it is a difficult connection point, right?

And so I think, yeah, you brought up brand. Um, I’ve talked to some people recently who are doing some really interesting things about how to tie any kind of spend and marketing back to some sort of impact. Ideally on pipeline revenue, but, um, have you, did you experience some of those kinds of same kinds of things where you like you’re pitching ideas and they weren’t going anywhere and you know, and then when you’ve kind of got this aha moment about the importance of finance and speaking in that language, did it [00:21:00] change?

Jaime Garza: Yeah, for sure. I could definitely relate. I think that’s a good point. Um, I know definitely at my time that into it, we’re working with other marketers and, you know, they were like, To your example, you know, trying to get something approved, something that new, right, whether it’s a new more dollars for additional campaign or more dollars for a technology platform, because they think it’s going to drive certain results of like being able to build that case on those things, there is, I think, very common, right?

And, and part of it is, I get it, you know, you know, marketers are not, you know, maybe not be like formally trained in finance and you ask them, build me a business case. Of why we should do this, right? Um, it could be a struggle, right? If you’re not one, if one, if you don’t have the skills or if you don’t have a good finance partner to potentially partner with to help you build those things out.

Yeah.

Mike Rizzo: I, um, I’m curious about, so, you know, you’re sounded like you’re [00:22:00] even today and historically in previous roles have managed budgets, um, for, for the better market teams, right? Uh, yeah. What, What factors sort of go into your mixed model, um, around a business case or a proposal for, for a plan, um, you know, beyond, you know, I imagine it’s probably software, um, right?

And, and then like, number of campaigns and potentially like digital spend and so forth. But Does, um, the sales fall into that mix? Like, uh, if there’s a model for like sales reps and VRS, SDRs type of thing, or yeah,

Jaime Garza: yeah, that’s a good question. Um, so I’ll kind of reference my current situation or how the, how it works for where I’m currently at.

Um, I don’t account for, We measure up to a certain point of where we align with sales of like marketing owns to X point, which is, I think, very [00:23:00] common, maybe within the industry. And in essence, once we consider it a marketing qualified lead, right, like that is success for us, right now, sales, it’s your job to go get them from an opportunity to close one on that stuff there.

So they own that part of the transaction now, you know, there’s some other stuff that potentially we could do to. Help them get them to the close, but from a reporting metrics and how we hold ourselves accountable. It’s up to kind of that point point there on did how many leads that we drive and how many of those you’ll turn into like, like, marketing qualified leads and then we measure.

All right. Well, if it’s this type of lead for this offering in this region, that equates to X amount of pipe. Right. And then, so that’s a bit of the metrics, um, that I look at with like the CMO and to say, Hey, how much did we invest here? How much are, you know, what is a bro ass right on this stuff here? Um, how much pipeline are we generating out of these [00:24:00] things here?

Um, it’s not perfect, you know, not to, you know, for, for all the listeners listening, but well, you got this thing nailed it, there’s a ton of complexity into it, um, the data’s always moving. Right. Um, and being able to really connect the data. Is always a super challenge of like Have I accounted for all the dollars really going into this campaign?

Like how confident are you on that? Right? Because you could have a little bit coming from you know I say a search ad And then you could have something coming in from like a linkedin social or something like that And then a little bit over here and so trying to map all that Is um tedious as you would suspect No doubt.

Oh, yeah

Mike Rizzo: What I think is also Uh, what was and remains an interesting learning experience that I had, um, is I’ve spent most of my career in BB sass, particularly in startups, some scale ups and. The measurements, at least on the [00:25:00] venture side, um, often ends up being the, um, revenue sort of divided by headcount, right?

Just broadly in general, right? It doesn’t matter what role you have, uh, you’ve got headcount and spend to be able to support the staff and then you’re looking at your burn rate and your, your, your revenue per, per person. Which is fascinating, right? Because it’s like a, it’s a extremely simplified way to look at the sort of growth ratio of the business and the burn.

Um, and it has very little to do with that, that idea of like projecting growth and, and, um, but it’s like this barometer that they’re using. And I think for me, it’s like, it’s a very sensitive subject because, uh, you know, perhaps maybe for you, Jaime, I’d love to hear your thoughts on this, but. You know, marketing operations, even in our industry, like annual report, it’s still like one of the top KPIs that we measure the success, [00:26:00] uh, for, for ourselves and in the business is pipeline.

Um, and like the reality is, is that like the function of marketing operations doesn’t

Jaime Garza: actually generate pipeline. It’s a

Mike Rizzo: supporting function. Right. And, uh, but it’s, it’s an enabling function. Yes. Yeah. Or enablement. Right. Uh, that’s another really good use of, uh, you know, language for it. But, um, you know, it’s, it’s a bit frustrating.

I, you know, I’d love to hear your thoughts on, because like finance is an important topic. We should understand this stuff because we need to know how to communicate across. You know all of the different departments all the way up to our executives when we’re trying to Build out dashboards and reports and think how they think and all that other stuff but at the end of the day, there’s also this issue

Jaime Garza: of how

Mike Rizzo: do I actually report on my team’s ability to deliver and just because i’m Capable of looking at these dashboards and creating them for you doesn’t mean that our team should [00:27:00] necessarily be measured against The amount of pipeline that we’re generating, right?

That’s my,

Jaime Garza: my thought. Yeah, I think, I think that’s a, that’s a great perspective. They’re kind of, you know, maybe taking a little bit of a step back and looking at those things. There’s a couple of different thoughts. I think even since marketing operations, I mean, you’ll probably not way better than I do.

I know it’s been around for a while, but it’s probably, Okay. You know, grown and be more formalized over the last 15, 20 years where it’s become, you know, almost its own discipline within marketing, right? All those things there. Um, And I would think it’s maybe, you know, it’s still evolving a bit, right? Like, so maybe my role is a little bit unique of, since I do own the full budget management, like, for my department, I do have a little bit, like, my personal, like, you know, performance and stuff like that.

It’s the one, how well do I manage a budget? And two, am I helping to optimize that budget? And by that, it means, like, are we putting it into, like, the right places and why I don’t [00:28:00] own, um, I don’t generate campaigns, right? I don’t know customers deeply enough. I don’t do segmentation and personas and like put words on a page as you know, some people would say.

Um, I do have, I, I do kind of own the process to say, I need to be able to measure that performance so I can go back and hold those people accountable. Right. And to, and to challenge them right in a professional way to say, Hey, you know, we invested 50, 000 here in this campaign in Q1. You know, we didn’t quite get what we needed out of it.

Like, I don’t think we should do this again. Right. Um, I do think that at least within my role and within my team, that is questions that I ask on that stuff there because the other maybe uniqueness here, since I have, like, I’m directly into the senior leader in marketing, she does answer overall for marketing of, like, how much at the, at that level, you know, Is marketing performing.

And I think one of the, you know, one of the ways executives and marketing leaders are going to get [00:29:00] assessed is when you think of like, what is the role of a marketing department is to, you know, feed the funnel. And drive good quality leads to sales so they can close those things. Right. And to generate revenue and business for the organization, because that’s what a business is about.

So she does care about that stuff there. So I kind of help her with that. We do look at some of those other things that you kind of referenced there. Like, I don’t know if they’re specific to a startup around like FTEs per total revenue, FTEs per ARR on that stuff there as we look at those more as a, um, Broad landscape of like how efficient are we with our resources in our organization, right?

How are we comparing against? A comparable organization of similar size and similar revenue, some sort of benchmark. Yeah, it’s a benchmark. So we just went through that, like, in Q4 of saying, like, hey, it’s a good gauge, right? Not to say that you need to take [00:30:00] action on everything, but it does highlight areas and say, hey, potentially, maybe I’m spending too much on my tech stack compared to what, like, my peers are, right?

If I’m over index, they’re like, Okay. there might be something to investigate there. Um, so we do look at like kind of those benchmark high level kind of things to say like, well, outside of just very specific campaign performance, I look at like resources, headcount, cost of headcount. I look at, um, yeah, stuff like how much are we spending on the tech stack?

Is it, you know, is there efficiencies as you know, and Last year and it’s going to continue into this year, you know, it’s all about operational excellence, right? It’s really doing as much as you can With only with what you need and not not excess on those things there So in the startup, you know, it’s just like grow, right?

Like just like let’s just get to growth show the investors that I haven’t worked in a startup, but I would suspect It’s now I,

Mike Rizzo: the his, you’re spot on. It has typically been that it’s, uh, completely [00:31:00] changed in the last two years because of the, the, the economy and just everything. It was growth at all costs and now it’s like, get to profitability, , and very scrutinized now.

Um, uh, reach profitability as, as fast as. Uh, humanly possible

Michael Hartmann: is sort of turning now. Interesting. So, I mean, I, I think Mike, you brought up something like we could probably, we probably should, and I know we could do a whole episode just on how to, what, which, what are the, what are some good KPIs, OKRs, you know, measurements for an effective marketing operations team, because I’m with you.

Like, I think I used to want, as a leader to take revenue. Uh, or pipeline is part of it and I’ve started moving away because I think there’s just too many things outside of your control and in fact, in general, like I, I, when I coach people, um, who are leaders, like I, what’s one of the things I tell them is like when you’re developing your goals and objectives, be cautious about ones where you just don’t have a lot [00:32:00] of control because you’re, you’re setting yourself up for depending on other people, um, and unless you absolutely trust them, right.

And it doesn’t even mean that you, it’s not meant to be a mean thing, right? Okay. Things come up, right? Somebody was somebody leaves and somebody new comes in and their priorities are different.

Mike Rizzo: Yeah, absolutely. Yeah, we probably shouldn’t do a whole series around the KPIs for marketing apps because it is it is uniquely different.

You know, I love I love that you have The role that you have, I mean, because it gives you this, like, broad stroke kind of look at a couple of, you know, facets, which is great for your, your experience. And I think, I think, uh, my, my hope is as a community, we keep having this conversation so that we can push organizations in the direction of.

You know, um, you’re you’re not measuring your product team that’s developing new products on their ability to generate revenue. You’re certainly not analyzing which features generate the most revenue. And so you’re therefore, I [00:33:00] mean, you are looking at some of that stuff, right? But like, it’s not your basis of decision making for that success, right?

Their ability to deliver a feature on time that doesn’t break. Right? Like that’s, those are things that matter, right? Uh, and I think we need to start fixing how marketing operations is analyzed, uh, through the lens of a little bit more of the product, kind of. You’re managing a go to market system, right?

Michael Hartmann: Potentially. I think that’s an interesting one. So Jaime’s And I think what’s unique about his role for marketing ops is this sort of full marketing budget responsibility. Um, I think most, most marketing ops leaders have, if not control over, they have a lot, like a lot of influence and basically general direction, even if they can’t, like, even if they can’t just sign a PO or something, right.

They can say, this is how I want to spend the X dollars for marketing operations across technology people. You [00:34:00] know, consultants, contractors, whatever. Um, I know of a few people I had in some roles where I had full marketing budget responsibility, um, and in other places where I was like, I didn’t have full budget authority, but I was very much influencing with the CMO how to handle the other budgets, because let’s be honest, most marketers are not very good at managing a budget.

And, and I understand why in a lot of cases, marketing apps is a lot easier to manage because it’s fewer transactions, bigger dollar amounts in general, right? Compared to say events where you’ve got a billion different transactions that all could range from big dollar items to low, like, you know, napkins.

So, um, how, I’m just curious, I don’t know that you have a whole lot of experience of just not, not managing the full budget, but how do you. You know, based on that, like, how do you think, well, two, two questions. [00:35:00] Like, one, do you think that would be a good use of. People who are in marketing ops, who also happen to understand enough about finance to help manage a budget across, do you think that would be a good use of those people’s resource for, for a marketing leader?

Second, do you have any sense for how you might behave differently on your decision making with, if, if, if your role was everything you have minus that budget management across all marketing? Yeah. Campaign operations, Martech stack, whatever it is, you know. Yeah. So, so say that last part again. So, so do you think, do you think if you didn’t have visibility and sort of the oversight of the full marketing budget, would you, do you think you had, if you had just the marketing ops budget that you were responsible for, do you think you would, do you think you might have done things differently?

Jaime Garza: Oh, okay. Let me, so it’s, I get kind of a two part question there. Like one, I [00:36:00] think the first one is really do I think like marketing operations, like what kind of role should we play in, in budgeting or managing a budget and, and those types and, and is it worthwhile, um, for them to take that on? Um, obviously I’m biased.

I think there’s a lot of advantages, right, of being involved in those things there, right? ’cause. Um, having the kind of a seat at the table to see, like, where, where are we making those investments and decisions across the board? Right? To whether it’s. A technology platform, or it’s a, a partnership with a, you know, a reseller in a certain region, or you’re going to launch into a large campaign somewhere else on those things there.

I think having that ability is great. I think it also. Provides another avenue, like, when you think of, like, as a marketing operations, right? You think like, oh, yeah, you have, like, data analysts or marketing data analysts. You have, like, very technical people. Maybe they’re managing the market or part of the [00:37:00] sales force or some other technology platform.

So they’re a bit technical, or you could have somebody very technical. I mean, very tactical that is like, just. I wouldn’t say just, but they’re, you know, kind of really just building Salesforce campaigns out or, um, doing some of the very like tactical stuff to execute campaign emails,

Michael Hartmann: landing pages. Yeah,

Jaime Garza: yeah, but you got to think of like, what is the career path for somebody like that?

Right? What if somebody wants to move up further, right? If they only stay within those disciplines or those sub disciplines, they may bottom out, you know, or top out very quickly, you know, and so, so I think it’s a good avenue to also give you some breath, right? If you kind of think of like, Hey, where do I see myself?

So if you’re in marketing operations and you’re currently. Managing and you’re an expert marketo, you know, on that stuff and you got that stuff up and down is like, where else are you going to challenge yourself and grow and continue to move up the ladder within marketing operations and potentially outside of that.

So I think from there, it’s great to have [00:38:00] an option to do something like that, to get involved into the budget and budget management. On that per se there, um, and then on your 2nd question, would I do things differently if I didn’t have, like, budget management? Um, I think maybe that’s a little bit hard for me to say, um, just because I do have the ability to see into it.

Um, but I think overall, I still think. I would probably, you know, be, you know, apply some, some stringent kind of rigor around that stuff there, right? Just knowing myself personally, like how, like, you know, conservative, like, you know, not make sure that we’re investing the dollars wisely, right? Are we really, really going to get this stuff out of it?

And those things there, um, You know, maybe a decision here or there where I would have, you know, move forward with and not knowing like the full marketing budget on those things that are like, Oh, yeah, to me, it makes sense. Let’s go do this. Right. Probably where [00:39:00] I would make maybe decisions more liberally would be around like head count.

Right. Or something like that. Right. But now that I. You know, if you understand what your budget’s at, what your targets are, how finance and how the board is thinking of the finances, then you tend to put a different lens on it.

Michael Hartmann: Yeah. But I, I think your, your point about how it might affect your thought process about headcount is probably the biggest one for me that would have, would have been different, right?

If I had, cause I’m having done been in scenarios where both, both I managed to just the MarTech budget or marketing ops budget and one where I helped. With the whole whole marketing budget. I think I became much more aware of it needed to understand better. Like where are the gaps in skills and knowledge and experience that we had across all of marketing, as opposed to.

Just quote, just on my team. And I think so, you know, I, I, [00:40:00] I tried to be as, as, um, honest as I could with myself about like, okay, where’s the real need across the organization. You know, if we had, you know, where to spend that one more dollar on, if we get good headcount, right, then this is the place where we really need it.

And, and I’d like to think that in cases where that’s been the case, I’ve. Sort of where I thought was right. I was like, as much as I think I need this kind of resource on my team, this other one, we really need this more first. It’s not that there wasn’t a need here, but the other one was a higher need and would provide more return.

Yeah. Even if it was, um, hard to, hard to quantify. Yep. Yeah. But in terms of like technology spend on campaigns, so like that’s, I don’t know that I would have done anything differently, um, other than big picture stuff, right? Just general approach to go to market might, but. Be arguing about, but that wasn’t about specific tactical things.[00:41:00]

All right. So, um, gosh, we have, we’re like gonna run out of time here for all this stuff. I was like, but it’s been great. Like I’ve like my head, my head is full, like all these new things. But, um, so, you know, the one thing that I think we didn’t really spend a lot of time on here yet is, um, and maybe try to think back to before and after you sort of had this revelation about.

The importance of finance knowledge. Yeah. How has it affected what you do in terms of reporting and analytics, whether it’s for marketing overall or for, um, or for your, you know, what your team, we had kind of covered what you do for your team, that your team, but really for marketing overall, like how have you, has it changed how you thought about what, what are the important things to report?

Yeah, that’s,

Jaime Garza: um, it’s a good question, right? So there’s a couple of different to me. There’s just straightforward, [00:42:00] like, how close to, you know, how good are we managing a budget? Right? To your point earlier, um, you know, marketers generally are not the best budget managers, right? Um, they, they like to do things.

They like to be creative, you know, they’re, you know. Thinking about value propositions, words on a page and stuff like that. It’s going to be

Michael Hartmann: so beautiful.

Jaime Garza: And for some of them, you know, you tell them, EO, manage your budgets, like, Nah, no thanks. Don’t want nothing to do with that. Right, um, but when you have a large budget, right, and you want to, you know, be a good corporate citizen, you know, for the organization and for the business and, you know, to Mike’s point.

Every startup right now is trying to make a profit and you make a profit by managing your expenses on this stuff here, right? So part of that is, um, the initial view that we look at it is how well are we managing a budget, right? We said we’re going to spend, you know, 100. And how close did we say, did we get to that?

And so I measure variants to that. Right. I say, [00:43:00] um, and this is, uh, I do, we do it everywhere. Organization’s different and into it. We did it at the quarterly basis. Um, and here at solar winds, I do it on a monthly basis where, you know, we’re tracking. You know, forecast, POs, bills, accruals, that’s the stuff sounds foreign to you, then, um, that’s,

Michael Hartmann: that’s why you need to know finance because those are the numbers that they care about.

Jaime Garza: Yeah. And then, um, you know, maybe that’s just your next opportunity, right? As you’re somebody self development on that stuff there. But so, yeah, we measure variance, right? And we have a very tight. small window for our variance, right? And so everyone sets their own variance, you know, industry, sometimes some finance or startups may say, Hey, 10 percent variance is okay.

Under is better than over, right? Underspent versus overspent in general on that stuff there.

Michael Hartmann: But it’s not the same everywhere. Yeah, no, it’s not. I literally, literally like two years ago, I had a conversation at the end of the [00:44:00] year with a finance team. I was like, I’ve got this project going on and I can either come in.

on my budget, or I can come in 20 grand over, which would you rather have me do? And they said, go over and said, done

Jaime Garza: there. Yeah. So funny. Yeah. There’s, there’s situations like that where, you know, just depending what the, what the, uh, what, like the profit loss statement is looking like, or they’re trying to meet a certain number to manage to, um, I think there’s.

You know, board conversations and complexities around that stuff of, especially if you’re a publicly traded company and those types of things there, you know, you’ve communicated something and now how close are you going to get to that? Right. Um, cause that gets a lot of scrutiny. I think I’m not, I’m not that, I’m not that type of expert, but I think I suspect that they get a lot of scrutiny of like, Hey, you said X like you better get pretty darn close to it.

Yeah. I mean,

Mike Rizzo: it was at the startups I’ve been at, there was always the. There’s the internal number, there’s the board number, and then there’s the actual like, [00:45:00] you know, like executive expected number. Right. And one of those gets communicated to sales and marketing, but not the others.

Jaime Garza: Right. Uh, and

Mike Rizzo: you have to reach a certain threshold in the organization of trust to know, uh, that there’s.

Secret numbers .

Jaime Garza: Yes. Right. They, they, they are layered and they’re done for s Yeah. And it, it’s proven that it’s a process that works, right. Of like get people, you know, um, you know, I forget what it’s called, but either way. Right. Like aim big in this small type thing. Yeah. It’s, you know, opposite of the, um, the other thing, but yeah, something like that.

Right. So, so they, so you actually hit your number on those things there, you, you give ’em a higher target. Yeah. So I think that’s the. The first thing that I measure, right? Like how good are we at doing that stuff there? Um, and then outside of that is, um, through like monthly business reviews or QBRs.

Again, like how is, how is the marketing department performing? Being a marketing department, kind of what we were talking about earlier, right? [00:46:00] Um, we’re broken down by Okay. Product categories, regions, like how well are we performing, delivering, you know, um, leads and MQLs is what we call them. I think they’re maybe similar in other organizations.

Um, sales qualified leads, right? Um,

Michael Hartmann: What about, are you doing also like, uh, we said we were going to do these campaigns or these projects or these. Change things and did we meet them?

Jaime Garza: Yeah from a kind of like a strategic initiatives. Um, we do a bit of that Um, maybe not as formalized. I mean, there’s different levels of bricker We do like monthly check ins on that and then since I do on some of the program management for marketing We do kind of a monthly review of like hey, how how much progress have we make in this project?

How much progress did we make in this project? That’s not necessarily, you know, like financially driven or something like that. But, um, yeah, but I’m from a programmatic level. Yes. Yeah. I

Michael Hartmann: like, I like the idea. There’s like, [00:47:00] um, you know, there’s business reviews monthly, quarterly. I think it’s something, Naomi, who’s not here today, I know she was the first one I heard talk about doing that for her marketing ops teams and use it as a way to talk about what they’ve, what they’ve accomplished.

Jaime Garza: Yeah. And the other way that it’s, it’s still a little bit new on here at SolarWinds, we’re still building the muscle. Everyone knows it, like OKRs, right? Like being specific, signing up for something before the year. You know, it’s usually something around like pipe or increasing conversion rate or something like that.

And then those do get tracked at the quarterly level for us to say, hey, where are we at on this stuff here versus what we said we’re at? And then we measure that variance as well, right? And grade ourselves on those things. Um, it’s still, You know, we’re past maybe the crawl phase and we’re in the walk phase.

Now, we’re definitely, I wouldn’t say we’re running, but we’re getting better.

Michael Hartmann: Awesome. Well, I, I would love to continue on [00:48:00] and I could, like, we were just getting into the fun stuff for me, like the, you were talking about my kind of language, right? Budgets and goals and, you know, all that kind of like, um, But this has been like, who knew we could, who knew we could get into a conversation about finance and marketing ops for almost an hour and, uh, still have more to do, like not cover it.

It never ends.

Mike Rizzo: Yeah. It never ends. You kidding me? I’d say, and for our listeners, you know, Jaime’s talking a little bit about, um, some basics around statistics too. So if you want to go check out the statistics course that Kamala Thompson has taught. It’s on our, it’s on our website. That could also be a nice foundational element to helping you step in the direction with.

Analytics understanding variance and that kind of stuff. And then I have a to do now. I need to go find somebody who can teach a little bit more about finance on our website.

Michael Hartmann: Maybe we have someone here, Mike. I don’t know. Yeah,

Jaime Garza: yeah. I’ll put you in contact with somebody really good. [00:49:00] I

Mike Rizzo: mean,

Michael Hartmann: this has been great.

Um, if folks want to kind of follow up with you or kind of see what you’re up to, I don’t know if you’re active on social media or not, but, uh, what’s the best way for them to do that?

Jaime Garza: Yeah, probably. Uh, LinkedIn is probably the most easiest way. Feel free to, um, you know, as long as. If you’re not trying to sell me something most of the times, I’ll accept your invite.

Um, if you’re trying to, if you’re trying to sell me something, just follow me. Um, then, um, but no, in all seriousness, yeah, probably, um, LinkedIn is the easiest way. Um, message me, follow, connect with me. Happy to, you know, grow the network and add what I can to the Fantastic.

Michael Hartmann: Well, I mean, again, thank you so much, Mike.

Thanks for joining and we’ll get Naomi back here soon. And to thank you to all our listeners right there for continuing to support us. And, uh, it’s for all our guests. Like we’ve had some tremendous guests and, um, for those who’ve been waiting for a callback, it’s all on me. So look for, look for something for me here.

Hopefully soon until next [00:50:00] time. Bye everyone. Bye.