Why don’t we focus more on Project Management with Evan Dunn

Mike Rizzo: [00:00:00] Hey everybody. I am not Michael Hartmann, but I am one of the co-hosts of the show. And today we are joined with Naomi, our other co-host Naomi say hello,

Naomi: Hello? Hi, not Michael Hartmann

Mike Rizzo: I, yeah, I not Michael Hartmann I get to be the host today because Mr. Hartmann is busy with probably some marketing operations work as we all are.

But thank you for joining us on this episode. Our guest today is Evan Dunn. Evan is currently the director of growth marketing at Syncari. Prior to joining Syncari earlier this year, he’s held several roles in marketing, including other leadership roles in growth, marketing, digital and social media. In addition, he has experience in customer success.

in addition, he has experience in customer success as well as being VP of product at resonance AI. Evan, thank you for joining us today.

Evan Dunn: Thanks for having me. Mike Naomi

Mike Rizzo: cool. I know [00:01:00] you and Hartmann had a chance to sync up before no pun intended on the Syncari bit but.

Evan Dunn: you pronounced it correctly.

Mike Rizzo: I did get it right. Which I think that’s just due to all the conversations I’ve been having with you and the team lately. But before we go too far, I know the overall theme is, why aren’t we talking more about project management in marketing operations.

And so I’m excited dive into that. But you’re the second person that has a background in linguistics, and apparently you do some performance poetry. So could you maybe tell our listeners about how you went from linguistics to marketing and product development?

Evan Dunn: Yeah, the linguistics track is unsurprisingly. One of millennial necessity. We’ll say, had to get a different job, non linguistics that made money and ended up bouncing around a bit and freelancing for do you remember when people used to pay. To have their own blogs produced.

Mike Rizzo: Yeah.

Evan Dunn: back in the day [00:02:00] I did Twitter marketing and WordPress and some email stuff that was half of a full-time job.

And from there I went to the agency side and then that resonance AI, startup analytics company, really fun. And the other performance poetry thing happens occasionally, not on podcasts.

Mike Rizzo: Not on podcast, so we won’t get any poetry out of you today.

Evan Dunn: Maybe, but probably not

Mike Rizzo: all right. So merging the worlds of linguistics, performance, poetry, and the social medias, bro.

Evan Dunn: social media is, yeah

Mike Rizzo: what is your feeling on bro?

Evan Dunn: bro. I only noted as a slur. I don’t

Mike Rizzo: You’re like, it’s a really good growth tactic. It’s the only way to hack the algorithm of LinkedIn.

Evan Dunn: I have attempted two poems for work to be shared as work products. It is not easy to poetry fi [00:03:00] professional things.

Mike Rizzo: Yeah, I doubt it.

Naomi: Couple weeks ago, I was in LA and my friend got me tickets to something called freestyle love Supreme. I don’t know if you’ve heard of it, but it was, I think the backstory is it’s Lynn. Manuel’s like old college Trop where they do improv singing, wrapping, hip hop, and they take feedback from the audience.

And everything is live it’s all on demand. Like it’s absolutely amazing. So I can just, it gives me a greater appreciation as to how difficult it is to rhyme completely unrelated words and phrases together. I feel like it’s that something you probably

Evan Dunn: Yeah, I like doing it.

Naomi: too. I think on

Evan Dunn: Oh, yeah, I will check that out. I I, it sounds familiar. I definitely can’t freestyle. That is a whole separate category of skill. I like being alone in a forest when I’m [00:04:00] composing. It’s a bit different, there is weird synergy to use a terrible word between linguistics and poetry and marketing, you’re thinking all the time about what people are going to react and in linguistics, there’s some really wonderful nerdy names for the things we think about all the time in market.

There’s pragmatics and semantics. Pragmatics is semantics people know, right? It’s your brain producing, meaning pragmatics. It’s how the meaning is perceived. So what happens in the other person’s brain? And they’re two completely different disciplines because they’re two completely different activities.

Yeah, so there’s a lot of things to pull from, when you think about audiences and how they hear what you say. As we all know, it’s so hard not to get caught up in excitement about your product and your ideas. That is a market that you get lost. Speaking to your audience.

Mike Rizzo: Yeah, I find that really hard. In every role I’ve ever held around the marketing and growth side of things getting outside of talking, cuz you’re just inside the organization, you’re constantly inundated with, what does the product do? What does it capable of? And pulling back and [00:05:00] going, okay what does the audience actually want to hear?

They don’t want to hear just about us all the time. Like, how do you speak to them in a way that, resonates, which, speaking of products. Okay. Sounds this topic that we’re talking about today. So project management the importance of that in the marketing and revenue operations sector there are.

This topic comes up frequently in the community. Not just the tools that are used, but also a little bit about the methodology. I have pretty strong opinions about whether or not Agile’s really a framework that, that whether you’re marketing or marketing broadly is actually a thing that you should be doing.

But it sounded like from your experience in leading product development, That sort of helped shape your opinions on the value of project management. And now it seems like you’re taking some of that experience to apply that to your marketing function and growth. And I don’t know about marketing ops.

I know that the team ATSY got, different tool sets available to them, but wondering, just Hey, how has that experience shaped your view of the importance of project management as it relates to the role that you’re doing?[00:06:00]

Evan Dunn: Yeah I don’t know about you guys, but I I am not natively organized. I had never used a calendar tool when I graduated college. Like not even a planner, never recorded appointments that started becoming problematic pretty quickly. And I never wrote down to-do list and I have a terrible memory.

Mike Rizzo: How did you ever get anywhere? it’s like

Naomi: Yeah I cannot relate to that at all. I’m sorry.

Evan Dunn: Yeah, I hope there’s sarcasm there. For my sake, it was so bad that it was actually a problem at the first job I had outta school. And since then have basically become a huge fan of like bullet journaling and these sort of like disciplined approaches to. Managing your priorities and your schedule.

25 minute focus chunks. The brain can only focus for 42 minutes. Those kind of things. I pepper throughout my productivity. Obviously with little children, they break your frameworks all the time, but yeah. To your question, [00:07:00] exactly there was a specific. Event recurring event that we started creating at residence AI that took us from literally from P and E product engineering, not knowing what next week held to actually getting several weeks out, months out, visibility roadmap.

And that was that every Thursday afternoon, we had a meeting at three, I think. And if requests for demos and new product features and sort of things weren’t in by that time, they did not happen the next week. And this taught me so many things. This taught me the power of forcing functions, of setting boundaries and saying, look, you can’t. Ask us to build a landing page. In two days in marketing writer, you can’t turn around and say, Hey, we got a big customer coming. Can you do a demo with them within two days, this kind of thing? It created rhythms, it created breathing room and it created at first, we knew what we were doing next week and then it just rolled forward, where then people knew imagine if marketers knew what they were doing a month [00:08:00] from now, we laugh because it’s hard and. Marketing ops and marketing together. We could talk about that for a minute, but I have a lot of ideas about how the two seem more disjointed than they need to be.

There’s ultimately marketing ops is a strategic contributor, and knows what works. They see the data more than anyone else they’re looking at it all the time. So they should be feeding the marketing executioners, if you will, with the the rhythms and the Intel to. To to drive that strategy forward in a way that isn’t heter Skelter.

And you brought up agile. I think there’s a point where for a lot of people trying to deploy these framers, they are making efforts, they’ve got click up or air table or right. Or, these different tools. But, and they’re trying to do short standups, but what’s happening is they’re still pivoting daily.

They’re still changing what they’re working on daily. They’re just documenting it a little bit better and having meetings about it a little bit.

So yeah, lots there.

Mike Rizzo: Yeah. I felt that [00:09:00] through the majority of my career but I think that stems from the work environments or just like the stage, rather the stage of the organizations that I’ve worked for. I don’t have, I’m glad Naomi’s on this episode with us. Because there’s a, she’s been in her role for quite some time and built a lot of rigor just from past episodes and having many conversations with her.

And so I’m curious to hear sort of your feelings on project management and how it’s related to the way that you run your org, Naomi. But I definitely resonate with. The who’s got the loudest voice in the room or the next shiny object that we could look at or do, or the, the idea that’s oh, that’s a good one.

Let’s go do that right now. Whether that’s here in the community, we sometimes we do that. Or in the organizations that I advise, I experience that on a regular basis. Most of those are pretty early stage. And I think that, as I said at the start of this That is indicative of the stage of the organization, oftentimes as well, just cuz you’re, I don’t know, there’s a whole bunch of [00:10:00] different ways to turn a phrase on that one, but everybody’s just like trying to look under every single rock every day, trying to figure out what’s the next thing that’s gonna move the needle.

And sometimes you’re go to market messaging and motion isn’t refined enough. And so you’re just like, I don’t know someone make a decision please, but anyway, Naomi I’d love to hear your thoughts on. Larger org marketing, project management. How that actually pans out

Naomi: Yeah. I, it definitely, wasn’t something that just came about overnight. It’s definitely something that is multifaceted, it’s evolved over time. And it’s changed as well, even though, maybe the people have not changed, the business changes process changes COVID happened, there’s always things that.

Will change how people are working together and just trying to make things more efficient. For us it’s a matter of not just like project intake and just, keeping the bandwidths on the team balance, but it’s also. Communicating out to our business partners that, this [00:11:00] is the bandwidth of the team at any given point in time so that they can see and give us heads up that, Hey, if we have, major integration projects or if we want to onboard a new vendor, or we want to do some kind of mass migration that they know what our bandwidth is, that they’re not, stacking things on top of us, that we can then.

Either not handle and have to go back and say, Hey, you really should have given us this as a heads up earlier so that we could handle this and give you appropriate timelines. For us, a lot of it is just this constant feedback. And also enforcing SLAs. I think that’s something that a lot of people don’t necessarily talk about.

They talk about. How am I tracking the work? How am I, accepting how, what does the intake look like? But they’re not necessarily talking about, what are the SLAs for what is an acceptable amount of time to turn, an email campaign around an email campaign with. 10 languages, an email campaign that has, multiple follow up steps or landing pages, or, trigger, actions or things where we need the SDM to follow up and give us that feedback back.

Those are all things that are like super complex that we try to bucket into groups. It’s not exact science, but it’s something that [00:12:00] I’m super curious about with other organizations too.

Mike Rizzo: It’s if one email as estimated at, 30 minutes and this nurture sequence has five of them plus that’s, the formula could potentially be worked out, but it never seems to actually happen that way.

Naomi: And then there’s always scope creep too. So it’s can we also add this? What about this? Oh, by the way, have six more different languages. I want to add to that. So

Mike Rizzo: Oh, yeah. The

Naomi: can we do personalization, dynamic

Evan Dunn: So I I haven’t been in a marketing obviously, but I’ve known some really good marketing op folks. And I’m curious what you guys think about this phenomenon. What I often notice is that do ops folks tend to have some discipline around creating SLAs, enforcing, communicating, and intake, right.

Prioritization. But if the marketers have none like zero. Your discipline on what they’re, the question often from the op side seems to be, are you sure about this strategy? Given limited resources and time and [00:13:00] focus, like this is way different from last week’s requests, how do you play a role in helping the company grow?

Which is the ultimate goal, right? When. You have this seat where probably because of habit or role title, it doesn’t seem like it’s okay for you to say this is a terrible idea, which I’m sure terrible ideas all the time.

Mike Rizzo: what

Naomi: would say segmentation is a huge thing too, right? It’s not always just building, if you just sent an email, but like sometimes a more complicated piece can be segmenting out your audience, especially if you have a, if you have a complicated business model, making sure that, you’re validating your data.

Are these actual customers, or are they, it’s just, it’s not, it’s just not always, let me just send this email out to everybody in our system.

Evan Dunn: Are you ready with the right messaging for an exact versus an operator or what have you.

Mike Rizzo: Yeah. It’s exactly the reason why organizations need to have some marketer. [00:14:00] whether it’s a marketing ops person, proper or. Someone that has at least enough acumen to say there’s a certain level of data inputs that we need so that we can then go back and say, okay, here are the standards that we can leverage, right?

Like personas or segment by product type or. What have you. And so as you go to execute campaigns, you’re being advised by the data inputs that you established right at the foundation. Because most of the time, just as we were saying a moment ago, like you’ve got ample opportunity to put a promotional campaign out the door of any kind, and you’re looking at a blank piece of paper or, blank, Google doc or whatever, and you’re going who’s this for. the goal of who you want to reach, isn’t actually possible because the foundation wasn’t built and we keep arguing that the marketing ops person needs to have the strategic sort of seat in the room. And be a part of those discussions to [00:15:00] enable, it’s an enablement function to be able to say, Hey, this is what’s possible.

Given the state of what we’ve got today, here’s what we need. And you’re right. Most of the time, you don’t feel comfortable. I think saying, Hey, this is crazy. Like, why would you try this? But oftentimes it’s because at least in my experience, I felt that that individual who is close enough to the foundational elements of what it takes to put a campaign out.

Wasn’t brought into the discussion soon enough. And then you’re just like it’s basically just gonna be a no, like we just can’t do the thing. And here the team spent all this time coming up with this great plan and they’re like, sorry, we don’t have the skills to do that. Or the tool or whatever.

Evan Dunn: Yeah, this is why I think that question was what I presented to El for a topic was why aren’t we thinking more about project management disciplines? Are you familiar with the rice scoring model for

Mike Rizzo: Oh, yeah.

Evan Dunn: So it comes from product engineering land, right? Reach impact confidence effort.

So reach is how many people will this. The [00:16:00] impact seems redundant, but it’s what level, what degree of change would this tactic

Mike Rizzo: How significant is this going to be on the business? So you’re gonna reach a certain audience, potentially large or small, but the impact of the effort on the organization, depending on what lever you’re pulling on, if that’s acquisition or revenue, or what have you with to what degree is it going to impact that particular lever?

Evan Dunn: Exactly. And then confidence is how successful will we be at pulling this off and effort is how many hours dollars been this gonna take? So there was a hypergrowth unicorn. I was at where we were looking at launching more sophisticated paid efforts. And I created a spreadsheet and loaded in 20 of my own ideas and, everyone else’s ideas and just started scoring them across.

These parameters so that we could sit down marketing op did review it and say, look, here’s where we’re capable. Here’s where we’re not. And here’s what surfaces as obviously we all believe is going [00:17:00] to be the best use of time. I think in marketers, there’s this inherent resistance to taking the time to list out and score.

A list of tactics and strategies that we could invest in for X period of time. And then stick to them. And I’m still puzzling through why we are so averse to slowing down, to speed up. Cause we move a lot faster if we all work together on what we’re going to work on.

Mike Rizzo: I, yeah, I totally agree. I, it seems. In my career so far. And I don’t know about you, Naomi, how you guys do any prioritization around managing work and things like that. I think probably on the campaign op side of thing is where a lot of this is centering on right now, but I’ve definitely experienced that.

There’s just, there’s always this OKR established for the organization and then they trickle down. and then somehow it’s like completely diluted. And you almost don’t even know. like what part of the metrics you’re trying to [00:18:00] impact with the go to market motion. And I don’t know if that’s, a reflection

Evan Dunn: I feel that.

Mike Rizzo: bad messaging or bad project management or bad leadership or some mix of all of that, but it’s a struggle.

So campaign ops, I. Let me just hear from you Naomi, before I pick up on another thing, I want to hear what your thoughts are around campaign ops and all that stuff.

Naomi: For us, it’s like we have it, actually, we we flushed out an SLA where we say, if we’re just completely, there’s really only so many hours into a day that when we all have the same amount of hours, if there are conflicting projects that we just do not have the bandwidth on the team to execute them all It goes in order of time sensitivity.

So things like webinars and in-person events or anything that absolutely cannot be moved date wise. And then it goes by lead gen and then essentially everything else, unless it is something around a critical Bug failure or something where there’s a really massive recall for a product or ink or something like that, then those will take precedence, but it’s just, thankfully we [00:19:00] haven’t had too many situations where we’ve had to just really sit down and be like, okay, we can do these two things, but it means we can’t do these two.

We haven’t had too many of those. There’s just, there’s a handful of times that I can recall that’s happened, but but most of the time it’s yeah, time sensitivity and lead gen definitely take precedence above all else.

Evan Dunn: Do you ever hit points where there’s so many time sensitive things? You have to make trade offs, even within that scheme

Naomi: Before COVID definitely just because there were. We were doing a ton more of in-person events. It’s definitely started to pick up again, but and most things are now virtual, but those things can be moved if they need to be, but you cannot necessarily move, a trade show that you’ve signed on a year in advance type of thing.

Before COVID definitely, yeah. Now not so much. Yeah.

Mike Rizzo: Yeah. I like that. You’re I think if I was to think about the frameworks that we’ve talked about, at least the one right now, we touched on productivity. So maybe there’s a Pomodoro technique that you leverage to stay focused as an [00:20:00] individual prioritizing a roadmap could potentially be done based on rice scoring.

And then it seems like the output of a rice score may fall into a, okay. We’ve decided these are the items we wanna prioritize. And some of them will. Time sensitive because we decided that a webinar was an important thing for us to do. Evan, I don’t know if your team currently has this sort of tooling built in or program, but, I think it’s the marketing ops persons responsibility or that part of the org’s responsibility to be able to.

We have the ability to pretty much execute roughly one, X number of in person or online events per week, per month, per quarter whatever the timeframe is, maybe I’m wrong in that though. But Naomi, are you advising your org on what the capabilities are in terms of like how many, and that’s why it doesn’t come up.

There’s like less conflict. Look, we set the baseline. Like we can do two a week or two a month or [00:21:00] whatever.

Naomi: No, because we’ve always been able to manage. And it’s I feel like we’ve shot ourselves. Like we’re, it’s, we’ve shot ourselves in the foot that way, because. We have streamlined things to a point where it’s really easy for us to flex. It just depends on how much postmortem they get.

So now we’re at a point where if we’re really slammed, you’re probably not going to get a. Post campaign write up or postmortem or a, Hey, we probably shouldn’t ever do this again. Or, if we do this again, this is what I would change. You probably won’t get that automatically, if at all, unless you ask us.

But if we do have a bit more bandwidth and there is breathing room, we will definitely take more time to sit down and just do a proper review and full end to end workup. And those are. Like bonus add-ons for our business partners that they definitely like, and they do see it too. If we’re just slammed they’re there, there’s gonna be things that they’re not gonna get. We [00:22:00] will very rarely miss like major deadlines, but something has to drop. And that’s usually what will drop first.

Mike Rizzo: That’s such a shame too, cuz that’s like core to the business, like understanding of is this working or not?

Naomi: We’ll pick it up afterwards. Like we will do, we do our marketing ops QBR where we will review them and say, Hey, these are the top five campaigns. And these are the top like bottom

Mike Rizzo: I definitely wanted our listeners to hear that Naomi’s and her team are really lazy and they never follow through with reporting. At all I’m just kidding. Evan. So do you have like guidelines established right now within your team at Syncari on, what you think is possible? Or is it really just no, this is what we need to do.

It’s driven by the go to market motion more than anything else. So figure out how to make it happen. And now you’re leaning on groups like Naomi and their team where they’re like, yeah, we just made it work.

Evan Dunn: We’re definitely young group of marketers in seat [00:23:00] here at sainty. So we’re still figuring out how to build this stuff together. And I don’t, and I think that’s part of it is there’s no the code is not written right on exactly how to become productive as a team. It depends a lot on the tools you guys like and yeah. What you’ve seen working in the past, and also so much as we’re talking. Twice. Now we’ve delved into specific channel types and tactics, right? Events and email. We haven’t even touched on paid on demand, like all this other stuff. And and like what it takes to run a website.

We’ve joking about this the other day, Mike, it’s the website. So like the worst, hardest to maintain most fragile, most sensitive, most public products, ubiquitously worldwide. And marketers are stuck. , I think a lot of our franticness stems from that. So at RI we’re still figuring it out.

There are definitely strong opinions I have in terms of like, how can organizations begin to build these muscles? And it’s in a time like this, right? Where people are wondering how long they have till their org realizes they are burning too hot cash [00:24:00] flow wise. That they can stick around in their jobs.

Like now is the time for us to deploy personal discipline, team discipline and leadership discipline. That feeds healthier processes. When in fact, I think most of us are actually turn, as you mentioned, like turning over every rock, right? Trying to find growth to stave off the threat of any sort of contraction as a business.

We should instead find these rhythms together now. And that might look like, individuals learning how to work with paper or bur bullet journals or just their own sort of task lists. It might look like deploying a project management tool through grid effect. It might look like leaders really leaning in and, you mentioned how OKRs often just get like created and then abandoned.

Really true. But leaning in and tracking those for their teams. Even if you’re a marketing leader, you have an ops resource, right? Like still lean in and learn the data enough so that you can help create the visibility, the throughput tactic to [00:25:00] outcome all the way up to strategy.

Mike Rizzo: Yeah, I think the best marketers that I’ve ever had a chance to work alongside knew the data that you know, was available to them. Like they took the time to go study that, which means, hopefully they had a good partner in the marketing org and the data org, marketing op side of things to help them get there.

But I think, you touched on some key things, right? Currently at the time of this recording the state of things is there’s a series of layoffs happening and organizations. I think there’s a correction happening. We’ve all been seeing it in the SAS tech sector in general. To each their own on the opinions of why those things are happening.

But the ability. To report on your team’s capabilities, your go to market motion, the cost of those things and aligning that back into those key decision makers to help them make the right decisions. Definitely can stem from project management. One of my. [00:26:00] My gripes, I guess with the word project management is that it’s like nebulous in nature.

There’s a lot of folks that when they hear project management, they don’t think about people in resource management. That doesn’t that part doesn’t come into their, to their mind. They’re thinking more about oh, I just have to like, for event managers, it’s like more about ordering the stuff and making sure the power’s there.

And, there’s project management in that fashion that has very little to do with staffing and resourcing and planning for growth of an org there’s project management, Naomi, with the work that you’ve done on integrating systems or anything like that. That don’t have a reliance on people, but I.

When you go to the organizations like project management Institute, PMI, the real standard of, I, I would argue the closer standard of project management is really about the people and the resources themselves, that it takes to go execute on doing all the rest [00:27:00] of the work. But I’m curious, like, When you both of you, I guess whoever wants to go first when you hear project management, at least in your orgs or in an interview process, whether it’s interviewing candidates or roles that you’ve interviewed for, is that where your head goes?

Like you think about oh, I need to know like how much time, someone has to be able to work on something or do you go the other route, which is like more like task management and all those kinds of things. I don’t think people talk about project management. Naomi you go first.

Naomi: I think it’s a little bit of Colme colo B. And I think every right. I do though, but I feel like every organization’s gonna be different. You can’t, I don’t know. I just, I don’t like pigeonholing it like that because it’s always, you’re always gonna have situations where it. Changes. I don’t know.

That’s just my 2 cents. Mr. Not Michael Hartmannnn

Mike Rizzo: About my alarm

is the fundamental problem of okay, everybody’s saying like, why don’t we talk about project management more in marketing ops. It’s which part.

Evan Dunn: Yeah I definitely would happily switch out [00:28:00] the word for something more ambitious, like discipline or rhythms because ultimately everything costs something, it is amazing how much it costs to correctly set up market. Channels and programs and Salesforce campaigns in alignment. For any tactic you want good throughput attribution on.

And people don’t realize that when they ask marketing to go execute stuff like sure. And you’ll have no idea how it did. But I do think, yeah, project management is a very pigeonholing term. I can agree with you there. I definitely I’ve seen organizations that try to do time tracking and stuff, and that just seems it to me, it’s like the emphasis on in office, the emphasis should instead be on outcomes, actual work products produced and how those are rolling up toward OKRs and towards revenue impacts or however you’re measuring how much time you spend and how much And where you do that time.

it’s a bad phrase where you do that. Time is is arbitrary, entirely arbitrary, right? And this is where ultimately we’re [00:29:00] talking about like outcome management, right? If you’re expected to do, to produce X in your role you should know what that is. You should have your opinions and your boss should have your opinions and ops person should have opinions about what that is.

And same goes for ops teams. But often I think what happens in marketing is there’s, digital technology and all these different tactics and changing landscape has vastly fragmented what we work on. And so any given day, I can go learn a new tactic or try a tactic that I think will work. And that conundrum.

almost precludes the very thing we’re emphasizing. It makes it so hard for us to focus, and in small MIS fall, fo small focuses, fortune, those kinds of things really do hold water in these environments that are so fragmented, but it’s hard,

Mike Rizzo: Yeah, and I totally agree. It’s incredibly difficult. I guess no matter the size of the org, Naomi’s made it clear that there are times where it can get pretty hard even with really good rigor that they built over [00:30:00] time.

Naomi: Michael, you and I were talking right before we started recording this, about some, the projects that are coming onto my team’s plate that are completely outside of our day to day. And so there’s only so much we can handle, but with all these massive projects that we’re also.

Expected to deliver, at what point, what takes the precedence, right? It’s obviously we wanna make sure that these large scale projects, whether, and this goes for anyone in ops, right? Whether it be through acquisitions or divestitures or whatever you might be working on, those are things that are gonna distract and take away from your day to day campaign ops and execution, and just like self learning and keeping on top of the things that you’re supposed to know as part of your job.

So how do you manage and juggle all of that?

Mike Rizzo: Yeah. Did you read the release notes? Cause it’s no, I’m dealing with all this other stuff. oh, you didn’t hear about that

Naomi: up for the webinar that talks about it. Haven’t watched it

Mike Rizzo: It’s okay. Maybe that’s what we’ll do on our next podcast that we launch. It’ll be just a read of notes so people can just [00:31:00] hear them like injected into their ears.


Naomi: an as SMR type of situation. I see.

Mike Rizzo: You’re like, okay, I’m just gonna fall asleep now. So I wanted to talk, touch on something that I think you, Evan and I, Evan, you and I were talking about earlier, you hinted at it just a moment ago. It’s this problem of optimizing for done and the struggle like. The real struggle that comes from like this demand gen sort of marketer org in the marketing ops org. How sometimes there’s this misalignment and I myself like have experienced this where I have to wear both hats sometimes as a marketer and a marketing ops person, a growth person. What have you it’s.

I’d really like to get that campaign out the door, cuz it’s a good one, but I don’t have all of the little inputs built. I didn’t use the UTM builder that I signed up for and I didn’t hook up. I didn’t pre-build the campaign, but I know how important that is for [00:32:00] me, cuz at some point I’m gonna want to know how that thing went, but the business needs to grow and it feels like the demand gen marketer, part of me is like pulling and optimizing for done.

And the marketing op person is trying to pull back to say slow down to go faster, as you said earlier, and it’s just such a struggle.

Evan Dunn: It totally is. And I think both ops folks and marketers need to ask themselves what is actually essential, what fields do I actually need in place to measure? What programs and campaigns and Salesforce market etcetera, do I actually need in place? To collect the right amount of attribution, not complete, not perfect, not every UTM content variable.

What have you, and then for marketers, right? What meetings do you actually need on your calendar? Cause those one on ones where you rehash what you did at your weekly sync, probably aren’t always so crucial or, the five tactics that might not drive much impact aren’t as crucial as the one that’s really gonna be worth the investment.

And it, it does take [00:33:00] serious time to consider these things. And what I challenge, like all of us with our bad slack habits and sleep habits to think about is how do you give your brain space for diffuse thinking you’re familiar with diffuse versus focus, thinking, focus thinking is what we’re doing right now.

It’s exhausting or engaged. We’re focused. We will be so tired after this conversation. This is why zoom fatigue is a thing diffuse thinking is you’re washing the dishes. You’re vacuuming. You’re making dinner. You’re, cleaning up the yard. Your brain has backup space. It uses to solve problems. You’ll find yourself so creative after not focusing on the problem. But we’re not giving ourselves the room today as humans, right? To step away from the screen, step away from the meetings and come back fuller, ready, or to focus, ready to prioritize and make those trade offs that we need to make together to.

To succeed and continue to grow.

Mike Rizzo: See, this is the thing with project management in general, right? Like we’ve gone a bunch of different directions and I would argue [00:34:00] that. It all can really be helped by having really good, pragmatic process and project management in your life, whether it’s personal or on a team, Naomi, can’t push back and say, we can’t do this without having this system in place to be able to say, we can’t do this.

If you don’t know how much time is being utilized to go to market or whatever. That if I was tuning into this episode, right? I’d be saying project management, whatever version of it, you’re talking about it. The outcome to echo. Another phrase that we use today is the ability to say yes or no to different work or give yourself the space to be able to go accomplish other work.

That’s whatever version of project management that you want to go implement, I would say is probably one of the key takeaways here. What do you think?

Evan Dunn: Can I leave you with a quote that I feel like is in full agreement with [00:35:00] that?

Mike Rizzo: Sure.

Evan Dunn: Every time you say yes to something you say no to something else.

Mike Rizzo: is that true? It’s really making my brain hurt a little bit. It’s probably cuz of what type of thinking is it that I’m doing right now?

Evan Dunn: Focus thinking

Mike Rizzo: I’m way too focused. And so like my brain is tired and I can’t handle it anymore.

Evan Dunn: it’s these boundaries this time we have limited time and teams and yeah, we don’t need to boil the oceans. We just need to channel the rivers.

Mike Rizzo: Yeah, absolutely. I I have to agree though that I. Personally, like I’ve been trying to focus a little bit more on my health. I’ve been on three runs this week, which is incredible. Ask me in a week if that helds true or not but it definitely opened up the creativity channels.

I. Felt like I was thinking of new stuff or coming up with new ideas, which is super important. So I think that message certainly resonated with me. And I hope the rest of the listeners too. Before we wrap this episode I do want to ask you Evan. I think, an audience that. [00:36:00] You interact with on a regular basis.

And the roles that you’ve had is marketing ops. I think Syncari has a unique purview on marketing ops in general. So you’re probably getting inundated with a lot of that all the time. I’m curious, we haven’t asked this question in a while and I’m maybe I’m dropping it on you cold. So I apologize, but what would you say is a fundamental.

And it can’t be project management. To become a certified marketing operations professional.

Evan Dunn: First I have no idea, but if I had to take a stab I do think like data architecture is huge and I’m not just saying that because I work at RI I’m saying that because part of the reason I joined RI was. In the last two hypergrowth unicorns that I was a marketer at performance marketer at, I was auditing every single lead that came through because checklist errors and HubSpot to Salesforce saying, or what have you.

And what helped so much was to have conversations where the ops person walked me through the data schemes, saying okay, here’s what [00:37:00] I’ve created. Here’s how they relate. Here’s the fields that are essential. Here’s the optional context fields. I’d have those conversations that come away.

And I would think of campaigns that could use just using those fields that existed already without asking for more data. I think marketers can be fueled by the data expertise that the ops teams can bring to the table. But if they’re not, then you’re gonna get asked for new data for different data for, they won’t be updating the data.

Go all different ways. And so I think there’s a, that’s a huge opportunity ops as to serve marketing norms is te teach us how to think about the data we’re working.

Mike Rizzo: I like that. I think the output of that too, as I’m trying to think in real time, like, how do you test for that? If there was a certification program, like how does that actually work? Maybe the output of that would be like, you have to show us your, a mock data schema lesson that you would teach to a demand gen marketer or something like that.

I don’t know. What do you think Naomi data scheme is you in.

Naomi: I’m in. I’m all about the homework [00:38:00] evaluations and I’m being very sarcastic right now, in case you can’t tell.

Mike Rizzo: homework evaluations. Yeah. If it’s not paid, don’t do it. It’s the takeaway there. All right. Evan, thank you for joining us today. I really appreciate you taking the time for all of you that are the avid listeners, or if you’re new listeners. We are officially the podcast of marketing ops.com.

The home of the Mo pros community. So come join us. Hang out, talk, shop, meet folks like Evan, Naomi, Mr. Hartmannnn please keep listening. Send your recommendations on. Topics guests that we might be able to have. If you decide to create your free profile on the website, you can also ask to be a guest of the show it’s right there on your profile.

You can, it’ll be an email that reaches me or just slack me or reach out on LinkedIn. So thank you, please. Rate review, listen and subscribe until next time.[00:39:00]