What Would it mean to be a Certified Marketing Ops Professional?

One of the things we have touched on during almost all of the episodes prior to this (and will continue to touch on) is what should be included in a certification for Marketing Operations.

In this episode, Naomi Liu, Mike Rizzo and Michael Hartmann talk through this in some detail. We talk about:

the inconsistent definition of Marketing Operations,
when should certification come into play,
should there be tiers or different tracks,
what is the role of platform-specific certifications
etc., etc., etc.
We would love your feedback. Join the conversation at www.themopros.com.

Recorded live on August 3, 2021.

Hi, I’m Michael Hartmann, I’m Naomi Lou,and I’m Mike Rizzo. And this is ops cast, a podcast for marketing ops pros and rev ops pros raided by the MO Pros. The number one community for marketing operations. As professionals tune into each episode as we chat with real professionals to help elevate you in your marketing operations career.

Hello, everyone. Welcome to episode 20 of ops cast by the MO Pros. I am Michael Hartmann and I’m joined today by both of my co-hosts. This is a kind of a big momentous occasion for us. Naomi, Lou, Mike Rizzo, both of you, please say hello to our listeners. Hey everybody. So, uh, this is, uh, August 3rd, we’re recording this 2021.

And for those of you who are going to be in Seattle or have been in Seattle, uh, for, for summer camp, hope you had a good time and it was there. Wish I could be there. Um, so today we are actually have a special guests. Actually, we don’t have a guest today, so it’s just going to be the three of us. It’s we’re kind of reliving episode one.

So, uh, this is kind of a momentous one episode, 24 and 20 episodes later, we get to relive episode zero. It goes forever, almost drinking age.

I figured it out, drinking anything. Canada used to be like 16 in Louisiana, so I live right near there.

All right. So, uh, anyway, so today we’re going to kind of deal a little deeper. One of the things we’ve been doing through the episodes, uh, over the last 19 is talking to our guests and others about. Uh, the idea of certification for marketing ops professionals and what that means, what it would look like.

And we thought it would be interesting for us to sort of take that and kind of dive into it a little more. And so, yeah, we all have, I think, have a passionate about it. It’s part of what the community has been built through. So, let, let, let’s just start, like first off. I think one of the questions is when we say certification for marketing ops pros, like who do we really think that is?

Is there, um, is there a profile or persona since we’re in marketing, right. Is there a persona for that? Um, is there like a point in your career you think you should be doing that early later? Both. I’m just curious what your thoughts are.

Yeah. So, I mean, I can jump in on this one just since like, I think this is kind of more, I it’s, I think it’s the community’s baby at the end of the day, but certainly something that I’ve been pushing the agenda on. Um, and, and truthfully, like when we were thinking of ideas on like what we could talk about Michael, when he said, Hey, you know, what are some of the other things that you’ve been hearing?

This was one of the big call-outs that came from summer camp, which was. Um, from, from Debbie guy Gish, actually. Um, and she specifically said, you know, Hey, I think it’d be great if we could have the collegiate environment involved and really helping people to kind of enter into the market. And my response to that was like higher education is doing a really good job of this right now.

I think like that’s their mission. Um, and where I think we have an opportunity to make a little bit of a difference as a community. Um, and the persona of somebody that’s like 2, 3, 4 years into a marketing operations role. Um, and part of that, I think we can get into this later, um, is kind of the way I’m envisioning, like how you actually achieve.

Um, the certification, uh, you know, it’s a technology agnostic, but you kind of have to be in the role in order to get the certification, um, which immediately kind of puts you into this. Like, it’s certainly not an entrant into the market, but definitely someone who’s like. Probably not even made, right. It’s like in between you’re you’re new, but you’re not like midway through your career or anything like that.

But like, you’re new enough where this, this kind of gives you a roadmap towards like what you could potentially be doing for these companies. That’s kind of where my head’s at. It’s like, it’s not helping you break into marketing operations, but it is helping you. Stair-step your way further into that role.

Yeah, no, I totally agree. And I think, I think there was almost even like an overlay discussion that used to happen. Right. Because something that I’ve noticed quite a bit is like the, when you look at it, if you look at job postings for marketing ops folks, whether it be junior level, mid-level even senior.

The definitions vary wildly, right? Both based on, you know, the technology maturity, I guess you could say of a company as well as the size of the company. And it can range from everything between, like, this is a pure technology roll up to, you know, you’re also in charge of demand gen and writing content and, you know, doing nurture programs and things like that.

And I think until, I mean, I had a role, I had a role recently where I had under my domain was an inbound SDR. Exactly. Right. So it’s like, until I feel like, you know, it’s a bit of a check-in or the egg cart, horse type of scenario, situation. Where, how, how do you accurately and efficiently, you know, develop certifications for a.

The career path that the industry itself is not fully aligned on what the job descriptions are. And is it because of the hiring manager is like, not necessarily like, maybe they’re like a step removed and it’s like the CMO or something. You know, are they, they need a technology person or a technology team to run the marketing automation tools.

And this is what they think it is, or is it like, what is that exactly right. And I think it, having certification will help definitely to, you know, solidify or put more boundaries, if that makes sense around like what a marketing ops person does. And this is like tier one, tier two, tier three, you kind of like, you know, when you think about solutions architects, or even people who work in engineering and things like that.

Right. Um, Th I think there needs to be definitely more of a clear delineation between that, because otherwise it’s like, well, I know what marketing ops means at EFI, but what does it mean. No. I, I think, I think you hit on, well, you both hit on things that really resonate with me. So Mike, you talked about right.

The need to have a little bit of experience first. And I go back way back in my career. When I was coming out of college, I would, I, you know, I trained as an engineer, but when I got to my first job and consulting. One of the first things they did is threw me into some client work, but then sent me off to training.

Right. And it wasn’t two years later, it was three months later, four months later. And yeah, I ever since then, I’ve become a big believer that if you get people who can learn. Right. You can teach them what they need to do as a professional. Once they get out of college, like you don’t have to learn all of this in college.

And I think that is, there’s actually something I think valuable about having as hard as this is for me to admit as an engineer by training, right. That liberal arts education is really valuable. Right. It helps you to learn to speak, to have some logic, how to, how to write, how to communicate. And how to learn.

And I think those are all things that are important for someone who wants to be in this role, because it’s just such a, that we’re going to get it. I think we’ll get into this later about what we call the in quotes, right? The soft skills. But I think that part of it, and then Naomi, I think you, I think that is probably the, one of the biggest things is that there is no one clear definition of what is marketing ops inside of an organization.

It’s every place seems to be different. But if you, if you think about it, why is that? Because when someone says sales ops, you know exactly what that means, right? Much more clearly than marketing ops, right? You think sales, operations? I think most of us, if we were to jot down three or four points there being very big overlap.

Right. But then you do marketing ops and it’s like, I mean, I just like, uh, I tell them, I, I totally agree with you. I mean, I just, well, first word fully, like, right, like sales ops people, they don’t, you never confuse sales ops and people who work in sales ops with being sales reps, but you think marketing ops and all of a sudden, you think you’re late.

Uh, field marketer or you do events, are you doing content writing digital, or you do an analytics, right. And it could literally be anything exactly. But why is that such a, it’s just the one word change, right? So it’s a small change, you know, like the other part of it is that, um, You know, there isn’t a, uh, sales tech landscape, 8,000 out there, or whatever.

Right. So like it’s a, it is, it’s all marketing technology. And so it’s, it’s a mishmash of like all these different responsibilities that kind of fall on, on this role. Um, And evidence be to like just the amount of technology that’s out there for us to take a look at and manage and, and you can go super deep.

You can be a, uh, expert technologist in Marketo or Pardot or Eloqua or HubSpot, or you could go the other direction and. Be an integrator that is a little bit heavier on the code side of things. And, um, but you’re, you’re, you’re trying to accomplish business outcomes that have high dollar spend, right. Um, like sales ops, you know, you’re, you might be given budget for some, some activities, right?

Like some campaigns or something like that, but really it’s not, you know, you’re not like being measured against how much money are you spending and how much are you getting back? You’re trying to make your sales team more efficient, more effective. I wonder, I wonder how much of that. Uh, I, I think, I don’t know if you caught it, but I said that first word in marketing ops is part of the challenge.

I think, I think there’s something common across not just marketing ops, job descriptions and roles. That’s fairly common across marketing roles in general. Right? So. Digital marketing can mean a lot of different things. Demand gen can mean a lot of different things. Field marketing can mean different things.

So I think there’s, I think just in general, I think there’s a lack of consistency in scope and, um, responsibility at different title levels within marketing in general. And so I think that has carried over a little bit into marketing ops. I think I, I think that may be part of what’s going on. And like, this is all just jelling as we’re having this conversation.

But because I think that the only confusion I’ve seen recently about sales ops is that they’ve changed their name in some places to revenue ops. Yeah. And that’s really, I think that’s in an effort to try to come from sales and be more aligned. With client success and, and business operations at large, right?

Like sales ops has a desire to, um, speak more clearly to the C-suite around business objectives at large, not just like the sales organization objectives. And so it’s moving in a direction of how do we increase revenue across the company and how do we build alignment across all those things? And we’re all seeing the same tune.

It’s just, you know, I think it started with. Uh, sales push. And so we see a lot of salespeople in the rev ops org, but what we’re here to talk about more certification for, for this and that, like the start of this discussion is around creating a clearer definition. Um, and so to your point, Naomi and Michael, like, I would hope that, um, the output of, of this certification program is a pretty.

You know, relatively seamless document that you can sit down in front of somebody and take an interview. And when they say so, what do you do you hand over this thing, this thing being our certification program, and you say, this is what. And, and it’s not hard to understand. It’s not, uh, you know, encyclopedia, Britannica, uh, size document.

It’s a pretty straightforward I come in here and I talk to these people. I do these things. I make sure that the systems are aligned, et cetera, et cetera, whatever, all the criteria are that we all come up with as a community. This is what I do effectively. I’m a service provider to your organization. And here’s how I come in and think about aligning all those folks.

And that’s, that’s what I want to see happen. And the output is like this pretty clear cut definition of, of marketing ops that I think we can all standardize on. Um, alright. Aspirationally, we can all standardize on that’s what, well, I think that, you know, so we’ve got the debt sort of what is marketing ops as part of this conversation, right.

And so sort of putting a little bit of a box, even if it’s deadlines around it. The, I think the next. Thing to think about is, you know, what are the things that successful, right? What are, what are successful marketing ops people? What do they do they not do? What skills do they have, you know, from your, like, what do you like when you think of that?

Who do you, like, what are the things you think about? Or have you seen, or have made you successful? Like Naomi, like you, you, I think one of the things I like about your story is how you’ve been able to build a team from almost nothing to where you are today, right?

Um, so I would say something that like, when I, when I look for people that I want to bring onto my team, um, it’s the ability to not just take everything at face value and say yes to this. Um, it’s the ability to kind of take a step back and say, well, okay, I can, I can do this for you, but is it actually something that’s going to be.

Uh, problem. Let’s say, you know, three to four months from now, because I know X is coming and this is going to directly, you know, impact, you know, the initiative that you’re trying to do now. So somebody who is curious that asks questions, um, that is able to. Speak in both a technical, uh, which has strong technical acumen, but also has ability to speak in layman’s terms to our business.

Partners is very important too. Cause I’ve, you know, worked with people who, you know, they’re very technical, but not everybody understands all of the technical staff or they’re just want to understand like why it works. They don’t necessarily need to know all the nuts and bolts of why something is broken.

They just want to know when it’s going to be fixed and how long it’s going to take. Right. Um, so I find that folks, like you can be really successful in marketing operations. If you know, you like tinkering, you ask questions. Um, you’re always trying to find like better and more efficient ways to problem solve something.

Um, someone has a lot of creativity. I think we talked about this on the last episode, right? Like creative problem solver is something that’s like super important. There’s not just like. Yeah, there’s not just like, you know, one way to get from point a to point B. Um, you know, there’s multiple ways and like, how do you figure out, you know, that best path that makes sense for your.

What if we didn’t go from point a to point B, but point a to point point C and that’s maybe somewhere in between or a different route, but it’s going to accomplish your goal. Right. And that’s the key. One of the first things you described is what I call, like, how do you say no without saying no, right.

That ability, Mike thoughts? Um, I agree with all of that, I think, um, generally. People, one of the things that I think comes up a lot is are you a self-starter? I think creativity is encompassed a little bit in that as well. Um, but I’ve seen a very consistent trend with a lot of the operational professionals that I’ve interacted.

Um, a friend of mine Harris over at Mavenlink he’s in client success. Operations was moved out of the client success, Oregon to the biz ops org, um, which they ended up calling rev ops and the. The thing is the thing that we had in common was we would commiserate on the fact that we would, we would Google something first.

Right? We, we would go out of our way to try to figure out how to solve the thing that we’re looking for before poking our head up and saying like, Hey, do you remember how to write this formula in Excel? Or do you know how to do ABC? Um, or before I would pick up the phone and, you know, call my best friend or my dad or my mom growing up, you know, on maybe how to fix something in the house, whatever it is, I’m going to Google it first.

And I think that’s a pretty consistent trait that we see from marketing operations and just operational professionals in general is just kind of this self-starter learner, willing to do the research and dig. Type of behavior that like, in reality, you don’t see, you know, and a lot of different roles.

Right. Um, and so I think, I think if, if you’re thinking about like what traits make somebody a proficient marketing operations person it’s I think you have to be able to like, Open up the Googles and be willing to do that first before, you know, and maybe that’s an internet too, right? Like, uh, you look at your own kind of demand central organization or a community, and you’re tapping into, you know, things that have already been there.

Um, so looking for questions that have already been asked and answered, um, those, um, Yeah. I mean, you used the word tinker and cause I think to me like the combination of that curiosity and tinkering is people who like to know how stuff works. Right. And I think for, for me, what that means is, is not just like how does HTML work in an email versus a landing page?

It’s more about if we do this on this page and we have a forum and it goes here, how’s it going to play out down the road? When it goes through all these different systems and changes to ultimately get to somebody who’s going to call it prospect, you know, and, and wanting to understand that that flow.

And like, I just started a new job. One of the hardest things for me right now is. Wanting to do, like I’m having to hold myself back from, we need to do this. We need to do that because what I know does, I don’t know enough about that full process, but I’m asking lots and lots of questions of people, because I really need to understand that before I can go, oh, we should add this value or not add this value to a picklist on a form.

Right? Like it gets down to that level of detail. Yeah, the answer to that question requires understanding how the whole, like how this whole go to market process works, how these other teams work, you know, what are the limits on what these other teams save? You’re dealing with systems that you don’t have control over.

Right. Um, and I think that, like that curiosity about how things work all the way through and the understanding of the context is an important one. And, and I do think like there is a re there is a need. Um, I do think the one thing, when we talk, going back to our last topic, right? The one consistent thing that seems to be there for marketing ops is marketing tech can ownership and responsibility.

So I do think that tech chops are important. Um, as well. I, Naomi, you’re sitting here sort of like I have this look under my face. I’m curious what you’re thinking right now. I think, I mean, I’ve just, I’m enjoying this conversation, right. I think, you know, it’s interesting cause like the three of us, despite having very similar backgrounds, we, we, our day jobs or the things that we do for work every day, Can not be any more different, right?

Like you just started a new job. I’ve been at my company for quite a while and, you know, Rizzo, you just quit. Your

we’re kind of like all ends of the spectrum, you know? Well, I’m going back to, was it, was it Brandy Sanders who was on our it? And she talked about, um, that when she say that people, people in marketing ops need to know. Behavioral psychology and play chess. Right. And I was like, do you remember this? But I feel like I agree with that because I was having a conversation with like a colleague and they’re just like, you know, how do you, how do you get all your projects moving forward?

You get everything approved. And like, you’re like, and I it’s true. Like I’m batting, I think four or four or five of five in my last, like few like pitches. Brought in for tech into the company. Whereas like it’s generally been very difficult and I’m like, you know, I don’t know, it’s chess playing manipulation and strategic, strategic thinking.

I think it’s true. I think it’s strategic thinking. It’s knowing who your audience is, right. And what they care about. I think, and this goes into our conversation about soft skills, which we inevitably we’re going to get into. Um, Is is just, you know, what, what kinds of soft skills do you have to develop in order to like, have success in these roles?

And the reality is, I think, like, just kind of going back to what I was saying earlier, like you are a service provider inside of your organization and you need to know who your client is. Like, who are you servicing? What do they care about? What is to Michael’s point? Like what’s the, um, You know, go to market strategy and the reason why behind some of the decisions that are being made or have yet to be made.

And I think, you know, this certification program, if you were to ask the question to me or to, to the rest of us, like, are we in charge of, um, Teaching soft skills like do, and then do we have to tell, I asked for those soft skills term for that. Cause I think it totally diminishes the ability, like what Naomi disco described as being able to sort of navigate an organization and a different person like that is the playing chess part of it.

Like, I don’t know what else to call it. Soft skills, but I really would love a different term for it. Those are hard skills, soft skills are hard skills. They’re hard skills to learn that kind of like, you know, they, they, they, they compliment each other though, right. Because it’s like, it’s not so much just, okay, how do we.

Like have a conversation and convince, you know, senior leadership team or the person who’s in charge of signing the checks to sign the check. It’s also a lot of times, you know, you have to build the business case. And I would say building a solid business case to speak to something is also like a hard skill as well.

Right? Because you’re doing numbers or like putting together a presentation you’re maybe interviewing some internal stakeholders. It’s. It’s all kind of wrapped up when people would, people who have worked for me, listen to this, they’re going to go. He’s about to say you need to learn basics of finance because I tell every one of them that you need to do that because I think it’s like, if you, if you want to have the ability to, to bat for, for, for, for, for five on your pitches, like you have to speak that language.

Yeah, yeah. Without a doubt. And I think like the there’s hard skills you’re talking about, which is like building out the actual models and projections and strategy behind why you implement a new technology or you think you need to implement a new technology, but. The discovery process is what is, you know, how do you ask the right questions and who do you talk to?

And, um, and how do you listen? Like those kinds of how do you, how do you get between competing priorities for you and the other stakeholders? Yeah, totally. And I, so, so if someone were to ask me the question, like, is this certification program that we’re trying to get off the ground? Are we required to teach soft skills?

My answer is no, but I think. That, what we create as a community should encourage soft skills development. And I can go deeper on that if, if anybody needs me to, but. Again, the activities that we’re asking them to perform while earning this certification effectively completing a practicum. Like I haven’t beat around the Bush on any of this stuff with anybody.

Like, um, somebody wants to rip us off. Like, I guess they can, but like, we want them to have a practicum and they want to complete something. And in order to complete that practicum. You’re you bet your bottom dollar, that you’re going to have to go have some hard conversations and lots of them in order to accomplish, you know, the practicum and the certification and a part of that is going to be learning soft skills.

Well, and again, I think they are hard skills, right? I think to me, finance fits into that bucket. At least the basics of finance basics of statistics, I would say. Tough conversations. I think there’s training out there. I’ve been through it that helps you through, like, how do you approach a tough conversation?

I mean, there are ways to learn those skills. If you didn’t learn them growing up. And certainly, I don’t think many schools are teaching them, at least not in the kinds of disciplines that probably the majority of people coming into marketing ops do. Right. Yeah. I think that’s yeah, I think so. I do think there’s a value in, in saying those are things that you really need to focus on in addition to the technical skills and things like that.

So I bet that begs the question, I think, right. Technical skills, Naomi, Michael, do we think that this certification program requires a technical certification of some kind? So a Marketo, a HubSpot Eloqua, something like that, like a map certification? Well, I wouldn’t qualify then.

So I’ve heard it. I’ve heard it lots of different ways. I’ve heard, um, from someone recently that when they go to hire somebody. They’re like, great. You, you got the certification, but that doesn’t really tell me anything. Like it’s, it’s not like, uh, it’s almost like a defacto, just like, okay. Yeah. Like you and everybody else.

So like, do we need it sort of like platform certification is, oh, I mean, it doesn’t take away from anything. Right. But at the same time, like I’ve. Gotten and, you know, I’ve gotten so many questions on various platforms. Um, You know, prior to Marquetto we used to use Adobe campaign. Um, and I’ve, you know, for some reason, I guess like people like to reach out to me on LinkedIn and be like, oh, Hey, I see you have Adobe campaign, business practitioner certification.

How difficult was it? I was like, well, how long have you been using campaigns? Like, oh, I haven’t, I’m just reading the documentation. I’m going to take the, I’m going to take the test. And, and then later on, I’ll like circle back and I’m like, did you pass? You know, And we’ll take certifications just to collect them too.

Right. I don’t know how you can pass without using. You know, physical platform, they day to day at the same time. Like, I feel like, you know, depending on how you’re, I haven’t personally, and I’m sure there are people out there like this, that I haven’t personally come across an organization that has implemented Marquetto and used it exactly out of the box a hundred percent, the exact same way it’s supposed to be used.

Right. And so it needs to be used. And every single thing, you know, is like, uh, you know, it could be a mirror image of. Well, you know, all the screenshots and the documentation and whatnot, there’s always some kind of customization. And I like I’m as long as for me, like it’s less important. Like, so if I had two candidates and I was trying to hire for my team and one person had certifications and the other one, didn’t it.

Wouldn’t prevent me from hiring the person that didn’t have certifications if they were a better fit for the team. And I felt that their soft and hard skills and the way that they interface with the, or with the team and, you know, just the chemistry on my team, as well as their ability to creatively problem solve critical think.

I think the way I think of it now, I think I can’t remember who it was, but I was in a webinar panel and this of hiring managers in this space. And that question of course comes up every time and. Um, I think my, so it’s sort of like you, like, I’ve seen people who’ve collected certifications or the, my best example is project management certification.

People who have that PMI certified, you could not manage a project effectively to save their lives. And those who are great at it, who didn’t have it. So. I am a little jaded about it to be fair, but I will say that I think I would never discourage somebody from doing it. If it was something that they really wanted to do and felt like it would add to their ability to do better.

I think similar to how me, if I was looking at two people or to say three people and all of the things being equal, right. And one of them happened to have a certification and the technology that we use that would probably give them an edge. Right. Uh, only in that probably only in that scenario. Right. If they weren’t a good fit in other ways, I don’t know that that would put them over the, into like being the best candidate is.

So that’s just like my, the way I think about it. I, I think I will say one of the hard things to do. And part of that also comes from the fact that I’ve worked in multiple platforms. I don’t have certifications in any of them. So it’s also. Like self, you know, self selfish, uh, from that standpoint. But yeah, I’m lazy.

Sorry. My name is Michael, so, all right. So you know, the, the question then is. If MO Pros as a community, we create the certified marketing operations professional. And you think about this vision of it being a semi standardized definition of a marketing operations professional. Do you need to have a certification of the MarTech platform like HubSpot Pardot or Eloqua in order to be a certified marketing operations professional?

Um, so I’m going to say. And I’ll tell you why the reason I think that hope so, please tell me why. I will tell you why it’s, because the higher up you go in your career, the further away from technology you get, right? So unless you say this certification is for people who are at this level, right. Or if you’re casting a wide net, you know, like you can have a marketing obsolete.

Right. Someone who is, you know, you don’t see these types of job titles around very much, but they are around like VP of marketing operations with technology or VP and all of the MarTech stack rolls up into them. I don’t think, and I could be wrong, but I doubt that they’re in this tools every day, building out programs and sending emails.

Right. But could they, does that PR does that exclude them from becoming a marketing ops certified? Perfect. I don’t think so. I mean, I would want Michael to be a certified marketing operations professional, and his lazy self. Never got

no, I, I think I agree with Naomi and I don’t think it should be a requirement. It certainly, again, it doesn’t hurt, but I do think it does beg for there probably needs to be some sort of assessment. That’s a part of it that gets that does. Somehow address that technical expertise in a different way to touch on the principles.

And so again, I, I, I have a hard time thinking about exactly how I would do that, but like pretty regularly there’s chatter either in the community or on LinkedIn or something where they have people ask, like, how have you ever like come up with some sort of test or case study or something like that for someone to go through as a kid.

Sort of proof prove it out. And I don’t know that I’ve seen a really good answer for that. I mean, the closest I’ve done is like, I want to kind of see, figure out like, how good are you at all the crazy funky stuff that you can do with Excel. Right. Cause that’s usually an indication of that curiosity being able to figure stuff out.

Right. Like if you knew, if you would say, oh yeah. Do you know what a V lookup is? And they’d be like, oh yeah, let me tell you about this time. I did this thing with the Villagomez awesome. Okay. That’s a pretty good indication that you’re like, you’re high. You’re my friend. We can be friends now. Yeah, I hear you.

I think, I think this certification program can be, um, agnostic to the need for any type of prior certification in any platform. Um, and thereby like completely technology agnostic. I think you can touch on principles of these things. Um, really all of this, like boils down to. Like what I have today as the marketing operations playbook template on the website, um, was a document that I had created and every role that I was ever in, in marketing operations.

And it was just, it’s like my own personal definition of how our unique business, um, works, how this, like what tools we use for demand generation, for marketing, for sales. What even internal enablement solutions like slack or HipChat back in the day or any of those things. We define all of that, where style file storage is.

And then we go deeper and we say, here’s our life cycle stages. Here’s how sales looks at lifecycle stages. And here’s what their stages are. Here’s how they map back to the marketing department. And the only way that we create that, or I created that is by going and having those conversations with people and saying, Hey, This is how you guys run your sales org over here is this the life cycle stages you use when you’re doing your end of the deal here.

Um, and effectively that’s the practicum that, that I’d like to see come out of. This is like blowing that template. Making it bigger and better and more extensive, and then getting people to go get a wet signature and say like, Hey yes, this, this is, I agree with you. You know, Michael Naomi, um, you know, you guys are in charge with, let’s put you both in this example, Michael you’re in charge of sales, ops, Naomi, or client success ops.

And I come to you and I say, Hey, is this. Your end of the business works. Are we in alignment? And Michael says, yes, probably after lots of meetings, right? Like we’ve figured this out, Naomi is this how client success handles the handoff between sales and client success and then renewal and retention and all of that other stuff.

And the Emily’s like, eh, not quite yet. Let’s discuss this a little bit further. And eventually she says, yes. And she signs off on it. It’s like, thank you both so much. I can now turn this in. Um, probably. You know, just the signature page and not the full document, because we don’t need to know how anybody’s business actually works, but we want to see that you actually had that conversation and created that alignment.

And I, and I think that touches on the principles of how technology interfaces inside of a business, right? Whether you’re using Marquetto or part OD or anything else. Like, you’re starting to touch on the principles of how this technology enables your organization and that what I’m kind of striking. So we, we talked about soft skills and I think we went around the edges a little bit of other technical skills that aren’t always like certifications with platforms maybe real quick.

Like what do we think about things like HTML or CSS or, you know, analytics SQL, right. What do you think about the importance of those? As part of that, selfishly, I wish that I would’ve learned more SQL, um, just cause I think it would have served me well. So it was for those listeners out there that are still at a stage where you’re willing to go learn some stuff because maybe I will be one day, but right now I’m not in the market for it SQL I think is valuable.

Just really, really valuable. I think it’s table stakes to have HTML and CSS. I think it’s a value add if you can dabble in JavaScript, but otherwise, like if you don’t know HTML CSS, like you probably should go figure that out. Well, I’d say specifically that the limits and challenges of email HTML versus pages, right?

Yeah. Very different. How many times have I had to explain why an email is rendering so crappy? Someone’s device and it’s because it was written in a way that was really meant for a webpage. Yeah, totally. Naomi, see Paul HTML, other languages, the same boat as you like. I would, I mean, I’ve, I think I’m okay at, I can reverse engineer.

Let’s put it that way. I I’m pretty good at reverse engineering things and making modifications to, and I can understand the code structure, but you know, if you were to give me something where you don’t have to, if there’s. Safety net there a little bit like, you know, totally. Yeah. If I had to go, if someone gave me a blank canvas to like write a HTML email these days, like 10 years later, I’d be like, eh, it’s probably, you know, I think about this sometimes.

Cause my declared major in university was computer science and I’m like, I should’ve, I wonder what would have happened with my career if I had stayed because I didn’t see myself as a. Software engineer or a developer or whatnot. And so I switched to communications with a focus in marketing. So I kind of like did both, right.

So I did about a year of cop sign and then switched to comms. And, you know, sometimes I wonder like, What would have happened if I, maybe you have go interesting. Yeah. Well, so I guess on the eyeball here and that I, like most of my early career was in software development, coding and database administrator.

Like I was a database administrator at one point. So like doing stuff. That is like the worst job title. Oh, it’s database administrator. So really? Yeah. The place where I just fell asleep and he said that I’m not doing it anymore. There’s a reason why, but it does. But I think it does the database administrators.

We’re just kidding. It’s really important. And we need you. We love you so much. I see why it matters because if you like doing segmentation is basically a virtual. Doing SQL set project, whatever. So I’m curious. Another thing that we have, I think touched on a little bit, but does there need to be different levels of certification based up like, is there like different tiers or are there.

Paths, right. One for someone who wants to become more of a leader manager role versus those who want to stay at kind of like, like an engineers. And I think, damn you said there’s like engineering and development, software development check. There’s usually a sort of a, uh, track for people who don’t want to manage people, but want to continue to get credit and re pay and all that kind of stuff.

So thoughts on that for certification?

I’m thinking one day, maybe, but right now I’m following the aim. Small Ms. Small mantra. I mean, you can go like individual contributor or you want to be more of like a process leader, things like that. Right. So it, you know, do you want to manage the vendor relationships and the processes that happen within an organization?

Yeah. I think that type of certification will depend cause you know, the responsibilities are vastly different. Yeah. I think, I think at some point there will be levels. I don’t know what those will look like. Um, but I think we’ll probably create branches from. All of these conversations and what we actually output is like our very first certification program.

I think there will eventually be like levels. Um, what’s really interesting is, oh, well, I guess. Yeah, well, Michael, you sounded like you had an opinion on, well, you teed this up actually sounds like you’ve gotten to a point where I do think that, um, for those people who aspire to be people, leaders and, and, uh, managers that they’re like just in general, right?

Most companies do not do a very good job of. Getting people prepared for that role because it’s a very, like, there’s the skills needed. They’re very specific and very different and we call them soft skills or whatever. But I think, I think if you want them to go to, I, I, so I think there should be a separate track, like at some point, right.

You can get certified in marketing ops as in a leadership one versus an ongoing individual contributor becoming the expert. Um, cause I do think like just in general, like I believe that th it’s. So much can be impacted by your ability to get things done. Right? If you get a chance to go work for Naomi as an individual contributor or as a team leader or something like, it sounds like you’re going to be in a great position to learn and to see how things get done, because you’ve got someone who’s in a leadership role who could, who knows how to make those relationships develop people.

Like those are things that I think if you want to be an individual contributor, Does the parts about communicating with people is still important, but the parts about like negotiating through, um, organizational dynamics and how do you, uh, coach and mentor people and budget management, things that you may not have to do, right?

Those are less important. So I do think there’s some things about those two levels that make a difference. Um, beyond that, I don’t know how much, I think that like there needs to be tiered levels outside of that.

Yeah. And I think it comes down to that, like, you know, we don’t have an answer for this necessarily right now, but it comes down to, um, what’s the value to the business, right? Like what does the certification mean to the organization? Cause T so it’s both to you as an individually. Who’s earned this certification, but at the end of the day, it’s like, when you think about all of the things that we always say, which is like managing up and showing value and helping educate, like the C-suite on what it is that we do and creating a defined kind of alignment around this function, like does level one versus three mean something different to the organization.

And like, we want to make sure that if we did create levels, like there’s. You know, just because I’m level one certified or level three certified or whatever, that there’s some clarity on what that means to the organization and what your value is to the organization. And so before we tackle levels, it’s just like, let’s just be clear about what it means.

Like what kind of value do you bring to your team into your organization? And, you know, time will tell whatever that certification program looks like. Titletown. Yeah. Yeah, it sounds like there’s still some work to do there. Um, okay. We, we, I think we may have answered this one already in our earlier conversation, we talked a little bit about like, what’s the right timing in terms of a career path, but do we think that there, um, either in the near term or longer term, that there’s a place for.

More formalized education through, you know, colleges or universities or something like that. That is a part of building up the, the, uh, the profession. Yes, like done. I just, yes. Um, I like, uh, every single person. That I have spoken to, you know, and in my, in my close relationships, like none of us knew exactly what we were going to go do.

Um, post-college like put post undergraduate, right. And, and I think I’ve been a proponent of this kind of, I guess nowadays we have boot camps and all that stuff, right. That help you focus in on a particular practice. Um, and you’re seeing some of that come in with like highway education and some of what they’re working on as well.

But the way I used to think about it before bootcamps were a thing, um, was kind of going back to that apprentice ship kind of model. Which, you know, takes us way back before traditional education, um, where people were just learning the skills that they were going to need in order to go like have a successful life and do the thing that their family does or that someone that they know did.

And I think there’s a lot of opportunity for us to do more of that in the collegiate environment. Like they need to be. Figuring out how businesses tailgate at football games and learning market maps. I mean, yeah. If you can think about an operational workflow on how to optimize the performance of a tailgate party, I’m pretty sure I could do that.

Like if I only have so many dollars and this, how many cases of Keystone can I buy now? I don’t know, but I think there’s an opportunity for, for the college to be more involved in like what, uh, what a business businesses actually try to accomplish with different roles. And that’s not just marketing, but like across.

So, I guess what we’re saying is anybody out there who happens to know people who are in higher education, who are thinking about how can they add to their curriculum? They need people to be teachers. Well, you can start, you know, with this community.

I, and I’ve mentored, uh, At Cal state Fullerton, where I graduated from I’ve mentored the entrepreneurship class and they do this really great program. That’s led by John Bradley Jackson. He’s got a couple of books out, it’s all kind of in entrepreneurship and marketing. And honestly they do these great programs where they find local businesses and they build out entire marketing plans for them.

And that’s real world. Stuff. Yeah, in college and it caused my college time to take longer because it was a full-time job every other semester. But it really, I think th there was nothing they could have replaced that practical experience in my mind to go along with the actual, you know, the, the book learning.

So, yeah, I mean, there’s still things from that time that I applied. Many many years later now, right. To, to what I do and what I see. And it’s shaped kind of how I approach things, uh, sometimes in positive ways and sometimes in negative ways. Absolutely. Oh, as always, this is an interesting conversation. Um, any, any last parting thoughts, Naomi from you?

I think we should do a, you know, a ghost guest. Yeah, I know. Uh, no, no guest ghost guest. I love it. Yeah, no, this has been good. I think this, this topic is. A good one for us to, to refine, but there are many others. And so I, I definitely want the three of us to keep going deep on some of these fun questions.

But, um, my partying thought for the community on this is like, as it has been. Send us, uh, your ideas and your thoughts about what it means to be a certified marketing operations professional, because we want to bring it to market and we want you to all believe in it and it’s not just made up, so send it our way.

Yeah. I agree. Like in the spirit of diversity of thought, right, we’re just three people. Um, we’d love to get your input and that goes. The same for this podcast. If you are, have ideas for topics, we could dive into the people who would be good guests, or if you’re interested in being guests, feel free to reach out.

Um, now me, Mike, this is awesome as always enjoy it. Um, I agree with you. We need to do this more often. I think we’re going to have to call it a day though for this episode. So for those of you who have been listening, uh, as usual, please remember to subscribe, rate, and review on whatever platform you’re listening on.

Thanks until next time. Bye bye.