Note to Readers: “Building a Successful MOPS Team” is a 5-part blog series that focuses on people. The series will cover: (1) when and how to hire MOPS talent, (2) how to onboard talent, (3) how to effectively manage a MOPS team, (4) how to support professional development within MOPS teams, and (5) how to approach the future of MOPS. We asked Sojourn Solution Delivery Directors Claire Robinson and Carmen Gardiner, both with long experience working within MOPS and helping MOPS teams on behalf of Sojourn Solutions, to share their insights with us (and you) for this blog post series.
“In the future, MOPS is only going to grow in scope,” says Carmen Gardiner. “MOPS didn’t even exist as a dedicated function two decades ago. Back then, marketing operations meant sending emails and preparing reports. Now MOPS encompasses life cycle management, attribution, privacy, governance, data plans, content management, reporting, you name it. The function has just exploded in scope.”
What does the future hold for MOPS and MOPS professionals? We asked Gardiner and Robinson to gaze into their crystal balls and offer advice for adapting to the future of MOPS.
MOPS will increasingly blur into SalesOps and RevOps. Gardiner sees MOPS increasingly merging towards sales, customer success, IT, and other functions. “If you think of a Venn diagram,” says Gardiner, “marketing ops is blurring in from the left side and sales ops is blurring in from the right side, and then there's revenue blurring in from the top. Eventually they're all going to overlap. I just don't know if MOPS and the other functions are going to maintain their autonomy.”
Robinson agrees that MOPS will blur with revenues (and potentially into RevOps): “MOPS is going to have to help people see how revenue is being generated, and that's where data and analytics play a big part, attributing revenues to marketing and to other teams,” she says. “That's quite a big shift in mindset and skill set for some people, particularly within marketing. I think we're moving away from the creativity-first side and towards this data and analytical side.”
Balancing tracking with data privacy will become an ongoing MOPS challenge. “I’m so interested in observing how we're going to track or predict customer behavior in the future with all this available data, but also while keeping people's privacy in mind and complying with emerging data privacy regulations,” says Gardiner. “Data privacy is evolving, and will continue to evolve as a major issue impacting MOPS.”
Bringing meaning to data will get harder and will matter more. “Within MOPS, we have all this data we can use to predict what people are going to do next,” says Gardiner. “But the hardest problem remains knowing what to do with all this data and being able to understand what it's telling you and what it's not telling you. Separating the signals from the noise is difficult. And then believing your analysis enough to actually change your approach is even harder.”
Talent will increasingly make the difference in MOPS. “Today, every organization including startups can afford marketing automation. I think the easy availability of technology makes MOPS people even more important,” says Gardiner. “Creativity will be a key differentiator. And being able to make intelligent decisions based on available data will offer competitive advantage to organizations. People drive all that.”
Empathy will remain essential. “MOPS has always been, and will always be, a highly-collaborative function. Being able to understand the challenges that other people are having within different functions is going to help you understand how you can help them with those challenges,” says Robinson. “What MOPS is there to do is enable others to meet goals, so applying empathy is key to helping people change and succeed.”
Never-ending curiosity about technology and human behavior needed. “MOPS professionals will need to understand and keep pace with what's new and what's available technologically,” says Gardiner. “Curiosity about technology and curiosity about human behavior will always be needed, because marketing operations is really a study of human behavior and how we can better affect human behavior with our actions.”
Carve out dedicated time for reflection. How do you keep updated on the latest developments while you're so busy doing your MOPS job? “You have to set aside structured time to be curious, to reflect, and to talk with other people who are experiencing what's happening out there,” says Gardiner. “And once a new trend or idea is on your radar, start to think about what it might mean for you and your team and the way you do business down the road.”
Adaptability and resilience required. “You’ll have to be okay with being told you need to stop doing what you’re doing right now and accept that you need to learn some new technology. You're probably going to have to be okay with learning more about data and analytics, but also about business processes,” says Robinson.
Choose depth over breadth. “I've always been a proponent of depth of experience above breadth of experience,” says Gardiner. “If you're a Jack of all trades and master of none, then you're not going to be extremely valuable when tough projects come along, when critical thinking and critical problem-solving are needed, because you won’t know enough. Go deep into something first and then you can broaden out and go wider.”
Be ready to embrace change (because it’s coming). “The future of MOPS will require us to learn complicated technologies and processes, because we have to prove and show business value in everything MOPS does,” says Robinson. “Just being open to that will put MOPS professionals in a good place. People need to keep up because technologies have always changed and buying behaviors have always changed, and those changes won’t be stopping.”
If you’d like to learn more about optimizing your MOPS team and your marketing, reach out to us here.