Marketing operations (MOPS) is an evolving, multidisciplinary, and multifaceted function with a single goal: to improve and prove the value of marketing. MOPS is about blending martech, people, and processes to drive that single goal. In this four-part blog series, called “MOPS and Optimizing Martech,” we’ll explore the role of MOPS in: (1) developing a martech strategy, (2) integrating new martech into an existing stack, (3) driving martech adoption by enabling people/users, and (4) maintaining and adapting a martech stack, with a focus on scaling and future-proofing said stack.
“Eighty-seven percent of businesses with a MOPS function reported that marketing technology utilization is a strength of the organization. As a partner to the IT/Tech teams, the operations group optimizes and informs key steps along the way, ensuring realization of the investment and reduction of risk,” says our 2021 Marketing Operations Report.
Driving the adoption, use, and optimization of martech is important, says Sojourn Solution’s Head of Marketing Kristin Connell, “because only martech that is successfully leveraged will make a measurable difference on marketing outcomes.” If the people responsible for using a martech tool are not onboard and don’t pick up the tool, your strategic intentions in purchasing the martech will be thwarted and your expected outcomes will not be achieved.
The role of MOPS is to drive marketing improvement, but there will be nothing to optimize when no lessons are being learned because martech tools get orphaned, except that you need to improve how to build adoption into your martech strategy. Put simply, “adoption is a critical success factor and should be included in the implementation plan for any martech tool,” says Connell. If people don’t use it, martech is meaningless.
Common adoption challenges: Change is hard
Change is always a challenge for people, and adopting new martech requires setting up a change management process. At its root, hesitancy around martech adoptions are typically caused by people preferring inertia and the status quo to the energy it takes to change. MOPS professionals, and everyone else involved in the adoption/change management process, should listen for red flags and feedback like “we’ve never done it this way before,” “I don’t know how to use the new tool,” or “are you sure this new tool is going to work for us?” It’s essential not to ignore those who challenge the change or hesitate about it, because these non-adopters can influence others and disrupt adoption. They can also be your best teachers...
Instead of asking non-adopters to ‘calm down and carry on,” integrate their feedback into an adoption plan that addresses ongoing feedback. If people don’t know why you’ve brought in new martech, you need to redouble efforts to explain why. If people complain that the tool is hard to learn and use, then redouble efforts around training and coaching. “Your martech adoption plan should address how the new martech fits into your existing playbooks and processes,” says Connell, “including whether new resources are required to help deliver on its value.”
The crucial role of MOPS in driving adoption
The strength of MOPS is having that “big picture” focus and being able to plan, structure, and execute solutions across the organization – and that includes solving for martech adoption. As with so many projects, it helps to start small, gain small wins, and scale up success. “For example,” says Connell, “if you’re implementing a martech tool for your sales team to accelerate pipeline, start by teaming up with the handful of tech-savvy salespeople who are usually seeking innovative new ways to do their work, the folks who are open to new ideas and eager to be a part of a project to help them improve sales results.”
MOPS can help by ensuring that you include a feedback loop and relevant KPIs/success factors into the pilot, as well as regular communication and formal documentation, so you and your pilot team know what’s working, what’s not, and how to improve the experience for a later, larger implementation to the entire team.
Obviously, training people on the new martech will be important, as will offering people ways to learn that address their different learning styles and preferences. “Some people might prefer learning with an on-demand video tutorial,” says Connell, “while others might want a traditional classroom setting or maybe hands-on exercises.” Ask people for feedback on how they learn best and adapt to that feedback.
Communication, even overcommunication, is a key for driving martech adoption and utilization. “Setting up feedback loops is key,” says Connell, “and could include live interviews with stakeholders and/or online surveys or listening sessions about ongoing challenges and concerns.” Just as martech itself should never fall under a “set it and forget it” approach, neither should adoption and use. Improvement is never done. “Consider introducing a level of competition among your users around identifying and sharing new tips/tricks, or earning martech-related certifications, or even a quarterly ‘ideas’ exchange meeting or online platform.”
A final (realistic) word on adoption
Sometimes it’s hard for MOPS and everyone else to admit an inconvenient truth – that sometimes people don’t adopt a martech tool because either: (1) the tool itself stinks or (2) the user stinks. As Kenny Rogers sang “The Gambler,” you gotta know when to hold ‘em, know when to fold ‘em. Know when to walk away, know when to run.
“Regrettably,” says Connell, “the martech tool you purchased may turn out not to be the best fit for your organization. And some non-adopting team members may turn out not to be the best fit for their role in your team. Both of these possible scenarios present hard calls to make, but a mature MOPS leader recognizes the warning signs, investigates them, and addresses them appropriately to help the organization stay on track.” If you’ve tried all the recommendations described above, and you’re still not driving adoption and realizing the value of martech, you’ll need to make some tough decisions about the martech tool and/or your team.
To learn more about driving martech adoption in order to improve (and prove) your marketing effectiveness, reach out to us here.