Sorting out roles in a team can be difficult, and knowing which people go in the right roles is an additional challenge. In this episode, we’re continuing the conversation about other alternatives to marketing operations teams and examining the alternative of using a virtual assistant.
Listen to Season 3: Episode 14
The Role of a Virtual Assistant
Virtual assistants are an amazing resource, and the role is, by its nature, pretty all inclusive. You can find virtual assistants (VAs) who do everything from graphic design to automation and pretty much anything in between. Especially in small teams, it can be so freeing to have a resource to kind of just fill in whatever gaps you have. VAs are great for that. In other cases, organizations have tried to use VAs to fill roles that require advanced expertise, specific depth of skill, or big-picture thinking. And in those cases, well, things can go sideways.
When a VA Isn’t the Best Choice
The point of having a virtual assistant and in fact, any resource on your team, is to fulfill a specific role that is responsible for certain functions. Knowing the functions you want this resource to fill before you get the resource is really important. Now, it’s not always practical to know exactly what you’re going to need before you get it. Many times, it is when we get a resource that we discover many other needs we have because there’s finally enough time and space to think about it.
If you’re currently using a virtual assistant in marketing operations roles, such as website maintenance, automation, reporting, or metrics, that’s great if it’s working. Usually where we see this breakdown is when technologies, systems, or platforms change and update. Typically, virtual assistants are really good implementers, but they’re not usually the right fit in a role of invention, advancements, or innovation. When those needs come along, making these big leaps can really break down if they’re being fully resourced by a virtual assistant.
New Systems Require New Solutions
Using a virtual assistant in marketing operations roles works when those responsibilities are implementation focused. When this stops working is when you need new expertise, things change, or your needs change. If you are utilizing VAs, it helps to have a structure in place that can identify shifts and changes in platforms, expertise, and systems. Key performance indicators (KPIs) can help keep an eye on the effectiveness of the implementations, and regular platform reviews and annual system assessments help point out upcoming changes that may require strategy or plan updates.
A current example here is Google Analytics. There are lots of virtual assistant resources out there that can set up Google Analytics and create reports, as the current version of Google Analytics has been around for a long time, going on nine years (that’s a couple of lifetimes on the web). We’re right now in the midst of a change from the existing version of Google Analytics, called Universal Analytics, to a new version, called Google Analytics 4 (GA4). This is the type of situation where organizations need a different resource for understanding what this is, how it benefits you, what needs to be done to move to it, and what needs to be done differently once Google Analytics 4 is being used.
The payoff in understanding very clearly the limitations of a virtual assistant, where virtual assistant resources work well for marketing operations, and where you’re going to need some additional expertise is that you aren’t over-tasking your current resources or asking them to do things outside of their zone of genius. You can more quickly invent, innovate, and implement when needed because there are clear indicators when your current resources need additional help and expertise.
Other Alternatives to Marketing Operations
Wondering how many more alternatives there possibly could be to marketing operations? The answer is probably dozens, but we’re talking about at least four more. Listen to the next episode to hear about the alternative of using web developers.
It’s frustrating when things change because updating can be a time suck. There’s stuff to learn, plans to make, and then you have to do the work to move. Let’s shortcut your move to Google Analytics 4. Grab the Efficient Marketer’s Guide to Google Analytics 4 to get just what you need to know to easily move to this new platform. Download your free guide here.