Marketing operations is a recently coined term, and because this grouping of functions is new, there are lots of alternatives to a formal marketing operations team. Today, we’re going to talk more about developers, specifically web developers, and their role as an alternative to a marketing operations team.
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Who Are Web Developers?
Web developers are incredible resources. They come up with fantastically innovative solutions. They can make your website perform valuable functions and solve big problems. They are wonderful assets to have on the team. However, they have a role, and in that role, they have specific problems they’re really good at solving. Those problems are implementing functionality, how to make things secure, and how to connect the dots with your website.
They’re not so good at change or considering what happens beyond the web project or big-picture thinking. The point of having a marketing operations team, as we previously discussed, is to have a pit crew for your marketing race team. The pit crew is more than just a mechanic. It’s people who are thinking strategically about the whole of the car, the driver and racetrack, and what needs to happen to have the relationship between those things be optimized for the race that we’re running.
How Web Developers Help Your Business
In the case of web developers, they’re focused on the engine, or the mechanics of what’s happening. They are really good at that. Give them a specific problem to solve and they’re going to solve it four ways. It is an incredible experience to work on a project with a web developer and see through their eyes all the possibilities and solutions they can create.
But if you ask them, “What other systems do we need to consider for this campaign?” or ask them to think more outside of the mechanical problem they’re trying to solve, you’ll likely not get great answers and end up with a frustrated web developer. That’s just not their zone of genius. If you have a very specific role of implementation, or the right information being fed to a web developer, they can be a great part of your marketing operations team. But if you try to sit a web developer in the room with the CMO and the CEO and solve big problems or understand what platforms need to be used or future surf on how to get to the next revenue number, they’re not going to be the right resource for that.
Develop an Accountability Chart
So how to know if you are using your people in the right ways? If you don’t already have one, I highly recommend having an accountability chart. This concept comes from the book Traction and is part of the Entrepreneurial Operating System. It’s sort of like an organizational chart but a little bit different in that it focuses on the accountabilities of the roles instead of the name of the roles. In this case, it can be easier for you to identify the areas of responsibility, or accountability, inside your marketing team that probably belong in the realm of marketing operations and then use that to match your current resources names with accountabilities.
In fact, I like to get pretty granular with the accountabilities. Instead of trying to bunch them up into a specific role, my goal is to get them all laid out individually, so we have everything listed and nothing is left out or assumed. Then put resources’ names next to the accountabilities instead of trying to aggregate them into a role because sometimes they just don’t fit together. This allows the right resources to be put with the right accountabilities and then it becomes clear where the gaps and holes are in the team.
The payoff of not asking web developers to do business strategy thinking is that they get to continue to use their mechanical genius in the place that it is delivering the highest value for the organization, and we’re not stressing them out by burdening them with demands beyond their zones of genius.
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In the next episode, we will discuss using the IT department for marketing operations. Look for it here.