The bigger your company gets, the more likely it is that different functions are becoming distributed.  Think about the website.  Especially in consumer organizations, the website is typically a core component of the product, and owned by product engineering.  But the website is mission critical to everything done by Marketing.  In a fast paced world with a bias towards getting things done, most folks simply can’t care if their new website project takes out a product marketing segmentation and nurture.  To engage them you’d have to pull them in at project inception (and all their opinions too … and the scope creep), then you’ll have to add weeks to the project to allow them time to turn around testing.  All because there is a 10% chance your project might have a negative downstream implication.

I think it is a reason we are moving so quickly into Revenue Operations.  Having a team of marketing operations and sales operations, that are so heavily dependent on each other not be accountable to each simply doesn’t fly.    In the real world, no one should care that Sales Ops completed on boarding an Account Based Selling tool, but that no leads flowing from marketing are entering it.  It might feel great to check that box, but in a reality where sales and marketing projects should drive sales, you’ve accomplished NOTHING.

It is a constant struggle – with trust and professionalism as the cost.  The web team makes updates – they are changing some tag titles to improve SEO results.  They check everything and all the tags are still firing!  Release!  Except the Marketing team uses the folder naming of the website to assign segmentations.  And those segmentation are what gets the lead to the right division’s sales team.

  • Marketing Ops is like – “Web team – we shared our documentation!  Why didn’t read it!  Why didn’t you invite us!”
  • Sales is like “Marketing Ops sucks.  Because we missed a week of leads we are going to miss our month and we no longer trust them.”
  • Web team is like “We tested!  Look at our test grid!  I promise we tested!  We’ve been asking for admin access to Marketo for years and they won’t give it to us!”

Team cooperation – or cross company reliability – is a use case that we should talk about more.  With Automaton, Marketing can build a library of their core tests.  The web team can run those tests with out needing to understand how the Marketing Automation system works, or any other dependencies.  They just understand if it passed or failed.  Then the marketing team can be brought in real time to partner to solve issues (or even better, if there is a pre-production environment …).  With logging, any team can quickly identify where in the system there is a breakdown so even issues can quickly be resolved as a team.

All too often, the breakdown doesn’t occur in the next tool in the tool kit.  It breaks in the 4 -5 tools downstream.  It is something that people, and even documentation, just can’t solve in a fast moving, results hungry environment.  Everyone wants to be a team player and release something to the common good.   Whether you are using a tool or not, having a cross functional release process is just simply best practice.  I think everyone in Marketing Technology has just become numb to best practice because of the sloppy processes our core platforms use.  How often do you realize your system is down because your core email platform pushed an update that had downstream consequences.  Yuk.

A good start can be as simple as having a distribution list of stakeholders, sending a pre-release notification and a notification upon completion.  Appcues has a great blog post with some examples.

A better start is having a series of regression tests that make sure all critical functions are working.  I saw an awesome one from a fortune 10 technology company.  It is a 42 slide deck, with a section for each impacted organization.   They assigned names to slides, and everyone did a manual process to make sure everything was working correctly.  If they weren’t releasing something big, they’d run through the testing once a month to make sure everything worked.  Things like visually inspecting forms for rendering, or submitting forms to check routing, and testing pop-up windows.  Of course, you could do that deck automatically and it would only take five minutes.