Marketing Operations Experts
I’ve written in the past about the need for Marketing Operations professionals to have a place to congregate and learn from one another. We’ve made some progress and experienced some loss in this area over the past couple of years.

The loss is that Henry Stewart is no longer including Marketing Operations as part of its events agenda. Beth Weesner of Marketing Transformation Services, who was integrally involved with Henry Stewart from the beginning, has ended her association with the organization. I will not be continuing as Marketing Operations track chair for the Henry Stewart conference in 2009 after four years in that role.

On the other hand, one of the pioneer groups in the Marketing Operations field has stepped up its game. Since mid-last year, the Marketing Operations Cross-Company Alliance (MOCCA) has opened its quarterly meetings to all MO professionals
— not justin-house practitioners. MOCCA also has a dedicated website and LinkedIn Group that is fully accessible to the public. MOCCA is now publishing its stated mission, which is to:

  • Foster a community for sharing practical experience
  • Encourage the professional development of Marketing Operations practitioners
  • Develop the Marketing Operations professional

I applaud the MOCCA board for taking this very important step in the right direction. We need leadership in this field and MOCCA is an integral player in providing it.However, MOCCA alone is not going to take the Marketing Operations field where we need it to go.Several constraints are inherent in the MOCCA model that limit its role in helping to professionalize Marketing Operations as a discipline:

1. MOCCA is committed to staying true to its original mission of supportingin-houseMarketing Operations practitioners. This has and, by all indication, always will be the central focus of the organization. Solution providers, systems integrators, consultants, consulting firms, educators and other players are welcome, but we are clearly secondary stakeholders.
2. MOCCA, to this point, has limited its public activities to one meeting per quarter. A nice start, but far from the type of ongoing,multi-modalprofessional development that is needed.
3. MOCCA appears to be fully committed to providing free programming only, which is great for attendees but does not contribute to developing a morefar-reachingbusiness model that supports the entire Marketing Operations ecosystem. Professional development vehicles likeon-sitecorporate training, online training, seminars, etc. are not an area of focus for MOCCA because the perception is that they might favor specific independent consultants or consulting firms that make their living selling services.
4. To date, MOCCA has been primarily aimed at technology companies and its activities have been largely restricted to those people in the Silicon Valley. MOCCA has made a conference call facility available for its meetings, but all planned activities are held in locations convenient to those in the San Francisco Bay Area.
5. MOCCA hasn’t indicated any intent to fill the vacuum Henry Stewart left by establishing a dedicated Marketing Operations conference (which Henry Stewart never truly did anyway, since their MO Conference wasco-hostedwith the Digital Asset Management Conference), again probably because such an even doesn’t fit the MOCCA business model.

So what should we do, knowing that MOCCA is a great resource and an important player, but does not have a charter that is aligned with some of these more holistic requirements?
One of the concepts I’ve been floating since last Fall that has received a lot of endorsement (though not specific underwriting support to get off the ground just yet) is establishing a Marketing Operations Institute. The institute would be responsible for professionalizing the discipline, workinghand-in-handwith MOCCA, educational institutions, corporate sponsors, technology solution providers, consulting firms and individuals, etc. to develop industry standards, a professional training curriculum, certification programs, online courses, etc., as well as coordinated educational events (webinars, seminars, workshops, conference, corporate training, etc.).
This is a lot to bite off, so a group of us are are interested in staging a one- or two-dayMarketing Operations Conference here in Silicon Valley. The purpose of the conference would be to evolve and develop a shared vision for the field of Marketing Operations. At a high level, we’d seek to come out of the conference with an agreed-uponroadmap to advance best practices in Marketing Operations and promote the value of MO to business leaders. An exciting aspect of the conference is the opportunity for each individual participant to be a co-creatorin the development of our field.
So what do you think? Good idea? Are you with us?
If you’re even a little just bit inspired, please speak up. Better yet, contact me directly. We have a chance to create a more sustainable, rewarding opportunity for everyone by working together. We need you to make this vision a reality.

by Gary M. Katz, Founder and Chairman at Marketing Operations Partners