TMW #047 | Do we need marketing operations? The brand value of social community and the growth of Dominos

Jul 6, 2021

Welcome to The Martech Weekly, where every week I review some of the most interesting ideas, research, and latest news. I try to look to where the industry is going and make sense of it all.

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Before we begin I have one announcement and one thank you.

📣 A new episode of MSoM is now available. I talk with Ben Moisor, a leading proponent of Wardley Mapping and a prolific writer and podcaster on the topic: Nobody cares about your framework. Listen.

🤯 TMW reached 600 subscribers this week! I just want to thank you for subscribing, reading, and sharing the newsletter. It does feel like a million years ago when TMW was literally just a social media post I did on Friday mornings. Almost a year later, it’s a thriving community of some of the most influential people in this industry. Thanks again, onwards to 1,000! 🚀

Ok, this week I look at the growing role of Marketing Operations (MOPs) and why organizations need it, the value of community as a socio-technological value creator for brands, and the significant and surprising growth of Dominos.

✍ Commentary

⚙ Marketing Operations - Do we need it? There’s this interesting corner of the internet that’s filled with people who, it seems, only talk about marketing operations or MOPs for short. I recently met the founder of MO Pros, Mike Rizzo, it’s a community focused on supporting people in this space, but it did get me thinking, what even is MOPs, and do marketing and digital teams even need a department focused on it?

What strikes me about MOPs is that the majority of people complain about putting out fires that relate to operational problems that arise out of the day-to-day life of a marketer. This is because marketing increasingly has to deal with technology to create value for their company, and that creates a lot of headaches. And while the concept of the marketing operations professional is relatively new, the idea isn't. As companies are dealing with massive technological change, a lot of that change is centered on the customer experience and activities that usually are the responsibility of marketers. MOPs seem to be a category change in how companies are thinking about structuring their teams because let’s face it marketers just need technical expertise these days to get anything from a paid media campaign, press release, or email program out to customers.

At some estimates there are now more than 15,000 marketing technologies out on the market, so another interesting role that MOPs fills is actually managing all of the customer-facing technologies out there, to help unify what various departments are doing with them. And some of the best in this field play a large role in procuring new technologies (or saying no when their CMO wants to buy something new and shiny). And in another sense, the concept of MOPs confuses categories a little bit. Let’s say you’re a marketer but, according to Airtable research, a third of your week is taken up with operational and data tasks, and you’re managing on average 20+ technologies to do your job. When does the actual marketing begin? What I’m seeing is that MOPs is really a service enabler for the most sophisticated companies that create roles for people to manage technology so that marketers can be marketers, but it is more closely aligned with and likely in the same teams as marketers and digital practitioners.

In the old world, when marketers used to have a technical problem with their website, or an email campaign, the IT team was there, and this was fine for the occasional request. But now for most marketers, not a day goes by without a technical challenge in front of them. And so, this requires highly specialized people who will be able to understand marketing strategy, content, and design but has deep experience in technology, both in development but also integrations and management of various platforms. It’s also worthwhile mentioning that marketing is one of the most significantly impacted departments when it comes to technological innovation, and with the rise of agile marketing, most people working in this space will need significant investment in technology skills for a career in the future. MOPS seems like a needed concept to enable marketing strategy but also offers a set of skills that will enable marketers to continue to create value well into the future. Links: MOPs Is a Secret Weapon. MOPs and procurement. The path to CMO is MOPs. MOPs as enterprise opportunity. MO Pros: The growth of MOPs. Airtable marketing trends report.

🤼 Brand value and social communities. The other day I checked my Facebook account (I check it about once a month, at most) and I remembered that early on in my career I was part of a number of Facebook groups. Now, some of them are orders of magnitude larger than when I was in them. This week an interesting report came out investigating the rise of social communities across various platforms and industries, which got me thinking about the value of community in the digital landscape and how marketing technologies can better support the creation of and growth of brands when handled in the right way.

People used to gravitate to Facebook groups or Youtube channels to gain a sense of community, but now there are dozens of new types of platforms to manage communities with some of them playing a more significant role in forming how people interact with each other online like Discord and Twitch. This is because people see online communities as a place to have honest conversations with people who are invested in the group, and by extension them. A survey from ZAK suggests that 57% of smaller community groups make people feel like they are surrounded by others who care about the same things as them.

These kinds of qualities of online communities tend to lead to monetization opportunities, such as charging a monthly fee, paid events, or even access to text an influential person in the group. Some would say this is “charging for intimacy” but for most people, paying to be in an online community is the price to access high-quality content and reliable people who are knowledgeable about their topic of interest. The opportunity for brands is a fundamental reframing from distributing content to an audience, to creating a community of people who care about the same thing a brand does.

This creates highly leveraged engagement loops, where a brand may steer the direction of a group, but ultimately the engagement comes from participants communicating with each other, thereby lessening the constant demand for marketers to create and distribute content.  This concept is so important that people like Brad Olson, the SVP of Member Experience at Peloton can say “we see people sharing life’s successes and tragedies, setting goals and holding one another accountable" in their online community. They sell exercise bikes, but what their customers get is a community that will help them achieve their fitness goals. Online communities don’t work for every brand, but for the ones that do, it’s a significant way to create leveraged engagement with far less effort than your typical ad campaigns. Links: The Future of Social Communities. Industry research: Community impact

📈Chart Of The Week  

🍕Dominos, one of the fastest-growing companies in the world? Just look at this chart. Data from Y Charts tracks the total return price against Google and Dominos. The brand was early to adopt digital channels, has invested significantly into predictive analytics to manage stock levels, and personalization for customers. Now it’s one of the fastest-growing brands in the world, rivaling the largest tech companies. Link

📰 Latest Developments

LinkedIn breach exposes 92% of user data. Of all the downsides of social media, this might have to be the biggest. A hack from a couple of years exposed the majority of the LinkedIn database, including email addresses, phone numbers, and even salary ranges. The question to solve things like this does not come down to forcing social networks to be more secure with their data, but rather that the data they collect should even be accessible at all. Link

Facebook. It’s been a big week for the company, in that three things happened: The company reached a $1 Trillion market cap for the first time, joining the ranks of Apple and Amazon. A significant FTC antitrust case has been thrown out by a federal judge, mostly because the case centers on Facebook’s acquisition of Instagram and WhatsApp which occurred in 2012 and 2014, and is too long ago to bring any formal charges.  Also, Facebook has outlined its plan for AI-enabled shopping experiences which is a strong signal for where the social media company will be focusing on the next decade. Links: $1 Trillion. FTC Case. AI Shopping.

Guardian strikes deal to license content to Facebook. Earlier this year, in TMW #029, I wrote about the news media bargaining code debacle, and since then the majority of publishers in Australia have made deals with Google or Facebook to license content on their platform. The Guardian is the latest to sign a deal for Facebook’s upcoming news tab, a staff curated feed of news from trusted sources. In the same way, in which these publications allowed Google to index their pages back in the 90s, I’d say these partnerships will form the basis of yet another strategic misstep for the future of media companies on the internet. Link

📚 Reading

The incentives of marketing. Some good lessons here - what you incentivize marketing teams on is where your brand will be in ten years. This article is an investigation into what kinds of incentives drive marketing decisions, good, bad or ugly In an environment where most marketers are paid out bonuses for business outcomes based quarterly or even shorter timelines, it does take some foresight to go without the incentives and invest into long term customer growth. Link

The reality dilemma. This read is a little esoteric, but it speaks to how we define the internet age in comparison to “offline” experiences. Three-quarters of the global population is now online. And for many, compared to the offline world, the internet has far more opportunity, increasingly is content-rich, and is far more inclusive than the “real world.” For most people, the experience of the places they live just doesn’t offer the kind of access to interesting things than the internet. Link

Regression analysis: The key to causality? This is a fascinating thought piece on the place of regression analysis to determine things like causality in experimentation. One example is an experiment launching a paid streaming service for music. Using regression analysis, the data might show that the majority of people who bought a premium subscription are listening less, but without needed context, that analysis method may lead to some seriously misleading conclusions. Regressions are helpful, but it depends on the question you want to ask, and most of the time causality questions aren’t a good fit. Link

🔢 Data & Insights

How do people view Youtube ads? An interesting study done into Youtube advertising suggests that almost 40% of all ads on Youtube in the United States are viewed on television sets. This speaks to the increasing prominence of smart devices for content consumption, but also the way in which advertisers will need to plan for experiences that aren’t on your typical devices. How can a person click to learn more when they are holding a remote? Link (sign up needed)

Push vs Email. More than 60% of people primarily use the internet on their smartphones. As brands continue to invest in mobile app development, and direct channels like push notifications a report from MoEngage suggests that push notifications, when tied to behavioral-based segmentation and are personalized increases deliveries from 62% to 85% and almost doubles click-through rate. And while this kind of channel is a strong performer for some industries, email still wins out across behavioral segmentation and personalization strategies. Email continues to be the most resilient channel we have. Report. Analysis.

The procurement failure dataset. This decades-long record of major failures in vendor procurement is very interesting, covering most multinational consultancies and major tech vendors. There are many lessons learned about finding the right partners for technology implementations. Link

💡 Ideas

The LUMAscape. This is kind of like the Martech landscape super graphic but focused on the ad tech and media space. The graphic classifies companies based on if they are closer to the marketer side of ad tech or the publisher and also indicates which companies have been acquired. The digital advertising industry is massively complex. Link

Marketing compliance is now a business-critical practice. DDO, which stands for Design and Distribution Obligations is a relatively new regulation guiding how some industries create content about their products and services and how it is distributed to their audiences. Financial and insurance brands are some of the first to work within new compliance rules, and for the rest of us, it’s only a matter of time. Link

Ikea starts paying customers for their time. This sounds absolutely absurd, but there’s some sound rationale to it. Ikea stores are usually on the outskirts of most cities, requiring people to travel some distances to visit. Ikea partnered with Google Maps to stimulate more in-store shopping in Dubai by allowing customers to show their travel timeline and distance in their Google Maps app instore which then accrues dollars into their Ikea account to purchase products with. Link

✨ Weird and Wonderful

The CMO from hell: Choose your own brandventure. Someone created a multiple-choice Twitter thread game, where you’re the lead strategist charged to build a marketing strategy for a dog food company. The goal is to not get fired by Mark Ritson. Link

A $10 million gift card cheat. Every single platform, including Xbox, has weak points within its system that can be exploited by others. The example here is gift cards which act as their own form of currency on the platform. A testing engineer for Microsoft discovered a flaw that enabled him to generate endless gift card codes for free. Link

The internet’s original source code: Worth $5.4 million. An NFT auction this week at Sotheby’s sold the tokenization of the original source files that were used to create the world wide web application back in 1989. A true internet collectible. Link

Stay Curious,

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Juan Mendoza

Juan Mendoza is an expert in researching global media, marketing, data, and technology trends. He is the CEO of The Martech Weekly, a media and research brand with subscribers in over 65 countries.

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