Marketing ops is not just technology: Friday’s daily brief

MarTech’s daily brief features daily insights, news, tips, and essential bits of wisdom for today’s digital marketer. If you would like to read this before the rest of the internet does, sign up here to get it delivered to your inbox daily.

Good morning, Marketers, there’s a lot of pressure surrounding the implementation of new martech solutions and replacements.

In our first piece, find out how you can pass some of the heat onto competing vendors. As you’ll see, it’s not about spreading misery. Far from it, it’s a way to assess which solution really works best in the only kitchen that matters: yours. And click through to the full feature to find out how you can stage your own bake-off from soup to nuts.

There is always a debate in marketing about what technology is just an overhyped idea, and what can work can be effective and inspiring in front of actual customers. A little further down, you’ll see how one such channel, VR, is getting a moment in the sun, as Facebook announces it will be experimenting with VR ads on Oculus.

Is this real innovation or hype? Drop me a note if you feel strongly yea or nay at [email protected].

Chris Wood,


Which vendor is Top Chef?  

In the context of an agile martech selection project, a “bake-off” is really a competitive proof of concept where the two vendor finalists are asked to mimic a real sprint, and then show you how to get hands-on with at least some parts of their proposed solution.

The key to a bake-off is customizing it to your requirements, with your ingredients (content and data), your bakers (participating employees), and your ovens (your real environments) — although typically you’ll employ the vendor’s kitchen (a.k.a., cloud environment).

If you get resistance to this approach, consider switching the analogy from food to cars. Let’s say you’re buying a new vehicle. Would you purchase it after watching the salesperson drive around the dealer’s lot? If you’re going to be using this car for the next five to ten years, you need to get behind the wheel yourself. The only question then is: how long a test drive?

Like all good things, a useful bake-off takes time and attention, since the mechanics can get tricky. But the payoff is worth it. As we’ve seen with dozens of successful selections, devoting the proper resources to conducting a proper bake-off before you commit to a solution will ultimately leave a much better taste in your mouth.

Read a real bake-off story here.

Facebook will test VR ads with Oculus 

In May, Facebook announced that it would begin testing advertisements in virtual reality. Those tests are now about to go live. “The company revealed it’s going to begin experimenting with the ads in the Oculus Quest title Blaston from Resolution Games. The experiment will also expand to two other unnamed developers in the coming weeks,” said Michael Tan for PCMag.

In-headset ads. The advertisements, deemed “in-headset ads” by Facebook, are part of the company’s exploration of ways for developers to generate revenue: “This is a key part of ensuring we’re creating a self-sustaining platform that can support a variety of business models that unlock new types of content and audiences,” the company said in the announcement blog.

Privacy. Facebook, which develops the Oculus VR headsets, plans to monitor user interaction with the VR ads, but did say that all Oculus ads will still have to follow Facebook’s advertising rules. As such, users will still be able to use “controls to hide specific ads or hide ads from an advertiser completely.”

In the announcement blog, Facebook outlined the privacy policies for Oculus ads:

  • We do not use information processed and stored locally on your headset to target ads. Processing and storing information on the device means it doesn’t leave your headset or reach Facebook servers, so it can’t be used for advertising.
  • We take extra precautions around the use of movement data like minimizing what we need to deliver a safe and immersive VR experience and we have no plans to use movement data to target ads.
  • We do not use the content of your conversations with people on apps like Messenger, Parties, and chats or your voice interactions to target ads. 

“Still, because the company is trying to require Oculus VR owners to sign in with a Facebook account, the social network can still analyze your personal data to serve up targeted ads,” points out Tan.

Why we care. Privacy is a big issue for users right now and advertisements in virtual reality might be a step too far for many. Facebook has been caught in the middle of this privacy debate, especially as iOS 14 has cracked down on app tracking. However, the opportunity may be perfect for many advertisers to reach a new or specific type of audience if the tests go well. There’s a precipice where ads in VR almost feel like we’re headed toward Ready Player One territory, so it’s a trend worth watching.

Marketing ops is not just technology  

Something we’ve been saying more and more loudly — and we think people are starting to listen — is that MarTech is marketing. In other words, MarTech is more than just an abbreviation for marketing technology. It also refers to the strategic planning and marketing mindset which gives technology its context and makes it possible to use that technology successfully.

Slack marketing ops expert Sara McNamara sparked much agreement by making the analogous point that marketing ops is not just technology. “It’s the strong knowledge surrounding strategy and process,” she wrote. “It’s the holistic thinking and consideration that makes a marketing operations professional exceptional; that makes a marketing operations professional a true partner to marketing executives.” 

And she points out that learning to use a marketing solution is not such a big deal — developing the knowledge and experience to use it effectively is. Daniel Murray of ServiceTitan underlined the point: “Process and insights.”

Nate Turner of Ten Speed piled on. “Totally agree. Deep process knowledge, understanding downstream impacts, finding (and fixing) root problems instead of treating symptoms, and more.” And Mike Rizzo of Mo Pros got poetic: “Cheers to years of holistic thinking.”

Everyone is thinking along the right lines here.

Quote of the day

“Marketing tip: the hero of a good story isn’t you. It’s your audience. Tell their unique story. Share their transformation.” Jeremy Moser, Co-founder, CEO uSERP

About The Author

Kim Davis is the Editorial Director of MarTech Today. Born in London, but a New Yorker for over two decades, Kim started covering enterprise software ten years ago. His experience encompasses SaaS for the enterprise, digital- ad data-driven urban planning, and applications of SaaS, digital technology, and data in the marketing space.

He first wrote about marketing technology as editor of Haymarket’s The Hub, a dedicated marketing tech website, which subsequently became a channel on the established direct marketing brand DMN. Kim joined DMN proper in 2016, as a senior editor, becoming Executive Editor, then Editor-in-Chief a position he held until January 2020.

Prior to working in tech journalism, Kim was Associate Editor at a New York Times hyper-local news site, The Local: East Village, and has previously worked as an editor of an academic publication, and as a music journalist. He has written hundreds of New York restaurant reviews for a personal blog, and has been an occasional guest contributor to Eater.

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