Marketing Operations Experts on Top Pain Points And How to Overcome Them

We sat down with marketing operations experts Darrell Alfonso and Mike Rizzo to unpack the three pain points that defined 2022. Read more!

BY: Lindsay Fay

PUBLISHED: 1/4/2023

As the MarTech landscape continues to climb in size (in 2022, the number of MarTech solutions climbed to 10,000 – up 24% from 2020), we’ve seen a shift in the priorities of marketing operations professionals.

The marketing ops industry saw a number of changes in 2022 – from the rise of RevOps to reducing MarTech bloat. Yet there are still persistent issues we’ve been seeing for the past few years, namely finding marketing ops talent.

We sat down with marketing ops experts Darrell Alfonso and Mike Rizzo (founder of at our first annual holiday webinar to unpack the three trends that defined 2022.


#1 – Reducing MarTech Bloat and Doing More with Less


Something we’re all too familiar with as marketing ops professionals is excessive MarTech stacks. With the looming recession ahead of us, marketing ops professionals must adapt to the mentality of doing more with less.

The good news is that there are countless benefits to honing in on fewer MarTech solutions.

When you have a surplus of MarTech solutions, it can actually make it quite challenging to create really great plans. By limiting your options, you’re creating a constraint that nourishes efficiency and creativity. Darrell Alfonso explains that the more ways to do something, the less impactful the work may be. In the end, it can actually be quite limiting.


When you select one or two platforms, you can focus on getting the most out of those platforms – templetizing, timing how long it takes to create a campaign, and measuring impact, which ultimately helps prove your value in marketing ops.

Just think about it – would you rather track progress on one platform or five?

Here’s a real-life example that Darrell provided – imagine you are going on a family vacation. You plan on driving and you can either take one vehicle or two. The problem with taking two vehicles is that you have to pack both, pay double in fuel, and there’s only one driver for each car. Taking one car is far more practical.

People are afraid of consolidation and focusing on one tool, but it’s actually incredibly empowering. Utilizing fewer tools can make a meaningful difference in your marketing activities since you’ll have more focus and strategy.


#2 – Finding and Hiring Marketing Operations Talent


These days, everyone is fighting over marketing ops talent. A majority of organizations are looking for a unicorn marketing ops professional – a candidate who checks every box. The issue here is obvious – this candidate is extremely competitive and there’s just not enough of them.

Here’s what our webinar attendees had to say about this topic:


  • “My biggest tip for this – stop looking for unicorns and look for people who can develop into awesome MarketingOps people.” Carly Grantham.
  • “Our MOps team is made up of general marketers, and I love that we can bring a level of marketing campaign understanding, strategy, and tactics to an operations role for optimized use of Marketo.” Michelle Chopin.
  • “MANY general marketers will have MAP experience, so to the point about looking for unicorns, also consider reaching out to general marketers looking to hone a skill set and specialize in a role.”  Michelle Chopin.
  • “I feel like most marketing ops people can learn whatever you need them to. I love when I work with people who are ops-minded — they learn everything quickly. The ops/technical pieces are the hardest to teach in my opinion.” Courtney Lill.


The general consensus is that you don’t necessarily need someone who is super knowledgeable in Marketo (or your preferred MAP) – curiosity is key! When you hone in on a particular skill set, your search becomes quite limiting.

It’s also important to be patient – understand that you’ll need to provide adequate time for the new employee to get trained.

Why is it so hard to find marketing operations talent?


Too often, marketing operations professionals don’t feel valued at their organization. This causes the employee to seek better employment options, so they leave. Darrell Alfonso explained that organizations are stuck in the mentality of filling this spot, rather than getting to the root of the problem.

To overcome this, organizations must treat marketing ops professionals like the valuable assets they are. This could mean taking more time to understand the function of the marketing ops role or considering the market rate for marketing ops talent (marketing ops talent does not come cheap!)


Stuck in execution? Here’s how to become more strategic in your role


Use your access to MarTech tools to your advantage! Mike Rizzo explained that in a marketing ops role, you have visibility into your organization’s performance. Formulate an opinion or hypothesis and propose a new program for GTM activities

Alternatively, sit with team members in strategic roles and ask what a day in their life looks like. Do you find any pain points in what they are saying? Tap into this. “Here’s how I think we could improve…” The moral of the story is to ask questions.

More from our webinar attendees:


  • “While you’re executing, you can look at ways to improve/streamline what you’re executing, and then start sharing those insights.” Amanda Neel
  • “Ops people have such an advantage because we see the business as a whole. You should be able to gain great strategic advantage over all others through this lens!” John Francis
  • “Challenge the status quo – the best marketers don’t think like marketers – they think like general managers – like they are the owner and in control of the money. Think about the right business decisions to win. This will help you evolve from tactical to strategic.” Darrell Alfonso

#3 – The Rise of RevOps: Will Marketing Operations Report to RevOps?


With the rise of RevOps, many people are wondering if marketing ops will begin reporting to RevOps.

Let’s back up – what exactly is RevOps?

RevOps is a function that helps prove revenue to the bottom line. RevOps can take what’s working well in the business and optimize it to perform better to ultimately increase revenue. It’s important to remember that RevOps is not a full GTM function – it’s meant to look at a full business process instead.

We learned in the 2022 State of the Marketing Ops Professional Report that the top priority of marketing ops teams in 2022 was supporting RevOps and optimization. Marketing ops are collaborating more with RevOps – but does this mean they will also begin reporting to them?

The report also asked respondents who they report to. These were the top three managers of marketing ops professionals:

  • VP of Marketing
  • Director of Marketing
  • Chief Executive Officer


So it looks like for the time being, we’re not seeing marketing ops professionals report to RevOps. However, we may see this change with the continued rise of RevOps.


Does your organization need help achieving ROI from Marketo? Learn how the Marketo experts at MERGE can help. Contact us today!