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About Our guest

Jeff Shearer - Marketing Operations and Technology Consultant

Jeff’s passion is helping marketers and organizations reap the benefits of automation and marketing technology to increase their output, relevance, and impact

Jeff believes thoughtful use of marketing technology and automation can have a radical effect on the growth of organizations, help mend rifts between sales and marketing teams, and turn marketers into credible, data-driven rocket scientists.

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Show notes

A Few Words On Marketing Operations (02:40) 

When I think about marketing operations, I think a lot about automation, technology, and processes. It means being the mastermind of marketing organization - making sure that the team is bringing the right decisions and is doing them in the most efficient and proper way. Using technology in very strategic ways and helping marketers who are maybe less technical. 

Getting Into Marketing (04:10) 

I went to Western Washington University for Marketing. I’ve found that I was better at math than most business students, but I wasn't good enough at math for engineering, so I ended up in business. 

After graduation, I got the role at Sesame Communications, where I’ve mostly worked on social media and SEO. I had a great experience working for small business clients. To be more specific, for dentists and orthodontists across the United States. 

Eventually, I moved over to a more corporate role at the same company and that's when I had the first taste of marketing operations. 

A Day to Day Focus of That Job (05:59) 

At that time, we were mostly doing ad placements, especially Google AdWords. Working on local business marketing including search maps, social media, and building an organic presence. 

A Shift To An Online Communications Role (07:15) 

There was an internal opening for a brand manager with an opportunity to get more into the other aspects of marketing such as demand generation, email marketing, website management, content development etc. 

I applied for that role and they said they needed someone who will figure out how Marketo works. I accepted the challenge and that was a very good career move for me. 

The Next Steps (09:00) 

I had gotten into Marketo and they are a company that does the customer marketing side of things really good. I was impressed with how invested they were in building a community. Eventually, I became a leader of a local user group in Seattle and then I joined their Marketo Champion Program. 

I have always loved passing knowledge on to others and I wrote many articles on how to use the tool in a best possible way. That helped me build a reputation as an expert on this tool. 

A Role At Expedia Group (11:00) 

A role at Expedia had a B2B function and I worked for their corporate travel division. We were a small team with a director of marketing and customer marketing. We were using Marketo as well, and my focus was on new business.

I really learned a lot about the alignment that's needed between sales and marketing to really get things done. The biggest lesson that I learned at Expedia was that sales and marketing alignment. Finding that balance between these two sectors. 

Channels For Acquiring Customers (13:20) 

We did online advertising, organic search, partnerships with media groups to get placements on their sites, newsletter sponsorships to acquire leads etc. We also worked with the sales team on any accounts that they were developing to help find new leads through technology. 

My role was acquisition marketing manager, so I did own that ad budget. We had an agency that was supporting us and they made sure that we spend responsibly. 

In general, I think it's just shortsighted to think of marketers as just lead generators. Marketers help sales team to scale.

Moving On From Expedia (18:00) 

I was really itching to take on a role that would give me a little bit more of a global function. I had an opportunity to build a department at Nintex, which is a workflow automation company. I took on the role as a director of marketing operations for that team.

The focus was on building the right processes, technology, and analytics to run an effective marketing organization.  A big part of the role there was finding out how to measure ROI effectively from certain channels. 

Becoming An Independent Consultant (26:28) 

I was looking to try something new and I'd always been interested in the consulting path. As I mentioned earlier, a big passion for me is teaching others and helping them excel in this space. 

Most of the work that I am pursuing now is still very much marketing operations. I look at people's technology stack - what works, what doesn’t, and helping them understand their processes. 

Advice For People Who Want a Career In Marketing Operations (28:04) 

Start in some sort of a marketing function and work in a digital space. Become an expert on the tools that you’re using and along the way you will also find out that marketing operations and technology touches all of those points. 

Become a T-shaped marketer. Be an expert and go deep into something, but pick up some new areas along the top as you grow in your career. 

As for the tools, start with something like Salesforce because everybody is using it. You can get a free developer account on Salesforce, just as a test space, so that's a great place to start to get a sense for how these systems interplay with each other.