Ron Fisher: Welcome Richard, tell me a little bit about yourself and how did you get into this field to begin with?

Richard Truncale: I work at Rakuten Advertising as Senior Manager, Marketing Operations. I've been working for the company for close to two years now.

I previously worked for a music technology company for four years where I managed marketing operations including CRM architecture, marketing automation platforms, client onboarding, and email marketing.

My experience also includes work in the healthcare field as a Database Marketing Specialist and in higher education focusing on digital and social media. In total, I have over 10 years marketing and tech experience!

📏 Measurement & Attribution  

Ron Fisher: What are your thoughts around understanding what is working and not working across all the systems? How do you think about the fact that you have multiple marketing and sales tactics and campaigns in flight and kind of weeding through the noise?

Richard Truncale: The most popular question for any business especially on the B2B side is what is working and what campaigns are contributing to bottom line revenue. It’s very important to understand multi-touch attribution and how each touch point impacts results.  One of the biggest challenges that you have is figuring out what resources are working. 

When you take a deep look at your campaigns and assets, you have to consider how a person (lead, client, etc.) will move through the journey throughout all touch points from your website, paid efforts, organic social and traffic, direct traffic, etc. There's going to be many different touch points that a lead will go through from the beginning of the buyer's journey and afterwards as a client. 

For b2b marketing, it’s fairly common for the buyer journey to be a long-term process. We’re not often working with a transaction shopping cart process where someone adds a product and then buys it without interaction from the business. We're talking about a longer journey where it could take months and years for a business to finally move from prospect to client. 

Ron Fisher: You just mentioned first touch, you just mentioned multi-touch. We have last touch or the whole other alphabet soup of touches. What do you feel about what should be used when, if at all?

Richard Truncale: You definitely want to define your MQL’s and SQL’s early. This is one of the first steps to understand campaign performance. 

Lead scoring should be an early focus as well to help identify cold and warm leads. Using lead scoring will aid in list segmentation and will provide target lists to focus efforts. CRM tools will help you identify interactions people are doing through your website and other activities such as case study and report downloads. This data helps give you a concrete picture of a person's activity in relation to your business and an idea of what they are looking for from a solutions standpoint.

These tools will tell you where a lead comes from. Whether it is direct traffic, paid efforts, organic, etc., we have all this data at our fingertips and now need to know what to do with it.

Ron Fisher: And then in terms of the model side, like when do you recommend looking at first touch? Like you recommend looking at multi-touch, and how often do you recommend diving into those types of models to do your analysis?

Richard Truncale: I often would say if you're running a campaign and you're doing a white paper or a case study you want to give the assets time to run and some shelf life before making changes - unless you immediately notice the target market is wrong, and/or lead quality is not aligned with the goals you’re trying to achieve. 

I would suggest running a campaign for at least 30 days. See how that goes. You can run shorter campaigns, but if you really want to get an understanding of how things are working, two to three months is a great test experiment. 

Are the bounce rates high or low on your pages and/or people staying on the landing pages and interacting with additional resources. There’s a lot of different factors that are involved when you're reviewing first and last touches.

As an example: If we generated a lead from an event two years ago and they haven’t had any activity until this month. Within the last month they downloaded a report making their last touch a report download. Because they came to an event two years ago but have done absolutely nothing since then, you have to decide how to weigh the event as an attributed touch point with this report download and decide what should be the primary campaign source. In my opinion the last touch holds more value in this case due to this lead being inactive for two years. It was the report asset that directly influenced this lead to interact with us after so long. However, the event is still an important attribution touch point as it impacts marketing ROI.

Ron Fisher: When you are trying to integrate all those data sources to see that full journey what's the most challenging part of that for you?

Richard Truncale: There's a lot of software tools out there and a ton of connections that you have to bridge together.

For many businesses, you're often going to have more than 10 different software platforms to pull data from; there really isn't a simple way to gather all of this data into a one source solution to pull analytics at your fingertips. 

Each social platform will have its own reporting structure within sites such as Facebook, Google, and LinkedIn. Then there’s your CRM outlining dashboards and reports along with your sales outreach and touchpoints. How do you tie that together and then make decisions on that. That in itself is a challenge, and a time consuming process that involves cutting data from multiple sources and piecing it together in another platform to analyze.

Having the ability to connect all these platforms and software tools together into one location with simple API connectors would be the ideal situation for any marketing professional

 👷 Marketing Ops Best Practices

Ron Fisher: And so when you are going through these exercises, getting that going what are typical best practices you try to employ in trying to understand, what is driving you the most revenue you?

Richard Truncale: From a best practice side of things, the first thing you should consider when brainstorming campaign tactics and campaign success is the overall goal. What is the goal of this campaign? Is it to drive leads? Is it to help close deals? Is it an awareness campaign? You have to think about these types of questions with your focus being how do we achieve our goal(s).

Is there a certain revenue that you're trying to achieve? Once you have those goals in mind, you then can start planning out the campaign duration, touchpoints, and internal processes. Will the campaign run for a short or longer timeframe and/or will this be an evergreen campaign. With those answers in place, it makes our jobs much easier to develop automation plans that include engaging nurture workflows and reporting structures.

After collecting these requirements and launching the campaign, our jobs become a bit easier from a reporting standpoint. Properly setting up your reporting structure is one part of this puzzle. Next you need to ensure your team has a general understanding of these reports, and can easily find this information. They’ll want to see total leads impacted, deals created, revenue generated and influenced, email activity, and more during the campaign lifespan. 

These are all the different elements we factor into the process when we're looking at campaigns from start to finish.

Ron Fisher: Cool. How do you think about bridging the gap then between marketing and sales and your role in that?

Richard Truncale: One of the most important relationships that needs to be prioritized and developed is the alignment between marketing and sales. If you're running campaigns on the marketing side and sales doesn't know anything about this, it will make the sales reps a bit confused about what this lead interacted with, or what product and/or service the lead is inquiring about, especially if they reference the asset.

This sales and marketing alignment should ideally include visibility that shares information about marketing assets, campaigns, objectives and goals, and how our efforts will help generate leads for sales to action. On the sales side, we want to know there's a team in place to receive these leads and the leads will be actioned in a timely manner. We also want to know the quality of these leads and ask sales to update the lead information to help marketing gather insights into quality and performance. 

The first step in aligning sales and marketing is to break it down to the basics of making sure that your communication between your two departments is there.

The second step many businesses develop are service level agreements where marketing aims to achieve a specific amount of leads, and sales agrees to review a set amount of leads in the given timeframe.

Ron Fisher: Once you have that communication in place are you working together just at the beginning of a deal or do you really see it as like a partnership throughout, throughout, from the beginning to the end?

Richard Truncale: This is where multi-touch starts to come into play between marketing and sales. Marketing may bring in this lead through an event, download resource, or a contact form. These leads may end up enrolling into marketing nurture programs, retargeted ad campaigns, and are simultaneously receiving direct sales outreach. One important thing to consider is overreach. Are you over-emailing? Pushing too aggressively? Is this lead getting a chance to breathe?

Too much engagement can negatively impact your overall efforts. Marketing emails, sales emails, ad campaigns, and more may be a bit too much overreach in a short timeframe. The last thing you want to see is a lead unsubscribing and losing complete interest. This is where you will want to factor in suppression lists and automation delays. 

Marketing Operations experts will help pull together your CRM, marketing software, sales software, and more to piece all of this data together. We know when a person is actively in a nurture sequence, sales cadence, or other campaign. We can pause outreach and other touchpoints for a set duration. 

Ron Fisher: So retargeting ads from the marketing team might be a good idea, but, overwhelming them with marketing emails might be a bad idea. And being able to see all that in one place is especially helpful in order to make those decisions.

Richard Truncale: Exactly. When you're working with sales and leads, you should know and factor in the lead journey and how the business cycle functions. You want to avoid contact fatigue.

What you need to do is make sure you have the right messaging at the right time.

🔮 Future Trends

Ron Fisher:Thinking about the future of the industry. I'm just curious, what's most exciting to you about both the future of B2B marketing and the future of marketing ops in your eyes?

Richard Truncale:  I'm going to flip this question. The thing I'm not excited for are all the new and revised privacy regulations and how this impacts marketing ops and marketing efforts. For example, changes made by Apple iOS to restrict open rate metrics or and new link tracking protections have a significant impact on campaign reporting and insights. 

It becomes a challenge when you are working on nurtures that include specific actions a person takes. If you cannot detect those engagements, you have to come up with new methods to make your campaigns work. 

One thing I am excited about is the usage of AI and its capabilities. AI helps everyone, especially people in marketing ops and email marketing roles. We can use AI to improve email copy, landing pages, tone of voice, etc. AI doesn’t replace us marketers - instead it gives us a huge resource to improve what we do!

For instance, with email marketing, you can use AI to provide email recommendations for subject lines, preview texts, and email copy. AI can rewrite an email or give you a different tone of voice. Those are things you didn't really have at your fingertips. 

AI is scary in some ways, but it also is going to be really good to benefit all of us going forward.

Ron Fisher: What do you see now that you haven't seen five years ago? And is there anything else you've seen trend-wise in terms of how things are changing or how your company or you, yourself are doing things?

Richard Truncale: Five years ago GDPR rolled out to the world.. The way you can communicate and engage people was completely different than it is now. I like where privacy regulations are going as a consumer, but it's a big issue as a marketing professional. A healthy relationship with your legal team is very important. 

CRM platforms looked very different five years ago. There are numerous features providing incredible benefits that were not around five years ago and these significantly improve how we manage data. 

Many CRM platforms are simplifying how third-party software tools connect to it using API connectors that no longer require custom code. These improvements truly help marketing ops professionals connect to many platforms without the headache.

That's part of the reason I’m excited with Mesh to help bring all those tools together and give people a central view of the data. Mesh provides an all-in-one solution that collects data from all platforms, provides extensive reporting and insights and an easy way to build robust multi-touch relationships.
In conversations with other marketing operations professionals, an all-in-one solution is a hot topic that we are looking for. We want to log into one location, find the data we need, and not have to piece it from all other different sources.

Ron Fisher: That's really exciting to hear. And so really I'll end an interesting question for you, which is what is something that surprised you about being in MOPS that you didn't realize starting out?

Richard Truncale: If you do not have the right data,  you most likely have dirty data. Missing record information does not do much for you. Dirty data presents many challenges. If the data's bad, reporting will be bad. Make sure data is accurate. 

One thing I've learned over my years, it's very important that you focus on using simple fields such as dropdowns, check boxes, and pick lists. Once you start getting into open-ended single text fields, multi text fields, it's very hard to then build data reports with that data because everything is unique. These are small things that you learn over time.

It's really that attention to detail that will make everything work the way you want it to. You need to make sure the best data possible is going into the system.

Ron Fisher: Very cool. That wraps it up for us. Really excited to hear view on the world and we're excited to learn more from you in the future, Richard.

Richard Truncale: Yeah. Thank you all. Appreciate it.

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