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Why marketing operations leaders have become modernizers



Why marketing operations leaders have become modernizers

Not long ago, marketing operations was the “clean-up-on-aisle-13” squad. But, as businesses digitized their customer experiences, marketing operations became strategic advisors to not only the CMO but also key cross-functional partners in product, IT, customer service, etc. MOps leaders now orchestrate business and customer outcomes at the modern intersection of art and science.

Over this four-part series, I will dive into each aspect of the framework. This first article elaborates on the framework itself and then dives into how MOps leaders are “modernizers.”

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A new MOPS framework

I love new terminology and frameworks that help make sense of the world.

Therefore, I particularly appreciate leaders that create new ‘phraseology.’ At the top of the list in turning phrases into (best) practices has been Scott Brinker. Over 10 years ago, Scott wrote about the rise of the marketing technologist. While it feels obvious now, it was unfamiliar jargon at the time.


Just two years ago, Brinker revisited this by outlining the four key responsibilities of marketing technologists, summarized here. This helped so many of us as it further legitimized the role by proclaiming that you could be both a marketer and a technology leader.

This was particularly impactful because, over those 10 years, the role of marketing technologists had been formalized and typically housed within marketing operations. They were no longer lone wolves without clear organizational ownership between marketing and IT. In larger teams, there are often multiple technologists. We needed this expanded terminology and a framework to describe the varying leadership roles we had taken on as the martech landscape exploded into 8000+ tools.

Marketing Technologist Roles

I often reference this to explain the rapid evolution of MOps roles and responsibilities. It was the inspiration to pull together this framework for describing how today’s MOps leaders are instrumental in marketing and business success. I’m hoping these two frameworks can operate side-by-side to help characterize the growing shift towards recognizing marketing tech and ops leaders. And yes, this framework is an opportunistic play on the “MOps” acronym that has become the catchphrase (I am a marketer, after all).

1649431972 593 Why marketing operations leaders have become modernizers

I chose to portray the X-axis as a range of skills from technology to arts orientation. I’m sure it is not a surprise that I decided to depict technology, but my choice of the arts was also deliberate. I want to debunk that Ops leaders are not creative. We are creative, adapting processes and technologies to meet challenging customer and business needs. Much more on that aspect in the Orchestrator role in part two of this series.

For the Y-axis, I wanted to illustrate that MOps leaders have to leverage the complete range of decision-making skills, ranging from emotional to rational processes, to succeed in today’s marketplace. There is a duality to this: MOps leaders have to leverage these skills to succeed in their internal marketing roles. But, because they are also responsible for capturing the customer signals — e.g., how people evaluate products and services, it becomes a rapid combination of emotional and rational skills.

The resulting grid captures four MOps ‘personas’ in the respective quadrants. Note: MOps leaders will likely have an area of strength that they gravitate towards, but they can exhibit characteristics across all parts of this framework and be in multiple quadrants.


We are excited, yes — literally emotional about the rapid changes in marketing tech. We are most likely to be the ‘original’ marketing technologists, and I’ll be expanding on our challenge of constant modernization in the remainder of this article.


This is the closest to Brinker’s Maestros. However, we are not just orchestrating across marketing – but we are the ones to connect marketing’s efforts across other functions.  Because of that unique cross-functional role, we are often helping connect marketing campaigns to the broader customer experience initiatives. We are the first to recommend changing the marketing strategy due to changes in customer behavior or broader market conditions.



Because so much customer engagement is now captured digitally, MOps teams are increasingly responsible for “reading customers’ minds” — interpreting customers’ interest and engagement with the brand. I also recognize that many would consider the mapping of the Psychologists aligns better on the emotional side, considering the role of emotion in decision-making. I did consider this, but I will expand on the unique way that MOps leaders can leverage today’s digital channels to turn emotional data into rational signals of intent in part three of this series.


MOps leaders are constantly testing and evaluating, and we are often the team that houses the new analytics team of modern data scientists. We are also considered the ‘mad scientists’ of martech, pairing multiple tools together through ‘no code or low code’ integrations.

Now that I’ve introduced the framework, let’s dig deeper into the Modernizers. 

I’ll start with a playful quiz. You’re likely a “modernizer” if you have waited anxiously for Brinker to release his annual Martech Landscape (last released in 2020; he recently announced the latest would be released next month).

That’s one reason why I mapped the emotional axis of the framework. We’re kids waiting for presents under the holiday tree, even though we know some of the new toys will be short-lived and discarded by the new year. This is not rational. We get a marketing high by learning about new technologies pushing the envelope of marketing’s capabilities. But this emotional high is more than just technology for technology’s sake. It’s about applying technology to improve customer experiences or marketing efficiencies. Even if we are not formally rolling out the agile manifesto, we embrace multiple underlying agile principles to drive value through technology.

Let’s take a further step back and go deeper into what it means to be a modernizer.  


It’s now a mindset — a constant process of adapting to new needs and customer habits. McKinsey’s research group summarized this well, To drive growth in the digital age, marketing needs to modernize a specific set of capabilities and mindsets. Marketing departments need to be rewired for speed, collaboration, and customer focus. It’s less about changing what marketing does and more about transforming how the work is done.”

That last part struck a chord with me. “Transforming how the work is done.” To illustrate this point, let’s look at some examples of established tactics that have been modernized, often with  MOps teams leading the modern RENOVATION of channels with new technology.

Established tactic How MOps teams are modernizing
Direct mail QR codes
Call SMS / Text engagement
Email  Triggers and journeys
Web Web – with integrated live chat

Modern MOps leaders are constantly modernizing — e.g., adapting with lessons learned and quickly applying changes to the process. In most cases, these fast adaptations respond to a change in the business process. They can also be driven by active observation of customer preferences as those change; we only have to look at the past two years of how marketing responded to the COVID pandemic for actual examples.

However, this constant adaptation is tough and tests MOps leaders’ fortitude. 

One of my favorite marketing books is Geoffrey Moore’s Crossing the Chasm. Moore describes how new technology must depend on an influx of early adopters to help cross a chasm before the technology enters the mainstream.

Here’s the catch, though, modernizers. We have to cross the chasm repeatedly. Because MOps leaders are the department’s marketing technologists, they are early adopters of new technology. But because we’re adopting these new technologies to integrate with previously “new” technologies, we are also connecting to the established system and responsible for helping others cross the chasm. We are, in fact, on both sides of the chasm at the same time. I’ve depicted this challenge in the graphic below.

1649431972 972 Why marketing operations leaders have become modernizers

In the live chat example, we had just crossed the chasm to integrate monitored live chat (B) into the website experience (A). Soon after that, multiple vendors had released AI-driven upgrades (C) that provide bot-enabled responses to customer inquiries. Indeed, the work of a MOps “modernizer” is never done.

Check back for part two of this series as I shift to the Orchestration role of today’s MOps leaders.

Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily MarTech. Staff authors are listed here.

About The Author

Why marketing operations leaders have become modernizers
Milton Hwang is a proven cross-functional marketing operations executive who aligns marketing, sales and IT processes to serve the customer better. With nearly 30 years of experience across both B2B and B2C segments, he has deep experience in innovation roles. He leverages in-depth knowledge and implementation of new digital technologies to drive business results.
He is currently VP of marketing operations at HSA Bank, the health savings account subsidiary of Webster Bank, leading marketing programs across diverse B2B and B2C market segments.

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The Role of Enterprise Mobility Management in Modern Businesses



The Role of Enterprise Mobility Management in Modern Businesses

In today’s fast-paced business environment, Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM) has emerged as a critical facilitator for enhancing operational efficiency and competitiveness. EMM solutions streamline workflows, ensuring that enterprises can adapt to the rapidly changing digital landscape. This blog discusses the indispensable role of EMM in modern businesses, focusing on how it revolutionizes workflows and positions businesses for success.

EMM solutions act as the backbone for securely managing mobile devices, applications, and content that facilitate remote work and on-the-go access to company resources. With a robust EMM platform, businesses can ensure data protection and compliance with regulatory requirements, even in highly dynamic environments. This not only minimizes the risk of data breaches but also reinforces the company’s reputation for reliability and security.

Seamless Integration Across Devices

In today’s digital era, seamless integration across devices is not just a luxury; it’s a necessity for maintaining operational fluency within any organization. Our EMM solutions are designed to ensure that employees have secure and efficient access to the necessary resources, irrespective of the device being used. This cross-platform compatibility significantly enhances productivity by allowing for a unified user experience that supports both the agility and dynamism required in modern business operations. Leveraging cutting-edge technology, our solutions provide a cohesive ecosystem where data flows securely and effortlessly across mobile phones, tablets, and laptops, ensuring that your workforce remains connected and productive, regardless of their physical location. The adoption of our EMM solutions speaks volumes about an organization’s commitment to fostering a technologically forward and secure working environment, echoing its dedication to innovation and excellence.

Enhanced Productivity

EMM facilitates the seamless integration of mobile devices into the corporate environment, enabling employees to access corporate resources from anywhere. This flexibility significantly enhances productivity by allowing tasks to be completed outside of traditional office settings.

Unified Endpoint Management

The incorporation of Unified Endpoint Management (UEM) within EMM solutions ensures that both mobile and fixed devices can be managed from a single console, simplifying IT operations and enhancing security.


Advanced Security Protocols

Where cyber threats loom larger than ever, our EMM solutions incorporate cutting-edge security protocols designed to shield your organization’s data from unauthorized access and breaches. By consistently updating and refining our security measures, we ensure your assets are protected by the most advanced defenses available. This commitment to security not only safeguards your information but also reinforces your company’s reputation as a secure and trustworthy enterprise.

Data Protection

EMM solutions implement robust security measures to protect sensitive corporate data across all mobile devices. This includes encryption, secure VPN connections, and the ability to remotely wipe data from lost or stolen devices, thereby mitigating potential data breaches.

Compliance Management

By enforcing security policies and ensuring compliance with regulatory standards, EMM helps businesses avoid costly fines and reputational damage associated with data breaches.

Driving Operational Efficiency

In the quest to drive operational efficiency, our solutions streamline processes, reduce redundancies, and automate routine tasks. By leveraging cutting-edge technologies, we empower businesses to optimize their workflows, resulting in significant time and cost savings. Our approach not only enhances operational agility but also positions your organization at the forefront of innovation, setting a new standard in your industry.

Automated Workflows

By automating repetitive tasks, EMM reduces manual efforts, increases accuracy, and speeds up business processes. This automation supports operational efficiency and allows employees to focus on more strategic tasks.

Real-time Communication and Collaboration

EMM enhances communication and collaboration among team members by providing tools that facilitate real-time interactions. This immediate exchange of information accelerates decision-making processes and improves project outcomes.


Testimonials from Industry Leaders

Leaders in various industries have witnessed tangible benefits from implementing EMM solutions, including increased productivity, improved security, and enhanced operational efficiency. Testimonials from these leaders underscore the transformative impact of EMM on their businesses, solidifying its vital role in modern operational strategies.

Our commitment to innovation and excellence propels us to continually refine our EMM solutions, ensuring they remain at the cutting edge of technology. This dedication not only solidifies our standing as industry leaders but also guarantees that our clients receive the most advanced and effective operational tools available, tailored specifically to meet their unique business challenges.

Looking Ahead

The evolution of EMM solutions continues at a rapid pace, with advancements in technology such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning (ML), and the Internet of Things (IoT) further enhancing their capabilities. These developments promise even greater efficiencies, security measures, and competitive advantages for businesses willing to invest in the future of mobility management.

Our proactive approach to integrating emerging technologies with EMM solutions positions our clients at the forefront of their industries. By leveraging our deep technical expertise and industry insights, we empower businesses to not only adapt to but also lead in an increasingly digital world, ensuring they remain competitive and resilient amidst rapid technological shifts.

In conclusion, the role of Enterprise Mobility Management in modern businesses cannot be overstated. Its ability to revolutionize workflows, enhance security, and drive operational efficiency positions it as a foundational element of digital transformation strategies. We invite businesses to explore the potential of EMM solutions and partner with us to achieve unprecedented levels of success and innovation in the digital era. Together, we can redefine the boundaries of what is possible in business operations and set new benchmarks for excellence in the industry.

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Lessons From Air Canada’s Chatbot Fail



Lessons From Air Canada’s Chatbot Fail

Air Canada tried to throw its chatbot under the AI bus.

It didn’t work.

A Canadian court recently ruled Air Canada must compensate a customer who bought a full-price ticket after receiving inaccurate information from the airline’s chatbot.

Air Canada had argued its chatbot made up the answer, so it shouldn’t be liable. As Pepper Brooks from the movie Dodgeball might say, “That’s a bold strategy, Cotton. Let’s see if it pays off for ’em.” 

But what does that chatbot mistake mean for you as your brands add these conversational tools to their websites? What does it mean for the future of search and the impact on you when consumers use tools like Google’s Gemini and OpenAI’s ChatGPT to research your brand?


AI disrupts Air Canada

AI seems like the only topic of conversation these days. Clients expect their agencies to use it as long as they accompany that use with a big discount on their services. “It’s so easy,” they say. “You must be so happy.”

Boards at startup companies pressure their management teams about it. “Where are we on an AI strategy,” they ask. “It’s so easy. Everybody is doing it.” Even Hollywood artists are hedging their bets by looking at the newest generative AI developments and saying, “Hmmm … Do we really want to invest more in humans?  

Let’s all take a breath. Humans are not going anywhere. Let me be super clear, “AI is NOT a strategy. It’s an innovation looking for a strategy.” Last week’s Air Canada decision may be the first real-world distinction of that.

The story starts with a man asking Air Canada’s chatbot if he could get a retroactive refund for a bereavement fare as long as he provided the proper paperwork. The chatbot encouraged him to book his flight to his grandmother’s funeral and then request a refund for the difference between the full-price and bereavement fair within 90 days. The passenger did what the chatbot suggested.


Air Canada refused to give a refund, citing its policy that explicitly states it will not provide refunds for travel after the flight is booked.

When the passenger sued, Air Canada’s refusal to pay got more interesting. It argued it should not be responsible because the chatbot was a “separate legal entity” and, therefore, Air Canada shouldn’t be responsible for its actions.

I remember a similar defense in childhood: “I’m not responsible. My friends made me do it.” To which my mom would respond, “Well, if they told you to jump off a bridge, would you?”

My favorite part of the case was when a member of the tribunal said what my mom would have said, “Air Canada does not explain why it believes …. why its webpage titled ‘bereavement travel’ was inherently more trustworthy than its chatbot.”

The BIG mistake in human thinking about AI

That is the interesting thing as you deal with this AI challenge of the moment. Companies mistake AI as a strategy to deploy rather than an innovation to a strategy that should be deployed. AI is not the answer for your content strategy. AI is simply a way to help an existing strategy be better.

Generative AI is only as good as the content — the data and the training — fed to it.  Generative AI is a fantastic recognizer of patterns and understanding of the probable next word choice. But it’s not doing any critical thinking. It cannot discern what is real and what is fiction.


Think for a moment about your website as a learning model, a brain of sorts. How well could it accurately answer questions about the current state of your company? Think about all the help documents, manuals, and educational and training content. If you put all of that — and only that — into an artificial brain, only then could you trust the answers.

Your chatbot likely would deliver some great results and some bad answers. Air Canada’s case involved a minuscule challenge. But imagine when it’s not a small mistake. And what about the impact of unintended content? Imagine if the AI tool picked up that stray folder in your customer help repository — the one with all the snarky answers and idiotic responses? Or what if it finds the archive that details everything wrong with your product or safety? AI might not know you don’t want it to use that content.

ChatGPT, Gemini, and others present brand challenges, too

Publicly available generative AI solutions may create the biggest challenges.

I tested the problematic potential. I asked ChatGPT to give me the pricing for two of the best-known CRM systems. (I’ll let you guess which two.) I asked it to compare the pricing and features of the two similar packages and tell me which one might be more appropriate.

First, it told me it couldn’t provide pricing for either of them but included the pricing page for each in a footnote. I pressed the citation and asked it to compare the two named packages. For one of them, it proceeded to give me a price 30% too high, failing to note it was now discounted. And it still couldn’t provide the price for the other, saying the company did not disclose pricing but again footnoted the pricing page where the cost is clearly shown.

In another test, I asked ChatGPT, “What’s so great about the digital asset management (DAM) solution from [name of tech company]?” I know this company doesn’t offer a DAM system, but ChatGPT didn’t.


It returned with an answer explaining this company’s DAM solution was a wonderful, single source of truth for digital assets and a great system. It didn’t tell me it paraphrased the answer from content on the company’s webpage that highlighted its ability to integrate into a third-party provider’s DAM system.

Now, these differences are small. I get it. I also should be clear that I got good answers for some of my harder questions in my brief testing. But that’s what’s so insidious. If users expected answers that were always a little wrong, they would check their veracity. But when the answers seem right and impressive, even though they are completely wrong or unintentionally accurate, users trust the whole system.

That’s the lesson from Air Canada and the subsequent challenges coming down the road.

AI is a tool, not a strategy

Remember, AI is not your content strategy. You still need to audit it. Just as you’ve done for over 20 years, you must ensure the entirety of your digital properties reflect the current values, integrity, accuracy, and trust you want to instill.

AI will not do this for you. It cannot know the value of those things unless you give it the value of those things. Think of AI as a way to innovate your human-centered content strategy. It can express your human story in different and possibly faster ways to all your stakeholders.

But only you can know if it’s your story. You have to create it, value it, and manage it, and then perhaps AI can help you tell it well. 

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Cover image by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute

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Only 6% of global marketers apply customer insights to product and brand



Only 6% of global marketers apply customer insights to product and brand

While many brands talk about focusing on the customer, few do it. Less than a quarter (24%) of global brands are mapping customer behavior and sentiment, according to Braze’s 2024 Customer Engagement Review. What’s worse, only 6% apply customer insights to their product and brand approach.

“At the end of the day, a lot of companies operate based on their structure and not how the consumer interacts with them,” Mariam Asmar, VP of strategic consulting, told MarTech. “And while some companies have done a great job of reorienting that, with roles like the chief customer officer, there are many more that still don’t. Cross-channel doesn’t exist because there are still all these silos. But the customer doesn’t care about your silos. The customer doesn’t see silos. They see a brand.”

Half of all marketers report either depending on multiple, siloed point solutions to cobble together a multi-channel experience manually (33%); or primarily relying on single-channel solutions (17%).  Only 30% have access to a single customer engagement platform capable of creating personalized, seamless experiences across channels. This is a huge problem when it comes to cross-channel, personalization.

The persistence of silos

The persistence of data silos despite decades of explanation about the problems they cause, surprised Asmar the most.

Screenshot 2024 02 27 140015
Source: Braze 2024 Global Customer Engagement Review

“Why are we still talking about this?” she said to MarTech. “One of the themes I see in the report is we’re still getting caught up on some of the same stumbling blocks as before.”

She said silos are indicative of teams working on different goals and “the only way that gets unsolved is if a leader comes in and aligns people towards some of those goals.”

These silos also hinder the use of AI, something 99% of respondents said they were already doing. The top uses of AI by marketers are:

  • Generating creative ideas (48%).
  • Automating repetitive tasks (47%).
  • Optimizing strategies in real-time (47%).
  • Enhancing data analysis (47%).
  • Powering predictive analytics (45%).
  • Personalizing campaigns (44%). 

Despite the high usage numbers, less than half of marketers have any interest in exploring AI’s potential to enhance customer engagement. Asmar believes there are two main reasons for this. First is that many people like the systems they know and understand. The other reason is a lack of training on the part of companies.

Dig deeper: 5 ways CRMs are leveraging AI to automate marketing today

“I think about when I was in advertising and everybody switched to social media,” she told MarTech. “Companies acted like ‘Well, all the marketers will just figure out social media.’ You can’t do that because whenever you’re teaching somebody how to do something new there’s always a level of training them up, even though they’re apps that we use every day, as people using them as a business and how they apply, how we get impact from them.”

The good news is that brands are setting the stage for the data agility they need.

  • 50% export performance feedback to business intelligence platforms to generate advanced analytics.
  • 48% sync performance with insights generated by other platforms in the business.

Also worth noting: Marketers say these are the four main obstacles to creativity and strategy:  

  • Emphasis on KPIs inherently inhibits a focus on creativity (42%).
  • Too much time spent on business-as-usual execution and tasks (42%).
  • Lack of technology to execute creative ideas, (41%).
  • Hard to demonstrate ROI impact of creativity (40%).
Screenshot 2024 02 27 135952Screenshot 2024 02 27 135952


The 2024 Global Customer Engagement Review (registration required) is based on insights from 1,900 VP+ marketing decision-makers across 14 countries in three global regions: The Americas (Brazil, Mexico, and the US), APAC (Australia, Indonesia, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore, and South Korea), and EMEA (France, Germany, Spain, the UAE, and the UK).


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