Confession: I’m not the most metrics-savvy/spreadsheet-loving/process-oriented person. So being in marketing I learned quickly that there’s one role that is always putting out fires, making life 10x easier, and pretty much just saving the day, every day. That role is marketing ops.
Ask any CMO or marketing leader and they’ll back me up: marketing operations is one of the most important roles on a marketing team.
So that got me thinking. If marketing ops is so crucial – how come no one in marketing ops ever gets any love? These people are the unsung heroes of growth, so we figured it was high time they got the recognition they deserve.
That’s why we are starting this – an annual award for the top B2B marketing ops pros to watch (and learn from).
We don’t want the fun to end here. Each winner will also get two tickets to the HYPERGROWTH 2019 location of their choice 🎟🎟
So here they are – 32 marketing operations leaders and up-and-comers you should keep an eye out for in 2019.
Know someone great that we missed? Send a tweet to @Drift and let us know who we should add to the list!
Sara McNamara is a unicorn. And don’t just take it from us – Sarah Kennedy Ellis, the CMO of Marketo, said it first (and best): “Sara is a leader. And she’s curious. And she’s a badass. Thus, a unicorn. I’ve learned more in DM feeds from her than most books or consultants could sneeze at.” 🦄
Marketing ops is a perfect role for analytically-inclined data lovers, so it’s no wonder someone from a data-loving company like RStudio made our list. Robert Bethell just happens to be a data lover and demand generator who makes sure RStudio is connecting with customers looking to make better sense (and use) of their data.
Taft Love oversees marketing, sales, customer success, and finance operations. He’s got deep experience with early and mid-stage startups, having worked at LeadGenius, PandaDoc, and SmartRecruiters prior to joining HouseCanary. Under his leadership, Taft has helped scale multiple programs from $1M to $25M.
If you’re facing off against complex operational challenges, Valerie Armstrong is the person you want in your corner. Armed with a passion for mathematics, Valerie has put her considerable analytical chops to good use at several B2B companies including SmartBear, Upserve, and currently at Rapid7.
Flora Felisberto is all about building engines. As a lover of both the creative and analytical aspects of demand generation, Flora is known for always striving to optimize the marketing funnel and finding new opportunities for engagement.
For Jeremie Audran, an unstructured data pile is not just a welcome challenge, it’s a gold mine. Jeremie has a passion for numbers and extensive experience in defining KPIs and implementing the systems and processes that improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the marketing operations function.
Lucy Gillard cut her teeth at Lotus Development and IBM, and today she says it’s her unique background as a developer, sales rep, and marketing leader that help her provide the ideal trifecta to build and lead a global revenue-aligned marketing engine 💪 Now at SiriusDecisions, Lucy spends her time streamlining operations around the revenue engine and breaking down silos in marketing.
If you want to scale a high growth tech business, Ken Evans is your guy. His experience doing just that is extensive – with stints at Progress Software, Endeca Technologies (acquired by Oracle), and Demandware (acquired by Salesforce), to name a few. Ken now runs marketing ops at Fuze – a high growth tech company that was recently named to the Forbes Cloud 100 list for the third year in a row.
Mariana Cogan is known as a pioneer – she’s someone who doesn’t just talk about digital transformation – she actually lives and breathes it. In her role at PTC, Mariana drives the intersection of digital marketing strategy, business development, and agile execution to accelerate revenue growth for sites with 20M+ annual visitors.
Silas Larson has steadily grown his career at Bullhorn, where he started out as the first marketing ops hire and has since built out the function and team there. In his role, Silas heads up the program execution, budget management, reporting/analytics, marketing tech, and integrations of any Bullhorn acquired companies.
Anthony Slavinsky is no stranger to the B2B tech space. He’s helped build and scale operations teams for enterprise software companies including Novell, Nuance Communications, and Progress Software.
Bence Gazdag has spent his career designing and managing Oracle’s marketing systems infrastructure, and developing and leading its global enterprise demand centers. As an expert in marketing technology, Bence is always thinking ahead and keeps a close focus on innovations in predictive intelligence, machine learning, and AI 🤖
Briana Murphy is a force to be reckoned with. She specializes in automation and execution and has a strong background in campaign strategy and program management. She’s held ops positions at Acquia and now dataxu, where she is the go-to for all things campaigns, measurement, and marketing execution.
What drives Jesse Andrew Richard? Problem solving. Give him a problem, and he’ll find the solution. And not just find it, he’ll build it using strategies and processes that are efficient, effective, and optimized. A self-described risk-taker, Jesse is a big fan of learning and trying out the latest tools, tech, and trends to help bring his marketing team’s efforts to the next level 📈
Jamie Sloan has made a name for herself in the B2B tech space. She’s built marketing ops revenue engines from the ground-up at high growth tech companies including Rapid7, Acquia, RapidMiner, and currently, InVision. So if you’re looking for best practices in how to scale marketing ops, demand gen, and automation – all at hypergrowth speed – Jamie is one to watch.
As someone who has a passion for data and optimization, Franklin Bear has found a good home at DiscoverOrg, a leading global marketing and sales intelligence company. Fun fact about Franklin? He lives by the motto: “Invest in process, not the outcome.”
Mark Fries may win the prize for best title section on LinkedIn. His says: “I help computers speak human.” Because for Mark, it’s not just about driving marketing innovation and creativity – it’s about being laser-focused on the customer. Mark is known for approaching projects not only as an artist but as an advocate for users and clients.
Courtney McAra is a self-proclaimed data nerd who loves clean reports, naming conventions, and accuracy. When it comes to efficiency in marketing ops, Courtney says it’s important to keep things simple yet scalable. So it makes complete sense that she’s spent her career helping business understand their email marketing databases better.
Mike Braund leads a team of fellow marketing ops enthusiasts and is currently focused on cross-channel orchestration, predictive lead scoring, and gaining a better understanding of the marketing data story. Mike and his team rebuilt an inbound program at Tableau, so he’s become a master in change management and implementing scalable organizational structures.
If you’re looking for a well-rounded, growth-hacking marketing ops pro, look no further than Nima Asrar Haghighi. Nima stands out with a background in B2B and B2C performance marketing for both SMB and Fortune 500 companies. Under his leadership, Nima’s team developed a predictable model that is used as a strategic lever to scale the business as it continues to experience explosive growth 💥
Pete Johnson is a so-called “funnel ninja.” With his distinct vision (he previously worked as a sales rep and an agency exec), Pete is an analytical marketer who thrives on building strong personal relationships with clients. A key to his success? Pete subscribes in a “be yourself, work hard, and have fun” approach to life.
Nothing gets Rob Meo going like the opportunity to drive marketing transformation at a high growth company. Rob started his ops career as a consultant, and eventually made his way over to Splunk, where he was the first dedicated marketing ops hire. Since then he’s built out the function and now leads a global infrastructure team that is focused on demand generation at immense scale.
As both an operator and advisor, Ryan Schwartz knows what it takes to build a winning company – he’s got five successful exits under his belt since 2011 to prove it, including two IPOs and three mergers and acquisitions. And with a deep background in managing marketing systems, design, web, and digital teams for enterprise organizations, Ryan is a powerhouse and a no-brainer for us to include on this list.
Some people are unicorns, some people are ninjas – Sarah Luong is what we’d call a funnel metrics wizard. She’s a systems-minded marketing ops leader who partners closely with sales to work out complex lead routing, database segmentation, continuous optimization, campaign deployment, and performance tracking. Sure sounds like a job for a wizard 🧙
Staying on the up and up with the latest in marketing tech can be tough – sometimes you need a friend to help light the way. Anthony McQueen is that friend. At Digital Turbine, he’s focused on revenue marketing and sales operations, where his team is uniquely positioned to help mobile-first app companies grow their marketing presence and extend their brand online📱
Ben Coffee is a self-diagnosed marketing tech nerd and tries to learn something new every day. He’s passionate about running a future-proof, scalable, and effective marketing stack. For Ben, key factors to his success have been mastering the balance of marketing fundamentals like customer centricity and brand voice, with new ever-evolving the skills of today ⚖ Ben – we couldn’t agree more!
Like others on this list, Yulia Novozhilova can’t get enough of emerging tech and innovation, and that’s a big reason why she’s so drawn to the startup world. She’s found a home for her creative and analytical talents at Logi Analytics – a small startup that is changing the game in embedded analytics for applications.
Marketing ops isn’t just about number crunching – there’s a whole science behind it. Centrify’s Yun Fan gets that. She’s a highly skilled ops professional who excels in the fast-paced world of high tech marketing. Yun brings a methodical, scientific approach to everything she does, whether it be marketing automation, market research, or statistical modeling.
Venus Wills went to school to become an economist, but says she very quickly changed her mind after taking a Finance 101 course. Thankfully, she retained a love for all things numbers, trends, and data-driven decision making 📊 Today, Venus channels that passion into building operational foundations based on data for scalable and measurable marketing programs.
The Denver tech scene is booming, and with that growth comes a need for excellence in operations. Michelle Wilfong-Oliphant provides that excellence. Today, she’s helping Crownpeak unlock its next level of growth by scaling its marketing ops and analytics.
A numbers guy through and through, Kory Himmer found himself drawn to understanding the ins and out the marketing funnel. So after making the jump from finance over to the marketing side of the house, Kory threw himself into learning everything he could about the marketing funnel – analyzing data, tracking performance, and improving reporting and metrics.
As cyber threats continue to rise, the need for threat intelligence firms like CrowdStrike is of paramount importance. That’s why we’re thankful for people like Gina Pugh, who’s responsible for keeping the marketing ops engine humming at CrowdStrike.
And we couldn’t do a round up of marketing ops superstars, without mentioning our own – Lynn Tan.
Lynn is Drift’s go-to person for marketing tech stack questions, works closely with the marketing team on the execution and analysis of our demand gen initiatives, and keeps a watchful eye on any captured leads and follow-ups. She’s the one who eats, sleeps, and breathes lead attribution. Or, in her words, “I make sure the bucket doesn’t leak.”
You’ll be hearing more from Lynn soon, she’ll be on the blog to talk about how she runs marketing ops at Drift, give a sneak peek of our tech stack, and share what she’s most excited about in the world of marketing ops.