With Neha Dadbhawala, Digital Marketing Operations at McAfee
You may hear a lot of people looking to move from operations to strategy, Neha Dadbhawala moved in the opposite direction from the business side to operations. You’ll learn more about why great strategy fails without execution, the most effective way to speak with executives, and what operational readiness means.
Neha Dadbhawala is the Director of Digital Marketing Operations at McAfee. She is a customer- focused marketing professional with solid B2B & B2C marketing experience delivering personalized web experiences, building sales through various channels, and creating long-term customer relationships. Neha specializes in creating consumer-centered web experiences and product offerings driven by customer insights and supported by data.
Why did you go from strategy to operations when many folks want to go the opposite way?
I found working on the business side that strategy without execution doesn’t work. Figuring out how to execute great strategies and ideas and innovation meant figuring out how to get them executed correctly. That led me into the world of operations.
I took interest in teams that were actually participating in the solution around our ideation on the business side. I took interest in the kind of technology that was helping get that strategy accomplished. Finally, I saw that there was an under another world altogether that was running in the background. It is like going to a symphony and you see all of the musicians sitting there but there is one orchestrator basically pulling all the strings.
That is what I thought of operations. There was this one main team of people that knew exactly what string to pose so that the music was perfect. That's when I fell in love with the operational piece. When I married great strategy and amazing execution together, the business outcomes were phenomenal.
I would advise people that if you're in operations, participate in strategy, try to understand where the customer and stakeholders are coming from. As you learn more about it, try to fall in love with the problem. Soon you’ll see that once you marry the two, the outcomes will be more impactful.
What are the best practices for Marketing Ops to speak with the CMO, CEO, VP of Sales and other executives?
The first step is to get involved in the prioritization process. Keep in mind that organizations are evolving and with that so does the structure of how they prioritize.
Once you have a clear goal set ask yourself if there is a line that can be drawn from that goal into the work that you're doing? That’s how you start the conversation.
Retrospectives are important. You should be reviewing each quarter to see how the quarter went. Was anything missed with regard to the goal or or strategy? If so, how can you make it better. When you involve yourself in the conversation of what the strategy is you enable yourself and to educate leadership about what helps and hinders your team. From there they can see the impact operations have on the business. You might not think it’s a big impact but it’s not irrelevant by any means.
What does operational readiness mean?
Operational readiness is like disaster control or preparing for the future. I started using this terminology over the past few years as I’ve gone through journeys with companies looking to transform a certain part of their business.
Do we have everything that's required today? Do we have the right talent, the right technology, the right way of functioning and process governance and framework for the next two, three years of our business life? Business on the web is evolving so fast.
We have to be ready with all sorts of tools and processes in place. We don’t overly worry about making the wrong choice in our preparations, either. Once a train leaves the station, there is always room for us to pivot if necessary. That is operational readiness. It involves carving out a budget if needed, making a big decision today, bringing in resources, new processes, awareness, or acquiring new teams.