With Darrell Alfonso, Global Marketing Ops at AWS
Marketing doesn’t only target external stakeholders. Darrell Alfonso refined his writing and communication skills and leveraged his knowledge of marketing to sell internal initiatives better and work more effectively with leadership.
Darrell knew that to effectively bridge technical and soft skills, you must master the art of communication in marketing ops and the ability to manage up.
Darrel Alfonso is in Marketing Operations at Amazon Web Services. He leads industrial skills training on marketing operations through Martech and serves as a speaker on all things marketing ops.
Previously, he worked as the Director of Communication at the American Marketing Association before becoming Director of Global Marketing at Hitwise, where he led the marketing and demand generation teams for the Americas and APAC
Building successful relationships and having effective communication to ensure collaboration requires a certain set of soft skills. At the same time, you're trying to balance technical skills that are really required for you to do your job. How do you effectively bridge those two skills?
It depends on your role and your company. How senior are you? How mature is your company? That determines the breakdown of the technical skill you’ll need with the portion of soft skills required.
Earlier in your career technical skills can really differentiate you from your peers and help you become an important part of the marketing team. You’re the one that's implementing the strategy. You're finding practical solutions to solve problems.
When I became a very technical marketer early on, I had many, much more senior marketers relying on me and getting my opinion, even though I hadn't been there for very long, or even though I’m not as tenured in my career. Those technical skills really helped.
Soft skills come into play more when managing larger and larger initiatives and the way that you prioritize. You don’t necessarily always call it soft skills. I think of them as business skills: being able to influence people that you may not necessarily have authority over.
If you could go back in time, what would you do differently in your career to better set yourself apart or better set yourself up for success?
I would work on improving my writing skills and improving my business writing specifically, but overall writing makes such a difference.
It's one of the reasons why I like to write articles, why I like to spend time writing posts on LinkedIn, because it helps clarify your thinking. It helps vet your own ideas and, and also helps you communicate to others.
As a marketing leader in a startup 50 people, I see the importance of marketing ops, but with resource limitation, how can I best start scaling my marketing ops without being sucked into the details and not have time or the mental capacity for the big picture?
At my former role, I managed, I did a hybrid of marketing and marketing ops for a mid-sized company. The first thing that made a big difference was the idea of program templates and documentation.
In the past it took us maybe more than ten hours to do webinars. By implementing a template, we cut that down to one to two hours per webinar. Being able to replace all the assets each time in the template gave us a standard playbook where anyone could replicate that playbook and put together a fantastic virtual event. The idea of templates really increases efficiency.
Slowing down and documenting strategy, processes, and the way to approach things helps other people understand the campaign. I think one of the problems, even with smaller organizations is that you have this siloed knowledge in everyone's head.