To the uncertain Marketing Automation users out there.. you’re not alone.
For those that don’t know much about me, my name is Andrew McLean. I am a MarTech Consultant at BluprintX ANZ (formerly Resolution Marketing Services) and I’ve been here for about 2 years. Today, I am a Marketo Certified Expert, have a range of clients across many industries, have taught Marketo Essentials and am still learning SO MUCH everyday. Roll the clock back two years to when I joined RMS, I was very much a blank canvas with regard to marketing automation. I had some minor experience with other automation platforms, a huge interest in learning and a positive attitude. When looking back at this, I feel these traits were vital in the MarTech consultant recipe, my ability to assist clients and acquiring the ever-elusive sense of technical self assurance when working with Marketo.
I feel I had a distinct advantage when I was ‘learning the ropes’ with Marketo. This was not necessarily a product of my own doing, rather the people around me and the profound impact they had (and still have) on my journey. Joining a team of highly skilled MCSAs who were incredibly nurturing in terms of my development, had an aura of self improvement and were.. patient.. with me to say the least was an amazing environment to grow in.
Fast forward a few months, I now had the knowledge to begin assisting clients as a consultant, I will always remember the degree of uncertainty I had. No matter how big or small the project , the fear of making a mistake was overwhelming and scared me to death. A common part of my day would involve a double check with one of our resident MCSAs to clarify my work. It is here that my struggle for technical self-confidence began and I feel that MANY marketing automation users face this same issue today in their day-to-day.
February 2019 marks the month that I earned my Marketo Certified Expert badge (woo). This was a huge achievement as I felt that I had conquered the first milestone of my career in Marketing Automation. In addition to this, I was more confident with my work, but I wasn’t fully there yet. Doubt still clouded my mind and I still found myself leveraging my colleagues brains for support and clarification. It was then that I realised that this was not a lack of technical self confidence. It was a way of ensuring that I had the best possible outcome for a given problem by way of utilising the resources around me. With a product as large as Marketo, you can’t know it all, that’s a fact. Accepting this is step one.
As I write this blog post I can comfortably say that I have the technical self confidence. I’ve always wanted AND I’ve had it for quite some time now. I now realise that this was building throughout my entire journey through the small things I was taught by my colleagues and the realisations I had both big and small along the way.
SO – What were some of the key learnings on my journey that helped me?
1) Be open minded to solution ideation and explore multiple options as opposed to tunnelling in on one (white boards REALLY help). From here you can pick the most suitable option for your use case and know that the next best alternatives were investigated.
2) If you have technical resources around you, USE THEM! Asking for another perspective doesn’t display a lack of ability, everyone thinks differently and with a tool as robust as Marketo you can have MANY solutions to a single problem. The REAL challenge comes with picking the most suitable.
3) If given the opportunity, teach. There is no greater way to assess your own knowledge than by teaching another person. Those areas that prove difficult to explain show that they need further understanding on your end.
4) Test, test, TEST.. for gods sake TEST! I know this one seems obvious but never let a tight deadline stop you from testing your work. Further, put together your own testing checklist including ALL steps you run through so that you can approve a program and not worry about it. Run through this prior to EVERY send and update/optimise it religiously.
5) Keep a learning-first attitude towards your work. I don’t think I’ve had a day that I haven’t learned something new about Marketo. This is not a goal of mine, rather a constant unavoidable occurrence.
6) Explore Marketo and the online resources available to you (there are MANY). If there is something you want to do, research it and see if it’s possible. If it’s not, research a little more or get creative.
7) Always look for ways to improve both professionally and personally. If given an opportunity to learn, always say YES. This will give you a more holistic understanding of the platform and how it is benefiting your business.
While I feel I have wrangled technical self confidence, doubt does still exist, and it always will. In my mind, this is what fuels my self confidence. That sense of doubt I get when I’m not 100% sure on something keeps me on my toes. It feeds my need to learn and continue my own development more than any other motivating trait I possess. It’s my brain’s equivalent to spellcheck, and I’ve never been so happy to have it in my life.
This brings me to my final and most important lesson..
8) Learn to LIVE with doubt in a positive way. Learning to harmonise with doubt for your own benefit is crucial in progressing your career. Why? Because it will make you tread carefully for all projects you undertake, it will take you out of your comfort zone and force you to challenge yourself in new and exciting ways. And, it isn’t going ANYWHERE.. Trust me.