Seven lessons from a seven-year-old agenda

Brendan Farnand

By Brendan Farnand


Published Mar 12, 2024

Seven lessons from a seven-year-old agenda

I recently came across an agenda from a five-day-long marketing operations team meeting I organized in the summer of 2017.

That’s seven years ago – before Covid, before ChatGPT, before so many of the technologies and issues that define our world today.

But though it can feel like we’re living in a very different world compared to 2017, that agenda tells another story. As I went through it, I realized that the approach we used back then to structure our meetings is still very relevant today.

In this post, I want to explain why it pays for MOPs teams to be deliberate about how they structure their planning meetings. That’s because no matter what issues you are dealing with, whether it’s AI or landing pages, experience has shown me you need a consistent, structured approach to optimize your team’s results.

A quick note before I get into this: Seven years ago, I was leading a global marketing operations team for a company that looks an awful lot like Knak’s customers today. So while the agenda I’m using as an example here was not from Knak, I think it is super relevant because there are parallels in how every enterprise MOPs team operates.

1. Deal with administrative matters first

The first item on our planning meeting agenda was marked ‘Administration.’

In any company, the marketing operations team provides the backbone for the processes and technology that support day-to-day marketing operations. That includes, for example, managing all the technology used in marketing. The technology and processes need to be really well organized so that marketing operations can flow smoothly.

That is why a critical part of any MOPs team meeting is an administrative review of the existing technologies, including any coming contract renewals.

The marketing stack of the company I was working for in 2017 was using 30-odd different technological tools; my team and I had to manage them.

So at every quarterly meeting we’d look at which contracts were coming up for renewal and decide who would be responsible for following through.

We’d review which employees had access to our existing technological tools, and consider whether we needed to broaden access and/or train new people in how to use the tools.

We’d also look at whether the tools were still relevant – no sense renewing a contract for a tool people don’t need anymore – and see whether any new technological tools were needed or available. We’d also review any new legal requirements related to the tools.

It may sound mundane, but the last thing you want is for a critical tool to stop working one day because someone on your team has forgotten to renew the contract.

2. Review collaboration with company stakeholders

Item No. 2 was ‘Collaboration.’

Marketing operations teams work with other groups within the company. So an important part of any MOPs team meeting includes a review of how that collaboration is going.

The review should start by looking at whether other teams have the tools they need to do what they need to do.

We would look at whether the interface between marketing operations and other stacks within the company was working smoothly. Those other groups included the team managing the website; the team handling social media; the team dealing with public relations; the team creating emails and landing pages; and the team responsible for localization – the adaptation of marketing content to the needs of different markets by translating and localizing content.

In any company, a number of different teams are typically involved in some aspect of each marketing campaign, and they all need to get along and work well together, supported by MOPs.

In a large company operating in various locations across the country or around the world, collaboration between regional teams also has to be reviewed. That includes not only looking at how everyone works together, but also making sure everyone is using accepted processes. We’d also look at how content was shared across regions.

By the way, whether it’s collaboration between regions or between other parts of the company, it all boils to relationships. Do you have relationships where they are needed, and are they working well?

3. Review data collection and management

Next was an item we called ‘Data Management.’

To function at an optimal level, marketing needs data. That is why an important part of any marketing operations team organizational meeting should include a review of how the data the company needs is collected and managed.

Data you collect should reflect your needs and it should be as clean as possible so you aren’t second-guessing what it means. The processes for data collection should be centralized and efficient, and everyone on the team needs to be aware of what your standards for data are.

Clean, relevant and useful data is critical to the next step – reporting.

4. Review reporting operations

Item number four was entitled simply ‘Reporting.’

The marketing operations team reports at two levels: first, to itself, to understand how it’s doing, and secondly to its partners in the company.

The value of what’s being reported depends not only on data that has been collected, but also on relationships that have been established, and on the efficiency of the MOPs team’s administration of the tools under its jurisdiction.

Within the MOPs team, for example, you should be looking at the data that has been uploaded into the system and whether it meets the team’s needs. You should also regularly consider whether there’s something new that can be reported on.

Within the company, MOPs should be able to keep stakeholders informed, for example, of how various marketing campaigns are doing, and what impact marketing campaigns are having. If the marketing department ran five different campaigns, they need to know which ones worked best and why.

The MOPs team also needs to be able to analyze specific parts of a funnel, or the entire funnel itself. And if a company is operating in many regions or countries, the team also needs to be able to break out regional or national information, as well as provide a company-wide overview.

In other words, your reporting needs to be as good as possible, and ideally anticipate needs.

5. Evaluate work on projects

The fifth item on the agenda was called ‘Projects.’

In any company, there are always projects on the go. A proper team meeting needs to review where ongoing projects are at, decide which new projects to undertake, and evaluate the impact and value of projects that have been completed.

Deciding which projects to prioritize can be especially painful. That’s because projects need resources, and resources (staff and funding) are often tight.

So for project management to be a success, you need to be laser-focused on projects that will have an impact on the areas that will help move the team forward.

We used to keep a running list of dozens of projects we as a team would ideally like to undertake, our projects were things like our next iteration of lead scoring, attribution weighting, refreshing templates and consolidating certain technologies. At each meeting we’d decide which to prioritize and who would take them on. We had to be ruthless about it, because there’s just no way we could do everything.

6. Create a roadmap for the future

The last item on our list was called ‘Roadmap.’

Every marketing operations team needs to keep an eye on the future. That means being on the lookout for things that are on the horizon that will affect how you work, or how the world functions.

Your team should be asking questions like: Which companies are doing innovative stuff? What new ventures have caught someone’s attention? What trend is about to catch on? How can the company become more efficient?

Then you use that information to build a roadmap for the future – a roadmap that might include putting some thought into whether your budget will change and how you will make the case for more money if it’s needed.

7. Keep to the basics and be consistent

The last item on my list today is not an actual item from my seven-year-old agenda. It’s more about the philosophy or approach that underlies the way I have always wanted my marketing operations team to function.

That philosophy is simple: Keep to the basics, and be consistent.

Good practices haven’t changed in the last seven or even 70 years. And if you don’t have your house in order for all the things I’ve listed above, from administration to your roadmap, you will be in trouble, especially when new issues come up – as they inevitably will.

None of this is rocket science. But it’s amazing how, in the midst of day-to-day operations, mini-crises and everyday busy-ness, we forget to take the time to handle things that are routine but vital to the smooth operations of any MOPS team.

The sad reality is that if you aren’t deliberate about tackling routine but necessary tasks, something will go wrong.

And that’s the last thing any MOPs team wants.

That’s why we would structure every quarterly meeting the same way, touching on those same six topics.

That approach really worked.

I used this approach with my MOPs team for two years, and the impact was so strong that other teams in the company started copying our methods.

And the company leadership took notice, making me feel like a real ‘intrapreneur’.

The reality is that it doesn’t take much to have the team operating smoothly; just the ability to be organized and the discipline to adhere to a plan.

Share this article

Brendan Farnand


Brendan Farnand

Co-Founder & CCO, Knak

Brendan is a career enterprise marketer who's passionate about making modern marketing accessible to everyone. He has worked at organizations of every size, from startups to global enterprises, and is experienced with the full spectrum of marketing operations, including analysis, go-to-market strategy, asset creation, sales enablement, and demand generation. He also loves dad jokes, even though his kids do not.

Why marketing teams love Knak

  • 95%faster speed to market

  • 22 minutesto create an email*

  • 10K+marketers using Knak

* On average, for enterprise customers

Built by marketers, designed for everyone

Discover the future of no-code email and landing page creation.

See it in action