#31 Building talent for marketing ops ft. Toby Murdock

Toby Murdock is a serial entrepreneur who has done everything from running a flower business in Ecuador to launching an educational platform that puts students on the path towards a career in digital marketing. He’s built companies – and sold them – and is now dedicated to giving back to the industry that he gave 10 years to with one of his ventures.

Tune in as he joins Pierce to talk about the talent gap in marketing operations and his vision for solving it. As a bonus, you’ll get a little insight into how Pierce became a Marketo specialist.

In this episode, you’ll learn:

1) About the various businesses that Toby has been a part of 

2) Why there is such a big resourcing problem in marketing operations

3) How he proposes to close that talent gap

Show Notes

According to Toby Murdock, one of the really fascinating things about the marketing ops space is that most of the people that work in it fell into it almost accidentally. As a relatively new function, there’s no clear pathway into marketing ops. Instead, people are given new responsibilities or assigned new tasks as their company adopts a new automation platform, and they run with it. This is a story we’ve heard over and over from the MOPs professionals we’ve interviewed on this podcast, and it needs to change. 

Today, marketing ops is a much more mature function, and most B2B and B2C companies are expected to have this expertise if they want to be relevant in how they reach their customers. But, we don’t have enough people to resource that mature function. Post-secondary institutions don’t have marketing operations courses or diplomas, so we don’t have a steady influx of entry-level professionals to lighten the load for the people who have shaped this industry. That, in turn, is leading to a significant burnout problem that might force individuals to leave our small ranks.

This is what Toby is hoping to fix with his latest venture. Highway Education is an organization that provides aspiring professionals with a quicker, more affordable pathway to digital marketing careers. It takes the coding camp model and uses it to streamline access to jobs in marketing operations. 

Not only is this public benefit corporation solving the talent gap for employers, it’s also generating pathways for typically underserved communities to access the growing digital economy. As part of this mandate, students don’t have to pay a cent for the program until they get a job offer in the field. 

Highway Education recently saw its first cohort graduate, and all 12 students were placed. Looking ahead, Toby and his team want to host bigger cohorts more regularly, and they have a target of 60 graduates in the next year. It’s models like these that can truly accelerate how we address the talent gap while simultaneously providing more opportunities to those who typically miss out. 

Listen to this episode to hear more about the why behind this project, and the different steps Toby took on his journey to it. 

Follow Toby on LinkedIn.


Thanks for listening to Unsubscribed! • a podcast created by Knak. If you enjoyed this episode, please do subscribe and leave a review on your favourite podcast player. 

Join the Conversation

If you have any feedback, or want to chat, feel free to reach out to Pierce on LinkedIn or follow him on Twitter @marketing_101.

Pierce Ujjainwalla has years of experience as a CEO, entrepreneur, and marketing leader. He has lived in the marketing trenches at companies like IBM, SAP, NVIDIA, and Marketo, and he launched Knak in 2015 as a platform designed to help Marketers simplify email creation. Visit his personal blog, Unsubscribed!, for more of the insight he’s gained as founder and CEO of Knak.

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