Ops Cast

Working in Marketing Ops in Europe with Global Teams with Omair Izhar

November 20, 2022 Michael Hartmann and Omair Izhar Season 1 Episode 74
Working in Marketing Ops in Europe with Global Teams with Omair Izhar
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Ops Cast
Working in Marketing Ops in Europe with Global Teams with Omair Izhar
Nov 20, 2022 Season 1 Episode 74
Michael Hartmann and Omair Izhar

In this episode, we talk with Omair Izhar to talk about what it is like working in Marketing Operations in Europe, especially with a US-based company. Omair is currently the Head of Marketing Operations and Technology at Ably. Prior to that, Omair had several roles in Demand Gen, general Marketing and Marketing Ops roles. He has also worked for Oracle / Eloqua.

Tune in to hear: 
- His experience working in MOPs in Europe vs other regions such as the United States) and what do he sees as the major differences between Europe and the US (or other regions).
- What he has found to be effective in managing global teams dispersed in several regions. 
- How Omair's roles evolved and expanded over time and how did he's gotten support to increase his scope of responsibilities.

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Show Notes Transcript

In this episode, we talk with Omair Izhar to talk about what it is like working in Marketing Operations in Europe, especially with a US-based company. Omair is currently the Head of Marketing Operations and Technology at Ably. Prior to that, Omair had several roles in Demand Gen, general Marketing and Marketing Ops roles. He has also worked for Oracle / Eloqua.

Tune in to hear: 
- His experience working in MOPs in Europe vs other regions such as the United States) and what do he sees as the major differences between Europe and the US (or other regions).
- What he has found to be effective in managing global teams dispersed in several regions. 
- How Omair's roles evolved and expanded over time and how did he's gotten support to increase his scope of responsibilities.

Episode Brought to You By MO Pros 
The #1 Community for Marketing Operations Professionals

MOps-Apalooza is back by popular demand in Anaheim, California! Register for the magical community-led conference for Marketing and Revenue Operations pros.

Support the Show.

Michael Hartmann:

Hello everyone. Welcome to another episode of OpsCast, brought to you by marketing ops.com. It's powered by the Mo Pros. I am your solo host. This episode Michael Hartmann. Uh, Mike and Naomi are unable to join today, so we're gonna get going anyway, joining me today is Omair Izhar and we are going to talk about what it is like working in marketing operations in. Um, and specifically in his case, working with US based company. Um, he, Omair is currently the head of marketing, operations and Technology at Aly. Prior to that, Omair had several roles in demand gen, general marketing and marketing ops roles. He is, uh, also worked for Oracle slash Eloqua. So Omair thank you for joining us today on, uh, for those, for our recording, right. This is a late Friday for you. So staying late on, uh, the last day of the.

Omair Izhar:

Hi. Thank you, Michael for um, inviting me over. It's a pleasure. Um, joining this incredible podcast, been listening to this for, for quite some time, and it's, it's kind of amazing to be a guest as well. So yeah, I'm looking forward for it.

Michael Hartmann:

Uh, flattery will get you everywhere, you know, we'll take it. All right. Well, so it, it has been a, a bit of a custom for us, I think, for a while now, to start the, some of these episodes with, you know, people sharing their career story and how they got into marketing up. So what, like, let's continue that and have you share kinda your journey and how you ended up in marketing ops and, and then we'll go from there.

Omair Izhar:

Definitely, um, I think like many, um, marketing ops have been kind of accidental for me. Um, I, after graduated, um, joined. A company called B System, which was acquired by Oracle way back. And um, I joined them as um, Eloqua administrator. So that's ideally my journey coming into Swell. But yeah, it started with Eloqua. Eloqua, you know, making sure like, um, it's been set up, um, for success. Ideally with the sunset of kana, a lot of people probably might not know about. It was sunset, it was coming to end of his life. And like I, we just replacing it. And yeah, that ideally just become my, um, marketing ops journey. Um, you know, managing marketing, um, automation platform down to now, um, leading a team, um, for Aly. Um, So yeah, that's, that's highly what it is. And, and again, in between that, from Oracle, uh, into world of Cisco, um, I've been there for roughly, uh, five and a half years. And again, doing pretty much marketing operation, elevated roles, um, right away from being someone who just, um, helping them setting up their, um, Marketing and channel program, as well as setting up like custom uh, processes, um, again in house. Um, then switching over from there into world of FinTech. Um, a company called Ware, um, again, four plus years there. Um, and again, incredible journey there. Um, joined them as a campaign manager and uh, ended up like as, as a marketing operation lead, looking after just no marketing operations, but web operations kind of come under my roommate as. And, and from there, um, you know, working for bigger corporates like soft Splunk, you know, three years there. And, um, most recently, um, at a, a startup organization called a. So yeah, these pretty much revolved around, you know, marketing automation tools, um, data processes, um, looking at their strategy as well as, uh, building teams, which is more fun part.

Michael Hartmann:

Yeah. So it's, uh, so just like every other marketing ops, your, your story is just like everyone else is in the marketing ops,

Omair Izhar:

Well, it's kind of too,

Michael Hartmann:

Right. What I mean is that there's no consistency whatsoever,

Omair Izhar:

I, I wish there was like a, you know, career define for marketing ops, but yeah, I think it's, it's mostly accident.

Michael Hartmann:

Yeah, I think, uh, you know, that if Mike was here, he'd tell you that. I think part of what his goal when he started the Mo Pros and now marking ups.com was, is to start to, to help facilitate some of that. And I see some of it happening. So, um, I, I, I'm happy for that. So there's, I think there's lots of opportunities where there's gaps that have knowledge that go beyond just, you know, knowing a specific marketing automation platform, for example, or specific technologies. Um, so curious, um, couple quick questions. So on the, on those companies that you, uh, have worked for, and I, I should know this about Aly cuz we've talked about it, but I, and I did a little bit of research, but is it a B2B or B to C? Do you have a mix of both in your

Omair Izhar:

It's a mix of both. Um, again, it's a real time infrastructure, um, company and. Um, yeah, I think it's pretty much focused around real time data and it's a startup scale organization. At the moment. We roughly have, um, 120 folks to be more precise. By the time I joined, we were roughly, I think I was employee number 64. So yeah, it has definitely doubled up since, um, I joined them.

Michael Hartmann:

That's, that's amazing. Yeah. So, so it sounds like you've not only, you've worked in b2b, b2c, you've also worked in different size and stage of companies as well throughout your career.

Omair Izhar:

That is correct. Yeah. Starting from, uh, midsize SME to a big giant, um, to, again, midsize again to a big enterprise tour now, uh, startup. So yeah, it's a, it's a bit of experie.

Michael Hartmann:

Yeah. Interesting. And um, and another, I guess another thing, especially since you worked with Eli, worked at Eloqua, right? You were at Eloqua, specifically within Oracle or

Omair Izhar:

no, um, it was a company called B System. This is what pretty much my very first job and I ended up, uh, you know, working for them for roughly six months and that company being acquired by Oracle. So it is way before. You know, the take over of Oracle. So yeah, it was a middleware company, which was I, you know, Oracle's bread and butter.

Michael Hartmann:

Yes.

Omair Izhar:

yeah, I went through an acquisition, I, the very first job. And then going through that acquisition, and again, I'm talking about the time, like 2008, like scary moments. So yeah, way back.

Michael Hartmann:

Okay. Well good. All right, so this is, this has been, uh, this is really, I can find it fascinating. Everyone's. Story. Let me, uh, one last question about that and then we'll, we can move on to the kinda main topic here. But curious, one of the things I'm always curious about are, are there, were there moments, uh, or decisions during your career or people that were part of your career that you think, like, you know, you look back like, oh, that was really like a, uh, like a key point or, or in my career where, you know, path could've been different if I'd made a different choice or had different person that I was connected with.

Omair Izhar:

Um, I think there were some definitely defining moments. I think during my, my journey, um, I would definitely fly with the very fast one. And again, via system. I, I had an incredible manager, um, named Paul Bhel. Really good friends with him now, but he was pretty much, The one who defined my career right. Had, had been my mentor for quite some time and to present day as well. If I give him a buzz, he will definitely, you know, reply to my calls and, and, you know, talk to me and then give me, you know, the honest, uh, advice people would generally would give you. So, yeah, he was an incredible person anyway, like, you know, helping me, you know, again, coming straight outta uni, like no one knows what, how exactly things will shape up, but yeah. Sitting me down, walking me through it with pretty much every single day to day stuff right away. Like how I manage my time, how I can better communicate, how I speak to team, um, project manager and stuff like that. And again, every single thing that you have learned as a part of Ty and bring into practical world. Yeah, he's been phenomenal. Um, while we are talking about. The other person who's kind of incredible within my career part was, um, my boss at VA system, uh, sorry, at at ware. Carrie Jones. Um, you know, he's been in, in kind of a tech role for quite some time, and yeah, again, He helped me, um, again, from my days from b where to present day as well. Like he's, he's incredible. Like, um, he got tons of knowledge, you know, all school market air with love of technology. He's, he's been phenomenal as well in terms of, you know, asking why he's helping me, guiding me, and then again, sometime even correcting me, right? Which is important part. So, yeah, I think these were two defining moments, and again, these two folks have definitely, they helped me a lot in terms of where I am, what I have done in, in my. Um, and again, another part of the question was like, if I have thought about it differently, you know, back in the days, I think I'm, I'm, I'm kind of a a technical minded person, so I would have gone a little bit different like direction as compared to where I am. No regrets. But, um, yeah, it is one of those things, right? Um, you need to really. Wake up every morning and, and do something which you love. And I think important for me was that, you know, technical stroke, you know, doing things differently, being strategic at the same time. And again, marketing is, is something which I love the most. So yeah, that's, that's what I do. That's, that's getting me excited every morning.

Michael Hartmann:

Uh, I, you know, I love that you've got, like, it was pretty quickly that you came up with those two people that were, you think of key to your career and, and, um, if I, if I heard you right, is that they would, not only would they be there to answer your questions and give you advice, but they would also sort of hold, like, call you out a little bit, right? When you. You know, like it's a, yeah. Like look inside yourself. So I think that's a really good that's, that is really good to have people that do that for you.

Omair Izhar:

Definitely, I think it, it, it has to be, you know, just like talking to, you know, someone who is kind of real honest friend, right? Because they need to accept your goods and bads and, and be honest when they, they give you feedback. Again, you know, relationship with your managers obviously is, is important. Like if you, from the day first becomes not only good friends with them, but been open about them and, and again, all the other factors that will come in like, hey, how you build bonding, empathy, and then obviously like, you know, pure, honest discussions around your care, I think. Yeah. And then you can build a relatively very good bond and yeah, that's, that's ideally the case with both my, you know, some of my two good.

Michael Hartmann:

That's awesome. All right, well thank you for sharing that. I hopefully our, our, our listeners will, will learn something from that and maybe take stock of who they've got in their circle. Right. So, um, let's get into this. So one of the reasons we wanted to talk was because you, you work in Europe, um, uh, and, but I think now you're working for, and you maybe in the past too, I can't remember exactly, but you've worked for companies based in the us right? So you're working in marketing ops and marketing. In Europe. But if with a US based company, and I know that you and I talked, right? I've been the opposite where I've, like I worked in the US for a Japanese based company. Um, I currently work for a company that's, uh, UK based actually. Um, although the business unit I'm in is really mostly us, but, um, so just I think let's start with, you know, how would you, like, what's your experience been working with, you know, in Europe with those. You know, for companies that are based in the United States or other, with other regions, um, are you, do you notice differences about how you work with people in Europe versus the us? Let's start with that.

Omair Izhar:

Well, the first and foremost thing is like you need to have a world clock handy, right? That's that's the first thing that you need to

Michael Hartmann:

Oh my gosh. This is like, we're recording. We're recording this shortly after. Uh, we, we at different, in different weeks change from daylight savings time to standard time, right? And so I totally understand that.

Omair Izhar:

So that's the very first thing. And, and obviously the other piece is, um, you. Time plays an important part. When, when we talk about like, uh, and again, we talked about early, like, like the bonding piece. That's, that's kind of important. But I think, uh, having that face time, especially if you, if you look at past two and a half years and probably some of the time we're back as well, like having that face time is kind of super important for, for us, especially in, in swell. Working with those, um, corporates, again, based out of us, uh, again, San Fran based out of uk and then, you know, eight hours difference. It can be very, very difficult to manage. But luckily, um, I've been in, in kind of a, in a hybrid work for very long time, considering like from my early Cisco days. And how I managed that was, um, you know, again, adjusting my. Working hours, um, you know, talking especially about my time at Splunk, I would have time, especially Monday and Friday. Little bit working with the US always, and obviously, um, accommodating, like based on my personal life as well. But yeah, it, it was, it was more, more like just like making sure, like I create ample time for the team there. Plus the team was kind of super, um, um, adopted for, for me as well in a way. Like they, they might just step in eight o'clock their time just to have some time with me again, talking about those complex projects where there's going to be a cross collaboration across the pond. Which is, which is super important. So yeah, it has to be like, you know, a bit of flexibility involved to it. And again, um, giving ample, uh, prompt time to folks as well. Otherwise, yeah, think can get like last minute rush through which I, I lead the recipe for disaster. So, yeah. Um, having that moment, I think definitely.

Michael Hartmann:

Yeah, you mentioned something early in that when you were answering the question about FaceTime, And I know what, so I'll go back to the time when I worked for a company. It was based in Japan. We had, generally speaking, right? Everything was, this was really pre Zoom even was a big thing. It was conference calls and um, It was so hard to, to really work effectively with those folks over there and not like, no one's fault. Right. It's just like the, the communication was a challenge. Um, by the way, their, their English was far better than my Japanese, like the one word I know. Um, but, so there's that plus the time difference plus like the major cultural differences, and it was, it was a, it made a huge difference. Going over to Japan and meeting and socializing and working with them in person, it, it, it really, really changed how that relationship worked. I think even though we were doing remotely after that, we, you know, only I do that once every year or two. So do you find the same thing with, like, do you find it, uh, that the case regardless of country that you're working with, or do you find it with certain countries or certain regions that it makes more of a.

Omair Izhar:

Well talking about, you know, uk, us. No problem. We speak the same. Definitely. But I think it worked quite well, especially like when I, uh, joined as, as a me person, you have to understand like the cultural aspect. I think this is a really good point that you highlighted the cultural differences between actually within Europe as well, you know, outside of the Europe, you talk about Middle East for example, and, and you know, accommodating to that, I think, um, It definitely makes a, it's a massive, uh, difference, you know, understanding that cultural aspect is super important. Like, um, and again, I'm talking about, as you mentioned, your example around Japan. So I ended up like working quite closely with folks in, you know, middle East and, and, um, Southeast Asia. It was. Like total different way of working as compared to now just like more focused around Europe, how you, you know, work with, for example, my best friend in dark region versus you know, my best friend's in Northern Europe. So definitely you have to do quite a lot of tailoring around how you work with them, how you communicate with them. Um, but yeah, you know, talking about us, I think it's perfectly fine. I think that they are very, Understandable in terms of like the culture. Um, but yeah, again, one of the key topic that we previously have discussed was, you know, how us as a Europe kind of work with U us and I think there is going to be a, a, a continuous, um, conversation around like how we need to tailor those aspects for, for Europe. One fit all, um, doesn't work sometimes, uh, but yeah, having that, um, I'll call it the, the. What's the word I'm looking for? Like it's, it has to be like super tailored around like what we do, for example, region by region. And if you don't understand certain things by talking to them, then yeah, you won't be able to, um, build the right processes, build the right way of communication with them. So just visiting those regions would not help. But yeah, I'm obviously, um, learning. I think it's a two way, uh, traffic. You have to continuously learn. One key thing I think is super important, which I find it very, very helpful within my career as well. One of my key managers used to say that to me, like every time when you speak to a different person and to a different region, be a Mickey Mouse is like VI is small mouse. So get to listen more, understand more, and talk less. And I think it can really, really help you. Um, which I find it fascinating still the present.

Michael Hartmann:

Yeah, no, I, I think it reminds me of like the short period of my career when I was in, in a sales role, in one of the, the training, the went through training. I wasn't ready to be in sales at that point in my career. I really wasn't all that great at it. But one of the things I remember, the biggest thing I remember from the training, Well, there's a couple things, but the one that really always remember, and I think it applies across, is that, uh, there was like this research, like the best sales people were not the ones that we all assume. Just talk, talk, talk, talk, talk, talk, right? They actually asked really good questions. And they listen actively and, and then they think of the next question. They're not the ones who are talking, asking a question, wait, not already. Like planning on what the next thing they're gonna say is. I think that like, I like them Mickey Mouse saying like, big ear, small mouth. Right? I heard variations of that. I think that is such an insightful thing. So for people even regardless of whether you're working people across. Yeah, in, in a certain region or country, but also, you know, across the globe. That is, I, I love that. I'm gonna steal that Mickey Mouse analogy, so thank you.

Omair Izhar:

Not a problem. Yeah, I think it works. Definitely works. And I think, as you rightly said, like you know, you'll gig in sales. You know, one of the key, um, I should say like learning from my career, I think it was early days, uh, when I was leaving Oracle as a part of the acquisition, they actually offered me to work in sales. And I said like, you know what, I'm a marketer. Let, let's give it a go. And I ended up like sitting in the sales academy for like probably two weeks. And at the end of two weeks I decided, that that's not going to be my cup of tea. But to

Michael Hartmann:

or, or Oracle. Oracle is, was a, and probably still is a sales machine, right? So,

Omair Izhar:

Oh my God. It was, it was nice to be in that phase. I think you get to learn quite a lot in such a quick amount of time, but I think I decided at the end of two weeks, like that's where I'm not gonna survive. And I think, uh, we all know the reasons behind it. I'm gonna go into those details.

Michael Hartmann:

well, so this is a little bit of an aside. What I will tell you, my experience also is like I wasn't really, that wasn't what I was ready to do or made to do, particularly at that point in my life and career, but, I will, I will say it gave me a very good perspective about how really hard it is to sell and do it well. And so I, as as, especially when you get into marketing and marketing operations, it's really easy to discount other, well, it's easy to do that in any function, but I think between marketing and sales, right, we like to discount each other's, um, you know, the amount we add to an organization. And I, as much as I am a big fan of marketing and operations, I think I also understand. Picking up a phone and calling a prospect and getting hung up on, um, asking for the, the, the contract. Right. All those things are, they seem easy, but they're not. It is a huge ego smack when they, you get no's and you get no's more than you get yeses. Even the best salespeople would tell you that.

Omair Izhar:

So true. Yeah. Definit.

Michael Hartmann:

All right. Well, so you mentioned something in there. I, I think I, if I got it right, you know, we were talking about like, like regional differences. It, it, this is, I'm a, I'll give you a for instance that I think about when I talk to people when we, I've, I've worked at companies that want to go from, you know, doing a lot of stuff in the US or Americas like US, Canada, and some in Europe, when they want to move to other areas. So, um, do you, do you find, cuz I think, I think of like, I think a lot of marketers and companies think of like, well, we, there's a lot of'em thinking about these major, like you got the Americas, or maybe you have North America, south America, you've got Europe, middle East, Africa is all kind of grouped as one. Right? And then AsiaPac. And then some people, especially technology companies, separate Japan out from the rest of AsiaPac. But what I've, what I've found, or the way I've seen it done is that like the Americas is generally done in the same way, regardless of state or country. I think a lot of American companies when they go to Europe, think of it as a homogenous kind of place as well, right? Unless they're, at least from a marketing standpoint, I don't think they do if they have feet on the ground for selling. Cause clearly that matters. And then I always think of, I've always thought of Asia like it's like a dozen. Places because there's actually a lot of differences in how business is done in Japan versus China versus Australia versus you know, Singapore or whatever. I, I mean, is this your observation like, or like how are you, I guess, especially when you're sell, you're marketing and doing stuff in Europe for a company that's based in the US who probably has people who think of Europe as this one big place. Right? How are you managing that?

Omair Izhar:

Okay. Good question. So first and foremost, I think there are instances where as. You pointed out they are folks on the ground, you know, and obviously they can be your eyes and ears and obviously they are the first person who's gonna give you the feedback if this is going to be the right thing to do for that particular region or not in case we are not, and I think a lot of tests in trial tend to happen. Right. But, and again, you know, considering like certain norms in, in Europe, like France, if you send them English Europe, They probably will just ignore it. And, and same can be set for Dock Region apart from like Swiss, where they probably would have a bit of, um, you know, click open and, and um, you know, read, um, you know, stuff like that. But in, in terms of adding that regional taste to it, I think, um, looking at just Europe on its own, there are massive differences. Um, you know, there is a lot of respect factor, the, the language. Um, how certain things have been kind of put together, the sense of respect comes, comes into play. Um, now privacy is another big thing, especially in Europe, which has to be like the top priority, you know? Um, and again, working in ops, it, it really, um, you know, you have to like stay on top of so many different things. Yeah. GDPR is just one blanket, but at the same time now, for example, since the Brexit, like you have his. Previous rules. So you have to keep on like reading those and staying on top of that. And when we talk about like, Hey, now working for us, you have those we'll call as the global comps coming in and you are the person on the ground have to really work and coordinate and triage, got a lot of things with your field marketing teams on the ground. You have to talk about all these things with them. Hey, there you go. This is going to be the language. This is going to be the messages. Who you gonna target? How are we gonna target? How often are you gonna target? What kind of channels we gonna use it. And the other expert that comes into play, and again, this is sometimes like where ops can become super helpful, is like our territory slightly now, um, into the world of sales as well. Considering now previously that floats into, for example, if people are using outreach or SalesLoft for their sequences, like. We definitely become the voice there, helping the team define like, Hey, this has to be toned down, has to be slightly, you know, changed based on the region or the number of touches you're gonna have because marketing in, in the past, right, have tons of data around like how people respond to messages, type of messages, types of emails that we sent. So again, yeah, sales still want to send emails, but we really are the right people on the ground to work with. To actually build a better sequences that actually helped the team to do conversions, get better acceptance of those messages. So yeah. Um, I think it, it's a massive, um, shift since the GDPR comes into play. Since, um, now we are working quite closely with, with, you know, teams outside of our team, like we call it marketing operation team. So yeah, that's definitely. Regional factor. There's a lot of other factors, as I said, like previously. Um, and obviously understanding sometime, you know, especially like, um, my time at, at Splunk when we were talking about, you know, really complex technical words. So you have to really work with the folks on the ground just to, you know, I would call it, not the dumb it down way, but actually make it like simplify so people can understand that on, on regional level. Some of those will don't even exist in certain Aries, for example. But yeah. Um, this is kind of super, I.

Michael Hartmann:

So are you. Um, here's what's really interesting to me and then I've got a follow up. Maybe I'll do the follow up first. But it's interesting you talk about the technical terms. Cause I worked at Texas Instruments for a number of years and we were, uh, working on, uh, uh, localizing content. And the research team that did the research in, uh, and this was particular to Asia, uh, I can't remember it was China or Japan. May have been both, but when they went over there to see like, uh, technical documentation, like data sheets on products, right? With do we need to translate those, what was really interesting is what they found going into people's offices. They was usually an engineer who would be in their, in their office that would literally print out the. Document and then in the margins had the translations and they actually didn't want the translated content. Cause I think a lot of us just assumed, oh, they were gonna want it translated to chin, you know, one of the Chinese languages or kaji or, or whatever. But in fact, they didn't trust the translation on technical information. It was really fascinating. So, um,

Omair Izhar:

You rightly pointed out like we, we decided like have all this Chinese or Japanese text, all of it and technical terms, they remain in English. Right. So, um, yeah, man. Again, not to forget like a lot of times the browsers, especially like they were just using the machine translations. Oh my God. Like, uh, it can be, it can be, yeah. it can be a.

Michael Hartmann:

I could get the gist of some stuff by Trent doing those translates, like, uh, I remember getting, yeah, replies from people from marketing emails in other regions and it would be in whatever their local language was. And I'd like, I don't know what this says and I've thrown into a translate tool and, um, it never was. Never felt like it was quite right, so, but Okay. So I'm curious, so you, you, I brought up translation, but I didn't hear you talking about translated content, which was interesting to me. Maybe you were implying it there for regional differences within the, the continent and all that. But are, I mean, are you, because I think a lot of us in the US would think, oh, You know, they don't really need it translated, or we need to translate it into, you know, say three major Spanish, French, German, right cover, that'll cover everybody. Like, I don't know, like, is it, is translation an important piece for you there on when you're getting stuff or is it more about, uh, you mentioned simplify, simplifying the English content so that it will work across multiple countries.

Omair Izhar:

I think it's, it's a, it's a combination of both. And I think you right, you pointed out I was, you know, in talking about regionalization, I think I was meant to include that translation component as well. It can. One of our, you know, biggest successes as well is it can become the bottom neck as well. And I think most of the dailys are kind of related to localization and translation. So, um, yeah, I think there, there's a combination of two things, right? There's, uh, simplified English that has been kind of, you know, kind of tailored to use. I outside of the, you know, the Americas as such. Um, a lot of time, you know, This can be the right route. Um, and then again, it, it, can be instances like that where, um, you know, and again, certain countries, especially in mainland Europe, they would not open up emails based on their subject lines. But overall, we have seen, like, if it's been like really nicely written and tailored according to mainland Europe, They have a really good success rate. Yes, of course localization will come into play because there's going to be a massive ask, especially around dark region because, you know, the sense of respect and, and localization, I think is kind very, you know, go hand in hand is very important for them. Um, there, there have been instances in my short career as well where I've seen like, hey, localization becomes like a big. Block pen and everyone's backside in a way, like by the time localization comes in, I think the ship has sailed and the campaign won't even go live. Um, and again, it totally dependent on the complexity as well. So, and again, combination of simplicity and making sure, like, you know, when we are going for localization and, you know, speed to execute is, is super important for that. So, yeah. And again, instances like the companies I work with, they kind of, you know, split Europe into tier one and tier two countries considering like everyone, like where their most box are coming from. So prioritizing is this super important and, and making sure, like, I think. Us as marketing ops and I think we, we play multiple, uh, roles, especially in Europe and again, working for, for US companies, we've become like project managers as well. In many instances. I've done this thing, um, you know, role multiple times where I am the one who's coordinating the efforts in terms of making sure, like we. We create those formats which are quick to localize and quick to convert back into the original formats. So, you know, back in the, we tend to have those Excel files to a point, like now we are coming to a point, we have sophisticated dams. Ideally they're doing the same functions and now the connectivity makes things super easy for us to. Push and publish stuff directly into our marketing automation and CMSs and and stuff like that, which obviously helps us a lot as an ops person because speed is every single thing that helps us to execute and we have to. Work across the region, and again, America being one like, but here we have again, different time zones as well, just like us, right? But we have to give time separately to just give an example down region, not, um, Northern Europe. And then we have Southern Europe, and then if we extend down to south, um, you know, again, Eastern Europe as well, things are done slightly differently. So yeah, the, these are all the factors which, which come in. Regardless of methods, you just wanted to, you know, take them as, as priority one, country's priority, two countries or, you know, rest of the Europe as we call it. So it is, it is important. Um, but yeah, it is vital that as a part of the process, as, as you becoming the PM you coordinate all those efforts together. Sometime you actually drive the whole team forward as well, considering like if it's a, is a key thing to deliver. You make sure like everyone who's responsible for doing certain jobs in order to, you know, make the whole program successful, they do things rightly in a timely manner.

Michael Hartmann:

Yeah, so I think what I took away from that is if you are, you're in a position where you or your team is thinking about doing localized content, whether it's emails or Atlantic pages or web content, whatever it is that, um, I. You, you need to allow ample time for the translation and review and QA of it, because if you don't right, then you're, you're putting yourself at risk or, or you need to then decide, you know, if that's, if that's not enough, if you don't have enough time for that, do you still go to market with something that you have that is in English? Um, right. Or whatever language you start with, um, which makes sense. I mean, I, I like you, I mean, every place I've seen translation, even if there is a, one of these translation engines that gets smarter as you feedback the corrections, um, there's, I, I have never found, I've not found a place that is comfortable with just trusting that without having somebody within the company. Right, or somebody that knows that space. So you might hire an individual contract or something, but which you're right, it slows it down, particularly if it's de detailed content.

Omair Izhar:

Of course, and I think it is, um, right to call out. Right? Um, when we talk about marketing operations roles and how they kind of transform into roles in Europe as, as I mentioned earlier, like you becoming the PM role. But another thing that I, I think like we, we wear multiple hats is like, I consider our roles become like, um, you know, PM on different levels. Like we become marketing managers at certain instances as well, right? Um, as, as we always have those new product launches or new program launches, now we have a seat on those calls. And the important factor there is like the, you know, creating the preparedness level further down. So, for example, it's a big program being launched and obviously the aspect is always about, Hey, let's discuss. Reach, like where are we gonna target them? Obviously outside of the mainland America is just Europe, okay? For us, it's like we, we are the one raising hand. Hey, if we need to look at these, we have to really factor in the localization aspects. And what that meant is like if we are meant to launch on, just give an example, 1st of March, we need to give at at least, you know, three to four weeks. Prepare time of localization. And again, as you're right, you said human factor will come into way because someone has to eyeball it, like making sure like the, the sentences are ended correctly. The um, um, the prefixes are kind of localized in the right way. You know, last name was kind of used in every way, whereas Germany, we need to make sure like it's been, you know, set up correctly. So yeah, it has to be. You know, that particular role where we actually become key individuals who actually work with those corporate teams, product teams or whatever it is, to make sure, like we, we build those project management, the whole program. Otherwise, yeah, as we write, said, Hey, if you're launching it, like we are launching in piecemeal, right? The English goes first and then the rest of the language is coming second. So this is, this is kind of very important. And again, especially for bottle launches, it's super critical, uh, and. Our marketing, um, program manager hat will come into play massively every day in making sure, like we have active conversation with pretty much everyone within the organization and outside of the organization where we are working with localization agencies.

Michael Hartmann:

Yeah, that's, that's so true. So for our listeners who haven't gone through dealing with that, someone comes to you and says, you wanna do localized content, can't you just throw it in Google translate? No, you can't. Like, you can, you can, but you're probably not, you're gonna end up regretting it. Um,

Omair Izhar:

and, and back in the days, right, we, we tend to have those Excel files. And again, considering like, uh, if you need to convert those things back into landing pages or emails or, uh, now sequences in your outreach platforms, you don't speak that language. I have to really coordinate that, like what need to replace what it, it's just, that's incredible. And, and back in the days if you talk about like how those. How things, you know, make your life difficult. Consider like someone from Spain or Italy or any other country will come, Hey, this, there's an error in this line and for you, every single thing is Jewish anyway. Right? So I'm gonna change what, so, you know, having those things, and again, you have to, you know, not be a rocket scientist to understand how to actually manage that. But I think, as I said, you become that PM who actually handle those expectations in the right. you need to come up with those creative ways to make sure, like what were you trying to achieve actually resonate with everyone within those projects. Um, otherwise you're building a recipe for disaster.

Michael Hartmann:

Yeah, I it. Well, and then there's also just nuances of local. I don't even know what the word is, but like phrases that you, we just use and just assume, say the US people know, like there was one, I wanna say it was some variant of like 24 7 that if we used it in Japan, apparently it was actually like a really negative thing. I'm probably getting it completely wrong, like what there was, but there was something very much like that. Something that we would normally use in the US to represent like how available we are, or it would've been general. Interpret it as a good thing. And it was like the opposite in this other region, and it was, thankfully we had somebody there who had told us, right, you can't use that. But those are like no translation engine's gonna really pick that up.

Omair Izhar:

No, I think. That's so true. And again, uh, that's why a lot of now new companies that, you know, in the back end, the days used to be only sdl. And again, I don't get no favors from them by saying that, but you know, um, as, as you rightly called out, like it used to be like very much a human based, like localization at that time to point, like now we have few new, um, players in, in the. Um, which, which talk about like, those AI based, um, localization and, and actually they get, you know, all these things like easily picked up. Um, they flag, uh, you know, information like that over to you and obviously you can decide like what actions you're gonna take. So I think the technology is definitely helping us a lot in terms of moving in the right direction, simplify things for us. Um, and again, it has good and bad to it, but I see definitely, you know, Technology is definitely helping us massively where we have to deal with so many different use cases along the same time within Europe and outside of the Europe, especially where languages are concerned.

Michael Hartmann:

Well, so let's, let's switch gears a little bit. So if I remember right in our earlier conversation, you have a team that has actually distributed, not just in Europe, but I think in other regions around the world, right? Is that correct?

Omair Izhar:

Um, that's correct. At, at as Splunk. We had team pretty much started all around global, especially focused on us actually like follow the sun movement and obviously we have folks in, in PAC as well. Um, my role at Aley, obviously, you know, we are remote first company, so we had team pretty much started it all around. Um, my team is pretty much like. Everywhere. Like sometimes they are in Spain, sometimes they are sitting in, in sunny Dubai. So yeah, it, it is the case.

Michael Hartmann:

What, so what are some, you know, some of your lessons learned over the years that you could share with our listeners about? You know, uh, particularly those are either working with or managing teams are distributed, uh, across, you know, pretty wide swaths of the, of the world.

Omair Izhar:

Um, good question. I think one of the key things which. In my view can be the biggest success, uh, when you're building team. I think it's, it's that, um, the openness, uh, within your team. I think I like to be managed. Uh, you know, like the way I manage my team is the same way I like to be managed, so I think that's something which I, um, have applied massively within, within my teams as well. Obviously people talk about, you know, accountability, like, you know, having so many different project management tools and, and stuff like that. Um, I, I think they are good for us in terms of helping us, but I think the success lies when, when we are managing those remote, uh, remote teams and, and again, teams sitting in different times. Is continuous communication and collaboration. Um, what I found really helpful is some sort of, um, visual platform, which really helps the team. Um, one of the key ones, obviously, I, I use Asana massively in, you know, from my early days to now, I switched over to use of mirror. That has been a life changer in terms of how we put our efforts together, collaborate together, how we actually get our work done together. Um, again, this is super important. Now, again, managing those teams, I think. You have to build quite a lot of personal bonds with the team. I think one of the key thing, I think my team would laugh at it if they get to listen to this podcast. They used to call me a motherly figure within, within the team considering like, I care and I super care my team because, um, especially wellbeing of your team members is super important. Like if they are, and again, I'm not gonna use the word like properly looked after, but if it is kind of very real, like if they. Lists been listened all the time. They've been like actively, you know, asked about like, you know, what they think about our team, our management style, you know, other teams which kind of work with us. They will become like, you know, real core members of your team. They will actually go out of the way and actually do things like we have all these instances. We have, you know, Last minute changes. We have those fire drills, we have those things just going p shape. Like they will actually, you know, step in and actually do things, which I call it miracles, right? Um, if you don't look after them, if you don't speak to them, if you don't have that factor built into it, and again, it is important that you have that one to one and actually one to many kind of a bond in between the teams. Yeah. Otherwise the there is, there's never going to be a success. One thing which I always talk to my team is like, there's no, I, there's always a, we, you know, um, we as a team compliment each other. Right. Um, I obviously, like, I've been in, in this role for quite some time, but I see my younger team members who actually bring in 10 of, um, skill set, which I don't have it. And, and we all compliment each other. But yeah, again, we, we listen to each other a lot. We learn from each other a lot. Um, other successes, which I found like managing teams like that is, is I call it downloading information, right? As in, in simple way, like document every single thing, like tips and tricks as we might have learned throughout your career. Um, luckily, like I tend to store quite a lot of things on my Google Drive, so what I do is like if, when I move roles, I bring those kind of knowledge, customize it based on my role, and make sure I communicate with the team as well. You know, if they don't understand certain things, I'll make sure I, you know, spend time with them talking with those changes. And likewise. If I get to, you know, see something like incredibly happen by like, done by certain team members, I make sure like they have been recorded. Like, and, and it's been shared all across the team as well. One thing, which I find, I think the success of team lies in that, like, not tying your hand around things, but actually opening it up so people can learn from you. Um, and again, it's, it's, you know, you don't see that, you know, effect straight away, but you will see that you. Compounding massively. Like the way you start sharing things, what you know with others, they will get to pick that up and share further more. I think that is what I found in ops world, especially, like what you guys have been doing is the same thing. The knowledge that you guys have, you've been sharing your lacrosse, so it's, it's, it's valid within the team as well. Whatever you have learned, you just continuously share, and this is where I see people, people will start building those, you know, motion continuously. You will see that impact. When they, you know, your team member will go in and work for another team, they will start doing the same thing, like all the good habits that they have learned in your team. So, yeah, openness is super important. Not keeping your hands tied around things is, is super important. And one thing, which I always highlighted with my team, like back in the days, people tend to have this thing like around, you know, the stuff, the processes, I, I, I kind of simply highlighted them, Hey, I created up my replicates, I create my. Replaceable because, you know, this is where I think this, you know, the learning will come in, but this is where the successes will come in. So yeah, let's just not restrict yourself into just one thing, open up share, and you'll see, um, you know, really, really awesome stuff happening.

Michael Hartmann:

Uh, it, it's, um, I feel like I could have just been saying a lot of the same things cuz I, I think I, cuz I've had distributed teams not as widely distributed as yours, I think for a while. And I've found that I'll, I'll paraphrase a little bit right. That, that, um, Manage the whole person. Right? So not just their work. You know, it's like, cuz I think it's just unrealistic that people can separate work in private life. Right? You know, that doesn't mean you pry or, or do, but if, if someone's struggling and you recognize it, right. Being aware of that and being there to support however they want. Um, but also, um, to me it's a lot about building trust, right? So sharing information. I think if you share as much as you can, Uh, uh, that when the time comes where they may ask you something, you say, I just don't know, or I'm not able to share because of what a reason you built the trust. They're like, you would share if you could. And, um, so I, I think that's a really important one. I think your point about complimenting each other and be working together as a team to be successful. Totally agree with that, right? I think there's. Uh, a lot of value of understanding your, your blind spots along with like what other things that your other, the rest of your team brings to the table. And then being humble enough to ask for help when you have to, you know, work with your, that area of your. Responsibility that doesn't really take advantage of your strengths. Right. So, um, I think all this stuff that you just talked about, like every one of those, not only do I think that works, I think it's super, it's almost absolutely required when you've got a distributed remote team. I think it works just as well with people in person, but you could probably get away with a little bit less of that because that, yeah, that direct human connection in face to face time. You know, you get the advantage of body language, all body language, not just, you know, you know, neck up. Right. So, um, yeah, so it, it's funny because we actually just recently made a, within our, uh, leadership team at the company I met, we was like, we're gonna commit to, cuz we were getting outta the habit of not being on camera on, and we have a widely distributed team, like not being on camera and we're like, Let's, like, let's all agree that we're gonna try do our best, we're gonna be on camera, uh, and we're gonna do, be on camera with as much of our body as we can, right? Because so much of it is, well, you, our listeners can't see like, I'm using my hands right now. Right? So like, hands, mood, you know, facial features, all that stuff is so huge in building the, the connections. Anyway, uh, we could probably go on a whole long about, about that, but that's like, I'm really glad to hear that. Like, actually what's comforting to me is that your take on that with a completely probably different set of people, a different regions of the world, like I think that translates because it's a human nature thing.

Omair Izhar:

Of course, and. Is just not that human nature. I think you, as you, right? You said the body, um, your hand gestures, your oral, you know, expressions. I think, you know, it, it plays a massive role. One thing right now, I'm sitting, um, on my chair, but I generally, you know, stand up most of the time so people will see me like walking back and, you know, having a gesture. I think it's important. One thing, which I, I think is important, as you talked about, trust, um, I made. We just have those, you know, zoom meetings, but at the same time, we'd have no, you know, zoom meeting with no cameras on, like where I asked my team to be, Hey, let's just have a voice call only, and for, for that particular call, you need to get out of your office as well. Like if you are especially working remotely to, to ensure that, you know, We have the time to look at what's happening all around us. Like, you know, the weather is good, just make sure you get little bit of sun. And obviously, um, for all our pretty much team discussions like that, you know, it's, it's been allocated like every month we do minimum one call like that, where we spend good 30 to 40 minutes just like that, like no camera, but. We've been out and about and, and do things. And again, as I said, like when you have been out and about ideas flows in, and that it actually helped us massively in terms of doing the things people not thought about it. So,

Michael Hartmann:

I've, worked at a place where we, this was bef pre covid where we did walking meetings.

Omair Izhar:

it helped right?

Michael Hartmann:

definitely. Ideas flowing. Whoa. Um, wow. I, there's so much more I wanna ask you, but like, let's, let's, we're gonna have to wrap it up. Why don't we just do, I'll leave it open to you a little bit and that, is there anything that we haven't covered that you would want to share with our listeners? About working with remote teams, working as a a, especially for our listeners who are maybe in the US and working with colleagues who are in other parts of the world. Right? What are you, what are things you'd want them to remember, uh, when they're working with those folks that they may not be thinking about or understand about what it's like to be on that other side of that sort of receiving end of here's a new, here's new, uh, you know, marketing communications plan.

Omair Izhar:

Yeah, I think the way I would like to. Highlight, I think as a part of learning is, um, talk. That's, that's important factor. The other piece is celebrate together, right? It's just not your successes, but considering working with, um, a diverse team as we all talk about it, I think celebrate their locals celebrations. Like, you know, you don't have. We have als, we have so many local festivals, you know, have that thing factor in because you will learn a lot from it, right? So yeah, it just opens up so many different things. Like we, you know, I introduced where your local dress day, you know, something, which I find like funny at the same time is like interesting as well. Um, but yeah, I think this, this really helps. Um, it, it. In a way like it breaking the ice, it let people open up and obviously build bonds. You know, we all are like a family. This is where we spend most of our time outside of our, you know, close family. So make more bonds, you know, have more conversations because ideally you, you know, this will actually get you. Where you want it to be, you know, network, you know, and as, as you rightly said earlier, raises hand where you don't know something, you know, ask for help, really need help. Um, but yeah, enjoy, um, I think celebrate and have more fun at work and, uh, and just be ready to, you know, continuously help others. Because this is where you will see, um, you. out of blue, people will step in and help you out of trouble. You know, not considering like we are going through a very tough time. People will step in and, you know, amazing things like, you know, I know for sure recently with all the layoffs and stuff happening, people aren't coming out of the way and then helping people out, like especially ops and outside of ops, um, to get into new roles. You know, some of the folks which I have previously worked be like they are mentoring, right? So it is, it is important, like open up, just, you know, just know someone who just like, you know, we living the silo. Open up and let people come into that circle. It's going to be super important for your success.

Michael Hartmann:

Yeah, so remember the Mickey Mouse analogy, right? Big ears,

Omair Izhar:

Of course.

Michael Hartmann:

mouth. And I, I think maybe this is what you were getting at with like, uh, celebrate together. All this is like, I think it's really easy for us to focus on efficiency of say, meetings and not leave space for building those connections. And I do think it's really valuable to have some time built in for, for a lot of those, which, you know, I think a lot of people, you know, who look at ops people or think we're looking at, you know, optimization and efficiency and why would we want to do that or we, but I am. Like, to your point, right? I mean, you can build that trust with people. They will, they will then, um, pay it back when it, when the time comes.

Omair Izhar:

Of course. Yeah. And um, Human factor, you know, always think about others as human first and then your employee or your team member. Secondly, and I think we have learned that in like past two and a half years when we went in lockdown and, you know, stuff like that. People have issues and you know how people have dealt with it. So. Yeah. Um, and again, I, I always think like human bust, um, helps, and again, it fits in quite nicely with the marketing as well, right. Because you know how it.

Michael Hartmann:

Yeah, absolutely. All right, well, Amer, this has been a fun conversation. I could, we could go on for hours I think. Um, cuz there's a lot, I think, where we overlap on our philosophies, but if folks do want to keep up with you or connect with you or learn from you more, what's the best way that they can do?

Omair Izhar:

Um, I am on LinkedIn and Twitter, so my LinkedIn is Omair doar and um, at Twitter you can find me at Omair tweets. I think these are the two key ones, which I generally use, but obviously, you know, you guys can definitely help me connect with further folks as well. If someone is looking to have a conversation with me. Um, you know, if they are looking at some of the things like how to build teams and, and, you know, build empathy factors. So yeah, I love to connect. Um, but yeah, I, I. It's a great platform that you guys have provided to, I don't know, hundreds and thousands of ops professional. So yeah, stay connected. Keep on listening to, um, Michael and rest of the team. I think you will get to learn quite a lot from it. So yeah, touche, share to you guys, and I wish you many, many successes.

Michael Hartmann:

Well, you, you're too kind. But th and thank you. So thank you for joining us. Thanks for sharing that. Thanks for the, the, the kind words. But, and then thanks to our listeners, uh, for continuing to support us. If, again, we're always looking for ideas for topics or, or guests, um, including if that's something that you wanna do. So definitely get ahold of me or Mike Rizzo. Or Amy Lou. We're on LinkedIn. We're on the, uh, marketing ops.com platform. So, Thank you for everyone. Until next time, we'll talk to you later. Bye.

Omair Izhar:

Thank you.