We will periodically feature a new B2B marketer answering questions about their job, their best tips, their B2B skill set, and showcase their marketing and career advice.
This month we are excited to feature Katie Martell. Katie is an on-demand marketing consultant, writer, and speaker based in Boston, MA. She is an endlessly fascinating person who speaks her mind and is full of great ideas. Katie is also an inspiring mentor for women in the B2B marketing space, as well as a recognized B2B influencer.
We are honored to have had the pleasure work with Katie on our B2B Buyer Persona webinar with SiriusDecisions last year, and hope you can draw inspiration from Katie's advise and tips.
So without further ado, we would like to shine the spotlight on one of our favorite B2B marketers, Katie Martell...
Katie, you have the floor...
- How would you explain to your grandmother what your company does?
I’m an on-demand marketer. I tell my grandmother, Mamie, that I help companies grow in creative ways. That I work for myself. I don’t think she thinks I have a real job. (Most days, I don’t either.)
- How would you explain to your grandmother what you do for work?
Mamie doesn’t quite understand the internet, but she understands that I’m able to work from anywhere, connect with anyone in the world, instantly. She’s amazed by it.
- How has your job changed over the last five years?
I changed after cofounding, then leaving, a startup. Now that I’m consulting I look at everything with an entrepreneurial mindset. I ask tough questions of my clients and my own work. I’m more practical, something earned after pitching investor after investor seeking funding. At the same time, I take more risks. I learned it’s a bigger risk not to do so.
- Which element of your marketing tech stack would you recommend to others? Why?
One company I’m working with is Allocadia – marketing performance management cloud software. In a world where MarTech is…. crowded (to say the least), it’s refreshing and exciting to see a smart, hardworking team solving a really complex challenge for very large companies like Microsoft, Red Hat, Box, and more. They help CMOs literally run the business of marketing. How cool is that?
- What’s the best piece of content that you or your team produced recently? What makes it so good? Can you share a link?
MarketingProfs recently covered a study by Allocadia benchmarking how companies measure the performance of their marketing teams. Check it out: “Metrics and KPIs Used Most to Measure Marketing Performance”
I also recently wrote 5 Things Great Product Marketers Do after a conversation with one of my best friends, Hally Pinaud who works in MarTech as well.
- What’s your best tip for establishing a productive relationship with your sales team?
Demonstrate you’re listening to them – don’t just give it lip service. If you’re incorporating their feedback into a change in the marketing strategy, highlight it and call it out. Foster an environment where two-way feedback is celebrated.
And… I hope this isn’t inappropriate: stop taking marketing so personally. It’s business. Love what you do but don’t be so caught up in your ideas and opinions that you fail to listen to the people getting turned down every day by buyers. They have a lot on the line, and as marketers we have to invest in their success. That might mean, gasp, being wrong from time to time.
- What daily or weekly habit is the most important thing you do to help you be productive and successful at work?
Yoga! It’s taught me how to breathe through stressful times, how to prioritize what matters, and how to gain clarity when things become unclear. I have a mat in my home office. I love it.
- If you manage a team of marketers, please share a tip that has served you well in getting the most out of your team?
Help them say no. Nobody is productive when they are overwhelmed. Learning what to turn down, or delegate, and what to prioritize, is a skill that can be taught with good coaching.
- What did you study in college? How has it helped you in your career?
I graduated with a marketing degree (Emerson College) but it’s not where I began. I was originally a music major. I credit years of music training for giving me skills like practice, patience, creativity, improvisation, and how to perform under pressure and with butterflies.
- What’s the best interview question to evaluate a B2B marketer?
How do you handle change, and evolve? This role is evolving so quickly that agility, comfort with ambiguity, and flexibility can be an enormous asset.
- What advice would you give to your 25 year-old self?
Just keep swimming. Trust your gut. Also, don’t adopt that dog with that person you’re dating, it won’t work out and you’re really going to miss that dog.
- What’s the biggest intangible that you look for in a job candidate?
- How will marketing for your business or industry evolve over the next three years?
There is a lot of blending happening between distinct marketing tactics. For example, content marketing is blending into PR. They’ve got the same goals: increased brand awareness, educated audiences, thought leadership, industry positioning. Why are they treated, budgeted for, and fulfilled so separately? I’m working with a great agency in Boston, Version 2.0 Communications, to help bridge that gap.
- What underrated skills should every marketer have to succeed today? In three years?
- What are some of the challenges that you see marketers having over the next couple of years?
Making sense of all this technology they’re buying. Connecting the dots to understand what’s happening, what’s working, and what’s not. It’s easy to get caught up in buying a solution before you’ve identified the real problem. Hint: purchasing a license for a SaaS tool is not going to fix a core product-market fit issue, or a lack of customer understanding.
- How do you keep your B2B skillset up-to-date?
Trial and error :) And I love taking demos from companies to learn what technologies do. But, don’t call me, I’ll call you.
- Which conference is a can’t-miss for you? Why?
Marketo Marketing Nation Summit, Oracle Modern Marketing Experience, MarketingProfs B2B Forum (Boston!)
- Which blogs or newsletters are a must-read for you? Why?
- How do you stay up-to-date on your industry? What do you recommend for others?
LinkedIn is a huge source of daily news for me.
I recommend The Katie Martell Weekly – every week I send out new ideas, writings, and interesting links on marketing, business and life. It’s free and curated by me. Shameless plug. http://tinyletter.com/katiemartell
- If you weren't a B2B marketer, what would you choose as a career?
Something between the Barefoot Contessa and Anthony Bourdain.
Katie Martell creates buzz and drives market demand as an on-demand marketing consultant, writer, and speaker based in Boston, MA. She has been named a "marketing expert to follow", a top 10 marketing writer on LinkedIn, top 3 most influential B2B marketer on Twitter, and has been invited to speak at a variety of industry conferences. Katie has spent the last decade marketing in positions including CMO and co-founder of MarTech startup Cintell and Director of Buzz at NetProspex (a D&B company). Learn more at
www.katie-martell.com or follow her on Twitter @KatieMartell