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 Karen Nguyen, Director of Channel Marketing at Rogers Communications. Karen is passionate about technology and small business success and her job neatly marries these two interests.
In her free time, Karen satisfies her wanderlust through adventures with her husband and two sons. She’s a real estate investor in Toronto and she’s also always ready to network with entrepreneurs and small business owners and share stories and advice. We hope you’ll enjoy reading through her insights and advice below.
- How would you explain to a ten-year-old what your company does?
My company helps bring people (and that could be individuals, families, or businesses) together through technology-driven experiences that allow them to engage better with one another.
- How do you explain what you do to your kids?
We build relationships with businesses and help them succeed on their business journey.
- How has your job changed over the last five years?
My role has continued to evolve, and I love the challenge and the scope of accountability it brings. We are evolving to be more customer-centric and data-driven so that we can build better customer experiences and better programs and campaigns to support our business customers.
- How do you think your job will evolve in the next couple years?
As we strive to become more customer-centric, I see my role evolving to be much closer to our frontline teams, such as our business care team, so that we're more embedded in how we shape the overall customer experience.
- Which element of your marketing tech stack would you recommend to others? Why?
I would recommend using Pardot, as it’s been an invaluable tool in helping us tie data to a lot of our marketing initiatives, and better track and measure our customer and prospects touch points based on open rates, engagement rates, etc.
What’s the best piece of content that you or your team produced recently? What makes it so good?I’ve seen quite a bit of engagement on a post I shared most recently on the Hockey Clinic Experience we created for the children of some of our business customers. I believe what makes this post so good is that it is authentic and relatable, and it sheds some light on some of the unique things that Rogers is doing from a marketing perspective that they may not be aware of.
- What’s your best tip for establishing a productive relationship with your sales team?
At Rogers, my team and I make an effort to join internal and customer-facing sales meetings, so that we're able to understand what the sales teams are going through. My best tip to establish a collaborative relationship is to first realize that a sales problem is also a marketing problem. Then we have to make a conscious effort to speak in their language.
- What's your best tip for getting the best out of your Marketing team?
I believe getting organized and prioritizing helps to keep the momentum on a team and helps with their day to day work load. An example would be sending out a pre-read of the materials along with the agenda ahead of time –this way we’re able to connect on what’s important, and it frees people up to get back to tackling their to-do list.
- What daily or weekly habit is the most important thing you do to help you be productive and successful at work?
With so many meetings, I like to manage my calendars two weeks in advance. I'll look to review what's on the calendar, and if I need to do something important or if I need to meet with somebody, I reserve the time in my calendar to do so.
Is there a specific app that you really like that helps you be productive?
I like using the Skype for business messaging app when I am traveling or when I am in meetings. It allows my team to get in touch with me quickly and allows me to respond right away or do a video conference call while I am out of office.
What did you study in university, and how has it helped you in your career?
I studied Human Biology at U of T. The science labs helped me understand the importance of having a methodology or a process in place. And this has, in turn, helped me tremendously while working in a large corporation, where having a process in place and framework to get things done is crucial.
What’s the best interview question to evaluate a B2B marketer?
I have one hallmark scenario! This is what I ask candidates: You are starting a brand new company, and you only have $10,000. Where would you spend the money? Will it be on advertising, content, digital? I like asking this question as it helps me assess the candidate's thought-process as to how they go about determining where the spend should be.
What advice would you give to your 25 year-old self?
I would advise myself to enroll in a mentorship program or in a co-op program and try something outside of my comfort zone. I think it is so important to be constantly learning. It really helps to make you more well-rounded.
What’s the biggest intangible that you look for in a job candidate?
I look for drive and passion because those aren't skills that you can teach.
Is there any particular way you can assess whether someone has a lot of drive and passion?I think the very well-prepared candidates go above and beyond to showcase some of the work that they're proud of, and they have a way of carrying themselves in meetings. When I can sense that someone is really passionate about what they do and they love what they do, my spidey senses go off!
- What underrated skills should every marketer have to succeed today? In three years?
I think it's important for every marketer to understand the results and the financials of the business so that they can understand the impact on the P&L of the business.
How do you keep your B2B skillset up-to-date?
I talk to great liked minded professionals such as David Pereira from GET LIFT. I also read articles religiously, whether it’s on Inc. or Fast Company or the Rogers Business Forum on my Texture App. I also attend marketing conferences with peers across different industries and, when I do have time, I sign up for an online course.
Which conference is a can’t-miss for you? Why?
The CEB Sales and Marketing conferences have been quite helpful for me.
How do you like to spend your free time?I love spending time with my two young boys and our family. I also like traveling, investing in real-estate and dreaming about starting a small business in my free time.
- If you weren't a B2B marketer, what would you choose as a career?
I’ve always wanted to be a teacher, which is why I took up Science. But, after being exposed to different roles within the science stream, I think that being a Speech Therapist would a rewarding and impactful profession.