Top Influential Female Marketing Technologists Share Their Insights On Martech

Here at Prowly, we have 8 girls on board: our CEO, Joanna, me as Content Manager, Karolina—Growth Hacker and sales team member, Kasia—Customer Success Manager, Marta—Junior Front-end Developer, Marta—Lead Designer, Ada—Finance & Administration Manager, and our latest signing, Kate—who’s our Product Manager.

Why am I starting off with this number? Not because I want to show the “girl power.” I truly believe that when it comes to business, sex doesn’t matter. Passion does. And skills. Neither do I care about the notorious statement recently made by our Polish right-wing politician at the European Parliament that women are “smaller, weaker, less intelligent” and should be paid less. It is just not worth commenting on. I’m mentioning it because a few weeks ago Niki Nixon, director of #FlipMyFunnel, published “The First Ever List of Female Marketing Technologists” and underlined that the list isn’t a “best of”, as she strongly believes every woman deserves a chance to shine and show off the incredible work she is doing within her organization. As far as “incredible” here means the kind of “marketing magic” we all love so much here at Prowly, I agree with her. But after talking and exchanging emails on MarTech with a few women she’s mentioned (but not only), I reckon that these girls have a lot to say about marketing and technology—the two fields our Prowly Magazine centers around, serving you a daily dose of information on how technology and communication are changing the way businesses need to think in order to take full advantage of community collaboration and 21st century brand building. And today, on the International Women’s Day, I would like to share with you their thoughts on:

The story is quite lengthy, but great content is never TLTR, right? To make it easier to read, we divided this piece into few sections—just click on the topic you are interested in above and you will jump to the comments shared by these outstanding MarTech girls :)

Women in tech—the perspective

Before we hit the ground running with MarTech, let’s talk about the current situation of women in tech for a while. “There’s a common misconception that all roles in tech require the ability to code but this just isn’t true,” says Tiffany Horan, Engagement Manager at App’n’Roll and Founder at #WomeninTechChat, an initiative „intended to inspire” tech women, “Although it does help and is necessary in many roles, for others, all you really need is a genuine interest in technology. This ties in well with our most popular topic, which is quite simply ‘who are you, what do you do and how did you get there?’ The reason this is important is because it’s real. These are women from diverse cultures and backgrounds with very different stories, brought together by one thing, technology.” And she is right. They not only come from different backgrounds, but also have extensive competencies. When I asked them, “If not MarTech, then what?” some of them stuck to the marketing part, but most of them gave me quite surprising answers like art tech, medicine, internet of things & personal shopping.

So, how can we change the perspective? Katharine Mobley, CMO at Crescerance, points to the grass roots, “We need to teach boys in their early years to respect women’s roles in households and at school. Additionally, we must teach boys that as they grow into men, they need to maintain proper respect for women in business, in general. With all the discussion on the gender gap, I feel strongly that we as parents are one of the true catalysts that can drive change and it begins at home.” As stated by Iva Glavinić, PR & Marketing Manager at Mediatoolkit, we must teach the tech industry that being female has nothing to do with the level of competence in technology and business. She doesn’t think that men will take on that task for us, so we have to do it ourselves: by creating female networks, constantly publicly celebrating strong women in tech, as well as mentoring and encouraging younger women who are joining the scene. “There are 7 billion different people in the world, and they all have unique perspectives, why do we put 3.6 billion women under one umbrella and assign them the same qualities and stereotypes?” she asks.

Tiffany also opts for choosing community over competition. She is certain that having an experienced and dedicated support network of peers helps. “If there’s a question to be asked, there will always be someone there to answer it,” she says. Her initiative, #WomeninTechChat, started in the early 2016. And it is another great example—right after Prowly—of how necessity is the mother of invention. “I was looking for a Twitter chat for women in technology, but I couldn’t find one with a constant stream of content from a variety of sources, which I could check regularly, so, I decided to create one. When I first started working as an engagement manager, I was the only woman. Luckily, as the company grew, this has changed,” reminisces Tiffany. That was the moment when she began to wonder whether this was normal. Everything made sense when she reflected on her school years—for every twenty boys who took “systems” there were only one or two girls.

MarTech Women

Cristal Foster, Principal Consultant at Oracle Marketing Cloud Expert Services, strongly believes that changing the perspective starts with educating the industry on the right perspective. In her opinion, we must move away from the misconception that marketers are only brand police who send emails and organize events. “Although marketing encompasses those elements, it is no longer an accurate picture of the modern marketing organization which creates personalized customer experiences and helps influence revenue,” she affirms. On the other hand, Barbara Sołtysińska (founder of LifeTube and indaHash), who just three years ago was facing the problem of a lack of trust in the industry and worked her way up to become one of the most influential personas in the Polish internet community, noticed that what many people, including women, fear the most is taking the leap. “When making important business and life decisions I always try to outline all possible future scenarios. The worst-case scenario is never as bad as it may initially seem,” says Barbara. Perhaps taking risks would be much easier if we applied the rules followed by Autumn Coleman (also representing Oracle Marketing Cloud), who admits, “I’ve set the bar high for myself—work ethic, professionalism and attitude. Each year I set new professional goals and go after it. If there’s a project I want to be a part of, I vocalize it. If you’re not stepping outside of your comfort zone, then you’re falling behind in technology. This goes for both men and women.”

How MarTech has influenced the way marketers do their work?

Here are the top insights made by the girls:

1. The role of a marketer has changed significantly

“The role of a marketer has changed significantly. More investments are made in technology so that organizations can learn about their buyers and customers. The buying process has changed. Buyers consume 6-10 pieces of content before raising their hand. This means that marketers roles have changed to not only generate awareness but build trust through delivering the right content, to the right person, at the right time.” /Autumn Coleman, Principal Consultant at Oracle Marketing Cloud/

„MarTech has completely redefined the role of a marketer in an organization. I have the feeling that what used to matter the most was coming up with a remarkable message or form, while today, above all, it involves working with data provided to us by technology” /Joanna Drabent, CEO at Prowly/

2. It has shaped and changed how we market

“In the days prior to MarTech, I remember getting lead ‘bingo’ cards from trade magazines when prospects wanted more information and pulling and stuffing envelopes to fulfill those requests. Then the days of the beginning of “email marketing”, which was sending a mass email using the BCC field from an email client like Microsoft Outlook. Now, with MarTech, we do so much at the speed of change. Technology has empowered customers/prospects to be educated buyers and Marketing Technology has enabled marketers to communicate on a personalized-level to the masses.” /Cristal Foster, Principal Consultant at Oracle Marketing Cloud Expert Services/

“Technology has enabled, among other things, improved measurability and optimization of operations based on multiple tests.” /Barbara Sołtysińska, Co-founder at indaHash/

MarTech Women

 

3. We work faster and have more time for creativity

“MarTech tools enable professionals to do what used to be a two-day job in just a couple of hours. This leaves more time for creative and strategic work, which is where the real magic happens. Another big benefit is the unprecedented access to data: we can measure almost everything and connect our moves to real business results.” /Iva Glavinić, PR & Marketing Manager at Mediatoolkit/

4. Marketing has a better position in the company

“As more marketing technology had become more prevalent, marketing has moved from mostly art to more science. As a result, marketing is taken more seriously across all levels of the organization—adding marketing to the c-suite.” /Jame Ervin, Marketing Operations Manager at Optimizely/

5. We’re able to seek out the problem and solve it

“Although many women involved in the chat took a technical path in terms of their education, others did not. In fact, some of the women I’ve spoken to were artists (who became designers), historians or scientists (who became developers) and teachers (who became content writers), etc. Digital marketers, customer service, social media experts, SEO consultants, growth hackers, managers (project or otherwise), analysts, all kinds of engineers and developers, the list is endless! Technology has something for everyone with a genuine interest in the industry.” /Tiffany Horan, engagement manager at App’n’Roll and founder at #WomeninTechChat/

What are the biggest disruptions to marketing?

Digital trends evolve at a rapid pace in the online world. If you’re not reading up on your industry every day and staying plugged in, then there’s a good chance you’re going to get left behind… According to Barbara Sołtysińska, it also has other consequences: it happens that marketers following the “traditional” approach who fail to spot some changes build their knowledge based on stereotypes and myths. For Tiffany, the four main disruptors this year have so far been the following: utilizing community, Real Time Interaction Management (RTCM), actively working with influencers and producing high quality video content. “RTCM is definitely one of the most important. Ask the question, get the answer, sell the product. This instant response combined with personalized AI will make our lives much easier,” she predicts.

Jame Ervin, Marketing Operations Manager at Optimizely, on the other hand, is mentioning apps as the game changer, “Now that our companies run SaaS apps and mobile apps, there is a large part of the customer experience that is shared between marketing and product or engineering. This requires new tools and working together to make sure those transitions between marketing and product and back again are seamless. Each team wants to master their own domain, but now we have a shared domain. This requires developing a new, shared language and shared goals to make sure customers have the best experience.” Iva looks on mobile from a bit different perspective. It is obvious for her that the consumer—with a smartphone in hand—can do the research this instant and compare different products in just a few minutes, and he or she is more likely to trust anonymous reviews found on the internet than any promises or beautifully crafted commercials made by brands. So, the clue here is to manage your digital reputation. Especially today, when we’ve become aware of fake news and ad frauds.

Katharine teaches some old dogs new tricks

Just like millennials are teaching us today about disruptive technologies, Katharine Mobley, CMO at Crescerance, was the one that had to teach some old dogs new tricks, back in the day.

“In June of 1998 I started in my professional career at BBDO, one of the world’s largest advertising agencies. At the time, we were working on DOS based computers and dot matrix printers, this was the very beginning of The World Wide Web, which would soon disrupt traditional advertising more than radio or TV did in years past. About six months into my career, we landed our first dot-com client. It was a huge event; I mean come on this was a DOT COM of the ‘dotcom’ era. IT WAS A BIG DEAL.

MarTech Women

 

I wanted to learn as much as possible about this new way of doing business and more importantly how it was going to disrupt advertising. So, I immersed myself in this new world via a dial-up connection, in order to be a pioneer in the agency. I was going to be a trail blazer. Therefore, I made it my job to help the more seasoned executives understand the importance of how this new technology was changing the advertising landscape.

Basically, I was a ‘millennial’ of the GenX era, fighting to make a case for the relevance for the Internet in advertising the same way Millennials have fought for social media in today’s world, many most likely up against executives that failed to see the value of digital and mobile ads.

So, I stand before you today with 20 years of experience being a disruptor of diversity in technology. And I ask executives such as myself to open their minds and step out of their comfort zones. I even wrote a letter to my twenty-something self a few years ago.

Disruption in marketing, technology and advertising is here, we need to embrace it in order to remain relevant in our fields.”

That said, how to take advantage of the new industrial revolution?

  • Test, test and test once more

“It’s worth to do the research and continuously look for new solutions, and then test how they work. We’ve become aware of that during our previous work with top influencers. At that time an idea has emerged to make the most of it. Currently, we are spending more and more time following others, that’s why more popular social media users are quickly becoming influencers, or so-called ‘power users,’ and thereby new publishers. They’re the most credible and persuasive sources of information—who doesn’t trust the recommendations made by their friends. Therefore, we should exploit such media power of those hundreds of thousands of ‘publishers’ who are able to directly reach their friends and are completely authentic in this process.” /Barbara Sołtysińska/

  • Never stop learning

„Technology advancements will raise the bar of skills and knowledge necessary to enter the field of marketing. You can be the best copywriter in the world, but unless you know how search ads work or how to broadcast a live video, you won’t be able to create appealing advertising for your audience.” /Iva Glavinić/

“The problem isn’t necessarily that the industry is hard to break into but it’s more a case of the industry seeming out of reach. Education is key to change. Get involved.” /Tiffany Horan/
„Seek to learn more. Attend industry conferences and get technology certifications to keep upping your game in the space.” /Autumn Coleman/

  • Work cross-functionally whenever possible

„Understanding how another team works gives you new insights and ideas that may even apply to your own day-to-day—raise your hand if you have a standup. 10 years ago, no one would have guessed marketing would have a tech stack rivaling IT. Now we have to learn systems administration skills from IT, project management from engineering, and apply the scientific method to our campaigns. Exploring the other functions helps you learn best practices that you can bring to your team—and may change your own career direction.” /Jame Ervin/

  • Invest in the MarTech ecosystem

“MarTech tools are designed to be ‘plug-and-play’ with other tools, which removes the complexity of integration as well as the reliance on an IT team. Additionally, it pulls together other departments, which makes marketing on a one-to-one basis possible. For example, Marketing Automation platforms can integrate with CRM, ERP, Social, and CMS platforms to name a few. With plug-and-play integrations, a holistic view of your customer is formed which allows marketers to create dynamic, personalized customer experiences.” /Cristal Foster/

MarTech Women

Addicted to MarTech tools

Marketing automation is a must-have for today’s marketers. That’s why we started our #PRtools section on Prowly Magazine. Each month, we present tools that will help you develop your business without blowing your budget. Marketing toolkit is also an essential for the girls I spoke to. Below, let me present the list of the tools they consider the most vital—platoforms for project management, social listening & publishing, persona and content marketing. Before you dig into it, remember Iva’s words: “Much like that having access to the best hammer doesn’t make you the best carpenter, the best MarTech tool can’t replace creativity and persuasion.”

Proof analytics — an emerging technology startup aimed at solving marketing’s most difficult problem: providing proof that marketing is attributed to specific activities and the sales pipeline. It pairs activities and provides correlation about the relationship. It answers the following question: “How do you know if your campaign actually worked?”

Clearbit — making data enrichment easy and inexpensive.

Luccidchart — both easy and powerful. It is nice to be able to collaborate on a workflow and use a visual designer that isn’t engineering first. It is easy for new users to pick up and gives you a great first step towards documentation.

Evernote — a nice-to-have single home for your notes that is easy to organize. The card reading feature in the mobile app encourages you to use every networking opportunity effectively and send off a quick note before the event is over!

Google Drive — for Docs and Sheets. This service allows you to easily share your files and work with your teammates in one place, that is your ‘virtual office’.

Buffer and Hootsuite — for social media management and dashboard.

Percolate, Uberflip, Curata, Kapost, Google docs, Jira, Trello + combination of Slack, Hubspot (CRM), Trello and Toggl — for collaboration & process.

Photoshop or Canva — if you need to prepare some graphics for your social media.

SurveyMonkey — for surveys.

Optimizely — for A/B testing.

BrightEdge, Google Trends & Search Console, MOZ – for SEO.

For Content Marketing management – here’s a cloud of tools to view. If marketers are serious about reaching customers with content, you need the right tools in place to streamline the process, creation, and distributions parts of content.

Google Analytics — SaaS marketers live and die by it. For a quick overview of GA performance use a tool called Quilll Engage from Narrative Science—it sends a weekly report written in human language, with the most important metrics.

Hotjar — to analyze how people are behaving on your website and Intercom to communicate with customers via chat and newsletters.

Mediatoolkit — for finding new mentions of our product, creating marketing and PR reports, and discovering new influencers.

Prowly — this tool will end the problem of sending emails to media contacts by hand!

Asana, Calendly, or Bamboo HR — to manage your time and plan your work.

Wunderlist — the easiest way to get stuff done. Whether you’re planning a holiday, sharing a shopping list with a partner or managing multiple work projects, this tool can help you tick off all your personal and professional to-dos.

Challenges & Milestones

Life changes all the time, sometimes in ways that shake the very foundation of the world you have created for yourself. The business world too. And, as Barbara Sołtysińska used to say a long time ago, when we both were facing the turning points in our careers (she was still working for the MSL Group and I was still doing my journalistic work at Proto, leading Polish website dedicated to the PR sector): “He who doesn’t risk never gets to drink champagne.” The stories shared by MarTech women confirm that. Basically, every change is a challenge. And maybe I will come off sounding a bit like Paulo Coelho, but you can choose to overcome that challenge or it will overcome you.

MarTech Women

Here are the biggest challenges & milestones as identified by the girls I spoke to:

Barbara Sołtysińska:

“Risking everything I’ve worked for. This was the case with LifeTube, and later with IDH, in which I have invested all my savings. A couple of years ago, at the very beginning of LifeTube’s existence—going all in. On digital influencers. It wasn’t easy to convince everyone that they are the future of marketing and that starting with just a couple of people at a co-working office space you can build the largest local partner network in CEE. But it was worth it in both cases. And I’m incredibly proud of that.”

covery_nowe-11

“Selling LifeTube and launching indaHush. Later, calibrating the business for the world. In just one year, we’ve expanded our business from one market into more than 40, and from one office into four. And we do not intend to rest on that :)”

Dena Lawless, Marketing Consultant, Go-to Market & Content Strategist at Blue Ocean Content:

“A key milestone for my career was deciding to pursue my passion for product and marketing strategy and moving to New York City to take stretch roles as a consultant and within a key startup which was acquired. Leaving my comfort zone and the perceptions of everyone I worked with was refreshing and exciting. I took everything I learned from working with customers in the field, and applied it as a marketer. I am now the best marketing friend that sales will ever have.”

Iva Glavinić:

“Transitioning from classic agency PR to SaaS startup marketing may have been the biggest challenge. The agency job relied on writing and persuasion skills, and we didn’t dabble much in technology. While we did use MarTech tools, it was on a fairly basic level. For example, when I was just starting, tools like Prowly were still relatively unknown, and we sent out a lot of press releases by hand. When I came to Mediatoolkit, I had to learn a whole new set of tools—from CRM systems, Google Analytics and Ads and mailing lists to automating large chunks of our internal processes via IFTTT and similar tools. It has been the most valuable learning experience because it changed how I think about the industry and where it’s headed.”

covery_nowe-06

“The transition from being an employee to managing employees. I used to wonder why managers exist when it’s the employees who do all the leg work, and I had this great set of theories about how to structure work tasks and manage people. And then I got the chance and all my ideas flew right out of the window the first day.”

Tiffany Horan:

“Changing career. It is hard, it’s one of the hardest things you can do. You are taking yourself out of your comfort zone and throwing yourself into uncharted waters but I will say this, take risks, fail, try again. Get knocked down, pick yourself back up and get on with it. I took on several roles at once when I moved from my previous career to the one I have now, I work longer hours and I suffer far more ups and downs, but I wouldn’t change it for the world. Life isn’t easy, so giving yourself permission to have really terrible days (or weeks) is crucial, but once you’re back on track, keep going. It’s worth it.”

covery_nowe-07

“Taking a hobby and turning it into a career. My university nickname was ‘the internet’, because I would answer questions people had about websites, social media and marketing. I was a walking, talking search engine. I was teaching math, science and English when I realized that my students would often ask me the same questions as my friends and colleagues. I loved that I knew the answers and I wanted to share those answers. When I became a qualified digital marketer and content writer, the next stage was to leave teaching.”

Jame Ervin:

“When I was younger it was being seen as a knowledgeable resource. I have worked as a consultant for about five years, and when you are young and look young, many people doubt if you are knowledgeable and experienced enough to guide them towards the right solution. One great tip I got from my boss was that as a consultant, you just need to be ahead of your clients—that could mean a few steps or a few miles. I also learned that clothing can be a powerful thing. Presenting yourself in the right way, with the right outfit, and enhance how seriously people take you. So, this is another tool in my toolkit.”

covery_nowe-08

“I pivoted after a few years of working from being demand gen and product marketing to being a process-oriented consultant doing Salesforce, Eloqua and Marketo implementations.”

Autumn Coleman:

„Several years ago I took a leap of faith and accepted a leadership role with a start-up B2B tech company. The excitement about the opportunity didn’t last long. Within the first month, it was clear that the role wasn’t what I’d hoped nor was the culture a good fit. Organizational culture can be overlooked during the interview process. I encourage young marketers to bring culture to the top of their ‘Needs List’ when interviewing. I’d taken a step back, not forward, with my career. As my days became longer and my happiness at work continued to decrease, I knew it was best to part ways. As I mentioned earlier, I believe in taking risks to challenge myself. This was a risk that didn’t meet my expectations. I took away many important learnings from the process.”

covery_nowe-09

“My career has come full circle. Seven years ago, I was tasked with implementing Eloqua globally at Manhattan Associates. We hired a new Eloqua Services team, Expert Services, to assist with our adoption of the platform. I was Expert Services first client then. A year ago I joined the Expert Services team as a Principal Consultant. My time at Manhattan took my career to the next level through experience and relationship building. Being an Expert provides me with the opportunity to help organizations implement digital transformation—create change within their business—and make a difference.”

Joanna Drabent:

“The greatest challenge for me is that virtually every day I’m doing something new and facing new problems. Luckily, the methodology of dealing with them is the same: to solve the problem with realistic resources at hand as soon as possible. On one hand, it’s incredibly exciting, but on the other I feel greatly responsible.”

covery_nowe-10

“The moment I realized that Prowly isn’t just a fun project anymore, but a real business that is growing at an increased rate. This was several months ago. At first, I felt cold sweat running down my neck. I got scared that I’m not going to make it, but then I quickly figured that we’ve emerged safely from so many difficult moments that failing is just not an option. Being able to be a part of this process makes me so proud of myself. I’ve never felt stronger.”

Cristal Foster:

“Getting buy-in. The first step was making a technology change by pitching a switch based on scalability. In a nutshell, we’ve outgrown our current solution so we have to upgrade to something more powerful that can keep up with campaign demand (internal demand). Once the solution switch was successful, adding MarTech became easier as MAP third-party integrations via the cloud did not require IT and pricing to use the app was either free or for a nominal fee. It was as simple as download, configure, and go.”

covery_nowe-11

“Winning an industry award on lead nurturing. I received that award roughly 6 years ago when marketing automation was still on the rise. And if you had marketing automation for Enterprise organizations it was so complex that it took 18-24 months to implement. That success was possible because of the MarTech used; an investment in a MAP which moved the company away from an email service provider to true campaign automation. We moved away from batch-and-blast to building customer journeys with a combination of drip marketing and logic-driven next steps with movement across campaign types such as stay in touch communications to accelerated communications based on the sales cycle.”

Problems, lessons learned & best takeaways

„Problem solving has been coined as a buzzword, perhaps undeservedly so: whether alone or in teams, for academic or professional purposes, most of us are frequently required to solve problems. Some of them are part of our daily routine and can be dealt with fairly quickly; others are less orthodox and require more thought,” wrote Romeu Gaspar. This section will summarize problems with which MarTech women are or were dealing and the ways in which they solved them. Each girl has also shared with me a piece of advice for you on how to achieve better marketing results. So, take a few moments to study these stories. I hope you will find them valuable. More importantly, I hope you will make use of them. Let’s get started!

Tiffany:

What’s the problem you just solved or are attacking now?

I work remotely most of the time now and my worst nightmare became a reality. My technology hadn’t been replaced for a long time, so when it broke last week, I felt as though I’d lost a part of myself. My reaction was rather unusual because I had become far too connected to my devices. I was genuinely upset, but here’s a solution: if your laptop breaks (and you don’t have a spare) use your phone, if your phone dies, don’t panic, charge it, relax.

What did you learn through attacking this problem?

I realized that sometimes it’s better just to let go and upgrade. The panic is unnecessary and you can always make up for lost time at a later date.

Is there a piece of advice you can share with others?

Just be yourself, be confident and don’t succumb to imposter syndrome.

Joanna:

What’s the problem you just solved or are attacking now?

Currently I’m facing a problem of a typical startup CEO that at the beginning of the project does a little bit of everything, but from a certain point in the company’s evolution process should focus on the key aspects of growth: finding and developing key competencies in the team and sources of a quantum-leap development. Right now, I’m taking a path from which there could be no return. And because I’m used to the situation where at work I simply have to roll up my sleeves and ‘get dirty’ by doing not my job, I simply miss it. Then, for instance, I go to Intercom and talk to clients, trying to solve their problems. I easily get wrapped up in this, but then after a short while common sense is telling me, “Stop, your job isn’t going to do itself.”

What did you learn through attacking this problem?

That there’s virtually nothing I’m afraid of in terms of new professional challenges.

Is there a piece of advice you can share with others?

We women tend to analyze things a lot. Sometimes we think too much. WHAT if THIS or THAT. There’s nothing to think about (too much), you just have to push yourself. And if that doesn’t work, don’t overanalyze too much, just focus on multiplying positive patterns.

Barbara:

What’s the problem you just solved or are attacking now?

A massive challenge is entering markets in new regions—identifying cultural differences and differences regarding the conditions prevailing in individual markets. Digital influencers are everywhere, but the markets on which we could work with them are at various stages of professionalization.

What did you learn through attacking this problem?

Technology is scalable, but our actions are based on authentic communication which is possible thanks to hundreds of thousands of people. This in turn requires adopting a more qualitative approach and we shouldn’t forget about that.

Is there a piece of advice you can share with others?

Don’t always say, “There’s still time,” because it may be too late already. What counts in innovations and this business is, above all, time and being able to manage it effectively. Sometimes it’s better to complete something in 70% because you’ll always find something that can be improved or enhanced. That’s why putting things off just because they’re not perfect is definitely not a very good approach.

Katharine:

My piece of advice:

Be willing to stand up for what you believe in, develop a plan, and create a tribe.

Let’s be honest—to be disruptive you must first be willing to step completely out on a limb with no net. It is risky, but rewarding if properly executed. So, to create disruption:

THINK ABOUT HOW/WHAT YOU CAN CONTRIBUTE THAT IS ‘DIFFERENT’
STRATEGIZE WITH OTHERS ON YOUR IDEA
BUILD A TACTICAL PLAN TO EXECUTE AGAINST
REVIEW YOUR ALLIES AND BUILD YOUR #TRIBE
NOW JUMP

Ok, no one ever said it was going to be easy and you are going to hit some bumps along the way. But if you are passionate about what you are doing and you have the support of your #tribe, you can be successful.

MarTech Women

Jame:

What’s the problem you just solved or are attacking now?

Right now, my team is focused on eliminating technical debt and cleaning up our systems. It is a boring but essential task. We are working to delete unnecessary fields, review existing processes to simplify them, and document our existing workflows.

What did you learn through attacking this problem?

We should schedule a systems spring cleaning more often than just once a year (or even less frequently). Reviewing these things was like looking through a graveyard of paradigms. There were also many things set up by people who were long gone that were still running no one had context for. Building in sufficient time for documentation is critical, particularly as you grow and you have distributed administration and systems management.

Is there a piece of advice you can share with others?

Create your own impact.

Along the way everyone has crappy projects or a crappy job. While you may not have the power to change that situation immediately, you can take advantage of it and turn it into a growth opportunity. I worked at a company that had a big problem—tech support felt like sales was overpromising during the sales cycle. This is a common complaint in many organizations. As I talked to my colleagues, the problem was a communication problem. Tech support had no idea what sales told the customer.

In our case, the solution was moving to a different CRM where sales documented their conversations and tech support had access to those notes. This led to me implementing and running Salesforce.com. That wasn’t part of my job description but I developed valuable skills. Eventually I worked to get the whole company onto Salesforce to track everything customer related. And that led to consulting.

Iva:

What’s the problem you just solved or are attacking now?

We are trying to educate our audience about the full potential of our product. Big agencies and companies have been using social listening for years, but for a lot of small businesses this technology was too expensive. So, for a long time, social listening tools were not an essential part of the marketing toolbox, which is where they belong. We are trying to change that by offering an easily affordable and a user-friendly tool.

What did you learn through attacking this problem?

That marketers face the same challenges everywhere, whether they live in Croatia, Poland, or the USA. We all have tight deadlines, an email inbox that is constantly on fire, and the pressure to measure the worth of what we are doing. I also learned that marketing to marketers means you’re talking to an audience that knows all the tricks of the trade, and they don’t fall for meaningless platitude. This is actually an advantage, because when they research your product, they are using the rational part of their brain. If the product is good, they’ll pay attention.

Is there a piece of advice you can share with others?

Stay out of the bubble by proactively learning about innovations in fields other than marketing, because that is where the true tech revolution is happening. When Facebook disrupted how people communicate, a large part of the industry was taken by surprise and it took them years to adapt internal processes to this changing environment. Try to avoid a future in which everyone is spending 20 hours a day driving around in self-driving cars to their Amazon self-service supermarket, and you’re just learning about live video.

Dena:

What’s the problem you just solved or are attacking now?

My team from USC is aiming to solve critical growth challenges with a research-based communication strategy framework, for a B2C startup. You can turn a company around with the right corporate, product, market, and customer communication strategy.

What did you learn through attacking this problem?

Stakeholders have very different perceptions of problems, and how to solve them. Understanding your audience and crafting the right messaging for them, in the right channels of communication, can influence your position in the market.

Is there a piece of advice you can share with others?

Get comfortable with data and deliver actionable insights to the executive staff.

What event (or set of events) is attributed to customer reactions or conversion? How does marketing contribute to the sales pipeline and overall objectives? Ask the right questions to gather the most relevant data, to be able to answer questions and justify marketing spending. Set goals, KPIs, and metrics that are “S.M.A.R.T” (smart, measurable, achievable, relevant, timely).

Cristal:

What’s the problem you just solved or are attacking now?

Data architecture and strategy. I’ve always said: “You’re only as good as your data”. Many marketers are stuck in batch-and-blast and/or non-personalized experiences because they do not trust their own data. If there is any data that you should trust, it should be your own 1st-party data. So, working on data strategy and cleansing efforts is something that I’m constantly tackling with clients.

What did you learn through attacking this problem?

Data strategy is constant. It’s not a one-time fix and you’re done. But data churns all the time. People at organizations change, their role changes, their preferences change, change is the new normal and not becoming stagnant especially when it comes to data is key to staying relevant.

Is there a piece of advice you can share with others?

A good colleague of mine reminded me of a simple concept: “There is success in failure”. Marketing teams should not be afraid to take risks or even fail. Take it as a lesson learned and keep moving.

Autumn:

What’s the problem you just solved or are attacking now?

My challenge is the work-life balance. I dedicate time each day to get away from my desk for at least 30 minutes to enjoy fresh air, go to the gym, get out for lunch, etc. Also, don’t look at work emails in bed! Give your mind a break from work before bed and first thing in the morning.

What did you learn through attacking this problem?

I feel better! Not to mention that my demeanor is positive and pleasant.

Is there a piece of advice you can share with others?

Network and join local user groups. Build your personal brand and be a voice in the community. Take risks and make moves—it’s the best way to learn and grow your skills.


 

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