Here’s what Kerry had to say!
What advice would you offer someone getting into marketing in this landscape?
Be flexible and open in your expectations.
Big, small, start-up, mature, centralized or geographically diffused organizations all have something different to offer, and they all can provide valuable experiences. A leaner start-up may provide an organizational structure that’s more flat, which brings the chance to interact more often with senior executives as well as the opportunity to wear different hats.
On the flipside, a larger organization may offer more robust training programs and support tools as well as the ability to take on management roles or have geographic flexibility.
Be educated on the industry.
Understanding the key issues impacting the industry as a whole, the company in question and the vertical space they play in makes you an engaging candidate.
Expressing interest, which could involve reflecting that you’re well-read on the latest martech news, showing you’ve taken classes or that you simply are involved in relevant organizations, demonstrates a level of commitment and indicates you don’t just want a “job,” — You want that specific organization and career path. Hiring managers love seeing candidates whose passion goes beyond just checking basic skillset boxes.
Build a network.
(And I don’t mean sending invites to every third-degree connection on your Linkedin profile.)
I mean taking the time to nurture and cultivate meaningful relationships.
Look for mentors and coaches who will give you objective advice and alternate perspectives, those who can be great sounding boards and advocates throughout your career.
Don’t be afraid to set up informational and informal meet-ups with colleagues in your space, during which you can gain valuable perspectives from different parts of the martech ecosystem.
Then, as your career progresses, be the one who shines the light on your team’s rock stars. Matchmake people within your network who you think would be valuable resources to each other. Provide the same support and opportunities for growth that helped you to grow.
Did you have a mentor? Who was it and how did they help you succeed?
I had the wonderful fortune of having a number of excellent and supportive managers throughout my career who often stretched me to try new things or took a chance on me when I wanted to do more.
I aim to give promising talent the same kind of opportunities for development and growth when I recognize the same passion.
Looking back, there are several key milestones that had similar characteristics:
- being offered the chance to do something I hadn’t done before and
- having the trust and support of my manager that I had the aptitude to do it.
These were core themes for me — whether that was being a people manager for the first time, taking on sales responsibilities after being a marketer, running a global team after running a domestic team or taking my first C-level role.
What keeps you motivated in your day-to-day role?
There’s always something new to learn. It’s a very dynamic industry, so there is always a forward-looking aspect to our business that assures you never get complacent.
Having great colleagues who are dynamic, smart and hard-working is inspiring and creates an energy of its own within the organization that’s extremely exciting and motivating.
What 3 things do you wish someone would have told you at the onset of your career?
I have had the good fortune of receiving some great advice throughout my career, so a couple that I seek to live by/share with others are:
“It’s never as good, or as bad, as it seems.”
This was from a very pragmatic manager who I admired for always seeming unruffled in any situation. While it’s great to celebrate, it’s a reminder not to get too cozy or complacent, and when it’s rough, it’s a reminder that there really is a light at the end of the tunnel.
My first job was on a Japanese automotive client, and there I learned the concept of Kaizen, which promotes the notion of continual improvement rather than drastic and sweeping change.
This is something I’ve adopted in my management style. I encourage a mindset of always looking forward,asking, “How can we continually improve what we’re doing?” and remembering that even small steps add up over time.
“In three years will you remember this?”
We can spend a lot of unnecessary time fretting over difficult situations or decisions. This is a reminder that often what seems monumental in the moment is a mere molehill in the rearview mirror. It often diffuses the perceived stress and puts it in proper perspective.
What changes do you hope to see in the martech workplace over the next 3-5 years?
In the next three to five years, I hope to see talk of bringing transparency throughout the ecosystem come to fruition. I also hope to see an increase in competition throughout the industry, which will catalyze innovation.
And on that note, I hope to see the continued evolution of technology as well as increasing automation, which will give the people in martech better tools and insights to manage their marketing dollars more effectively.
What technologies are the most helpful to modern marketers?
As martech trends continue toward data, automation, and transparency, the marketer’s technology tool chest will need to mirror these capabilities.
Systems that allow for better real-time insights about what is working and not working in a campaign, with the ability to take action quickly and nimbly, will be in high demand.
And, as the marketer’s arsenal crowds with these disparate pieces of technology, they will need orchestration and integration tools to help these systems talk to each other and work seamlessly together.
This has been the focus for my company, Visto, in building our enterprise ad hub, which is a completely agnostic SaaS technology focused on helping marketers connect essential pieces of martech to make it easier to plan, execute, analyze, reallocate and optimize their marketing spend for the best result.
What are the most important skills to learn when starting a career in martech?
Data science and analytics are becoming two of the most important disciplines in the marketing and advertising technology ecosystems, and the demand for skilled talent in these areas is going to increase exponentially in the next few years.
Even if you’re not a data scientist, being comfortable and facile with the numbers will be paramount to anyone who is part of martech.
I also expect we’ll see marketers’ continued investment in technology as they select DMPs, workflow tools, multi-touch attribution, BI tools, media mix modeling, etc., which will require everyone up through the C-suite to be digitally and technologically savvy.
Describe the biggest challenge that will need to be overcome in the next 5 years in marketing.
The biggest issues in digital marketing, the ones that absolutely must be resolved in the next five years, are all tied to one central theme: transparency.
While marketers embrace more audience-driven marketing, they fear the lack of visibility and control over brand safety and quality. And, as they are pressed to better quantify a return on their marketing investments, they will seek better tools and analytics to understand how much of their budget is actually going to working media versus lost in the labyrinth of the supply chain “tech tax.”
This current lack of visibility will continue to manifest itself as potential mistrust of those providing services on their behalf, forcing more transparent pricing models as well as easier access to audits and analytics tools that offer the demonstrable truth that timely and smart decisions are being made with their spend.
This value and performance-driven mindset will cause marketers to pull apart every part of the ad-buying process to understand true costs of execution and gain better analysis of attributed performance. Together, these will provide the transparency and trust required to operate confidently in the future data-driven marketing ecosystem.
What can we do to encourage more women to pursue a career in martech?
At different points along a professional path, there are a variety of things we can do to encourage more women to pursue a career in tech. Early on, internship, scholarship and entry-level opportunities that are gender-blind create interesting first steps into what can be a lifetime career.
We should definitely be encouraging women who show an interest in marketing, analytics, math and strategy as well as a general curiosity about human behavior — all passions that are well-parlayed into roles in the martech ecosystem.
Helping women navigate non-traditional paths, moving horizontally or diagonally in an organization to leverage skills from advertising, web, ad operations, product or allowing them to dabble in cross-departmental projects may help identify or spark an interest across the martech stack.
Actively mentoring other women in the organization and/or creating formal and informal networking provides safe pathways for new interests to be explored — and natural role models to emulate.
Many of the core issues facing marketers have remained the same over the past few years: staying on top of industry trends impacting digital advertising, understanding how much of their spend goes to working media vs “tech tax”, gaining control over ad fraud and quality, eliminating operational inefficiencies and understanding and attributing performance in order to drive better ROI.
Outside of the technology and vendor front, there will continue to be a need for well-trained digital people across the ecosystem.
CMOs will need to be digitally and technologically savvy, data scientists will be in demand across marketing and ad tech companies and advertising and technology will continue to converge as marketers knit together their tech stacks: DMPs, workflow tools, multi-touch attribution, BI tools, media mix modeling and more.
Be sure to read 50 Women You Need to Know in Martech – 2018 and sign up to receive the Women in Martech series.