First, welcome to our Experts Interview section, By hasty insights. It’s a pleasure to take your interview. We would like to know how did your journey start in Marketing?
Thanks for the opportunity to participate! I actually started my career in non-profit management – working primarily in fundraising (which is sales, tbh) and marketing. After years of being disillusioned with the slow pace (and challenging comp plans) of the non-profit world, I hung a shingle and started consulting in the technology sector.
I had some connections that I leveraged and gained a foothold as a freelance writer and brand strategist. From there, I partnered with someone who had more of a design, media and web development background and we grew a full-service agency. I was eventually coaxed in house by one of my customers.
What excites you the most about the Marketing industry?
I’m excited about so many things. But I think what I love most about marketing today is that most things are measurable. There are great analytics platforms that allow you to see at any given moment, the impact of your work. How many leads you’ve driven; what message is resonating best; conversion rates to the pipeline; engagement levels – and all of that data helps to grow and evolve your strategy over time.
What do you consider essential skills for a marketing team these days?
The skills I look for in a marketing generalist – someone who is a strong communicator, decisive, curious, coachable, hard-working and accountable to metrics and data. In fairness, some of the things on that list are not skills, but rather personality traits. But – I think those qualities are almost more important than skills. I’ll hire for attitude over skill any day of the week.I'll hire for attitude over skill any day of the week. - Ruth Zive, Head of Marketing at Ada Click To Tweet
How do you see Digital Marketing evolving in the future? What are the top three trends do you foresee for 2020?
Great question. I think perhaps the biggest trend in marketing is a result of the consolidation of the customer experience. A prospect/customer doesn’t care about your org chart – your departments (marketing vs. sales vs. customer support). They have a single experience, from the moment they visit your website, to the point at which they have a question about the product/service they have purchased. And I believe the marketing, in 2020, will have more oversight (or at least influence) of that full, end-to-end, omnichannel experience.
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What are two or three digital marketing/social media/management trends that impact your role as a Head of Marketing, and why?
Given the proliferation of social media channels, I think I have a responsibility to ensure we deliver a consistent message (and experience) across all. To my earlier point – the customer experience has been consolidated. If I visit a brand on Twitter, and then in-app, and then on the website – I want that brand to be consistently represented and aware of my interactions across channels.
I take that responsibility to heart as head of marketing. In the last 5 years, I have also watched most digital channels become much noisier and congested, so it is hard to get a message across. As head of marketing, it is my job to cut through that noise.
In your experience, what are the top success and failure factors for a marketing campaign?
I primarily measure my marketing success against three measures (in priority order):
- Pipeline growth. This is the highest level leading indicator of a successful marketing strategy.
- Conversion of the pipeline to won business. If the quality of the pipeline I deliver is lousy, it will not convert.
- Customer expansion and churn rates – this is, to some extent, a reflection of the customer experience, which marketing can (and should) influence.
It’s said, “Content is the king of marketing”. How much you agree with it? And, Why?
It’s a fairly old saying, I think attributed to Bill Gates in a book he wrote in 1996 (correct me if I’m wrong). I still agree. Where I think people get tripped up is that not all content is equal. Lousy content isn’t king. And crafting high-quality content is very tricky.
These days LinkedIn is turning or called as Professional Facebook? What are your views on the same?
I don’t think it’s an apple to apple comparison. There are blurry lines between the two platforms for sure, but I see LinkedIn as a place where people can not only network – but learn and evolve their professional skills. And to the extent you can contribute to the latter, you can grow your impact and audience on LinkedIn.
I recently shifted my strategy and I’m trying to use LinkedIn more as a platform to share my own observations and point of view about marketing, and secondarily, when it makes sense, to interject with messages about Ada, where I work. And I’ve noticed a massive uptick in my engagement levels as a result of this pivot.
What are the biggest changes you’ve seen in marketing teams in recent years compared to a few years ago?
Compared to even just a few years ago, I see marketing teams being held much more accountable to later stage outcomes (won business, customer expansion rates, etc.). I also see Product Marketing evolving as a much more critical function in its own right.
What advice would you give to young people who want to do your job someday?
Stay curious. Take risks. Learn from your failures. Also, know what you are really good at and double down on those skills (hire people smarter than you to fill the gaps). And – ask for that promotion with confidence.
Thanks a lot, Ruth Zive for sharing your valuable journey.