We’re all here for a reason, we have a true calling, so we need to spend time figuring out what it is and contribute it to the world.
As a part of my Marketing Strategy Series, I’m talking with my fellow marketing pros at the top of their game to give entrepreneurs and marketers an inside look at proven strategies you might also be able to leverage to grow your business. Today I had the pleasure of talking with Anna Pinol.
Anna is the co-founder & CMO of Jupiter, a Y Combinator and Khosla backed startup revolutionizing in-home grocery delivery. Originally from Barcelona, Anna moved to the US in 2017 to get her MBA from Stanford. Before Stanford, she was one of the early employees at Amazon in Spain, where she managed growth for the Marketplace and FBA businesses. During 2016–17, she was the country lead for Prime Day and Black Friday in Spain. Anna started her entrepreneurial career at Akamon Entertainment and is also a co-founder and board member of MylaBox.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you share a story about the funniest marketing mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
I was trying to be scrappy and save as much money as possible. So despite I’m terrible at design, at the beginning I was spending hours trying to make our creatives look good… with definitely mixed results! Do yourself a favor and hire help where needed! It’s really not worth spending time on things you’re not good at, especially when you can find high-quality professionals to do it for you at a reasonable rate (and half of the time!). Time is money, don’t forget that!
Are you able to identify a “tipping point” in your career when you started to see success? Did you start doing anything different? Are there takeaways or lessons that others can learn from that?
The tipping point in my career happened when I started to become more self-aware around my strengths and weaknesses and started to use that knowledge to make sure that I was spending my time at my highest point of contribution. For me, that specifically means being very selective about how I spend my time. Making sure that I focus on the things that I can uniquely do, while outsourcing/ delegating the rest. Ultimately I want to make sure that I’m having the highest impact possible, and that I’m excited about the work I do to stay motivated. This ultimately creates a virtuous cycle. To this goal, I always ask myself: am I needed for that task, or I can find someone else to do it for me (cheaper, faster)? Get rid of the idea that doing more/ being overworked is being a better professional, and start thinking about how focusing on the right things to work on can help you be more effective.
What advice would you give to other marketers to thrive and avoid burnout?
Listen to yourself and make sure you find moments in which you prioritize your own needs. You’re your greatest asset so you need to protect it. As you progress in your career, it would be increasingly important that you develop your own self-care routines and find activities that help you re-energize away from work. Only by doing that you’ll be able to deal with higher levels of pressure and responsibility. Invest in getting to know yourself and what works for you.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful to who helped get you to where you are?
I’m grateful to my former boss and mentor at Amazon, who encouraged me to apply to the Stanford Graduate School of Business to study my MBA when it felt like an impossible dream to me. His trust in my ability to get into the school of my dreams was instrumental in my decision to apply. Stanford has opened so many doors for me, so I could never thank him enough for his encouragement!
Consumers have become more jaded and resistant to anything “salesy”. Where do you see the future of marketing headed?
Google and Facebook have completely monopolized advertising dollars in the last years by amassing enormous amounts of people (potential customers) spending time on these platforms. However, we are seeing new platforms being created (e.g. TikTok), which will soon open up new opportunities for marketing. Side note, I’m personally excited about companies working on advancing advertising in the physical world by trying to solve one of its inherent problems: attribution.
In offline advertising, as opposed to online advertising, it is extremely difficult to track the customers that came from a specific ad, ie. know if an ad worked or not. That’s partly the reason why this form of advertising has declined so dramatically in recent years — marketers want/need to measure results! I think we’ll soon see a lot of new platforms emerging to tackle this specific problem.
Can you please tell us the 5 things you wish someone told you before you started?
Master the rule of the 80/20 – Always choose done over perfect. Our educational system doesn’t teach how to be scrappy, practical and fast-moving. Instead, education mostly focuses on perfection. There’s a mismatch between what’s been taught in school and the needs of the real world, on which speed matters, a lot. And on which perfection is often a sign that too much time was spent on a task unnecessarily. You need to make a mind shift early and aggressively try to get 80% done with 20% of the effort.
Seek help from experts – Every time I’m faced with a challenge, the first thing I ask myself is: who has solved this before? And then I go out to find that person. Sometimes, a conversation can save hours of work. This can help you move 100x faster. Keep a good network of people with whom to trade best practices and notes.
Learn how to take care of yourself – No one will do it for you. You’re the most important asset to your business, so you need to protect it. Make sure you’re healthy, happy and avoid burnout. When you’re operating at such intense levels, you need to find spaces to decompress, recharge. Self-awareness becomes very important. Which things work for you?
Be opportunistic, but have a long term plan – At the beginning of our careers, it is easy to get blindsided by the opportunities that open up. While it’s important to stay flexible and recognize when a truly good opportunity opens up, it is crucial to reflect on what we’re trying to accomplish long term and keep a clear mind to evaluate those.
Act at the next level – The name of your position doesn’t mean anything. Don’t feel constrained by it.
One more before we go: What books, podcasts, documentaries, or other resources do you use to sharpen your marketing skills that might also be helpful to our readers?
- Building a story brand by Donald Miller.
- Made to Stick By Chip Heath & Dan Heath.
- Blog of Julian Shapiro.
Thank you so much for sharing these valuable insights with us!