If we could simply see the HUMAN in everyone else, and recognize that we all have egos, feelings, emotions, perhaps we could accept our differences without anger or judgement.
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 or career. Today I had the pleasure of talking with Christine Perkett.
Christine is a serial entrepreneur and currently the CEO & Founder of Mindfull Marketing & PR. She also provides leadership counsel, training, and guidance to C-level executives around the world and has won numerous accolades and awards along the way such as the 250 Most Influential Women Leaders by Richtopia, a Boston 50 on Fire finalist, Best Communications or PR Executive in the Stevie Business Awards, and Top 100 Champion in Small Business Trends’ Small Business Influencer Awards. Christine is also the founder of Yup Sup, a paddleboard and beach apparel company, and an adjunct Professor of Social Media and Brand Strategy at Northeastern University in Boston.
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 and what lesson you learned from that?
This is a tough one but I would say in the earlier days of our video campaigns. We saw success with the “man on the street” type videos and we decided to do one at a West Coast Tech Crunch event that we had helped plan. But we didn’t plan our equipment well and so our interviewers were practically shouting at our subjects because we didn’t have the right microphones. I cringe when I see those videos now. But they’re also kind of nostalgic. We learned as we went and produced much more professional reels thereafter.
Are you able to identify a “tipping point” in your career when you started to see success? Are there takeaways or lessons that others can learn from that?
Before I owned my own business, I started to see more success when I began to value my own worth and stand up for that. I began to ask for raises, rather than wait around for them. If I wasn’t treated right, I said something — or I left. For example, one time I went to get something off of the communal printer and an offer letter was on it. I’m human, I read it. And the offer was to a man doing the same job at the same title, for $15k more per year. I talked to HR about it and fought for my right to be paid fairly. I’m not going to say that was an easy battle, sadly. Eventually, I took another job and was able to increase my pay by $20k, and then my current employer suddenly recognized my value, counteroffering with an even bigger pay raise. Fighting to be paid what I was worth, and my desire to fulfill other holes that I saw in our industry, drove me to start my own agency and that’s when my success took off. You can’t lead your own business without exuding confidence, and confidence begets respect, which led to more clients and more success.
Consumers have become more jaded and resistant to anything “salesy”. Where do you see the future of marketing headed?
Most of our clients are tech-based so they tend to adopt marketing tech earlier than other industries. That being said, the future of marketing is first and foremost going to see a lot of consolidation of the myriad of martech solutions, making it more efficient for marketing departments to adopt the most effective technologies. Right now companies are piecing together their martech stacks from so many different vendors that it can result in overlap of solutions and wasted time and budget. Tech will continue to help us to better gather and analyze data, make informed pivots, successfully effect the bottom line, and prove our value to the C-suite.
On a marketing strategy side, personalization will continue to grow. People love to feel a part of something and marketing that makes them feel special will stand out. They want to feel like companies care about them and understand their wants and needs. From content to websites, knowing which device a user is on when engaging, to customization of marketing assets and offers, personalization is a priority moving into 2021.
Can you please tell us the 5 things you wish someone told you before you started?
Before I started marketing? Sure thing:
- Everyone’s a marketer — okay, not really but this is what we live with as marketers. People hire us as experts and then very often tell us how to do the job because they think, “How hard can it be to tell people how great we are?” It’s a challenge, especially for agencies, to ease clients off of their own Kool-Aid ideas.
- Success is short lived — unlike developing products that people use and enjoy for years, your marketing campaign is a moment. And your boss or clients may cheer the moment it brings in massive sales, but they’re always there with the question, “Ok, what’s next?”
- Your education is ongoing — unlike learning to become a lawyer or doctor, studying marketing is never-ending. I know this because I also teach social media and brand strategy at Northeastern University. My colleagues in other professional services areas can create a syllabus and basically use it for years to teach their classes. I, on the other hand, have to constantly update mine because marketing strategy, effectiveness, and lingo are changing every minute, as is the technology.
- The events! A huge part of marketing’s job is to attend conferences and events and schmooze. I thought that was just for the PR folks but nope, marketers are usually the ones manning those booths and handing out the tchotchkes. If you don’t like networking — or business travel — you might not like marketing.
- You’re often the scapegoat and the first to go. I hate to say it but when sales aren’t where they need to be or products aren’t delivering on promises made, marketing often gets blamed. You didn’t give sales the right tools or content, you didn’t target the right customer and your leads weren’t warm enough, you made too many promises or your timing and delivery were off. And when there’s a market downturn or recession, marketing is usually the first department to be cut.
What advice would you give to other marketers to thrive and avoid burnout?
Remember the fun — stay creative. Return to play as a part of work. Most importantly, in this day and age of remote work, step away from the computer. Make self-care a part of your schedule every day and get enough sleep! As creatives, it’s so important because when we burn out, we struggle with new ideas. My best ideas often come to me when I’m running or sleeping and dreaming.
One more question before we go: What books, podcasts, documentaries or other resources do you use to sharpen your marketing skills?
I really enjoy listening to a variety of podcasts that sharpen my overall business acumen. A new favorite is Sales Strong, where my friend Colleen Manning covers a wide a variety of career topics for holistic and sustainable success at work and in life. I love that she covers both. I also love The Ezra Klein Show, The Science of Success, The Tim Ferriss Show, NPR’s Code Switch, and TED Radio Hour. For general life inspiration, you can’t beat Oprah’s Super Soul Conversations.
Thank you so much for joining us and sharing your insights with us all.