Straight Talk on Marketing Growth

25th October 2022

Kathy Schneider, CMO at FD Technologies has 25+ years of marketing experience across Fortune 100 companies in the tech space, including over a decade with Dell as their Executive Director of Global Channel Marketing & Programs.

Currently Schneider is Chief Marketing Officer at FD Technologies, a group of data-driven businesses which include KX, First Derivative, and MRP. We asked Kathy about strategies, pain points and solutions that have proven pivotal in marketing. Here’s what she had to say.

What advice would you give to marketers?

Spend time with sales.

First and foremost, spend time with the sales team. There’s obviously a lot to learn from other marketers both in the company across the team and externally, but it’s essential to spend time with the sales, and be open to critique.

It can be hard to take appraisal because so much effort goes into a campaign or an asset, but it helps to put aside the emotional connection to the campaign and to look at it objectively.

Talk about business growth first.

Marketers are there to achieve an outcome. What I find is, often in the rest of the company marketers can sometimes focus on the tactical activity, including the execution of what it’s going to look and feel like, and how it’s going to work.

“Little things like putting the objective first will engage stakeholders, whereas when you begin with assets and timelines, you lose your audience.”

Your stakeholders want to know up front, what is a campaign aiming to achieve and how are you going to measure its success? Little things like putting the objective first will engage stakeholders, whereas when you begin with assets and timelines, you lose your audience.

Solve problems, don’t just talk products.

Hire people who can help you best understand your audience. This includes detailed research into customer pain points. Then put together a plan that helps solve problems with the technology. This is a constant struggle in the tech sector.

It sounds simple but solving pain points can be overshadowed by talking mostly about the product. Understanding what a customer is most worried about will tell you how to articulate the value they’re going to receive. If you prioritise talking about features, then you risk either sounding the same as everyone else or losing your audience to people who are not technical.

Understand the martech.

There are a lot of tools out there and it’s important to test them with pilots and trials before launching them across the entire company. I think you can develop a really strong internal capability if the commitment is there.

At a bare minimum you really want one person who understands how to help the marketing team utilise the martech stack. Reason being, if you’re trying to have your team navigate and learn the martech on their own, you’re wasting precious time that they could be spending developing the campaigns.  

You can’t cut your way into growth, you have to invest in it, but it’s tough to make that case if you don’t have the right analytics, or you have a team that doesn’t know how to use the tools effectively.