Hard things are hard, but they will eventually pass and you will learn from them.
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 Julia Stead.
Julia has extensive experience driving market leadership and revenue at high growth SaaS companies. As CMO at Allocadia, she is focused on helping marketing leaders accelerate business growth by planning strategically, investing with purpose, and maximizing performance. Prior to Allocadia, Julia was VP Marketing at Invoca, and head of Sales & Marketing at IPfolio. She’s been named a DMNews Top 40 under 40, a Top 40 Demand Marketing Game Changer and ABM Superhero.
Before we dig in, our readers would love to learn a bit more about you. Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
There are all flavors of marketers, but I really think of myself as a growth leader. Since I was a child, I loved every aspect of communications — reading, writing, etc. This passion led me to major in communications in college and guided my career choices once out of school.
As I matured and advanced in my career, I felt like I lacked “real” marketing education, as well as people management skills. I went back to complete a full-time MBA program, and that’s where it all came together and clicked for me. I realized that I could combine my love for marketing and communication with my new skills of business strategy and people leadership, to thrive in a career of helping companies grow. From there, I honed in on my experience and skills to become more ingrained in driving revenue for businesses. Now I am in a role that I adore, CMO of Allocadia.
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?
In my 15 years of experience, most of my mistakes have honestly felt more awkward than funny. While these situations helped me learn along the way, in hindsight they could have been avoided by taking the time to make sure your work is the level of quality you’re striving for, collaborating with talented people and trusting your gut. I can recall some hideous homepage variations and digital campaigns that were a result of settling with initial versions all because I struggled to articulate to designers how to make them look better.
What industry are you in? In your opinion, what makes the company you are marketing different than others in your space?
I work for a marketing technology company that focuses specifically on budget management and strategic planning tools to help marketers invest with confidence. What makes Allocadia different is that we’re purposely built by marketers for marketers. Our extensive subject matter expertise, combined with an amazing group of enterprise customers and partnerships with CMOs, allows us to understand what marketers need to deliver the best work and results for their companies.
Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?
Yes! I can’t give away too many details, but we are gearing up to launch a brand new product line focused specifically on collaborative planning aligned to performance. Keep an eye on Allocadia’s social media for more information.
What advice would you give to other marketers to thrive and avoid burnout?
My advice to other marketers is to understand what type of work motivates you intrinsically and make sure that at least half of your role is dedicated to that. From my own experience, doing the work you love is motivating within itself.
I also recommend marketers choose what companies you work for very wisely. During the interview process, ask your potential colleagues what their views are on work/life balance, how they approach teamwork and if they enjoy their assignments. It’s vital that you work for a company that aligns with your own values.
Great advice. Let’s now shift to the main part of our discussion. As you know Google and other search engines constantly update their search algorithms. Today, do you believe that Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is still an important part of any long-term marketing plan? Can you explain why?
Yes, I believe SEO plays an important part in any long-term marketing plan. Both buyers and consumers turn to the internet for education, and more than ever, we’re relying on online resources to solve problems. It’s essential for marketers to develop digital strategies that keep up with the increasingly internet-first landscape.
What “3 Non-Intuitive Marketing Strategies” have been most effective for you in your industry?
My top three non-intuitive marketing strategies are:
- Direct Mail — We’ve had great success with sending an introductory box to potential customers that include a small gift and general messaging about our solution. We include an offer to upgrade their gift to a nicer option in exchange for their time to see a program demo. This strategy is one of our top-performing tactics for creating conversations and breaking through the digital noise. When our lives are centered around our phone and a majority of our communication is digital, receiving a box in the mail is a nice change of pace.
- Canceling webinars — We always felt that as a B2B SaaS company, we needed to have webinars as a core pillar of our demand gen strategy. But as the engagement and results increasingly diminished, we decided to cancel them altogether for a period of time. This allowed us to revisit our content and offer strategy holistically, put more emphasis on product-centric educational videos that drive higher ROI, and then slowly bring webinars back into the mix in a more thoughtful, effective way.
- Investing resources in team member personal development and profile building — By creating internal subject matter experts we gained earned speaking opportunities which helped expand the awareness and reach of our brand. While also creating happier, more successful employees!
If you were only allowed to run paid ads on 1 platform (in your industry) over the next 12 months, what would it be and why?
Google! I believe that if people are searching for your company’s product or a solution that aligns with your offerings, you want them to be able to easily find you. Retargeting through the platform that your potential new customers are using is highly effective and allows for great personalization options.
As a professional marketer, you are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be?
I’m a firm believer that everyone would benefit from achieving a healthy work/life balance. One way this is tackled is by shifting your mindset to believe that work is important, but it’s only one component of life. Additionally, I am a strong advocate for companies to offer better healthcare options, benefits, and family support to their employees. Making employees feel fully supported through flexible work schedules and great benefits creates an environment where they can thrive both professionally and personally.
The world would be a healthier and happier place if everyone had the opportunity to spend time with loved ones and pursue other interests, or simply relax.
What quote would you say has inspired you the most in your life or career?
The concept that “hard things are hard, but they will eventually pass and you will learn from them” inspires me to keep moving through challenges at work and in my personal life. When faced with a chance to quit the task at hand, stick with it, do your best to turn things around, and only then move on to better things.
Thank you so much for these fantastic insights!
About the Author: Kage Spatz is a Forbes-ft. Marketing Strategist for Good — sending more business to B2B companies that put clients first. Leverage the same US-based SEO Specialists outsourced by an NBA franchise & F500 (now without the same overhead). Apply today to support your CMO & better serve more of your market tomorrow with Spacetwin.