I Don't Care What Conference You Just Attended

For 10 years I worked on the partner side of the marketing business, both as an agency executive at MEC and then as the co-founder of Pictela, an ad tech firm. Now, as the CEO of an enterprise technology company, I’m a pure marketer -- and it turns out that this side of the business is very different. Here’s why:

My budget is precious. At an agency or ad tech firm, you may have dozens or perhaps hundreds of clients. If one client or campaign doesn’t work out, there are others where you can redeem yourself. On the marketer side, I only have one marketing budget, and it has to work really hard.

Results matter. In a startup, all that matters is growth. I don’t care if it’s an ad banner, search listing, blog posting or a guy walking around with sandwich boards on Fifth Avenue; if someone can help me get more people to buy my product, then I’ll listen to them. But they’d better be able to prove it with data because I need to compare it against everything else I could do, including hiring more salespeople.



Tech integration is key. If a partner is going to help me market my product, they will need to plug into our marketing stack. We use Salesforce and Hubspot, among other systems, so they’ll likely need to integrate with at least one of those platforms.

Conferences are not that important. I’m glad that people on the partner side have fun at industry conferences, but they have limited value to me right now. What I care about is getting more people to buy my product, not what technology will be popular five years from now.

Industry chatter is irrelevant. While keeping abreast of industry news is important, silly tech blog spats and sweeping philosophical debates are irrelevant. I don’t care if the ad banner is dead or not. I just want to know if it will help sell my product.

Agency awards are not really important. As a marketer, it’s nice if my agency wins an award, but that’s not relevant to me. The award I want to win is fastest-growing enterprise startup.

Urgency matters. When it comes to marketing services, I’ll choose service over quality every time. Don’t misunderstand; I expect great work from my agencies. But very good creative that can be in market next week is better than perfect creative in market two months from now. Next quarter’s sales will be based on what we do right now.

I haven’t yet worked for a large marketer, so perhaps their priorities are totally different from mine, but I doubt it. What all marketers need from our partners are strategies that can help fuel our growth.

3 comments about "I Don't Care What Conference You Just Attended".
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  1. Maryanne Conlin from RedRopes Digital/4GreenPs, January 21, 2013 at 10:33 a.m.

    good post! I've worked for both large and small on the agency & brand of the same applies in a large marketing organization but...conferences ARE important, as is industry news, because larger organizations take on training in the ever growing batch of Asst. Brand Managers. While every budget $ is important - engagement drives repeat sales and increased usage for marketers with established markets- tougher to make the connection with sales. Finally, agencies that are creative & out in front also tend to have a few awards - that can be something to look at for larger marketers.
    Great discussion!

  2. Matt Straz from Namely, January 21, 2013 at 11:30 a.m.

    Thanks, Maryanne!

  3. Susan Breidenbach from Broadbrook Associates, January 21, 2013 at 3:19 p.m.

    Amen--especially about the "Urgency Matters" point. As a content creator / wordcrafter, it breaks my heart, but it's true. Content needs to be generated in as close to real-time as you can manage, even if that means sacrificing some quality. Studies show that the half-life of digital content (the time it takes half the people who are ever going to consume a piece of content to consume it) is less than 3 hours and shrinking. Perfection kills in this reality....and isn't ever achievable, anyway.

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