Being a Marketer, Mom, and More

Episode #053: Ashley Shailer, Vice President of Marketing at Inverta

Being a marketer today is challenging. There are new channels popping up almost every week, consumer behavior is constantly chaining, and the competitive landscape is more crowded than ever before. And, if you’re a parent then you’re trying to balance a challenging career with the challenging and rewarding role of parenting. It’s basically like running a gauntlet while people (your boss, colleagues, children, spouse, etc.) are constantly throwing things at you. Even though we all know it’s challenging to excel in both roles, few people seem to be honest about the struggles of trying to manage it all and what that should mean. In this episode of Mobile Matters, we talk to the Vice President of Marketing at Inverta, Ashley Shailer, about balancing being a marketing leader and a mom, how there is no magical viral button, why marketing emergencies don’t really exist, and more.

Key Takeaways

  1. Being a marketing leader and a mom at the same time is hard. Find what works best for you and your family.
  2. There is no magical “viral” button in marketing. Please don’t ask us to make something go “viral” and then get immediately disappointed when it’s not immediately trending on Twitter. No marketer can hit a button and make a campaign go “viral.”
  3. It’s rare for a true marketing emergency to exist. Unless you are accidentally posting drunken tweets on your company’s Twitter account then it can likely wait until tomorrow.

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Episode Transcription

Stephanie Cox: I’m Stephanie Cox and this is mobile matters. Today, I’m joined by Ashley Shailer. Ashley is the vice president of marketing at Inverta and has spent more than 10 years designing and implementing world-class demand creation and lead management strategies that leverage the latest in marketing technology. She’s held client-side analyst roles in marketing systems and marketing operations and consulting roles that leverage her unique expertise and lead nurturing account-based plays concept messaging and social media strategy for more than 40 clients. In this episode Ashley and I talked a lot about the marketing automation generation and how it impacted both of our careers. Balancing being a mom and having a growing career and we’re being real honest and why there is rarely ever a marketing emergency and make sure you stick around to the end. Where I’ll give my recap and top takeaways that you can not only think about marketing differently, but effectively. Welcome to the show Ashley.

Stephanie Cox: So, for all of you listening. I met Ashley gosh, maybe. What? Late September at an ABM event and absolutely just loved what she had to say in connection with her instantaneously. And I wanted to have her on the podcast because I thought she’d be such a great guest to share her experience and expertise with all of you. So Ashley, tell me a little bit about how you got started in your career and what you’re doing now.

Ashley Shailer: Awesome. Yeah, it’s actually a really funny story. So I’m from southern New Hampshire originally and I went to Boston University and I graduated from BU in 2003. And, you know, I just couldn’t I couldn’t find a job. And so what I ended up doing was selling tickets in a box office full time, which was actually I had sold tickets in the same box office part time during college. But it is a way different to sell tickets full time. It is like if it’s your part time job. And so here I was at college. Bunch of my friends had gotten jobs at ad agencies and like other, you know, more, let’s just say, high profile gigs. And I was logging hours in a cash only box office. But what that led me to get a good understanding of was just the ticket master system and in general customer data. So eventually I was able to parlay that into a gig at the TV Garden, which is owned by Delaware North Companies. So they own both the Garden and the Bruins. So I did a lot of ticketing for those events and it was sort of right in the precipice of this concept of database marketing really gaining steam and marketing automation platforms were sort of, you know, gaining some momentum as tools to facilitate this. And so I just basically stepped up and said, hey, you know, I know that there’s a lot of customer data that we’re collecting through the ticketing process that we’re not necessarily leveraging. And, you know, I think if we invested in one of these platforms, we could you know, we could be doing some smarter marketing across, you know, cross-selling across our audiences who, you know, might want it might today be attending Disney on ice, but also might be at Kennedy, for example, for like a Bruins Stanley package. And so that idea became really popular within the company. And one thing led to another. And that’s how I got my first marketing operations role when marketing operations wasn’t even necessarily a job title. I actually remember my supervisor at the time being like, what should we call your role on like Googling? Like, what do people who work with marketing automation platforms call themselves? And marketing operations came up. It’s like there you go. So, yeah, I mean, I want to say like over 10 years later now, I work for a company called Inverta in marketing services. And, you know, we do a lot of work in ABM demand creation strategies. Martech advisory in all of it is really sort of foundationally grounded in the principle that, you know, these things need to be executable within the technology ecosystem that’s available today. And, you know, although we’re strategy first, it’s very important to us that, you know, what we put forward and what we discuss and collaborate with you client on is executable. So that’s basically the story. 

Stephanie Cox: I love interesting journeys into that because I think it’s so funny. It’s kind of like how I got started in digital, which was I graduated from college the same year as you and, you know, Twitter and Facebook were you know, soon after starting, the people were creating webs like really creating company websites for the first time. And everyone’s like, you’re young, you understand technology, you go manage the Twitter user or whatever the Facebook is and the Website. And that’s how I got, kind of really career started and digital marketing, which is crazy to think that it was only 15 years ago that it was a novelty that people had a Website. 

Ashley Shailer: I know it’s really crazy. It’s just, you know, there’s a really, really close colleague of ours in Inverta, Scott Vaughn. He’s a CMO of a company called Integrate. And he calls it the marketing automation generation, which in B2B are essentially people who just kind of got their start by being willing to kind of fiddle around with this sort of new type of technology. And then that skillset became so in demand. It was just like a rocket ship for, you know, career development. And now what was so sought after at the time has been so commoditized like where we are now. So it’s just so interesting to think about that transition in such a short period of time. 

Stephanie Cox: No, I completely agree. So thinking about B2B marketing today, what are you seeing as really the biggest gaps? The B2B marketers tend to have in their current marketing strategy since you get to talk to a lot of them in your current role?

Ashley Shailer: Yeah. Yeah. You know what’s interesting, we talk about gaps and you know, I feel like I feel like I’m already taking a technology sort of slant to this conversation. But I don’t think that you could ignore that sort of the proliferation of marketing technology has resulted in a lot of skills specialization in organizations. So, you know, you have you might have your SEO guy or gal. You know, you’ve got your social gurus, you’ve got your, you know, display whizzes, your, you know, email people, whatever. And I think that we’ve sort of seen this culture of really, really, you know, define skill, specialization, but not a lot of people who are like five tool players. You know what I’m saying? Or really full staff marketer sort of understand the customer and prospect experience and how they’re experiencing the brand in the marketplace and how we sort of, you know, mobilize these channels to create that experience. And so oftentimes I hear from my clients, you know, oh, we need to be omni channel. We need to be multi-channel. You know, we need to be doing this and that. But they become so focused on the channels themselves and and, you know, the frequency of those that they sort of lose sight of the fact that as a prospect or customer, you’re experiencing the brand in all of these places. And it doesn’t necessarily matter if one offers coming via one channel and another offers coming via another channel. As long as the tone, the sale, the brand, the sentiment remains consistent. You’re getting the results that you need. And so I would just say one of the gaps that I see is just this over emphasis on on channels and preoccupation with channels. And I would see another gap in B2B in general is just humanity, empathy in marketing. I think, you know, we work with a lot of serious brands that sort of, can hang their hat on, you know, whatever the approved value statement language is… There’s not a huge appetite to experiment with what people actually connect with, which is humor or, you know, empathy, that the wonderful things that just make us people right, the shared experiences. There’s not a huge appetite for most brands, I shouldn’t say all. For most brands in B2B to sort of explore more of that. So. 

Stephanie Cox: I think sometimes when you talk about channels… Part of me wonders, is it really because you want to be in that channel or you want to be cross channel, omni channel, or you heard some buzzword that you now feel like you must go do.

Ashley Shailer: Totally. It’s you know, there’s definitely a preoccupation with, you know, oh, we had this offer here, so we can’t have it here. Also, when the reality is as a prospect or customer, they’re not thinking about, oh, I got the offer. You know, I saw the offer in the display advertising and now I’m seeing it, you know, in email or whatever. They’re not they don’t operate that way. What they’re seeing is sort of the consistent and reinforced brand message. And so we try to yeah. We try to migrate away from omni channel for the sake of it or like let’s use this new tool just because we have it when it’s not necessarily the best idea for the program. 

Stephanie Cox: All right. So we’ve been talking a little bit about MarTech already, but how do you think about using Martech to solve business challenges, to make sure you’re actually focused on solving a challenge and not just using technology for the sake of technology? Because if we’re being honest, we’ve all kind of done that before in the past to some extent. So how do you advise companies to think about their Martech stack very specifically that is aimed at solving business challenges?

Ashley Shailer: Yeah, it’s really difficult. I mean, I think you just mentioned it. We’ve all sort of fallen into that trap at one time or another. I think there’s a little bit of keeping up with the Jone’s that goes on in general to B2B marketing leadership. Yeah. That sort of you know, you see it happen every day like one sort of company who’s who’s known for having a very high powered marketing organization, one in no particular thing. And then a bunch of others sort of follow suit. And we’ve done a lot of just sort of internal brainstorming on this because, you know, the landscape continues to grow. But there also continues to be acquisitions and, you know, mergers and lots of other changes. And the the issue that we see is sort of companies wanting to stay ahead of that volatility. You know always kind of wanting to know, well, what’s the next best thing or should I invest in this particular thing if they’re going to get acquired or they’re going to, you know, potentially change the roadmap of the product and start focusing in an area that’s not necessarily something that we need. So, you know, a very, very super, super smart guy on our team, Alden Dale, once said, you know, “it’s not it’s not what is the best tool for this or what is the best tool in the marketplace for this particular thing? It’s what is the right tool for your organization today.” And I think if you’re a company and you can focus on solving the problems that you have today within the skill sets that are incumbent in your company and or in your marketing organization and how you’re structured without thinking about what’s going to happen tomorrow or how the landscape is going to change… You are much more likely to end up, you know, investing in the right tool for your company. And that sometimes could be a point tool when there are other platform players out there. It’s a very desirable I think for companies to want to invest in the platform tool when they’re only really trying to solve one discrete problem. And so my recommendation is always solve that problem, solve the problem that you have today. Try to ignore the noise. Try to ignore the bells and whistles, you know, try to try to solve the problem that’s at hand. And then, you know, as your company grows or changes, as your marketing organization grows or shrinks, your staffing model changes, then let’s revisit the investments that you’ve made interest ensure that they’re still the right investments. So that’s usually how we try to approach it. But it’s definitely not. It’s definitely is something that I don’t feel anybody has cracked the code on right now, just due to the volatility of the landscape. 

Stephanie Cox: And then I think the other thing I always tell people to remember is there is no technology that will solve your problem. Technology is… technology helps if you have a strategy and resources, but you can’t just buy technology to solve insert whatever problem you’re having and assume that miracles will happen tomorrow and you’ll turn it on and revenue will come in. 

Ashley Shailer: The silver bullet complex, like if we buy it, it will happen.  

Stephanie Cox: But it will happen because it happened for insert certain company only done.

Ashley Shailer: Exactly. I know. You know, you have to have the right strategy in place. You have got to have the right staffing or at least the right plan for staffing or just there’s so many contributing factors to making, you know, tech and tools successful in a business. But yeah, I completely agree. It’s you, you definitely don’t want to fall into that trap for sure.

Stephanie Cox: So one of the things that I know you do current and your current role is a lot of like C suite consulting and sometimes even play like interim CMO roles. So there’s been a lot of talk recently and really for years I think it’s heated up once again. That the role of the CMO is one of the shortest tenures in the C suite overall. So I’d love to just get your thoughts on what do you think is really driving that abbreviated tenure? Why is it so hard for marketing leaders to stay in the sweet,  C suite for more than a couple of years? 

Ashley Shailer: Yeah, it’s such a good question. And I don’t… I don’t know that I have the right answer, but I just have some ideas. I think that one of the issues are the traps that marketing had fallen into. Probably in the last let’s just call it, you know, three to five years is this preoccupation with accountability. So we do a lot of process consulting around lead management. And, you know, how marketing reports as an organization and there’s so many conversations around things like marketing source versus influenced pipeline. And how is that defined? Is it consistent? Is it a bought in definition? Right. In the organization? And there’s so much preoccupation with showing marketing’s contribution to revenue that I think it’s a bit shortsighted sometimes. Meaning, you know, you sort of lose track of what the overall goal is, which is making sure that marketing is aligned to all of the strategic business goals, not just revenue generation, although that’s a very important one. And also sometimes having faith that some of the let’s call it more upstream, higher level reputation building activities are contributing to engagement. Right. Maybe in a way that’s not specifically reportable today. And I think that all goes to sort of the migration away from the MQL and counting the MQLs. But I think that marketing just sort of dug a hole when they became so preoccupied with reporting and getting the reporting right, because, you know, there’s a lot of challenges with attribution reporting still. And that’s not where marketing efforts are best spent. Nobody cares except for the marketing organization. And I think if you could help level the conversation a little bit and sort of uplevel the goals, especially at that CMO level. Right. You need to sort of uplevel the conversation and it’s incumbent upon you to do that. You know, I think I think that they would have found themselves to be a little bit more of a strategic partner. I also think we’re in this sort of era of digital transformation in general. Right. You hear it all the time. So eye rolling to me. It’s like that everywhere. But I think that they’re within this sort of culture of digital transformation. I think that it’s almost an unspoken rule that marketing it’s incumbent upon marketing to set the tone, the digital tone for the rest of the organization, meaning like the marketing function is supposed to really be the trailblazer when it comes to leveraging digital. And really, you know, like is that setting the tone for for, you know, how digital is used and sort of setting the culture of digital within a company? And I think that there’s so many components that go into digital transformation, especially with these huge legacy businesses, that marketing might be doing a great job. But I think that they sometimes take the fall for other parts of the organization are not as successful in that transformation. And I don’t think that that’s a correct blame or emphasis. But I do think that sometimes it happens. I think that CMOs are the most successful when they can focus on both the long game and the short game. Right? So, when I think of that, I think of the sort of the art and science of marketing, the short game or in your demand creation efforts. Right. Your sort of directly tied to growth efforts. The long game is the branding, the visibility, the reputation. Reinforcing sentiment within the marketplace, being the voice of the customer, and the reality is that those long game elements are oftentimes much more difficult to directly report on, but are as important, if not more than no short game elements. 

Stephanie Cox: Well, and the one thing that you said I thought was really interesting was around this idea that marketing is expected to really own digital transformation, which I think everyone wants companies to do. Right. They want and they know they need to better engage with consumers on digital. But then I also feel like there’s a flip side to it, which is. Oh, but you want us to totally do it in a different way. I don’t know how I feel about that. So be different do different things on digital, but also don’t rock the boat too much. And if you rock the boat a little bit and you go take us down a different path. If those results aren’t immediately stellar, we start to lose our patience.I mean, have you seen that so much?

Ashley Shailer: So much, especially with this big transition towards more account based strategies? The sort of the results or the metrics that trickle in from these sort of longer tail programs are not always immediate. And it’s a huge culture change in companies to be able to say, you know, in three in the first three months of this program, we’re going to look at, you know, what might be considered low level activity based metrics. Huge, huge cluster change. So, you know, it’s just it’s very challenging, I think. And I think it gets back to that sort of preoccupation with accountability. It’s very challenging whenever you’re saying, you know, hey, the numbers or the KPI that you’re used to seeing aren’t going to apply here anymore. You know, you often find that. And that’s OK. Oftentimes you need a really sort of transformative evangelical leader of an organization to really, you know, sort of create that culture, you know, make sure that that’s OK. Otherwise, these programs just don’t succeed.

Stephanie Cox: So one of the other things I know about you from when we first met was that you have a wonderful families similar to me and you. I think we just instantly bonded with you over. We’re very similar styles and we travel for work and how we try and get our men prepped to handle that. So how how do you handle a successful career balancing that, but while also balancing your family life, which is so important to you? And you know, what advice would you give to other people that are trying to figure this all out? Because I think that’s one thing that I’ve found as a mom. That I don’t hear a lot of is like real authentic advice. I hear like lean in. You can have it all. Well, you can’t. Let’s be honest. Some days you feel like you’re doing great at both. And sometimes you feel like you’re failing at one or the other. So I’d love to just hear from you, you know, how… How do you handle all of that? And what is your advice you give to other moms that are trying to figure it out? And honestly, some days just trying to survive. 

Ashley Shailer: I’m not qualified to give any advice. Let’s just start there and we’ll just say that table stakes like drinking helps. Right. You know me. But seriously, it’s this question is so difficult. I mean, anybody who’s become a parent or is thinking about becoming a parent, you know, or on the precipice of that, we’ll know that your life just completely changes. It just completely changes. Your priorities change. You know, you’re the availability of free time changes. And I think that, you know, I have not cracked the code on this. I have a 1 year old and a 3 year old. So I like a relatively new parent. I would still say. So,I have not cracked the code on this. But there are a couple of things that I have learned that I can share that have been successful for me. 

The first is not everybody is able to do this, but try to, you know, work for a company that shares your values, right? Shares, shares you, your family values. You know, try to. And if you you know, if you’re not sure if you work for that company, set boundaries for yourself and then have confidence in those boundaries. So what I mean by that is, you know, if you have to pick up your kids at daycare at quarter five, you need to leave at quarter at 5:00. That is a boundary that you set for yourself. And through the organization and have confidence in those boundaries, because if you start to doubt yourself, the cracks are going to show and other people are going to see wiggle room. Right. To get you to compromise those boundaries. So have confidence in those boundaries. Also, know what your priorities are. My priorities are my family. They are the most important thing to me in my life. I am a marketing leader and I love my work. But it’s not saving lives in the 

Stephanie Cox: Yes, so much preach that. I say that all the time. You are we as a marketer. There are no real marketing emergencies unless you got drunk and posted something ridiculous on the company’s Twitter account. Like it probably can wait til tomorrow. 

Ashley Shailer: And to that end, I would say the do not disturb button on my phone has been a game changer for me too. I work remotely, so I do travel a fair bit for work, but I do work for my home office when I’m not traveling. And that is a wonderful, wonderful, wonderful thing. The first for being a parent. But also, it can create some fluidity in terms of when days start and when they end. And so if I’m if my husband is here and my two kids are here and it’s the evening or it’s the morning getting ready that do not disturb is on my phone, because I found I found that if I don’t see any notifications come in, if I don’t see that I have an email or I don’t see that I have a text message or anything. I am much less likely to be preoccupied with my phone. And it’s just totally been a game changer for me because I don’t feel like I’m missing anything on the work side or, you know, or behind in any way. So I just I just don’t even see it. And that’s another boundary that I set for myself. You know, during these times, I don’t look at my phone. I’m you know, I’m focused on my home life. And yeah, it’s just been a game changer. I highly recommend it to anybody like use, you know, mute your notifications, whatever you have to do during those times that that you want to be available for your family because you… it’s just it’s great in finding your phone doesn’t ring. When It doesn’t beep doesn’t show you a notification. You kind of forget about it. It’s good.

Stephanie Cox: It is nice. Well, and that’s it’s funny that you said that because I actually started doing that, not 100 percent exactly the same way, but I took away. All notifications on my notification screen for email and for social media. I think the only thing I see is like texts. But it’s been a game changer for me. Just a couple years ago, because otherwise it’s like impossible. We are so inclined to glance at our phone so many times or you hear like my phone is always on vibrate. My husband gives me so much crap about it because I will like lose it in the house and he’s like well we can’t find it on vibrate. And if we’re being honest, it’s probably on vibrate like under a blanket so you definitely can’t hear it. Or like on the bed or something. But the nice thing about it is like I never hear that ding or like if someone calls me, it’s vibrating like it. I just it helps so even if you are texting me, unless my phone’s right next to me, I probably don’t even notice. So that’s been good for me. I know to help really, just try and stay focused and also try and just really tell my family like you are the most important thing. And you know, for me, I know my kids are older than yours are, I have twin 13 year olds, which is a whole separate ball, separate, wonderful, wonderful adventure. I say all the time, I think I start ups and parenting is why wine was invented. 

But it’s it’s great because what I’m doing now, I realize because they have I mean, they have phones. My behavior is setting the tone for what their behavior is gonna be like. And so we really try to, you know, like no phones at the table, all that type of stuff. We also try and do like and we’re not as good about it on a consistent basis as I would like us to be, but we’ll do it. Technology free days like where we literally will do nothing with technology. So no phones, no TV, nothing like that. And we’ll do board games or we’ll go do something else outside that’s totally unrelated to technology. And it’s so good to help you just kind of like just disconnect. And that’s the reason I know I love cruising so much is when I go on a cruise, my phone is in a safe and there I don’t really have Internet, I don’t have Internet access, I don’t watch a TV. I literally am just present and it’s really so good for mental health. 

Ashley Shailer: Stephanie, we are like two pees in a pod. Because I’m the… I loved cruising for the same reason. And I actually started doing the whole do not disturb thing to try to model like my behavior on a cruise because cause I’m like. I’m so obsessed with my phone and normal life. Yet I forget about it in this environment, what’s different? And, you know, it’s just it’s just, you know, that there is no you know, you know that there’s no connectivity. Right. You know that there’s nothing that you need to to get back to. And so you’re able to abandon it. But to your point, like the behavior modeling, like, you know, just having two young kids, I kids so obvious to me because they’re obsessed with our phones. Why? Because we’re we’re obsessed with them. And, you know, I think different parents have different philosophies on, you know, the introduction of technology into the lives of their kids. But I just I just think, you know, you need to. You need to definitely be, you know, aware of the types of behavior that you’re modeling when it comes to technology, because especially, you know, in this day and age, I mean, the kids get introduced to. Right. Social media. And so, you know, online interaction so much earlier and before, they’re really like mentally or emotionally developed to be able to handle it. So, yeah, anyway, I bet you didn’t think your parenting question would cause like a spiral. 

Stephanie Cox: But this was like honestly like this to me is like some of the most important part of a conversation because it’s the few things that people don’t talk about. I know. You know, I have it with the kids, you know, as you mentioned, social media. So it was a real easy situation for us because of all the social media apps. You have to be 13, right? Technically. And so I just use that as an excuse why they couldn’t get on there. Well, you’re not 13 legally, so it’s not really my role. It’s like Facebook’s rule, it’s Twitter’s rule. And then they turn 13 . And I was like, oh, crap. But the thing about it is, is when they got phones and we waited a long time, we actually waited until they started seventh grade and I was gonna wait until they were 13 to give given their own phones. But I couldn’t because my daughter is a cheerleader and she was at cheer camp and they happened to get done early. So I am going to go pick her up. She was supposed to be done at 5:30. I get there like 5:15, and she’s the only girl with the coach and standing outside. And I’m like, I think I’m early. And then like did I get something wrong and it’s the first day of camp. She’s like, well, we got done early. And I was like, and you didn’t call like you didn’t call or text me? And she’s like, why didn’t have a phone? And it was like, you didn’t tell your coach that. And she’s like, well, I mean, no other girls had phones and they just texted their parents. And I was like, OK. Like literally the next day I went and got her, her own phone. Like she didn’t want to say something cause like she didn’t wanna be embarrassed that, you know, she didn’t have a phone. And I’m like, OK, I get it. My son was running cross country. I’m like. We just need to go ahead and bite the bullet. But I actually have their phones pretty locked down so they can’t add apps without getting access like they can’t even get to the app store or they can’t even get on the Internet. Like they can text people, they can make calls and have a really big rule. Like, I can go get and look at your phone anytime. And it’s not everyone’s like that, but I think for us, like that’s been the most helpful because I just talked to other parents and, you know, they’re finding like all these things like, you know, other kids or even adults are sending their children on like Snapchat or TikTok, which I don’t even understand. It’s a separate issue, but it’s I’m just like I’m just so grateful right now. I don’t have to like my kids aren’t they’re OK with not having to deal with that stuff. And, you know, like I think they got excited when they got Instagram for the first time. And I was like, well, you can you know, you can only friend, you know, connect with your friends or like family. It can’t be like someone random that you know. And so they’ve been really good about it. But it’s it’s hard and it’s hard because like that is also my job. So it’s like the weirdest thing, because my job is to be on my phone because, you know, I am a digital marketer. And you know, what we do at Lumavate is we build mobile apps. So like part of my job is being on my phone. And, you know, we do I’m over. I oversee social media and all that stuff on my team. So it’s crazy because they see me on Twitter or on LinkedIn. But then I’m telling them. But like not for you. 

Ashley Shailer: No, no I hear you. But I thought about that a lot. This is our jobs like. Like what? You know, what about the parents who like aren’t in this environment everyday? Like, how are they supposed to stay ahead of the curve? Like my poor husband doesn’t even have any, like social media profiles at all, like. And I’m like, it cannot be incumbent upon me to, like, stay ahead of the curve here in terms of the little get apps look at. 

Stephanie Cox: But it’s so true. My husband’s the exact same way because he has Facebook and he never posts anything except for like maybe like on my birthday or something. He’s like, I just got to like, look at what other people are doing and I’m like, OK. He doesn’t understand. Like, if you had explained to him, Instagram or Twitter, he has no idea. Then I’m you know, my son’s being like, can I get TikTok? And I’m like, absolutely not. And my husband is like you. I mean I don’t even know what it is… So the answer is no. And so, like my son has started. I do it, my son has started to ask my husband first. Like, he’s like, can I *insert* Can I have, you know, insert like whatever new hot app with the 13 somethings is going on. And Josh now goes I’m gonna talk to your mom, and I’m like yeah probably not. 

Ashley Shailer: Yeah, I’m not even ready for the 13 year old years. 

Stephanie Cox: It’s… It is wonderful. And a whole new challenge all at the same time. So back on the subject of marketing, I would love to just really find out from you. There’s this big saying that 50 percent of marketing works, 50 percent doesn’t, and I don’t know the difference. How do you help marketers figure out what marketing, what’s working, especially when we have you know, as we’ve talked about a little bit, there’s so much data and having like analysis paralysis. When in reality you could probably connect data to show that literally anything is working and not actually be true. Not that it’s not truthful. It’s just not a clear picture of the reality of the situation.

Ashley Shailer: Yeah, I think goal setting is really important. You know when you think about like working versus not working because everything that you do as a marketer, every program that you run, which should be like a planned, coordinated set of activities, should be driving toward some desired outcome. And I think first, it’s important to have a culture of planning that has objectives associated with it. And then. Right. Understanding whether or not what you’ve done has reached that objective or contributed to it, met those KPI. And I look a lot at just sheer like engagement metrics. When I think of marketing working, I think marketing is in the spirit of creating engagement and interest where before there wasn’t any or there was a baseline. And so a lot of times when you say, how do I know marketing is actually working… It’s, is it driving more traffic to a destination? Is it creating more interaction with a particular asset or a particular idea than it had before? I think a lot of times, especially in kind of digital culture, this notion of virality is something that you hear, you know, tossed around like, oh, we just need to keep up. You just need to to develop something that’s going to go viral. And when the reality is, there is no lasting engagement. You know, after the initial sort of spike, where I think marketing is working is when there’s lasting increased engagement in a certain web or digital property or around a certain idea. And a bonus is whether or not there’s increased engagement from your sort of discrete targets, whether that’s a set of target accounts or a particular industry or maybe just one account. You know, that’s usually how I like say, OK, what we’re doing is definitely working. Now, I said before, discrete objectives, you know, oftentimes you might have a program that’s specially designed to move opportunities over the finish line. Right. And in those cases, you know, or maybe net new opportunities, it’s reasonably easy to say like, yes, we did that. We think we’re able to do that. We have an innovation in it. 

That’s why I try to look at more of those upstream activities, because that’s where it gets a little bit more nebulous. And that’s where I say like, OK, right. Did we grow interest? Did we have a baseline of interest in this particular idea or in this particular Web property? And were we able to increase that? Because, again, most companies have the technology income to be able to gage that. I think in the content marketing world, you know, audience growth is a big one, too, you know? Are you doing a good job? Well, is your audience growing? Because if you’re growing your audience, you are sort of growing the value of your social media property. Right. So I think, you know, audience is growing then and then, you know, what you’re doing is working, but it’s not easy. You know, you really need to know this is what we’re looking to do here and try not to be all things to all people with every program that you run. You know, it’s one thing to say this program is going to be a success if we drive engagement, you know, in the form of web visits to a particular page. It’s another thing to say. Oh, wait, wait. Now we want to make sure that this program is generating net new pipeline. Well, no, that wasn’t the original objective. So, yeah, I mean, I don’t know. It’s not an easy thing for sure, but it needs to be done and planning with KPI associated. 

Stephanie Cox: It does. Well, I love your comment on the viral thing. And I’m just like, I don’t know how many times. I just tell people. There is no viral button. I don’t just push a button and things go viral. And you wanting something to go viral is like… I don’t even know what to say about it. Alright… I want to end on doing something I call Quick Hits. So I’m going to ask you a couple of rapid fire questions, and I just want to get your first gut reaction. OK?

Ashley Shailer: Okay.

Stephanie Cox: What’s the one thing you wish every marketer would do? 

Ashley Shailer: Take more risks with humor and empathy in their marketing. 

Stephanie Cox: Yes, preach. What’s one thing you wish marketers would stop doing?

Ashley Shailer: Putting together like really convoluted approval processes for things. 

Stephanie Cox: And then one thing every marketer should know?

Ashley Shailer: That you know that you already know the right answer. So I think if you’re if you’re good at your job, you know the radiance are you have your finger on the pulse of the market. Like don’t doubt yourself, you know just do it 

Stephanie Cox: And lastly the most frustrating thing about marketing is?

Ashley Shailer: Can I go back to my convoluted… no…  can you tell I might be like experiencing those right now, but no I’d say the most frustrating thing about marketing is just the lack of appetite for creativity and experimentation. In B2B anyway.

Stephanie Cox: And the lack of a real appetite. Everyone says they want it. No one really wants it. 

Ashley Shailer: So true and so frustrating.

Stephanie Cox: If you can’t tell I absolutely loved chatting with Ashley from the moment I first met her in September at an event in Chicago where we both happen to be speaking. I immediately felt like we were kindred spirits. She’s a phenomenal marketer, super authentic person who just honestly tells it like it is which I roll that way too. So I wasn’t really surprised when our conversation during the show veered from marketing to parenting and back to marketing again. Now, let’s dive in to my top three takeaways from our conversation. 

First balancing a career and a family is hard especially for women. We can’t do it all and I honestly don’t believe that you can have it all at least I haven’t met someone has been able to have it all without having a ton of help. For me there times when I feel like I’m doing a great job at work, but wish I was spending more time with my family and other times when I’m so focused on what’s going on in my family life that I know I should be spending more time focusing on work. It’s a balance but it really also isn’t a work-life balance in my opinion. It’s a work-life integration finding a way to be fulfilled in your career while also putting your family first and knowing there are times when one area may be more intense than the other.

Next, no I cannot make something go viral. No marketer can make something go viral except maybe a celebrity with a huge social media following and even that isn’t guaranteed. I cannot tell you how many times I have been asked just to ‘make it go viral’ like there’s some hidden marketing button we all have access to that enables us to make campaigns go viral and get hundreds of thousands of visits. If marketers had the access to the so call viral button don’t you think we would have already used it? Spoiler alert, we would have. It doesn’t exist and no one should be measuring the success of any effort based on whether or not it went viral. It should be based on how many people in your ideal customer profile or ICP engage with your brand as a result because sending a bunch of non-qualified traffic to your website as a result of a campaign isn’t what success looks like to me. Success is getting the right people to your website from a campaign and converting them.

Finally can we all agree that there are rarely marketing emergencies. Marketing is not a life-or-death situation. So almost all marketing issues can likely wait until the morning. The only exception in my mind is if you get super drunk and start posting inappropriately on your company’s social media. Yep, I’ve seen someone do that before it’s not pretty that’s an emergency. Otherwise, there aren’t marketing emergencies. Yet so many of us feel like we can’t disconnect and if we’re being honest I struggle with disconnecting to which is honestly why I go on cruises because the Internet doesn’t work so I can’t get on my phone. But I digress so many marketers are treating different issues they have like it’s on fire. I’ve even had a boss before who I would swear every week would create his weekly fire drills almost like clockwork towards the end of the week something unexpected would be on fire. We would need to literally drop everything to work on it only to find out later it wasn’t as big of a deal as everyone thought it was. And that doesn’t need to happen. We all just need to take a step back and realize where marketers we’re not doctors. We’re not out there saving lives. We can take a breath, relax for an evening and the world won’t end.

I’m Stephanie Cox and you’ve been listening to mobile matters. If you haven’t yet be sure to subscribe, rate, and review this podcast until then be sure to visit lumavate.com and subscribe to get more access to thought leaders best practices in all things mobile.