“Technology startups should choose their first marketing technology investments as wisely as they choose their first hires “
1.Tell us about your role in Moz?
As the CMO at Moz, I lead all areas of marketing and participate in developing and driving company strategy as a member of the executive team.
Last October, I was also invited to assume the role of acting Chief Revenue Officer, leading our direct sales team. This expansion of my CMO role to include ownership for new business revenue makes particular sense for our SaaS business, as much of our revenue was already “owned” by the marketing team who is responsible for driving online conversions.
As a marketing leader, I’ve always believed that you drive growth through a deep understanding and empathy for your customers. By united marketing and sales on a single team, I’m finding that can work faster and more efficiently on behalf of our customers. The customer journey — regardless of whether the purchase transaction is completed online or with an account executive — is no different, so working together on the same team is making our interactions with the customer more seamless.
2. Can you tell us about your journey into this market?
Like many, my career path has taken me on a wonderfully winding journey, but I became focused on marketing in the tech industry in 2007 when I joined Yahoo. I spent five years there in various roles on the global b2b marketing team. Anyone paying attention to the now-defunct All Things Digital blog during this time would tell you those were somewhat tumultuous years, but for me, they were transformative. I worked with some of the brightest, most creative talent in the industry, and in many ways, “grew up” as a digital marketer around the same time that marketing automation and our ability to learn so much more about our customers started taking shape.
I later worked for Amazon and then three different startups in the Seattle area (including my current role at Moz). I’ve also worked in the nonprofit space, was a professional writer early on, and I’ve had my own consulting firm…twice!
3. How do you think technology is upgrading the marketing Sector?
Back in 2011 when the marketing tech landscape was first illustrated by LUMA Partners, the visual had around 150 companies. Recent graphics include over 7000 companies, and we know there are likely dozens and dozens — possibly hundreds — of companies that didn’t make the list.
This industry has been growing incredibly fast, making it nearly impossible for many marketers to keep up. The sheer volume of options can be daunting, but it’s also so powerful.
We can deeply understand our customers and the stage of their journey with us, and we have the opportunity to reach them at scale with relevant information. In other words, we have the ability to do great marketing: marketing that doesn’t spam every possible prospect but instead only reaches those who we truly believe may benefit from what we have to offer with the type of information they need to make the most informed decision.
This has also created a powerful consumer who can make informed decisions versus being influenced by noise. This virtuous cycle should, in time, create an industry of better marketing that is helpful versus annoying.
4. How is digital marketing redefining marketing as well as advertising methods?
Digital marketing is more measurable and has therefore been at the forefront of the push for more quantifiable marketing and advertising. While it’s still often challenging to tie even digital marketing directly to revenue, we’re getting closer and closer every year.
While I’m right there with the next gal laughing (and sometimes — let’s face it — almost crying) at the Super Bowl commercials each year, I do wonder how long it will last. How long will we continue to spend millions for a 30-second spot when there is virtually no way to tell who saw it let alone who it impacted?
5. What tips would you like to give to the digital marketers for better SEO strategies?
SEO is an initiative that demands the attention of leadership. Rather than relegating SEO to a singular person on the marketing team, I would encourage CMOs and even CEOs to view it as a strategic driver of brand awareness as much as it is a driver of revenue. Search is everywhere — it follows us throughout every day, serving up answers to our questions via our voice-driven virtual assistant, helping us find directions in our car, giving us the option to “click to call” our favorite bakery, and even navigating us to emergency services when we are in need.
The most critical thing a digital marketer can do is to advocate that their leadership take notice and supports a comprehensive SEO strategy. That strategy should include the resources needed to manage SEO on an ongoing basis — not as a “set it and forget it” once a month clean-up job.
There is so much you can learn about your customers as well as your competitors by managing SEO as an ongoing marketing strategy.
As for tactical tips, I can give none better than to stay on top of Google updates (happening more often than you might realize), and if you don’t already have a favorite source, I recommend the Moz Blog, which was the first of its kind and is still the leading source of knowledge from leading SEO experts who share their tips and learnings with our community.
6. What features of your SEO software, according to you, makes Moz a leading marketing firm?
There are many SEO platforms out there now, and many have similar features. But SEO platforms are only as good as the data used to power their link index, keyword recommendations, and SERP analysis.
Moz is powered by the world’s most accurate SEO data, and we offer best-in-class proprietary metrics including Keyword Difficulty, Spam Score, Page Authority, and Domain Authority — the most highly correlated metric with actual Google rankings available today.
7. What are your predictions about the future of SEO and inbound marketing?
I believe that SEO will (eventually) equal paid search as a digital marketing tactic. Many marketers still gravitate more toward paid search because it’s more measurable and easier to attribute to a conversion, but more and more we’re seeing a deeper understanding of the impact of SEO, not just on traffic but on branding, competitive strategies, and on revenue-driving content strategies.
As SEO continues to be adopted by content marketers, it will become more recognized as a critical component of inbound marketing strategies.
8. What advice would you like to give to the technology Start-Ups?
Technology startups should choose their first marketing technology investments as wisely as they choose their first hires.
Their first hires create the foundation of teams and culture. Their first marketing tech has the power to shape the way marketing thinks about, understands, and nurtures customers during those first critical months and for years to come.
10. How do you prepare for an AI-Centric world?
While we talk about AI like it is something new, the reality is that it has been coming — and here — for quite some time. Just like marketing automation through the ages, AI can be a powerful tool to help us better understand and serve our customers as long as we take the time to understand how it is being applied (or can be applied) to our business, the impact, and the outcomes.
11. What are the major developments you are planning?
This summer, July 6-8th in Seattle, we’ll be hosting our 15th year of MozCon. This is an opportunity for SEOs and digital marketers to connect with an incredible community of experts and learn from industry-leading practitioners in the vast world of SEO, mobile, conversion optimization, local search, and more. Tickets are available now at moz.com/mozcon.
12. Can you tell us about your team and how it supports you?
I feel so fortunate — I have a really great team! I have a team of directors across marketing and sales who meet regularly to ideate, problem-solve, share learnings, and generally support each other. Not only do they develop their own programs and lead their own teams, but I regularly tap them to work with me on things like strategy and special projects.
It’s a powerful feeling to know that I have this great brain trust I can turn to at any time. I also meet regularly with the whole marketing and sales team, and together we share learnings from the voice of the customer and recent programs. More than anything, each and every person on my team at Moz supports me by showing up every day as leaders and owners, responsible for results, in a team environment that is caring and supportive, with tremendous empathy for our customers.