As marketers, we can sometimes be guilty of focusing too much on marketing and not enough on the business we are in. Collaborating with all departments and gaining a deep understanding of the company’s and stakeholders’ goals can help us strategically lead our teams and organization to success.
Set Your Sights on Revenue Marketing
Emil Mladenov, VP of Corporate and Digital Marketing for , shares how he approaches elevating his thinking and the steps everybody can take to establish themselves as an invaluable asset to their company and their network, both as a growth marketer and a business leader. He also covers the importance of staying up to date with marketing trends.
Check out this episode of our Marketing Expert Chat series to hear his perspective!
CAROLINE: Hi, so today I am sitting down with Emil Mladenov. Emil is a fantastic marketer, has held strategic positions at a variety of companies including, CEB, Rosetta Stone, DrFirst, and now he’s leading Marketing at Inspirata. Emil, thank you so much for being with me today.
EMIL: Thank you.
CAROLINE: So, today we are talking about basically the gap in between being really good at marketing and being a great marketing leader. As an experienced Marketing leader, I was hoping you can shed a light on what it takes to go from being really good at your trade to being a trusted business leader as a marketer.
EMIL: Yeah, thanks, that’s a great question. And I think it’s something that a lot of people struggle with as they try to climb the corporate ladder and become more senior in their company. I think it’s definitely important for a marketing leader to be in sync with the latest and greatest in marketing I’ve seen some people that have kind of grown out of marketing a little bit, and have stopped looking at the current trends, they feel more comfortable with traditional, older marketing tactics. But when it gets to digital, they’re a little insecure, and they rely too much on their team.
So, I think a good leader should be definitely keeping abreast of everything. I don’t want to, I may have to rely on someone else in my team to set up some of the you know, deal with all the tactical stuff and have to set up all the settings in the back end, but I want to understand what’s going on so I can answer questions. Because a lot of times what happens is if you’re in an executive meeting, someone asks, what’s going on and why something is taking longer, why something is one way or another? If you can’t answer this question, then you lose credibility across the board, vis-a-vis your peers from the executive team, so you need to show that you know, the ins and outs of all the campaigns that are happening.
So that’s on the more tactical level, you know, knowing both digital and traditional marketing, kind of having the full scope. But I think what’s really important is to elevate your thinking and be you know, it’s the proverbial more strategic thinking, seeing the big picture understanding what really is important for a company at this moment. And not only thinking from the point of view, of that’s gonna be a cool marketing campaign, or that’s what everyone else is doing in marketing these days, that’s why we should do that.
But understanding the limitations that the company may be facing, what kind of products do we have, what’s going on the product side? What will this product need to accomplish in the future? What’s gonna support them, to make sure they have the right products in the future. And from an IT perspective, what kind of systems need to be implemented, maybe we don’t have the right infrastructure, so we’re working very closely on the technical side to understand what needs to be done in the next 6 to 12 months to enable us from a marketing perspective to do what we want to do, but also not break the bank for the company.
Working with finance, if it’s a private company, understanding what the investors or future potential investors may want from us and kind of what drives the dial for them. You know, working with sales very closely, obviously. So, you have to be able to talk the language of the company, not only talk marketing, and I think that’s something that a lot of people, when they go through marketing, sometimes they forget that they need to do that. And when it gets to proving the worth of what marketing does, especially in the B2B setting where the sale is a little separated from the marketing activity, it’s not as obvious as in e-commerce where things happen very quickly, and obviously, marketing is almost sales. In a B2B environment, when you have long sales cycles enterprise SaaS models, you have to show the worth of marketing, you have to show the ROI, and if you just rely on the typical marketing, vanity metrics, and you talk about open rates and click rates and conversion funnels on the website, people are not gonna care about that.
They just, you know, no one is gonna go back to the investors and say, well, we had great open rates and click rates, but we couldn’t sell anything this quarter. That’s just not gonna work out. So, you need to find a better way to explain the contribution that’s happening, especially when things are a little removed, you have marketing efforts, and then multiple decision makers get involved, the salespeople are driving this through multiple cycles, you have to work very closely with Sales. I find it very important for me to be on a lot of the sales calls, I’m actually spending more time now with the sales teams than with my marketing team, I have only one team meeting during the week with my marketing team, but I have five meetings with the sales team during the week, almost every day.
So, I think that those are some of the main differences, and if you start doing these things, you’re gonna get a lot of appreciation, and then people are gonna start thinking of marketing as a very important integral part of the company versus just as this thing that’s kind of necessary, but no one really wants to spend money on and no one really sees the reason for it.
Then it’s also one of these things that everyone wants to be a master of because everyone thinks that they could be a good marketer. And you know, once they actually start seeing that you can think like everyone else, you understand their problems, you’re willing to do what needs to be done to support them, but at the same time, you are, you know, showing to them what happens behind the scenes on your end, then they’ll treat you as an equal, I think that’s key.
CAROLINE: Right, awesome, yeah. So that’s really, really good advice. This is something that, you know, we see a lot. So, to summarize, not getting too much away from the execution, right, understanding every piece of your marketing strategy is really important, but also thinking, you know, high-level strategic level and really being a core member of the company and not just the marketing team and really integrate with sales really well, is what you’re saying, is key.
EMIL: Yeah, yeah.
CAROLINE: Right. Well, that’s all really good advice. Thank you so much for spending time here today.
EMIL: Sure, yeah, you’re welcome, thank you.
CAROLINE: And to everyone watching, stay tuned for another episode soon.