Everything you wanted to ask to a Marketing Executive, with founder Courtney McColgan

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Posted on August 28, 2020

Whether becoming a marketing executive is in your plans or you’re already one, there’s a lot of curiosity around this role.

What does a CMO do? How are C-level directors and senior managers dealing with all the pandemic thing?

To understand the daily challenges of a Marketing Executive, we brought Courtney McColgan, founder @ Runa, to give us details about the career of a founder, CMO, CEO and how these roles differ from each other.

Would you tell us a bit of how’s the everyday of a Marketing Executive?

Today’s marketing is all about data. That means a marketing executive’s day is spent looking at spreadsheet, upon spreadsheet, upon spreadsheet.

Your north star is cost of customer acquisition (CAC). You compare your CAC with your LTV, customer lifetime value. Ideally the former should be 1/3 of the latter. Using those two metrics, you can pretty much evaluate any channel of marketing and figure out if it is working or not.

If it’s working, let it rain. Double down on those channels without a doubt.

If it’s not working, don’t eliminate it. Maybe it just needs to be tweaked a bit. Try a different photo, a new tag line, a different visual…a tiny adjustment can make all the difference.

As a marketing executive, you are always looking for a cheaper, faster way to acquire customers. Trying new things is a weekly, if not daily activity. You are always reading about what others are doing, especially those really successful others. You also study the competition.

By mapping out their digital strategy, you can find areas of opportunity to exploit. A small little window of opportunity can make all the difference in marketing.

2. And how does that differ from the routine of a founder/entrepreneur?

As a founder, I also spend a lot of time with data, but people are just as important. I would say I spend my day as a CEO split 50% in data and 50% in people.

My north star as a CEO is Monthly Recurring Revenue (MRR). We have monthly targets we need to hit in order for us to reach our goal for the next round of fundraising.

I daily check out dashboard to see where we are at in achieving our monthly goal. We also have a weekly all company meeting to talk about the goal and where we are at.

I spend all of my energies working to reach that goal. To find answers, I start with the data.

Are leads flowing into marketing at the speed and quality they should be? Is sales processing those leads and closing sales as can be expected? After a sale is closed, are customers being activated on the platform efficiently, timely and correctly? Are they using the product correctly? Is it serving their needs? Are we losing customers and if so, do we know why?

Once I look at the data behind these questions, I then go to the people who run those areas to see how I can help them solve the problems that the data shows. This is the hard part.

Optimizing processes that involve people are never easy. But it is the part of building a company that is required to obtain success.

It’s also my job to make sure those managers are showing up for their teams. I do spot 1:1s every month with a few employees. I also read our monthly feedback survey to see and hear what is working and what is not from the ground up.

3. What are CMO’s and founders talking about the future of corporate events? And how do you personally see it?

In the future I think more than 50% of corporate events will be online with many events happening at the same time. If you like one, you stay. If not, you leave that room and enter another.

It’s a better use of everyone’s time. You also skip the hassle of registration, parking and traffic to get to the event. What I haven’t yet figured out is how they are going to recreate the organic networking that happens at conferences in the virtual world.

You know, when you bump into someone getting coffee, or when you strike up a conversation with a seatmate waiting for a speaker to go on.

Maybe you can sign up for random chats when you attend a virtual conference. And every 30 minutes you get a door knock inviting you to a breakout session with a few other conference attendees. Who knows, but I am sure they will figure it out.

4. Before the pandemic, direct marketing was getting huge. How do you see that being translated to virtual? Are online experiences becoming as good as in-person?

Funny you should ask. We just released an article on Runa about how to network from your living room. We actually tested all of the platforms we recommended, and I can tell you, it definitely works.

However, it is not the same as in-person meetings. Produced content can very well translate into the digital space as that is what we have always done historically. Moving forward its about live time content in live time channels, while allowing organic interactions to happen.

Haven’t seen a platform or technology that does it yet. But what Clubhouse and ChalkApp are doing is headed In the right direction.

5. In this new era of virtual/hybrid events we’re living, what’s become the rule #1 of your marketing playbook?

Content is king. It was the rule before COVID and is only truer during and after COVID.

No one wants to be spammed with ads for a product they don’t want. It is a much better experience if that sale happens naturally. For example, a potential customer goes to google and search for an answer to a question they have.

They get routed to an article on your Resource Center answering that very question they had. Since you have earned their trust and your respect, they are more likely to see what else you have to offer.

They then click over to your product page and see what you have to offer. Good content that is tagged correctly so it can be routed to the people looking for it is everything. We live by that at Runa and I will live by that as a marketer till the day I die.

Related resources to keep learning:

Also check out the latest projects Courtney is working at the moment! You can visit her payroll software official website, runahr.com, and find her on LinkedIn.


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