Taking a short break from the "Best of 2007" series, I recently had the opportunity to meet with Ardath Albee for an interesting discussion. Ardath is an author, writer of the Marketing Interactions blog, former CEO of a CRM-related software company, and generally fascinating marketing personality. Here's our conversation.
WebMarketCentral (WMC): What did you do before Marketing Interactions? What’s your background?
Ardath Albee (AA): Before founding Marketing Interactions, I was the president of Einsof, Inc., a marketing performance software company, for 7 years. Funnily enough, my background prior to Einsof is about as non-techie as you can get. I was a turn-around specialist in the hospitality industry for over 15 years, serving some of the most demanding customers in the world.
WMC: How and when did you get started in this business?
AA: I transitioned into technology to help my sister found and grow Einsof. I immersed myself in learning about technology and found that what remained my passion was connecting people to products and services they need. I’m a writer at heart, always have been, so it was a natural inclination for me to focus my efforts on marketing communications strategy. I helped many Einsof clients with their online content, and, largely because of the reception and interest in my Marketing Interactions blog, decided to make strategic communications a full-time endeavor in early 2007. It was a good choice.
WMC: As a marketing strategist, who is your ideal or typical client?
AA: I work with mid-size to large B2B companies who have embraced the idea of online communications, thought leadership and nurturing, but need help creating a strategy that delivers sales-ready leads. Many times they are clients who’ve purchased marketing technology and are struggling to make it perform and deliver desirable outcomes.
WMC: What is your "key differentiator"—what separates you from your competition?
AA: I have a very quick uptake and can immediately see how a client can provide customer-focused value that catches their target market’s attention. I focus on incremental projects that launch quickly so results come faster. One of the things companies need to focus on is the thread of their communications. Nurturing is a consistent process and clients all have stories to tell.
WMC: How do you market/promote your business?
AA: I’ve been really blessed to have a great network. I have some great partners and my business has been built through referrals with the exception of several who read my eBooks and contacted me directly. This year I have a new eBook series coming out and am doing a webinar in March for ON24 about storytelling and marketing. And I can’t discount my blog for helping to build my reputation and highlight my expertise.
WMC: What’s the biggest or most important marketing lesson you’ve learned since you got started in B2B technology marketing?
AA: When I’m not running the company, things take longer. No, seriously, marketers are so busy that, as a consultant, it’s part of my job to keep projects moving forward, make sure my clients know how to benchmark and measure activities for outcomes and know when to modify the original plan to meet shifting markets. I watch their markets as closely as they do.
Most importantly, marketers tend to revert to company and product-focused communications because those are topics they know extensively. It’s an ongoing process to make sure the customer is always front and center. Sometimes it’s about unlearning what you know and taking a fresh look from a new perspective.
WMC: Anything else you’d like to add?
AA: My new eBook – Catch Me, If You Can – is hot off the presses and discusses 5 Catch Factors and their influence on your lead’s attention. I invite your readers to download a copy here.
Contact Tom Pick: tomATwebmarketcentralDOTcom