“You don’t have to bat 1000 to win. You do need to bat 500. But put a stake in the ground and put yourself on the line for an idea. It’s better to be bold than nervous.” — Chad Troutman
In this week’s Praxis Monday call, we were joined by marketing guru Chad Troutman. Chad has worn a wide array of hats in the marketing space — as the solo marketer for a small startup (where “director of marketing” really meant “the entire marketing team”), the manager of a team of 30, and his current gig as CMO of a Charleston-based startup called MySentio. He didn’t start his career as a marketer, though — he started out as a claims adjuster for eBay, and slowly worked his way into the marketing space.
In this call, we covered a wide array of topics, including:
- what marketing even is
- what skills (both hard and soft) you need to master to be a good marketer
- what a marketer needs to be obsessed with
- what to do now to build a marketing future
Want to go into a marketing career? Chad broke down his step-by-step process for becoming a CMO, and here’s everything you need to know.
What is Marketing, Anyway?
Sales and marketing are basically the same thing. So is customer service. Most of what drives a company is demand generation, and these departments all move towards that same end.
Both marketing and sales are about convincing people — customers, investors, and even your own team — that your product is worth paying attention to and worth buying.
A good marketer tells stories that lead people to make emotionally-driven buying decisions. Good marketing also speaks to people’s pain. You make them realize they have a problem — a pain point — and then you propose a solution — your product.
Good marketers are also always testing ideas. They’re experimenting with different strategies, predicting what people will respond to, trying those things out, and then adjusting their course based on empirical evidence. They know how to try new things and they know how to read their metrics to see what’s working and what’s not.
What Do You Need to Know to Become a Marketer?
There are lots of different types of marketing roles out there, and lots of different sets of tools and skills marketers need to have. Software tools, copywriting strategies, social media skills, web development expertise — the list is long and varied. It’s really hard to be good at every facet of marketing. Most marketers aren’t. There are so many facets to master: social media, plus tech tools, plus tech trades like website builders and SEO.
It isn’t possible for any marketer to know all of these tools, nor do you have to. You do have to have a strong arsenal of both hard and soft skills.
A marketer is also a bridge between every department in the company. They work in tandem with the sales and operations departments, and they’re in communication with the product team to most effectively sell the features of their product.
There’s lots of content on the internet about marketing strategies, but a good marketer doesn’t copy them — rather, they recycle. You can’t just regurgitate the things you read — you have to be able to speak intelligently about how they apply to your specific company, and how you’ll implement them.
How Do You Position Yourself To Become a Marketer?
Here are the most important steps to follow:
- Have an understanding of traditional marketing
- Know your tool stack
- Apply the concepts to the context of the situation your business is in, and then stake a claim (“If I was writing the checks, this is what I’d do.” Seems bold as opposed to being wishy washy. If people see you nervous about your ideas why would they want to jump in the boat with you?)
Some other things to remember:
“It’s important to be convicted when talking about your ideas. If you’re wishy-washy, who’s going to want to get in the boat with you?” — Chad Troutman
Don’t offer three different options and hedge between them. Be decisive and assertive about your ideas — and know you can always fix things later if you’re wrong. People will respect you more if you’re confident in what you’re doing.
Working as an SDR is also a great place to start your career — it’s Chad’s favorite position to hire from, because SDRs know everything about businesses.
If you want to move into the marketing department at your company, do 1-on-1s with people on the marketing team. Offer to buy them coffee in exchange for 30 minutes to pick their brain. Make it clear that marketing is your goal, and make your contact with the marketing team a regular occurrence. When an opportunity arises, they’ll know you were positioning yourself to take it.