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Uncommon Marketing Matters: Expert Marketing Advice with Kizaan Knapp

Uncommon Marketing Works Growth Marketing Manager, Amber DeFabio, got to sit down with Kizaan Knapp, Director of Content Marketing & Strategy at Emburse for our new marketing podcast, Uncommon Marketing Matters. Kizaan brought great insight to the table in regards to why in marketing, failure isn’t always a bad thing, and what account-based marketing brings to the table for B2B marketing strategies.

Originally from South Africa, Kizaan moved to the US to attend college at George Mason University. With a degree from George Mason in Graphic Design, Kizaan began her career as a Junior Designer. Shortly after, she landed a Junior Marketing position and instantly loved it. As Kizaan says, she found her spirit animal!

Kizaan now works as the Director of Content Marketing & Strategy at Emburse, an expense management and AP automation solutions company. Being able to work and learn from various teams has helped Kizaan grow professionally, and now she finds herself in the position to always bring new ideas to the table.

Account Based Marketing Summarized

So, what is Account Based Marketing? Account Based Marketing (also known as ABM) is a B2B focused approach where a company’s marketing and sales team work together to target the best-fit accounts and turn them into customers. In simple terms, ABM should be where you start in your marketing process. It means understanding your buyer, going directly to the buyer group and trying to understand your buyer and then giving them what they want – at the right time.

Marketing Explained for Non-Marketers

Just because you love marketing, doesn’t mean everyone is going to understand what you do. While many people may not directly understand what marketing is, they are surrounded by it everyday. When you see an ad on social media, a billboard as you’re driving, or even just a simple push notification, that is all marketing. Yes, your experience with that ad or notification may have been brief, but there is a lot of behind-the-scenes work that goes into creating that content.

What makes Kizaan, in particular, passionate about marketing is getting clients/customers to the point of purchase and leading them through the buyer’s journey through a thought out experience. Another aspect about marketing Kizaan enjoys is that it’s okay to fail. Not every campaign is going to be successful, but instead of looking at this failure as a negative, you can look at it as a lesson and grow.

For example, there are new marketing channels coming out everyday, and it’s okay to not get great results as soon as you start using them. In marketing, you are going to fail and that’s okay. Don’t look at it as a failure, look at it as an opportunity and grow from it. NEVER be afraid to fail, with failure comes great success.

Three Stereotypes of Marketing

When peers and colleagues don’t have a full understanding on the value and importance of marketing, there is bound to be stereotypes that all marketers come across. The three biggest marketing stereotypes Kizaan has dealt with are:

1. Marketers just make things pretty

Don’t get us wrong. It is our job to make our work visually appealing, but it is more complicated than just choosing a couple brand colors that go well together with any random font. Branding is serious business and establishing standards to your brand is essential.

2. Marketing is fluff/fluffy

In many organizations, marketing is normally overlooked and viewed as non-essential. In many cases, it’s the first thing to be cut from a budget. However, doing this is absolutely detrimental to an organization’s brand. When you cut a marketing budget, you reduce the chance of gaining new customers.

3. Sales & marketing will always butt heads

The best and most efficient companies will have sales and marketing teams that work alongside each other. Cohesion between sales and marketing can be the difference between slow growth and significant increases in your return in investment.

Problem-Solving throughout Your Marketing Career

As marketers, we will come across a slew of problems our teams will look to us to solve. One problem Kizaan came across as her career progressed was not only having to present strategies to C-Suite executives in a way they would understand but also learning to present in a way so that they cared. When dealing with high-level executives, you have to make sure you aren’t getting too far into the weeds of the nitty gritty details.

Instead, try focusing on the big picture and the results that could be possible. By keeping the focus on what the end goal is (typically ROI), you are able to not only hold the executives’ attention but also get them to care about what is being presented. After all, you are discussing ways to benefit the business.

Personalize Your Marketing Efforts and Be Transparent

Personalization isn’t just a trend for the future, but one that is happening now. When it comes to marketing, people have expectations and we have to constantly be trying to meet–if not exceed them. The expectation many have is that things need to be quick, easy to understand, and straight to the point. If you are running an ad that takes someone five minutes to understand, you’ve already lost them. They aren’t going to waste their time with your product.

Another trend in the marketing industry is being authentic and transparent. Your brand has a personality, and just like with people, you aren’t going to please everyone. Throughout this process, be true to your brand. Being transparent with your clients/customers on what your strong suits are as well as your weak points will go a long way. It’s okay to not be perfect at something, you just have to be willing to evolve and change as the industry does.

A Piece of Advice from an Expert Marketer

In this day and age, there are so many opportunities. Kizaan believes that if you are early in your marketing career, you don’t have to take the traditional approach. When looking for a new job opportunity to advance your career, you don’t need to have a resume decked with numerous years of experience. Instead, try taking an outside approach. Do your research and go through the buyer journey for the potential employer, and then present to them the ways you can enhance their approach and make the company better. This will show you have the qualities every marketer needs to be successful in their career: drive and innovation.

Uncommon Marketing Matters with Uncommon Marketing Works

Uncommon Marketing Matters or #uncommonmarketingmatters is an interview series hosted through Uncommon Marketing Works that highlights the accomplishments and learned-from failures of experts in the marketing world and how they achieved success through unique and creative tactics. Many marketers face the myth that “anyone can do marketing.” However, results-driven marketing is more complex than some may think. Uncommon Marketing Matters highlights these complexities and gives an inside look into what it takes to be an effective, successful, and innovative marketer.

If you’re interested in being featured as a guest marketing expert in one of monthly podcast episodes, feel free to reach out and contact us. We’d love to hear from you!

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