Hello, I’m Kerry Guard and welcome to Tea Time with Tech Marketing Leaders.
Welcome back to season 12.
I hope you were able to listen to my previous episodes with Aileen Casmano and Luke, some great conversations with cybersecurity marketers, and seek who markets to developers, what marketing means to them, and how they're finding success for their brands.
In this episode, I get to hang out with John Steinhert, where we discuss what a marketing career can look like. As more people examine their careers and look at making moves, marketing offers not only options in terms of disciplines, but clear growth opportunities as well, which we dig into and layout. Hopefully, you'll feel inspired to join.
As TechTarget’s CMO, John Steinhert is responsible for positioning the company and messaging to their subscribers in ways that maximize understanding and energize action. He’s convinced that if they do this well, everyone benefits. At TechTarget, they’re committed to customer centricity and a win: win view of the world.
Here’s my conversation with John.
Kerry Guard: Hello, John. Thank you for joining me on Tea Time with Tech Marketing Leaders.
John Steinhert: I'm great. I'm happy to be here. It's great to be with you across the ocean.
Kerry Guard: I'm so happy to have you. Thank you for joining me on this fine evening. Before we kick off into the heart of our conversation, which I'm so excited to dig into, let's first let people get to know you a bit. What's your story, John? What do you do? And how did you get there?
John Steinhert: I'm the Chief Marketing Officer of TechTarget. We're a large, primarily intent data-focused supplier toB2B companies. And I got here through two sections or three sections of a career. One is starting as an advertising copywriter, doing both consumer and B2B, then focusing hard on B2B tech. And moving to the client side is a software vendor activity, and doing that a lot. And then arriving at TechTarget, which is somewhat in between what we call the agency world, the marketing services providers, and selling technology, we do both services and technology.
Kerry Guard: What does in-between mean in terms of between the agency and the brand or off in a different sector? What's in-between mean?
John Steinhert: Specifically, we have two software platforms. One is an intent data software platform that provisions intent data unique to us captured from our editorial network. And the other is a virtual events platform that allows customers to execute webinars, get leads from that activity and understand the account behaviors and individual behaviors from that activity. Those are technology platforms that clients buy from us. We have large analysts and research departments that create custom content that can be specific to a client or about a particular market segment. The custom content element is a marketing service. We can provision building from the intent data and generate leads on behalf of the client. And we have different lead products that help clients scale around the world so that they don't have to find as many leads or if they can't find as many leads as they need to help marketing and directly affect the sales pipeline. So services and technology.
Kerry Guard: Services and technology. That's helpful. In terms of what you're doing now, the CMO for TechTarget, what's one challenge you're currently facing?
John Steinhert: The biggest challenge, and it's really exciting to see people as they grapple with this and evolve in their careers. The biggest challenge when you're in a business trying to sell things is listening to the market and the customer. We all have this tension of selling things we need to make our numbers. And yet, unless we can listen to the market well. And in a specific selling interaction, listen to what the customer is saying. We just go on and on about ourselves, and we don't change, we don't evolve, we don't optimize our product and the things we focus on when we do talk. And this challenge of learning to listen is super critical, both at the moment, the selling moment, and in building better solutions for our clients. We get so excited that we talk and talk. It's always challenging because we're training people to say specific things. It's always a challenge to remember that what we say should be based on what we hear, so we can't learn unless we listen better. We can't be precise and helpful unless we address what we hear the needs to be. And that requires that we listen, which means we have to shut up.
Kerry Guard: It is the shift that's happening where it's less me, me, me, and more about what our audience needs and what they're looking for, but I do feel like it's just, it's a shift at the markets of wanting to do it and a lot of effort in making it happen.
John Steinhert: It's interesting to hear you say that. I see a little bit of the opposite. The generation that's entering the workforce now has been brought up. We talk about being digital natives, but part of being a digital native seems to be projecting something out. There's a lotof watching going on, but there is also a call to project what you're doing, what's happening, and what you're eating. It is influenced by listening, but there seems to be a lot of button pushing things out by people. So that's why it's a challenge for me because there's a lot of, I'd say, you could call it pressure to produce volumes of content. But there's this real tension between more and more versus resonant content. And to make resonant content, you must figure out what you're hearing.
Kerry Guard It's tough because we think we know what they want. And I agree with you, John; you got to sit and listen. I think we struggle with how to do that. How do we find our audience? How do we have those authentic conversations? As marketers, we're taught to produce and push instead of sitting and listening.
John Steinhert: We're often asked to do that. It's like, “I'm coming to you now because I need something tomorrow,” And you do your best guess. You and I both know that that's not our best work. A real pro and marketing could come up with something pretty good overnight, but not nearly as good as she could if she understood what was happening. If you're in marketing services, there's this real dynamic of how you get the time to do your best work. And that's hard. I would say that that's one of the things that I emphasize in training people and my own life. That part of being a good marketer is listening to the world. People who are aware of what is happening in the present are dreaming about what might happen in the future, and are aware of what has happened in the past have a greater ability to integrate that into how they will talk to a customer now from a position of authority and be able to provide advice based on historical grounding and an informed view of what will happen in the future.
Reading among marketers is super important. Reading nonfiction is really good, especially because it gives you an appreciation for the structures of the past, for the idea that the victors write history. It is not the only representation. It's not necessarily a clear, factual, or complete factual representation. Nonfiction is really good. It's great for current events and helps you in sales conversations, should they go in that direction, because you can converse about things that might be relevant for people and fiction. Because part of what we want to be able to do is help our audience imagine where they will be after coming together with us for some great new project. And this practice of imagining and envisioning is really hard to develop. I see these examples of fictional events and fictional futures by reading fiction. I feel how out there you can be and still connect to reality. It's helpful to me, so I read a combination of fiction and nonfiction.
Kerry Guard: What's a really good example for you have a both have a nonfiction book that's hit home for you that you now bring into your work and a fiction book that you also point to go, “Oh, yeah, that's where I got that idea from, or that's how that is influencing me.” Or is it more of just the practice of reading across the board and then cultivating it over time? Sort of your experience? How do you use those?
John Steinhert: Well, so there's nonfiction that's directly related. There's fiction and nonfiction directly related to work, and there's nonfiction related to things that are related to work. The easiest way to answer those rather than say, “what are my greatest hits in marketing?” The book I'm reading now is called 1491, which is about native American history before the arrival of Columbus. How much of it is wrong, and read through the lens of the people, the Europeans wrote history as they wanted it to appear, astounding. It's a total miss of so many important things, and what I take away from that is that you have this opportunity in a business situation. Sometimes it's not always to help the client. See the situation she's facing more clearly. You can only do that if you have a broader view, which the client will have when locked into their personal situation at work. But you can sometimes relax tension by talking about, let's look at it in the broader term. Let's break this down into smaller pieces. Let's take the pressure you're feeling and understand where it's coming from and potential alternatives to dealing with it. For example, how can we get you more time so we can do this? That would be a situation where you're in a position to help somebody. On the fiction side, it's weird.
I just finished a book on Vietnam. Vietnam was a big part of my early childhood. I'm a child of that period. But then I immediately switched to a new book because it's Black History Month. I like to do a lot of fantasy reading. I think this is funny. There’s this lady who died recently, Octavia Butler, one of the greatest science fiction writers of all time, and I'm reading her book on a vampire. A black vampire who appears as a child and she raises so many interesting points about the interaction of adults that are physically children. The reaction to the people she's biting to there being a black vampire, which they haven't anticipated.
Black History Month is important to read. All perspectives on black experience, as I struggle to be my better self and to work more effectively, I need to serve better as a marketer with this huge group of valuable colleagues that I need to attract as customers. I have to do a lot of reading in that area. The vampire metaphor, because it's fantasy, is good at helping you get outside yourself. Because it's not real, it can examine all these interesting dynamics of human interaction, fears, and otherness in a way that I find more accessible. Weird, huh?
Kerry Guard: Oh, it's not weird. It's awesome. I'm a big fan of both nonfiction and fiction. I'm reading a ton, and my team is probably so sick of me talking about this, but I read a ton of Brene Brown. She just speaks to me and her research, and I love that it's backed by research in how to normalize so much of what we sort of stuff under the carpet and pretend that's not happening in terms of our feelings, how we interact with one another, work, life balance, and mental health. It's just so helpful from a nonfiction standpoint, and so helpful in trying to understand each other as humans, not just us as an organization, but how we connect with our clients, how we bring their message forward, and how we are all people.
I read a ton of nonfiction by Brene Brown. I’m hyper-focused, and one of the others I recently read was The Infinite Game by Simon Sinek, which is about winning. It's not about the game. It's about how you build something that outlasts today, and for the future of what we're all trying to accomplish like a human race, and how we can contribute to that. But I find it helpful and how I relate despite business hire, except my clients, how I helped my team grow and where they want to go. And then, from nonfiction from a fiction standpoint, I love fantasy. A whole crew of us talk about fantasy all the time on our slack channels with the team, and I completely agree that there's this element in fantasy and fiction that by taking it into another world, you're able to see it from a completely new perspective. If you read a story built in our world and feels of the now, you're putting your own bias on it. When it's completely abstract and in something futuristic or fantasy, and it's not anything that feels right here, you can see so much more because you're not putting your lens on it. You're absorbing it for this whole new thing that it is.
I love how you're thinking about not just reading it from a fictional standpoint but how you take that and then bring it into your work all the time. It also makes us better writers, and it makes us better communicators. It allows us to think about the story arc of how we become the guides to our clients and clients who are our narrative heroes. So yes, to all that, I wish I were an avid reader growing up, and I wish that I had done this sooner, but it wasn't until probably the last two years that I took more to read and how to incorporate that into my every day. I am a little mad at myself for not doing it sooner. But I agree that it greatly impacts everything I do regularly. I have leaned into it recently.
John Steinhert: If we bring that back to marketing, we were talking about where I was talking about how important listening is, and reading is a way of listening. It also helps you be more informed and playback. When you're reading, you're listening to the writer; however, you can get into it by reading the printed word on a Kindle, listening to two hard podcasts, or even longer form.
There are at least two levels that I think people should use to help them in their jobs as marketers. What are they saying, and what is the story about? And can I understand more about my world from the interactions I see in the story? Does it give me insights? This is a metaphor for that interaction and dealing with that team. There's the other part about how they made this because if you aspire to do better content, you got to figure out how to make things. I just sit there in awe of some podcasts I listened to and say, “Holy crap, this is beautiful. The way they put this together helps me aspire to make lots of videos and webinars, and we make ebooks. They get better as we learn techniques from our reading and our watching. Watching it on two levels or listening at two levels is super important. What's in the story that you can use and how the story was built can be really helpful. Then there's the aspiration part. If you have a good book, why not aspire to make something in your work that makes other people feel the same way? It was helpful, and I'm glad I read this.
If we can aspire to that level, I think we're setting our goals correctly. Not aspiring to get it done, which we have to do 85% of the time, but aspiring to greatness. So, that connects to why I've liked marketing as a career a little bit because I get to make stuff. I get to try to make the best stuff I've ever made. And I'm not just making; my team and I get involved in making things that never existed and are better than other things I've seen in the category. And that is tremendously satisfying, not because I'm a business guy; they have to work better than other things in the category. There are several things that I think are good that haven't resonated with our audience. I'm proud that they were good, but we shouldn't work so hard on them until we have some interim goalposts. But by and large, there's a huge joy in making something. I think that's probably shared on the product marketing side, where it connects to product management and product development. It’s very important to be good listeners there. To not get overwhelmed by how cool this thing is that we're making.
Will you use it without constant feedback from the market and customers on this thing that we think is cool? So critical. It's critical that people listen in the product space, all the way down at the end of the go-to-market process, in the sales interaction. It's critical. And certainly, post sims in customer support in customer success and onboarding. These are all areas where listening is really good. Then, of course, you have to act to be a marketer. It's no different from doing art. There's this really important focus on delivering within a specific timeframe.
You can't continue to nitpick at things. You have to develop a process for a relatively high level of quality so that you can deliver repeatedly and you can scale. So that's a real pragmatism that seriously differentiates marketing from true art because even if you make a living through art, you have to have deliverables. You'd have to deliver at a reasonable scale to sell some of them. Even a professional artist is not doing art solely for art's sake, she's doing it to make a living, but it's all more. On the commercial side, especially in B2B, we're trying to create beautiful resonance things with a specific time limit, a specific cost structure that delivers very specific responses, and terms of inquiries and close business. We can't let our artistic cells take over that we're likely to fail, and we won't be as productive as we need to be.
Kerry Guard: As artists, it's this concept of a painting that is never done. You have to let go at some point, and as artists, that's incredibly difficult. It's more of, at what point is this considered acceptable to the outside world? And then I can feel like I've met the objective, versus what I feel makes it complete, which is never an artist. You can always make it better.
John Steinhert: The scene of the artists destroying their work is not good enough. We don't do a lot of them.
Kerry Guard: We don't. There's enough time and what we consider perfect in our brains versus, as I said, the client is the audience; it's just a matter of whether they can connect with it and feel that there's something for them. They're not necessarily what's perfect or what's done. It sounds like a career standpoint, and I love how you broke out the different careers between product sales and marketing. This balance between needing to produce outcomes in a timely manner and the idea of being an artist is an interesting dichotomy. And an interesting career. Is that why you chose marketing?
John Steinhert: I would say a couple of reasons. I will say that marketing chose me. I went to a liberal arts college for the career I prepared myself for. There was no marketing major, and I didn't know that there were organizations that did marketing. I did advertisements a lot. I liked ads that had humor and wit. But I was trained as an anthropologist and to study cultures and the history of cultures. I did a lot of psychology and laboratory science. And I got out of college in a really bad recession. And so that's not a good way to get your first job.
There's a parallel in terms of what's going on. Now, there are a lot of jobs, but there aren't necessarily jobs that people recognize as being the job they thought they'd get. My first experience was I couldn't. I didn't want to get a job in a laboratory. I had worked in a laboratory. I had three jobs to survive. I had one lucky break. The lucky break was that I got an apartment I shared. It was one person, and it was cheap. So that was a lucky break.
My cost of living was quite low, but I initially had three jobs. One was a summer job at a regional zoo in New England three days a week, fulfilling my interest in animals. Animals are a big part of anthropology too. You often study animal models, and you can study animal behavior. My other job that didn't pay anything was as a copywriting intern and advertising at an agency, and my third job, which paid the rent, was a short order cook, that I could do at night. I cooked from seven to one at night. If you put all these things together, they're great experiences, and by doing three different things reasonably well, because I thought I liked this job and advertising, I had to be very productive.
In short order cook, you gotta cook, because they're shouting orders at you, you got to cook fast. There's a lot of cleaning up for the zookeeper thing, and you get to interact with the animals, so that was really good. The agency thing, I think it was three days, three days at the zoo, that's six days out of the week, and then five days at night. If I could be, I had to be very productive for the agencies I work with during the day. I tried to do work whenever I could, and so that started to increase my speed of productivity as a writer, and that's important. People who like writing or reading and think they might like writing need to understand if you're going to try to do that as a career. Productivity and output are important. If you think about people who are good at an instrument and can pick up new tunes very quickly, it's the way it is in writing. You get good at taking information, synthesizing it, and spitting something back to the original. That’s my practice because I had little time to do it, which was helpful, and as we work with writers here, we try to work hard on building up your output.
Kerry Guard: Output as iteration and a lot of output as quality. What do you mean by output?
John Steinhert: All different forms. If you start with something as short as a subject line, they call it short form, which I call everything from a subject line through like 32nd video through a blog, short form, versus eBook, are longer form. We want to speed up the volume of output. And then simultaneously, we're working on an awareness of what quality and precision are, which takes much longer. But if you can't get to output, you can't buy time for quality. The longer you take on quality, the more you're missing on the output volume necessary for everyday processing your email, marketing, or social. You have to get to short form volume and be very comfortable. You can't sit there and say, “Gosh, I'll write one blog weekly.” And think that's adequate for professional writers.
Professional writers write many words, and they don't like marketing. I mean, that's an interesting question. Can you build a career in marketing without writing? I think you can, and it's just that that would tend more towards what we'd call marketing ops. On a technical integration and user side, there's a lot of listening to implement a product correctly in marketing ops, which requires listening to provide advice on how to use data that's coming in through your first party systems, which can be a marketing ops role analytics role. You have to learn and awareness of what data is useful and what insights are useful, and you have to listen to learn that and those are our areas where writing is not essential. But it's never a bad thing. So at a minimum, writing accurately and precisely is super helpful. Writing beautifully is a different part of the marketing world war in content production.
Kerry Guard: Which explains here where it all started for you. It's from an advertising perspective. I love this because the core conversation that we wanted to get to is around a marketing career and what that means, and we're on the path there. I just want to start driving that home a bit. We talked about what a marketing career could look like. I love your marketing career because I always love to ask the question, what's your story? When we were children, a few losses we wanted to grow up, and when we grew up, it was never a marketing person. I didn't even know that was a job. I know, that was a thing I didn't understand, like the Mad Men World, at the age of eight. It's always interesting to me when people tell their stories of how they got here because it's not a linear one. It's always an interesting background like yours.Because of that, depending on these things that make up marketing, and what do you feel people can come into marketing in any number of ways, what makes a great marketer in your opinion?
John Steinhert: I don't think it is one thing. We talked about the ability to listen, take in that information, and then bring back something that informs what you heard. I see that as applying both to the content marketing world, where what you're bringing back is I heard this, and now I'm going to talk to you about my stuff positioned with reference to your needs. But I see that same process happening on the marketing ops side, and I heard your priorities and helped you express your requirements. I will deliver a configuration to help you solve some of the problems we discussed. So that very much listens and responds. You can have a technical systems-oriented and process-oriented background that tends to send you towards marketing ops, and you could say, well, how does that turn into a lofty career? My feeling is that if you want to go as far as you possibly can, sort of into ownership of businesses, you can get there through marketing ops, as you proceed into either a services organization that's providing those services, to a lot of companies, or through a software organization, where you're taking processes that are valuable to marketers, and you're trying to help automate them make them easier to do. So there's this track to being a CEO through marketing ops if we just set that and say that that is a kind of objective. And then on the content producing side, you can go, and if you include branding elements, and you include learning about the processes, you can head towards things like the CMO role because you'll understand how to build an organization as well as how to construct the outputs that the organization is responsible for.
Kerry Guard: I think that's a big struggle for people and their path, and the way you described was very lineaYou could go here if If you go in the atoms in the operations ere. And if you go in the more creative way to go here, is it that black and white cotton dyes that linear?
John Steinhert: Well, let's just talk about the CEO role, specifically, the highest role in marketing, but it's not as high as the CEO role. You're creating an organization of marketers to serve clients, and I'm creating an organization of marketers to serve my company and my CEO. I'm working for a person who has the responsibilities that you have. It's a little bit different, but when I'm thinking about being a CMO, I'm thinking about being responsible for the many facets of marketing, a kind of span of control. Those many facets are each one a type of career. We talked about product marketing, and I talked about marketing ops. I talked about content marketing, which flows both towards the brand and demand areas.
One could argue that sales enablement is marketing, which is very focused on marketing. There are these flavors, and you can get very high in an organization and make plenty of money by specializing in one of those areas. So, what I might take away from that is, if you want a great career, think about what you like to do.
Marketing is a wonderful place, because it has many possible career tracks. If you're a control freak, to some extent, you want to get satisfaction from doing things at a greater scale, and you want to have a team that enables you to address problems on a large scale, then you're going to start bridging across those subgroups. If you're going to have empathy for specialists in any subgroup, I feel you ought to try to know a lot about what they do. You can develop and internalize respect for what they're bringing to the table. So the end CMO doesn't have to be an expert in five or six different sub-disciplines, but she better be deeply interested in all of them or she will not be able to maximize the strength in each item.
Kerry Guard: I love what you're saying from a “choose your own adventure” scenario, in which she dragged herself all the time by then. I think that's the beauty of marketing, where you can carve your path, or even the facets you broke out are still incredibly high if you're talking about branding versus operations versus sales. You can even niche down into those from media to creative to the website to share an adventure of where you hear, what speaks to you, and where you want to go. How I look at growth and marketing and how I been communicating to my team is like roses jungle gym. It's not this ladder anymore of where you come in as an assistant, go to senior supervisor, digital, all the way up. It is this navigation of what you want to learn, where you want to grow, and what you want to absorb next. As you find those ways of niching, you carve out where your path leaves you in the way of things that you love doing versus the things you feel you have to do because that's the latter and the shift that happened in the last five to 10 years. Are you seeing that on your end too? Or is that just because I've carved out this echo chamber as an agency, and that's what I'm hearing over here, which is entirely possible?
John Steinhert: Part of it is B2B marketing. B2B marketing has undergone dramatic shifts in many pieces of it. Advertising for B2B 25 years ago was minor because it was too expensive. You didn't get the return. You couldn't if you were selling engineering products to manufacturing firms. You weren't big enough to spend money and television advertising, and you wouldn't reach the right audience. Advertising wasn't a part of B2B. Even lead gen wasn't a part of B2B because most of B2B was about transactions were lead volumes; while we look at lead volumes, it didn't function the same way that they do and said retail sales, driving increase to retail where people are going to buy more chewing gum. The whole idea of price elasticity is very different in B2C and B2B.
The last 25 years have been this fluorescence of marketing and B2B. This didn't exist 25 years ago, this is a new thing, and the practitioners are creating it in terms of where the gaps in go-to-market where somebody smart can have a big impact are. And if somebody smart happens to be sitting in marketing, that's part of marketers by nature. Many of them want to solve problems in a process. Marketing uses many connected processes. And so they go in and solve them. And often, those ideas have become software solutions in the last 20 years. All the marketing stuff and things such as chatbots are marketing solutions to marketing opportunities for problems. I consider the thinking done to create those products thinking by marketers, and there's this huge opportunity to advance stuff software.
Kerry Guard: Yeah, there is, and that's an important point. Anything from the ABM tools we use. I mean, that in and of itself became its industry in the last five years.
John Steinhert: You got the ABM idea, and then you've got tools to help you with ABM to different opportunities.
Kerry Guard: It's interesting to think of it that way. All the MarTech that's come out was because we had to do something manual at one point. There's a solution for that.
John Steinhert: Somebody saw that. They had to be interacting with a marketer to see that. And then they said, “let me take that, and let me solve it for more folks.” So that's an entrepreneurial idea. And so that process of entrepreneurially solving problems, which you see on the agency side. Somebody comes to the agency and says, “I'm gonna hire you guys can because you're going to be entrepreneurial at solving my problems faster than I could write a better way than I could.” I see that as a necessity or a benefit of being in marketing because some of the things we make aren't that hard to make, but they still are solution oriented. We get to practice that, and as you progress in your career, you might seek out bigger and bigger problems to solve.
The solution might take the form of a service offering and the solution and implementation of a tool. And in doing that, you start to understand how tools make and then you could ask yourself, well, why don't I make a tool that solves this problem, and then all of a sudden, you're often the software direction. It’s huge. The potential of this career path, and one of the greatest things about marketing, is how very it is. You can say that engineering is always inventing things, but they're building things they're asked to. Marketers have the opportunity to continuously invent themselves, new processes, and all kinds of things. I think it's one of the most open careers there can be
Kerry Guard: One of the easiest to get into as well.
John Steinhert: It's easy to get into. But it's not easy to succeed.
Kerry Guard: I think you have to have the right. There's this mixture of background that I feel we've been talking about, from a scientific to creative to solving problems mentality that you need to succeed in it. If you have the right mixture, once you're in and start to find your niche and what you love, then the opportunities are endless. I agree that it's not for everyone. I'm not saying anybody can get into it. I'm just saying that if you have that right mixture of things we've been talking about, then getting started isn't hard on other industries, where like a doctor or a lawyer or something to that magnitude, then it's a lot of entry getting in. There's a much sits squarely late at night. For me, there's a much bigger barrier to entry to get into those industries. If things get into ours to succeed in ours, you need to have the right path and mixture of success. But getting started is a lot easier than some of the other industries.
John Steinhert: We don't need a license to practice. My mother-in-law said something to me. When she met me for the first time, that was interesting; she said, " I'm told you're in marketing, I said, and she said, “that's not a real job.” The low entry barrier, which I thought was very good, is not a real job until you make it a real job and produce something that moves the needle. I would caution people not to be fooled that you are in marketing, you're measured by what you make. It's really easy to get in. The easiest way to get in, I guarantee, is to start doing marketing now. Find a category, a company, or product set that you like, and start writing a blog about that you'll get a job so fast because he was the only person they can find in your price range who's demonstrating that she's involved in that industry, put it on LinkedIn. Force yourself to think about it, write about it, and have an opinion. You'll get the job so fast, you all believe it. You'll be doing the job you were proving you could do, but you won't have any trouble getting a job. Time and time again, I see people say I want to do marketing and say, where's your portfolio of work that shows that you want to do marketing because you do it? I didn't take a writing class. You say you want to do marketing, and so much of it will involve writing. Why don't you show me that you want to do, and then I'll start to believe that you will try to do what we need to do to make a living? You could say you want to do marketing, okay, you can do it there, there's no barrier, the social media is out there. Do it, and you will get a job quickly. If you do social media well, you will get a job. If you do YouTube blogging, you will get a job.
Kerry Guard: There are lots of ways to think about this. As somebody who never thought of themselves as a writer. My art form was photography and taking pictures. Now with Instagram, that's so easy to have a point of view and to create art that way, and that's really all it is. That's what marketing is, having a point of view. I agree with you, John, letting go and figure out what your point of view is, and create an outcome around that and demonstrate. I got into media planning as a photographer, and I sold myself into that in the fact that photography is a balance between science and. There'sre's so much scientific measurement that you have to do in photography to be successful, at least when when I was working with film developing and chemicals. I was able to look at it when you have to do a lot of math, and you're going to be in spreadsheets. I have to do math on the fly when I'm thinking about my chemical mixture and my filters and how I'm going to create a perfect photograph that isn't just point and shoot. It's all the science that goes behind that. There's lots of ways through art and science to get into marketing, and writing will come as part of that. But that doesn't necessarily, if you don't feel like you're a writer, there's other avenues.
John Steinhert: But what you're saying is come with something that shows the thinking you've done, the processing and synthesizing that you've done, don't come empty-handed. Marketing is about demonstrating involvement. You are involved in a really productive machine, and you've got to show that you understand that by showing that you have contributed to the output of that organization for an organization or a process.
Kerry Guard: I talk about this all day, John, because I think it's so awesome. And I just hope that it inspires the next generation to figure out how to when they're trying to look at their paths to success, that this is an opportunity for them. Thank you. Thank you for joining me before we close out, talking so much about people, being human, and career paths. You shared so much with us about your marketing career path and what it means to you. Let's just pull the curtain back a little and understand who you are outside of being a marketer and approach my people's first questions. Given the pandemic and the New World Order, have you picked up any new hobbies these last few years?
John Steinhert: No new hobbies other than reading at breakfast. That might be, but I haven't paid much more attention to my indoor plants.
Kerry Guard: What are you growing these days?
John Steinhert: I've got African violence. I've got some bamboo. I've got some kinds of evergreen stuff going on and then many boats outside.
Kerry Guard: I picked up orchids. I figured out how to bring those back to life. So I feel pretty proud that I don't just throw them out when they lose their flowers. I did a lot, but I now brought three back to life. I'm feeling pretty proud.
John Steinhert: Yeah, I never understood. I've never understood orchids, overwater or underwater.
Kerry Guard: Yeah, leave them alone. Alright, second question for you, John. If you could be in the office with your team. Were you always remote? How are you recently remote? What’s your remote story?
John Steinhert: Probably more than half the team was physical. Now, we're still largely remote, and the team has expanded a lot. We're in more locations. Remote is reality of the future, and I've worked at a lot of global companies. My team was all over the world in the past and was pretty comfortable. I think that a lot of colocation for certain types of projects is super helpful, especially when people are joining a team to get to know people. Body language is better understood both ways, the new and existing members. It's when we use a lot of wry humor that doesn't translate into a lot of wealth. Sometimes we're under pressure, and we forget that somebody new to the team hasn't yet acclimatized to that, and we have to be very careful; that's hard to do. Over remote, we can be more empathic, I think, face to face.
Kerry Guard: Let's say you get to be in a room with your team and some of those new team members, and you want to set the vibe of the brainstorming or the onboarding or whatever it is that you have to go on. What song would you want playing overhead to set the vibe?
John Steinhert: Oh, that's hard. I would ask the team to bring the songs they like because I spent a lot of generations.
Kerry Guard: What means something to you? What song do you feel would resonate with you, and what you'd want to play?
John Steinhert: I was discussing this recently with my wife. I was getting into this new version of The Beatles. The Beatles documentary, but I'm a Rolling Stones fan, and she is not a huge fan of either. She did say The Rolling Stones are better, and they've been around a lot longer. They're kind of bad boys, and I like bad boy. I like that voice. It's going on, and being I'm pretty conservative. I say risk averse, that is, so I did get a little thrilled that she suggested that maybe. Maybe my favorite band was a band she liked. I would start with the Rolling Stones. Not necessarily the song start me up, but probably something close to that.
Kerry Guard: Awesome. I'll add that to our Spotify playlist so people can tune in and get rolling. Alright, last question for you, John. If you could travel anywhere in the world without constraints or challenges, where would you go and why?
John Steinhert: I've got to two places. I would go to East Africa for the animals. I would go to India for the people because of the history and the huge diversity of people in India. In Africa, I could talk about the people all day long, too, but the animals are significantly different from those in North America. And so, given that I was a zookeeper and cared for some gorillas, I wouldn't really like to go to Rwanda or Uganda.
Kerry Guard: Thank you so much for joining me for sharing your story and a career path in marketing and how we can all join in on that. It was such a joy to have you on, so thank you.
John Steinhert: Thanks. Let's do it again sometime. Thanks, Kerry.
That was my conversation with John Steinhardt. If you're interested in a career in marketing, please reach out to John, reach out to me. If you remember last season, I spoke to Jada Holst about marketing and getting into a career. If this is where your heart is, or where you're leading, and you want to learn more, please reach out; we'd love to help you figure out your next step in what it means to be in marketing and have a career in it. It's awesome. We love it, and we'd love for you to join us.
Thank you, John, for joining me.
In my next episode, I chat with Matt Dynan about his career in marketing. It's a fascinating one. He joined rapid seven and used their training method, and then it gets to be “Choose Your Own Adventure, " which Matt did. I dig into what it means to build a category, which is super cool. So please stay on and check out my conversation with Matt. Autoplay will take you there.
This episode was brought to you by MKG Marketing - a digital marketing agency that helps cyber security and data management brands get found via transparent, measurable digital marketing.
It’s hosted by me, Kerry Guard - CEO and co-founder of MKG. Music mix and mastering done by Austin Ellis.
If you'd like to be a guest, please visit mkgmarketinginc.com to apply.
John Steinhert is the Chief Marketing Officer at TechTarget. He is responsible for positioning the company and messaging to their subscribers in ways that maximize understanding and energize action.