In this episode of Leadtail TV, host Byran Kramer chats with Christina Ellwood, Principal at Moreland Associates and interim marketing executive. Christina shares how to align sales and marketing in startups, the latest on AI, and what it’s like to be in an interim marketing role. You can watch the full episode here.

Aligning Sales and Marketing in Venture-Funded Startups

One of the most common questions asked by venture-funded startups has to do with this topic. How do you bring sales and marketing together to generate more awareness, sales, and subsequently revenue? For Christina, the answer is clear. Through the buyer. 

Marketing is at the center of a multi-disciplinary hub, and the customer is at the center of all marketing practices. Which makes the customer the intersection point for sales and marketing and the way in which to bring them into alignment.

“If you focus on the buyer, you will always be able to align any of the groups in the company.” 

It’s that tenuous intersection point when the marketing messaging is driving the customer toward the sale, and then the salesperson continues the messaging during the transaction. As long as both sides are focused on the buyer’s journey rather than their own ends, the messaging will stay in alignment.

The Role of Artificial Intelligence in Business

While true artificial intelligence is a ways away, automation and machine learning are certainly here. The issue is that in many industries we need a standard of data to make it more effective. 

Christina uses the example of large machinery. We have sensors and electronics designed to gather data so that they can effectively tell us when a machine is near failure, but we have to gather enough data to properly identify those moments. 

We are now at the point where machines can easily gather data, but humans are still required to analyze that data and make decisions versus the machines making decisions themselves. Essentially, AI is in a place where we build out the rules, but humans bring the context. 

She also digs into how Covid-19 has affected the world of artificial intelligence and machine learning for manufacturers. 

“This situation with COVID is putting manufacturers in a position of having to really rethink how they are using automation, where they are using automation, and what those rule sets really look like.”

Switching Marketing Strategies to Boost Traction

Christina has moved into a more consulting or interim role with several companies to help them through times of change or pivot. She comes in to help develop new marketing strategies to move through the challenges they’re facing in the moment. 

The pandemic has certainly shifted how she works in these capacities but overall, when she drops into an interim role, she’s helping them to meet a goal that they feel they otherwise wouldn’t meet. 

She describes it as, “Oftentimes I’m coming into a situation where the technology is new to me, but the business challenge they have is familiar. So, the first thing that I tend to do is, to get my legs under me to understand what’s working and not working today. And then looking at the team, who has the skills that we need to deploy to improve or what outcomes we’re trying to gain, and adding whatever tools or support they need in order to be able to do that or bringing in talent from the outside.”

There’s almost always a solution, but she’s the creative mind that helps each company find the right solution for them. 

Leadership and Changing Marketing Strategies

“Every leader coming into an organization has an impact on how the leadership of the organization operates and what the overall capacity is for the organization to align behind a goal.” 

And while this isn’t always based in marketing, Christina believes marketing is a change agent for every organization. 

As the goals and the needs change, the overall marketing strategy must change as well. No matter if you’re downsizing, scaling, or trying to meet the status quo, marketing will always be squarely in the middle of the organization’s goals and efforts. 

Listen in to hear all of Christina’s wonderful nuggets of information and why she’s shifted into consulting and interim roles. She’s had a long history of building creative solutions in the field of technology which is ever-changing, and she’s bringing her knowledge straight to you.

Now It’s Your Turn

Feel free to share any comments, and let us know if you have any questions for Christina which we’ll happily pass along!

Watch the entire episode here or listen to the podcast version here.

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