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Marketer Spotlight: Carolyn Jackson

As marketers, we’re storytellers for the brands we represent. At York IE, we’re launching a new series spotlighting the individuals crafting stories, orchestrating go-to-market strategies and executing across all channels. They embody their brand, laying the groundwork for scalability. Join us as we uncover the story behind the story with the top marketers in SaaS.

Here, we talk to Carolyn Jackson, a director of marketing:

carolyn jackson headshotAs marketers, we often are storytellers for the companies and brands we work with and for. But everyone has a story. What’s yours?  

Born and raised in St. Louis, I dove into the SaaS world right after earning my MA in 2017. The Midwest is often the land of small yet ambitious startups known for their do-more-with-less philosophy. This environment offered me the opportunity to master the full spectrum of marketing, from content creation and paid advertising to branding and email campaigns and more.

I pride myself on being a marketing generalist, grateful for the opportunity to continuously learn and evolve in a company and industry that values growth and adaptability.

Why did you start in marketing? 

Growing up with a knack for creativity in a family mostly skilled in math and science, finding my path was initially a challenge. Discovering communications in college was a light-bulb moment for me. I was drawn to its nuanced perspectives, bridging the gap between data-driven strategy and the creative, ever-changing landscape of marketing. What I love most about marketing is its human element — the blend of analytical and creative thinking that drives innovation and connection.

What keeps you in B2B marketing? What do you love about B2B marketing?

What really keeps me hooked on B2B marketing is the incredible impact and depth of strategy it entails. It’s a whole different ball game compared to B2C. Here, it’s not just about making a sale; it’s about forging lasting relationships. You’re not just selling a product or service; you’re becoming a pivotal part of your clients’ success stories. This aspect of building deep, meaningful partnerships is something I find especially rewarding.

I’m constantly tapping into a mix of creativity and strategic thinking. It’s about helping clients navigate their challenges and achieve their goals, which makes the work we do incredibly impactful. Seeing the direct effect of your strategies on a business’ growth and trajectory is so exciting! It’s this blend of strategy, deep relationships and tangible outcomes that keeps my passion for B2B marketing alive and kicking.

After the wild ride of 2023, what are you taking into 2024?

Reflecting on the rollercoaster that was 2023, it was a year marked by experimentation and learning. The challenge of making informed decisions without ample data led me to cast a wide net. In retrospect, this approach taught me a valuable lesson about the importance of focus. Spreading resources too thinly across too many initiatives isn’t just ineffective; it’s counterproductive.

Moving into 2024, I’m armed with the insight to concentrate efforts and budget on a select few strategies that have shown the greatest promise.

What’s the biggest challenge you’re facing today, and how are you overcoming it?

The most significant challenge I’m facing is bandwidth. Operating as a solo marketer means juggling the vast expanse of marketing responsibilities single-handedly, which can be daunting. The realm of marketing is broad, and mastering every facet is unrealistic.

Acknowledging this limitation has led to a pivotal shift in my strategy. I’ve learned the importance of prioritizing tasks and focusing my efforts on areas where I can make the most impact. This approach has not only improved my efficiency but also allowed me to deliver more meaningful contributions.

How do you reach your audience?

Audiences and buyers are constantly changing, and it can feel like a full-time job to stay on top of it. In the B2B world, things might not shift as quickly or as often as in B2C, but it’s still super important to stay on top of these changes. You’ve got to make sure your messages hit just the right note, addressing the most pressing and current pain points, and make sure they’re seeing it at the perfect time and place.

I’ve found that frequently chatting with clients gives the best insights. They tell us what’s new, what’s bothering them and how their needs are evolving. This feedback is gold. It helps us tweak our messaging and figure out where to focus our efforts. It’s like having a direct line to what matters most to our audience.

Where do you see marketing going in the next year?

I think things will continue to be in a bit of a state of turmoil in marketing in 2024. As the dust settles from countless layoffs and a difficult job market, the industry needs some time to regroup.

However, I do think companies of all sizes will realize the value of marketing and start to cautiously grow their teams again. I think companies of all sizes will keep their marketing teams as lean as possible.

What is the worst marketing advice you ever received?   

“If you’re not sure it will work, don’t try it.” Despite my earlier caution against overextending by chasing every new trend, I’m a firm believer in the power of experimentation in marketing. The landscape of communication and outreach evolves rapidly; strategies that may have fallen flat two years ago could yield vastly different outcomes today.

So, when you decide to dive into something new, make sure you’ve got your gameplan or playbook ready. This means really nailing down what you’re aiming for, setting up clear markers for success and figuring out exactly what data you’ll need and how to track it, so you can call it either a win or a learning experience.

Spotting a flop early on is just as crucial as pulling off a win. It’s all about trying, learning and tweaking as you go.

Want to be featured in a future Marketer Spotlight? Email me.

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