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Marketer Spotlight: Sherri Schwartz

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 Sherri Schwartz, head of marketing at OvationCXM:

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

I started in sales by accident — well, by desperation, maybe. I graduated college during the financial crisis of ‘07, ‘08. I was a broadcast journalism major, but I needed to pay my college loans off. And I was a business minor, so I said, “Sales. I like talking to people. Sounds good.” I stayed for four years and was the top-producing sales rep for the vertical I sold to: Navy divers and explosive ordinance disposal technicians.

It was so hard, but it was so rewarding. The challenge was being a young female jumping into a very male-dominated industry. I wasn’t taken very seriously at first when stepping on base and having conversations about boots, body armor, underwater robots and mine detectors.

My husband had an opportunity with his career that would relocate us, and remote work just wasn’t a thing. So I left and said, “I’ll go back into marketing, because I was in a high school marketing club and won state championships and went to nationals.” And I’ve done it ever since.

What’s your current role?

I’m the head of marketing for a B2B SaaS tech company. I was the first marketer. The organization was founded in 2015, but they were primarily a support service organization, and then they developed their own SaaS technology.

So they needed someone to come in and grow the SaaS business. But when I came in, I was also told, “We want to rebrand our company. Can we do it rather quickly?” I joined in May of ‘22, and we went through a completely new value proposition restructuring and then launched the new company name and branding that September.

What’s the biggest challenge you’re facing today as a marketer? How are you overcoming it?

If you’re a marketer in 2024, budget is an issue.

Our ICP is banking, and the banking industry came under stress in 2023. Four regional banks experienced failure, while others were impacted by budget cuts, layoffs and reorganization. It didn’t mean opportunities went away. It just meant things got lengthier.

And then a lot of organizations —  banking, tech, healthcare, retail — were doing layoffs. We had to dial back some of our marketing spend because the sales funnel slowed a little bit.

For us right now, our priority is really looking at organic SEO and social media. Organic is always slower, but I do think it’s a win for the long game.

How do you derive your goals for marketing? How closely are you aligning with company KPIs?

Marketing should always be tied to the overall revenue goal of the organization. We are putting just as much emphasis on marketing-influenced revenue as we are marketing-sourced revenue, because at the end of the day, both tie into the overall goal.

And we’re really looking at the traffic to our site. We saw a big trend in organic being the number-two source outside of direct traffic, and we want to continue to see that organic search and organic social traffic go up.

Where do you see marketing in the next year?

In the next year, more marketing organizations are going to be looking at free or lower-cost AI initiatives to drive efficiency and even help create content. Gemini is going to be able to take complicated text, and you can prompt it to create a visual. That will be great to test from a graphic design standpoint. My graphic designer could see what Gemini comes up with and try to build off of that to make it uniquely ours.

With the focus of every marketer on how we do more with less, how do we get resources like AI to work in our favor from an operational efficiency standpoint.

What is the worst marketing advice you ever received?

As a product marketer, I was once told that my writing was too technical. So I was like, “OK, let me lean into the storytelling.” But then I was told, “You’re telling too much of a story. What does the product do?”

And I let it get in my head way too much.

Now granted, the beauty is, having gone through that advice, I would say maybe it wasn’t the worst advice. But it wasn’t great advice, because you don’t want all product marketers to only be able to tell a story. And you don’t want all product marketers to only be able to go technical. You really need them to be both.

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

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Marketing Services for Tech Companies

Increase brand awareness, drive more website traffic and build an engaged community.

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