5 minutes with… Kylie McIntyre, Marketing Manager, Sova

This month I’m delighted to be speaking to Kylie McIntyre, Marketing Manager at one of our long-standing clients, Sova. Sova offers a comprehensive, and innovative, data-driven talent assessment platform which streamlines the assessment process.

Here’s my 5 minutes with…

What is your marketing background?

I originally joined Talent Q back in 2013 as an operations coordinator, providing support for the training team. After I’d been in the role for a while, I was asked to help out with an internal newsletter, Beyond the Barn. This was my first experience of internal communications, and I absolutely loved it! I officially moved into the marketing team in January 2015 as a marketing assistant and completed a marketing course alongside the new job role.

The next couple of years saw Talent Q being acquired by Hay Group, which in turn acquired by Korn Ferry. From initially working in a very small team from a barn in Thame, I was soon one of a large global marketing community, which provided a great opportunity to work on new projects with colleagues across the world. It also gave me more experience of rebranding than a girl could wish for!

I moved to my current role at Sova last summer and love working in a small company with a tight-knit team, where I feel I can make a real difference.

What does your role at Sova involve?

It’s safe to say that no day at Sova is the same, which I find really exciting. As a small but ambitious marketing team, we often have a lot of balls in the air. I get involved in the planning and execution of campaigns, content creation, webinars and events and managing HubSpot.

Throughout the time I’ve known you, you’ve managed some extremely successful campaigns, what to you are the fundamentals to you of a good campaign?

Some of the most successful campaigns that I have worked on have helped to spark a conversation with a prospect, rather than pushing for a sale.

For me, a good campaign is something that can really make an impact with your audience and addresses a pain point that they are really struggling with. Some of the most successful campaigns that I have worked on have helped to spark a conversation with a prospect, rather than pushing for a sale.

When you look back at your career to date, what has been the best campaign you have delivered and why?

I would have to say the EI campaign I worked on during my time at Hay Group. It was the first campaign that I had taken responsibility for and I learnt a lot from it. The content was really technical and had been developed for a small audience by external thought leaders, so there was a lot to think about in terms of stakeholder management and the signoff process. I loved the challenge of making the content as engaging and impactful as it could be, while still being of use to the technical practitioners who were going to receive it.

How do you measure the impact of your campaigns at Sova?

We are starting to become more sophisticated in the way that we measure the effectiveness of our campaigns, but in the past, our main metric has been the number of MQLs that have been generated by marketing activity and passed through to Sales for follow up.

You recently implemented Hubspot at Sova, what difference has that made to your role?

When I first started at Sova, we were using MailChimp and one of my first projects was the implementation of HubSpot. It has made an enormous difference to us in our ability to measure the effectiveness of our campaigns and marketing activity.

As we start to take more of an ABM-approach, it is going to be invaluable in being able to track engagement from our target accounts.

Would you have any advice for marketers of similar size firms who are looking to implement a marketing automation platform for the first time?

I would speak to as many people as you can that have already implemented a marketing automation platform before diving in. While our onboarding experience with HubSpot was positive, the amount of functionality can be really overwhelming, and it’s hard to know where to start.

Ensuring that everyone is onboard with automation is key to its success, rather than it just being something that marketing look after.

I would also really recommend sitting down with your Sales team to talk through the sales process, what data is currently stored where, and create a plan for making the most of this pretty large investment. Ensuring that everyone is onboard with automation is key to its success, rather than it just being something that marketing look after.

Would there be any pitfalls to avoid?

Something I was guilty of at the start was trying to automate EVERYTHING. The first campaign that I set up was ridiculously complicated with triggers and branching – needless to say it was a disaster and I ended up having to rebuild it late one evening. I’m now much more focused on those small things that can be optimised to make a real difference, either to myself or the Sales team, such as automating follow up emails.

Digital marketing has evolved massively in the past few years, what have been the most significant evolutions for you?

One of the biggest changes I’ve noticed in recent years is the surge in marketing technology. It feels like every week there is some new amazing must-have tool that can help increase the volume or quality of leads or generate some critical data that your business has been missing. Without sounding 105, it feels like there has been a real acceleration in the sophistication of what is on offer, and it can be hard to get a handle on what you really need, at this moment, for your business.

Finally, what’s the best piece of marketing advice you’ve ever been given?

One piece of advice which has always stuck with me is ‘what’s the hook?’. As we become even more sophisticated with the way we market, with complex workflows and automation, and grapple with all of the data that we have access to, it’s all too easy to lose sight of the real purpose of our campaigns and activities.