Welcome to CMO Secrets. This series features genuine insights and advice from today’s exceptional marketing leaders. Some names will be easily recognized and others may be new to you, but every single one will have been hand-picked for their experience and knowledge in the world of startups, technology and marketing. No pretense, jargon or PR spin here. We asked our most burning marketing questions, and they answered. Get their unfiltered thoughts and opinions and find out how these
gurus rockstars marketers got to where they are today.
(Note: This content was previously published on Mautic.com in August 2018 and has been updated for accuracy.)
Today, we welcome Robin Saitz. With over 20 years of experience in marketing, Robin has a proven track record of building high-performance teams and brands in the software industry. As CMO at Plex Systems, Inc., Robin is responsible for leading Plex Systems’ global marketing strategy. She also oversees brand strategy, corporate communications, demand generation, marketing operations, product marketing, integrated marketing, event strategy and execution and customer communications. Prior to Plex Systems, she served as both the CMO of Avecto and Brainshark. And before Brainshark, she had a successful career with PTC, where she was most recently senior vice president of global marketing and operations and led PTC’s lead-to-revenue initiative, driving alignment between marketing and sales.
What’s the best career advice you ever received and who did it come from?
I know this might sound corny, but some of the best advice I’ve been given is to listen to your gut and stay true to yourself. If the work doesn’t feel right or you don’t feel passionate about the business, how can you expect to be successful working 50+ hours a week with/for/about/on – fill in the blank – the people, the product, the market, etc? This advice came from an executive coach with whom I worked with for several years.
Thinking back to some of your very first jobs, were there any early lessons learned or key experiences that have stuck with you and that you’ve continued to apply and found to be helpful throughout your career?
When I joined PTC it was about 170 people. I quickly learned I would need to wear many hats in my role as product manager, and that I, along with everyone in the company, would need to pitch in to help the company succeed, even if it wasn’t in my job description. I take that approach to most everything I do – If I have an opinion, I share it; If I have had an experience solving a similar problem to one faced by a colleague, I offer to share my experience; If my team or I can help another team, I offer to help.
Are you more of a left-brained or right-brained marketer, and what steps do you take to balance your strengths with those of the team around you?
Having been trained as an engineer, I am probably more left-brained than right-brained. I like to use data to inform my decisions, whether it’s the gathering of market intelligence to help formulate a GTM strategy and messaging or performance data to help me adjust that strategy. I look to have a balance of skills and talent on my team – creatives (both visual and content), process-oriented, collaborative yet independent, analytical, curious.
If you could wave a wand and fix one area of marketing – for all marketers – what would it be?
The list is long, but I would want to make it much easier to track the performance of marketing. This is not just on the tools side because there are some great tools out there. Still, building a lead-to-revenue process that requires sales to put their hands on the keyboard in order to track performance is always going to be challenging.
What’s your proudest professional accomplishment?
I am particularly proud of the teams I’ve built and the people I’ve coached and mentored over the years. Many of these folks have gone on to be great marketing leaders in their own right – CMO’s, VPs of marketing, directors – and they are all making a big impact in their organizations. We remain in touch, and I enjoy the chance to continue to mentor them but also enjoy learning from them and their new experiences.
You’ve personally raised over $300K for charity through the Pan-Mass Challenge (PMC) bike-a-thon. Has your experience in B2B marketing in any way shaped the way you approach fundraising? And any lessons you can share with all the other aspiring successful PMCers and charity fundraisers out there?
That’s an interesting question. Both my husband and I ride in the PMC, so we have to raise a lot of money. The minimum between the two of us is nearly $10,000, and our goal is $26,000 this year. The key considerations for a B2B marketing campaign are the same for our fundraising campaign: Message, audience, cadence of communications and communication tactics. My fundraising approach has changed a lot over the years, mostly due to the availability of technology to reach more people in an automated way.
Audience: My approach is somewhat broad in that I reach out to almost everyone I know to ask for support – our friends, our wedding list (that’s 27 years old), service providers (doctors, dentists, lawyers, lawn service, etc), our parents’ and siblings’ friends, our children’s friends’ parents, business friends, etc.
Message: I never feel shy about asking for support for the PMC. 100% of the money raised goes directly to life-saving research by the world-renowned Dana Farber Cancer Institute’s Jimmy Fund.
Cadence and tactics: I typically do a three touch email process (May, June and July) leading up to the event, a small direct mailing for those folks who prefer to write a check over donating online (I know who they are based on their past donation patterns), several posts on Facebook and 1-2 on LinkedIn.
Word of mouth: My sister and sisters-in-law share our request for sponsorship, and they have very large networks. And my mom has a large Twitter following, and she shares our donation page, too.
What’s one true thing about you that your teammates would be surprised by or not expect?
They might not know that before I decided to pursue engineering and then marketing that I had thought about becoming a cantor. I was very active as a song leader in my Jewish youth group at the local and regional level when I was in high school. I never pursued it, but sang acapella in the Trinity Pipes in college and still love to sing.