How did you hear about SalientMG and why did you decide to join the firm?
Mack personally reached out to me proactively to see if I might be interested in the role. When I spoke with her I was really impressed by her incredible background and how she built this company from the ground up. Media relations is what I love to do, especially for B2B tech startups because it’s such an exciting stage to work with a company. So I was happy about the SMG approach to integrated marketing comms and how that would let you see the whole scope of what was possible for the client because it wasn’t siloed from other marketing functions. And then I was also just blown away by the fact that SMG makes it a point to advocate for minorities, LGBTQIA, women—-those leaders who may not get a platform otherwise. So it was really the whole package, from strategy to the market to the clients to the job itself.
Describe your role and what you’re most looking forward to in your position.
I’m still forming a full picture of what I’ll be doing, but to start it will involve solidifying our processes and foundational resources so we can let the strategy shine. I’m looking forward to elevating the opportunities we provide clients and collaborating with my Executive Visibility colleagues for an even more cohesive approach to creating that consistent PR and marketing drumbeat for our clients.
Given your role, what is your personal philosophy about the purpose and power of marketing and communications in growing or moving a brand forward?
A brand can be doing the most amazing thing and have the most amazing people, but that doesn’t matter if that news doesn’t reach the right audience. PR is about establishing your brand as a leader in its space and building up that credibility. Marketing is about trying to attract the right customer and target audience. So, while I think there’s a lot of overlap, for me the special thing about PR is you get to serve as the liaison between marketing and the media. You get to add that extra perspective by asking the questions about what someone is doing and why it’s so industry-shaking that it’s worthy of news coverage. Marketing and communications work closely together but have their individual points of view that work together to the benefit of the client.
What is the best piece of advice someone gave you and how has it impacted your personal and/or professional direction?
My mom is an entrepreneur and she instilled in me the idea that you always do what you say you’re going to do. From a personal standpoint it means I make sure that if I say I’m going to do something, I do everything in my power to make it happen and I do it to the best of my ability above and beyond. And I’ve come to realize that I value that in return. If someone tells me they’re going to do something and they don’t, I take that to heart.
Of course it applies professionally as well, and in that setting it’s especially important to know your limits and set realistic expectations with clients about what you can deliver. And then deliver on it. There’s nothing wrong with saying: I’m not super versed in that, but let me find someone who is or let me do some more research and I’ll get back to you. There’s nothing wrong with raising your hand and saying: I need a minute to collect my thoughts on this or confirm whether this is something I can do for you and what our other options might be. Otherwise you’re making empty promises, and nobody appreciates that.
We’re seeing that marketing and media landscapes are changing more rapidly than ever before. What is one thing you would advise clients to remember or focus on in setting their expectations for success?
I think it’s important for clients to remember that a journalist’s target audience is not necessarily the same as their brand’s target audience. And those product or new people announcements don’t always translate into media coverage. It’s important to look at what’s going on in the overall media landscape and really just read the room. There might be a way to connect what’s happening in your company to the larger picture, but you can’t get stuck in such tunnel vision that it keeps you from seeing and thinking about what’s going on around you. My role in helping clients with this is to keep my finger on the pulse of what those target reporters are writing about—what’s going on in the headlines today? In B2B tech it’s not just about technology, it’s about all the verticals that the technology touches, and what customers are reading. You have to keep all of that in mind when offering clients strategy and advice. It’s definitely challenging, but for me it’s also an opportunity to learn and be able to jump into conversations where I might not have otherwise, and communicate to the client in a way that makes sense for their goals and objectives.
SalientMG specializes in helping growth-stage technology companies. Real tech talk here–how would you describe your everyday technological prowess?
I’m what they call a Zillennial–in that space between millennials and Gen Z—and my tech ability probably lands somewhere in that middle space as well. I can pick up on new social media, I enjoy it and know all the trends, but don’t necessarily participate. For example, I’ve never made a TikTok in my life. But I love all things tech. The Metaverse blows my mind. Do I know how it works? No. But I stay on top of what’s happening with it and its projected impact or influence. I can build a website from the ground up, but I couldn’t tell you the first thing about Microsoft Excel. So, I admit I do have to Google things sometimes.
What is one thing your colleagues don’t know about you (yet)?
The summer before I finished graduate school I was supposed to do a PR internship. Then COVID hit. The internship vanished, but my mom has a vacation rental company in Florida and asked me to help with her marketing, PR, and social media. So I went down and did that for six months. While I was there I ended up managing a couple of vacation rental properties myself, and I still manage them to this day.