I build Marketing teams and develop business processes to support fast-growth B2B Technology companies.
From IT networking equipment to electronic components, semiconductor equipment to sales enablement software. I’ve lead marketing and digital transformation across a range of industries and market sectors
B2B Tech Marketer | VP Marketing @ Opengear
Host of the Network Resilience Podcast
I’m a recovering engineer. A couple of years out of college, I knew that Marketing was where my interest lay. Do I like technology? Yes! Was I a good engineer? No, not really. So over a number of years, I moved from project engineering, through roles in business development, product management and product marketing, to become a strong all-round Marketing Leader. Executive education courses at NYU, Columbia and Rutgers have helped along the way. So has working with a lot of very smart people who’ve shown me the ropes.
And now I proudly describe myself as a Marketing Generalist. I know that’s not popular*. It seems like most people want to be a specialist in something – an SEO guru, a social ninja, a digital marketing maven….. But for me, I like to have my fingers in a lot of pies. I like to roll up my sleeves and dig into whatever business area needs fixing. I like to understand an issue, set up the right process, then bring in a “specialist” to improve and sustain that solution once it’s in place. Or better yet, hire an up-and-coming marketer with the enthusiasm to learn and evolve.
Marketing never stands still
The skills and tactics that worked 5 years ago are obsolete; the ones that worked 2 years ago are now “me-too.” The challenge is catching the next wave – but without being distracted by every shiny object (or digital platform) that comes along. That means keeping a strong network of marketing enthusiasts, reading a lot of books and being open to every new idea that comes along.
Technology is interesting
So being a hands-on engineer wasn’t my thing. But four years at engineering school, experience at companies like Exxon and Panasonic, and product roles for semiconductor and software products, has cemented my interest in all things tech. Whether it’s tracking the evolution of SD-WAN, understanding the importance of a Martech stack, or reading up on the latest iPad release, I’m fascinated by the tech world. And that’s what makes the marketing of B2B tech products such an interesting place to be.
The audience is global
Think globally, act locally. Traveling extensively throughout Asia and Europe has given me a broad perspective on life. An image that kills it in Tokyo won’t make sense in Toledo; a message that works in English, might miss the mark when translated to German (and let’s not even talk about British vs American English – although I’m fluent in both:). Show me a company that doesn’t think globally, and I’ll show you a ton of ways to grow.
Growth is where the fun happens
I think of company growth in three stages, each needing a different skill set. You have the start-up junkies who thrive on making things happen from nothing; and you have the sustainers who know how to wring efficiencies from every process. I’m in the third group – the growth curve group. When you have a great idea, you’ve proven a business model, and now you need to scale it. You might even say “crossing the chasm“, to pick a term from the early silicon valley days. For marketers in the growth journey that means developing a compelling message; hiring a team of smart, innovative people; developing simple, scalable processes; and establishing the right martech stack. That’s the fun stuff. And that’s what I do.
*If you’re not convinced of the value of a Generalist, I recommend reading “Range” by David Epstein. It might give you something to ponder
“If you’re the smartest person in the room, you’re in the wrong room“
Variously attributed to James Watson, Jack Welch, Confucius and others. Which probably proves the point – these smart people don’t want to be thought of as the smartest person in the room