Katya Sivkova is a B2B marketing strategist with 6 years of experience in B2B marketing strategy, demand generation, digital and growth marketing, sales, and project management. She has been helping various tech companies to grow through marketing and is currently working with Jamf on a Marketing & Demand Generation position. She says that the word that best describes her is ”Growth”.
Why did you choose a career in marketing, how did you start?
I started my career as a community builder: I worked for an organisation that connected French businesses in Moscow, building the ecosystem for executives to do business together. When I moved to Amsterdam, I got exposed to the local startup scene and at the beginning of my career, I really wanted to work for an accelerator or a technology hub. During my internship at Forrester, I organised an event for customer experience (CX) professionals. It was not a marketing event, but there were a lot of talks about the customer journey and the impact of the brand on CX. I got really fascinated, as I studied much more old-school marketing and digital marketing and user experience were new topics to me. I really wanted to be a part of it, so, I landed a marketing job in the tech industry.
Tell us a bit about your professional path until now.
For over 6 years I’ve been helping fast-growing tech companies to develop their marketing strategy, launch large-scale marketing initiatives and run demand generation & brand campaigns. I worked mostly for software companies, but I obtained some experience in the e-mobility industry (that turned me into a massive EV fan). Nowadays I consider myself as a B2B marketing strategist. I truly believe that in order to be strategic you need to have a broad range of marketing experiences with 2-3 areas where you are especially strong.
What advice do you wish you got when you started your career in marketing?
It’s essential that you find an environment where failure is considered a part of the learning curve. Modern marketing is built around experimentation, making mistakes and learning from them. It’s important that you find a team where ownership and taking risks are encouraged.
Top 3 learnings in your marketing career that brought the most value?
Firstly, always find time to talk to your customers, as it’s so easy to be in your own bubble and miss important insights that can feed your marketing activities.
Secondly, build your network outside of your circle of colleagues. Really few people do that, so, it will give you a knowledge and a competitive edge that a lot of people lack.
Finally, know your own worth, but be humble. There are so many experts out there and there are so many people that lack self-confidence. Be somewhere in the middle: learn and listen, but overcome your imposter syndrome as soon as possible.
One result you are really proud of as a marketeer
I’ve joined my current company, Jamf, just a bit less than 6 months ago and I’m really proud of what we’ve achieved in terms of demand generation. What is unique about my current job is that our Marketing and Sales teams are extremely aligned in terms of our vision and KPIs. We work as one commercial organization that helps us to be able to build a sales pipeline together.
What’s one important B2B marketing trend that will gain popularity in 2021, in your opinion?
In my opinion, there will be more marketeers focusing their efforts on prospects with strong buying intent. Most marketing teams are still chasing leads. There is one problem with that: a lead without buying intent is just contact information. If contact information was valuable 10 years ago, now your Sales team can go to Zoominfo and even LinkedIn to solve that problem and they don’t need a marketing person for that. So, using technology for account mapping and identifying buyer intent will be more and more wide-spread. It will free up some space for truly personalized marketing campaigns, as marketers will be able to focus their energy on doing actual marketing instead of collecting contact details.
Which is the strongest social media channel in 2021, and why?
The strongest social media channel in 2021 is the one that works for your business. There are no templates in marketing, what works for your competitor wouldn’t necessarily work for you. Get to know your buyer and the channels they use. Don’t go to Clubhouse just because everyone is there. Explore it, when you know that your customers are there and it’s an appropriate platform to communicate your brand values.
What would you recommend to businesses that want to grow in 2021? What about the tactics they should avoid?
You need to accept that marketing strategy is a journey and you wouldn’t get there over a night. You need to take a step towards understanding your buyers on a deeper level and find creative ways to connect with them on a daily basis. Everyone is so focused on “leadgen” to showcase some vanity metrics on some dashboards. It takes time to change your mindset around what marketing actually is. You need to learn how to create really meaningful content on a daily basis. Most marketing teams discourage failure. You need to be bold to experiment, fail, learn from it in order to build successful marketing programs.
Can you name one digital marketing tactic that you find overrated?
It’s probably Gated content. Most marketing teams are used to creating one white paper and promoting it for months straight. Gated content is important if you have some exceptional research and relevant data for your prospect. I truly believe that there should be a good balance between great ungated thought leadership content on your website and unique studies that are gated.