Join Rick Wootten for a conversation with marketing leaders to understand more about marketing and the people who are shaping this discipline. What advice do they have for up-and-coming brands? How do they navigate the challenges associated with an increasingly noisy world? What's their superpower?
Learn from the experts on how to build great and enduring brands, engender trust and advocacy, and drive adoption and use of new products and technologies.
Welcome to Marketing Matters, the show where we interview some of the brightest minds in marketing.
And on today's show, I'll be interviewing Felicia Haggarty. Felicia just recently joined us as the head of inbound marketing for Cloudflare.
She's worked as a marketing executive for quite a while in companies like Data Theorem, TIBCO, Cloudera, and IBM.
She's current... I just said she's currently getting her MBA.
You are not currently getting your MBA. You have your MBA from the University of Illinois and an undergraduate from San Diego State.
We talked quite a bit about this because my son's going to San Diego State.
And more professional certifications than anyone else I know.
I was really impressed with the number of certifications you had.
Welcome to the show, Felicia. Thank you for having me on International Women's Day.
That's right. Happy International Women's Day.
You know, I think that's really cool. It's one of the things that drew me to this company and things that, you know, I feel passionate about is that the company has a set of values and morals.
And, you know, it's not common for a company, you know, especially a more established company, to have such a strong sense.
I mean, it even comes through in, you know, our motto, you know, to help build a better Internet.
It's not we're building a better Internet. We're hoping to build one because we recognize that it's not just us.
And, you know, we do a lot of things from that to try and help out folks whose voices are being squashed or all kinds of things like that.
So the fact that we celebrate stuff like this, I think is fantastic.
And if I'm not mistaken, all week long, we're going to be interviewing different women and leadership roles and understanding, you know, the challenges they had and how they got to where they are and their advice for other people.
So to that end, again, welcome to the show. Thanks. No pressure. So, you know, one of the things I think is fun is starting out the interviews by talking about your background and from your point of view.
And, you know, because I'm a nerd and I inherited this question from somebody else, I like to ask it in the format of a comic book hero or a comic book character, right?
Because every comic book, every character who plays a material role has a backstory.
And so, you know, you're playing an important role here.
What's your superhero backstory? How'd you get from where you started to where you are?
So an undergrad, I actually majored in political science.
I wanted to run political campaigns. Unfortunately, I was way too broke for those unpaid internships that it takes to get into politics.
And so and I also graduated into the dot-com bubble crash.
So I kind of just walked into roles.
So I started in events. I worked on trade show programs for Cisco Systems domestic and internationally with a small agency that led me to smaller demand gen roles and marketing solutions roles at various companies, ultimately landing at IBM.
And that was a big door opener for me. They allowed me to go into many, many different marketing roles and really just try things on.
It was a company and honestly, two very good managers who allowed me to just go and be an innovator and build this.
But then, you know, always keep your mind open to something else.
So I absolutely like it or liked all of those roles. But, you know, marketing is also about adapting all of the time.
And I think that's what keeps me in marketing because adapting is a bit of my superpower.
I moved around a lot as a kid.
I have a very dynamic family. But, you know, all the changes that happen in tech, in pop culture during a pandemic, it all changes how people see the world.
It changes how they problem solve and it changes how they buy and ask for help.
So, you know, it's really why I am still in marketing.
That's awesome. Now, are you the oldest as well?
No, I'm the middle daughter or middle child, but only daughter.
Because how you described yourself there is often how, you know, when you have two, the older one always kind of identifies, you know, the adaptable one, the one that's kind of going out innovating and that sort of thing.
You know, we do this other show that you know about that Rick and Rick show.
And we were talking about that recently. And it was just a lot of fun to kind of compare and contrast because the other Rick is the youngest and I'm the oldest.
It was interesting to kind of play with that. So that's kind of a cool way into it.
Like when you graduated, you didn't, did you intend, you know, when you graduate with your undergraduate, did you intend to get into marketing or, you know, did that just happen?
Yeah, it just happened. I mean, it was kind of anybody who was hiring.
I was teaching cardio kickboxing at the time. I had a bunch of these small little side jobs, but there really weren't any full-time jobs for anyone fresh out of college at that time.
I guess that's true. Yeah. That was a, that was a tough time.
I was fortunate that I got into the workforce, you know, about five or six years before that.
So, you know, I, I had kind of grounded before, before it.
But I can, I can imagine. In fact, I, I would compare and contrast that with people who are graduating right now.
Right. My, my son's trying to find an internship and it's been very difficult because of the pandemic, because, you know, a lot of people aren't having anybody come on site and they don't really want to do internships remotely.
So I can, you know, that's just an internship.
I imagine that people are graduating right now. It must be incredibly difficult.
Absolutely. It's exactly what these folks are going through.
And so, so you got into that first marketing job. What, what kept you in there?
What'd you find that was magical? Traveling was new for me. I'm first generation.
So, you know, started everything from scratch. So being able to go to college was this huge gift even.
So then getting a job where I can travel and I'm meeting all these people and, you know, they approach marketing in very different ways.
One client was Cisco systems. One was bare essentials, a cosmetics company.
So, you know, really just kind of looking at marketing within, from different lenses was a, was a fantastic first job opportunity.
But also got to use the side of my brain where I had to be really detailed and I had to be very organized and I had to deliver, you know, I had to go on calls and say, you know, here is your huge international show that you are doing.
Here's your kind of go -to-market strategy.
And here's the boost that we built all around that. Here is the energy that we're going to build as a team around that.
So yeah, it was absolutely adapt and innovate every day.
Yeah. And, and, and, you know, years later, you've, you've actually done quite a few jobs in marketing.
And in fact I remember when we were talking early on you said, you know, the, one of the things that gives you the, the, the creativity that you have is the fact that, that you have worked generally in almost every group of marketing and that you have a really good cross-section of that.
And I think that's, I think that's super valuable. I think it, you know, it brings a, a lot of empathy for the individual ones.
And it's, and I say that selfishly, cause that's what I've tried to do as well.
I've done literally just about every job in marketing.
And the point is like, how can I, how can I manage these teams if I don't have an understanding of what they're doing or an empathy for it?
And, and it, and I remember reading resumes like that came through to me.
It's like, oh yeah, this is, this is a kindred spirit here. This is somebody who's, you know, is kind of taken, taken and learned a lot.
Yeah. So, so as I said a minute ago, I think, I think one of the challenges is, you know, we have these people coming on college right now and, you know, trying to find jobs and starting these new jobs in the pandemic, but that's what you've just done.
You've literally started a job in the pandemic. I don't think you've met any of the people you interviewed with in person and the team that you're working with, other than a couple of folks you might've worked with at previous companies, you haven't met anyone.
That's gotta be weird. What's, what's, what is that like?
I mean, it's weird because you have to try and figure out how to make a connection over Zoom, essentially.
And I think I just tap, had to tap more into my presentation skills, right?
You have to connect with an audience when you're speaking.
You have to make sure there's back and forth. You have to make sure you're listening to what they're saying, whether it was in the interview process or with onboarding.
You know, the onboarding certainly has been hard as well, because I don't know how all these kids are learning on Zoom, but it's not as easy for me.
You know, it's kind of up to me to go ahead and take all that information and I need to consume it in a way that I know that I will learn all of that content.
So yeah, it was very hard to go through that entire process with only interviewing over Zoom, hoping that I made a connection with someone, hoping that I was speaking to the gaps that they hope to fill within the role.
But I was very lucky to also be surrounded by a lot of former colleagues.
Early on in the pandemic, I'd offered to give references to a couple of people that I saw on LinkedIn.
And then when it was my time, I had no idea, I had no expectations, but a network of my former colleagues absolutely surrounded me with support and advice and anything they could do to just kind of keep me positive.
And that would be like the one piece of advice.
It sounds very, very corny, but for the people who are interviewing during the pandemic, you just have to stay positive and confident in your skills and abilities.
But also there's good parts to interviewing during pandemic. You're literally on your home turf.
You're in your, you might be wearing sweats below whatever you're wearing up top and you get to be comfortable in your own home.
And I'm five too.
I don't think that you know that. So sometimes just actually being quite short, I tend to lose confidence sometimes when I go into interviews.
But I didn't have that problem over Zoom.
But also it was very cool to go through this whole process and interview and have my kids at home.
They actually got to see me fail several times.
They got to see that, you know, doors were slammed in my face and that it doesn't just happen easily.
So there's good parts and bad parts to the whole process.
Yeah. You know, you bring that up and I think that's an interesting one.
So again, I mentioned, you know, my son and, you know, he's struggled trying to find internships.
But, you know, one of the things that's been kind of cool is with me working from home as well, he's been able to either listen in on my work calls or, you know, my interviews and basically learn.
And so when he's going into interviews, you know, he's like, all right, dad, what are you looking for?
Like, you know, he's able to ask me some of these more probing questions because he's kind of getting some of that exposure, which I think is pretty neat.
It's a neat opportunity that wouldn't have arisen otherwise.
It's, you know, we joke about, you know, bring your kid to work day, but, you know, kind of every day now is bring your kid to work day.
Bring your kid to life. Yeah. I mean, absolutely. I mean, they saw me, you know, after interviews, I'd have a whole page of notes and they're like, well, what are you going to do with that?
And I was like, oh, okay. I'm going to actually make this presentation.
And so these are the gaps that I see going on, you know, here's some possible solutions that I'm going to bring up to them.
Maybe they'll work, maybe they won't work, but this is how you start a discussion with someone that you're trying to show.
This is how I problem solve and hopefully it works.
Yeah. I don't know if I've shared this with you, but people make fun of me both behind in front, in front of my back about my spreadsheets.
Cause I I'm, I'm one of those spreadsheet builders and I keep track of all kinds of crazy stuff.
And, you know, it's, it's your point. It's like, because I always feel like there's something to learn and what I'm trying to do.
Um, and, and so like, I, I literally have a spreadsheet of everybody I've ever, not ever, but for many years back that I've interviewed and, you know, the, and I keep track of it so that I can look back and figure out, am I asking the right questions?
And I, you know, and when I say, yes, are they actually somebody that we both hire?
And then they stay for at least a year and, you know, it's kind of my minimum benchmark.
Yeah. I stay at least a year and, you know, my hit rate's pretty good. So I feel good about it, but there's always stuff in there for me to learn.
Um, but my, my friends are notorious.
They, they, they're, they're constantly giving me crap behind my back because I have a spreadsheet of TVs and like, why do you like what you buy a TV?
Like every five years I said, yeah, but like all of you ask me what TV to buy whenever you need a new one.
And so whenever I hear about something, I'll look it up and I add it to my spreadsheet and you'll hear the key features.
And so when they, you know, when they ask us like, all right, what do you care about?
Are you going to watch movies? You know, watch streaming, you get like HDR important to you 4k, you know, boop, boop, boop.
Okay. Here you go. This is the TV to go buy.
What's your price point? You know, this is it. So everyone has something that they geek out about.
So you go ahead and spreadsheet. I wish, I wish I only had one.
If you, when you know me, you know, I have a lot of passions. I get passionate about a lot of stuff.
It's yeah. I get passionate about cars. I get passionate about technology and I get really passionate about marketing, you know, and customer experience and websites.
And unfortunately I wish I could say I had a passion.
I have many, many, many passions. That's good. That's a good thing.
Totally. So you know, over, over, you know, you, you talked about a number of companies you worked for, you know, over, over that time, you've had the opportunity to work on some, some really cool marketing programs.
You know, what's, what's one that, that, that pops for you?
One that stands out that you think was, was neat and that you learned something from.
Yeah. I would say the one I learned the most from was when I was at IBM and they were in beta with this one product and I won't say the product name, but they were in beta for this one product.
And before that I was doing demand gen for cloud in 2011.
There wasn't a lot of demand yet.
So they had pivoted and realized that, you know, we really need to talk to the early adopters.
We need to talk to developers. We need to talk to the technical people who are more advanced.
And so we pivoted and they had this beta product and they suddenly announced that, okay, we're going to do a product launch.
It's going to be in about three to four weeks at our global conference.
So we need, we need a product launch.
We need part of the conference to be dedicated to this audience.
And so this, to, to the product launch, we need speakers, we need a venue we need theme, we need branding all of the creative and an audience generation plan.
And then we have to execute it in that time as well. So you know, we had a phenomenal cross-functional team that was assigned to it.
So whoever was putting that team together they can take, probably take all the credit for it, but I thought it was absolutely impossible.
However, when my boss asked for volunteers for this kind of project, I was the first one to raise my hand because I don't masochist maybe, but I it was a great process to go through.
You know, I believe we met our goals for that.
They also were building an online community to support that products that are the audience for that product.
I mean, it was just a massive amount of work and it was about 12 people who were working on it.
And we just hustled for those three to four months.
We were exhausted by the time we were onsite at the Hakkasan in Las Vegas for that event.
But you know, the product, we did get the number of beta and users that we had targeted.
We did get, you know, a large number of people to attend that conference.
And then it actually was a blueprint for conferences going forward for developers.
That's when I learned that I really love working with developers because there's not a lot of AB testing.
They tell you right away whether they like something or not. But also taught me how in marketing, we need to be a bit more in service to the people that are going to be using the product as opposed to always thinking about it as a sale or always thinking about, I really just want to get them to just start downloading my product and start using it.
There was genuine interest from developers about certain products.
And I kind of followed that and led me to my next role as well.
That's pretty cool. You know, you said in there two things that I imagine people will react to.
One, that it was on a short timeframe and you had to hustle. And then two, three to four months.
And I have been doing this long enough that I know that is a short timeframe to put on the kind of event you're talking about.
But I bet you for some people, they're like, why would it take so long?
You know, we're such an instant culture at this point.
But trying to secure space and do buildouts and messaging and presentations and trainings and contract negotiations, that is a short period of time to try and put something on at that scale.
Yeah. And presents all of your results every single week to executives who are really focused on the results of what you're doing.
So a lot of pressure. Most of the roles I had at IBM were pretty high pressure.
But like I said, I had amazing managers there that helped me through.
That's awesome. That's awesome. So do you have an example, just to kind of take this in a different direction and have some fun, about something you tried one time that went horribly wrong or at least hilariously wrong?
More on the hilarious side. And it wasn't necessarily wrong, but a past company was looking into doing adding a data science product to their portfolio.
So we were tasked with really just kind of putting together a community event of data scientists, you know, large, midsize, small companies, find out how they scale, find out what their problems are, while the team was really investigating what that product would be.
So, well, I guess it'll probably give this away, but the event was called Wrangle.
And we really got geeky about making it like a cowboy country style theme.
So, I mean, hay bales. I had a cowboy hat that was about this wide.
Your pictures of this? Yes. On social media, these pictures live. And once in a while, one of my colleagues, luckily he only posts the pictures of him, but yes, we have these pictures with these wide, it was like foam cowboy hats.
But the topics that they were speaking about, all these great data scientists from like Pinterest, Facebook, a couple of banks, you know, we were kind of seeing across the gamut and across several industries, what data science was dealing with.
And it was a lot of what's going on now about data privacy, about ethics when you're creating algorithms.
So I still look back on that a lot. We did end up having a data science product and then, you know, we built on that.
I think we had that event for three years.
It was my favorite event of the entire year because a lot of people came back and I'm still in touch with them on Twitter and get to see where their careers have gone.
But it was just so much fun to have that event and to know that it's still remembered and people still use a lot of those pictures of them on those hats as well.
It makes me really, really happy. That's awesome. I try and share it because I've had plenty of misfires in my career.
I am definitely one of those people that love to test and try things and learn from them and just rapidly evolve.
So that means I've had a whole bunch of misfires. And I remember there was, and this was not one of them, but it's kind of in the same vein of what you just talked about.
We had, this was when I was at Palm. I won't use any names, but there was one of the folks in the mergers and acquisitions team where we're all out at a wine event and he was trying to be silly.
And so there was like this flower costume from one of the kids.
And so he put it on and, you know, and so there were all these pictures of him with this like big flower headset thing going on.
And we all just thought it was hilarious.
And we were sitting there talking with them one day.
And at the time we were to launch the Palm 3C, which was the first color handheld ever.
And I ran digital marketing, the web team. And I was teasing him and joking with him.
And I said, well, don't worry. I almost used his name. It's funny.
Don't worry. We'll use your picture with the flower because it was very colorful to represent what it would look like on the handle.
And he said, I dare you.
I don't think you'd do it. So of course the next morning there was a picture of him on the website with the big flower and the whole thing.
It was awesome.
Yeah. I think a lot of, especially with events, I feel like you have an opportunity to be silly.
A lot of times that really is good marketing because people are seeing so many ads thrown at them anywhere they go.
I mean, they're on the little screen or they're on the big screen right now while we're all at home.
And yeah, if there's something really goofy, I'm probably going to remember it.
Yeah. And to your point, standing out at those types of things, especially a trade show where it's so crowded, it's loud.
I mean, I forget at one point somebody took a decibel meter into CES and it was louder than a funny car going down the racetrack.
I mean, those environments are just so amazingly loud.
And so standing out in that is very difficult. And when companies can do it, it's really cool.
And I've seen a couple of them. I think it was at NAB. No, it wasn't NAB because it was when I was here.
But anyways, one of the security trade shows, we went in and somebody had gone on with a full-on hot sauce theme.
And so they had a whole wall of hot sauces.
And if you agreed to sit down and talk to them for whatever it is, 10 minutes, they would give you a hot sauce.
And all their product names are related to it.
It was just kind of a clever thing. And here I am two years later still talking about it.
I just thought it was really clever. In fact, I've got a little hot sauce, I think in the fridge.
It wasn't that good, but I appreciate it.
I think I've seen that. For sure, I've seen that around. My favorite is when Cloudera at one of our conferences had puppies.
So you could go in this little area and you could literally just sit there and hug puppies and they would climb all over you.
It was fantastic. That's cool. Yeah. I felt recharged after that.
You kind of just feel like after being in session or doing booth duty, you feel a little bit drained from some of those events.
After hugging puppies, forget it.
I was ready to go. I think that's another thing that people don't appreciate is how much work on site goes into doing an event.
It's not a nine to five.
I mean, you're in there at like 5.36 in the morning, making sure everything is up and running and your power is there and nobody messed with your booth overnight.
And you're there until they close the place out at 11 or 12 at night.
And then you're back up again the next morning.
So if you're lucky, you're getting four or five hours sleep.
I mean, it's an intense job. It's really rewarding, especially when you pull something off like the puppy expo and everybody's just talking about it for a long time.
But I really do appreciate the folks that do the events for us.
It's tough work. Anyways, so that's cool. Hey, so jumping down a little bit, one of the things that is always, I enjoyed at least, is that our industry is not static.
It's a very changing industry. You go back 10 years ago and what you measured as a successful campaign is not what you would do it today or go back 20 years or 30 years.
I mean, it's even more dramatic. But that means that part of our job is to keep up with all that.
How do you keep up with all the changes that's going on and understanding what the new practices are and the new tools and technologies?
What do you do? Yeah, so Coursera is wonderful. All those kind of smaller companies that have different courses, I feel like they give you a basic introduction and then it's up to you to go to pragmatic marketing, listen to podcasts.
Obviously, I think last year and the year before, I was pretty obsessed with all of Drift's marketing.
So really- They had a lot of good stuff there, girl. Yes, yes.
And getting a base understanding first by taking some online classes and then really kind of going to conferences.
Like I said, listening to podcasts and things like that.
But paying attention to B2C marketing as well has helped me a lot. But the big thing that Drift really started talking about was being able to just speak really authentically, whether it's within an email or on your website or wherever else.
People respond to that a lot more now, especially with Twitter. I will go and start following people with the roles that I'm trying to find solutions for.
And I'll just go and follow them and figure out what their pain points are and whether our solutions can actually solve those problems.
I'm a big Twitter scroller, which hasn't been good the last few years for being also a political science major.
But you get a lot of ideas from there. And I know it's a strange place to get ideas.
I'm sure most people would prescribe LinkedIn to be able to get ideas for campaigns and things like that.
But that's pretty great. I'm always screenshotting ads that I see just like, oh, OK, I actually noticed this one.
And here's why I noticed this one.
And I'll share it with my team and kind of talk about it.
But also because of what I do with Inbound, sometimes I take that cold call that comes in or I'll respond to that email.
I have no idea how they found me. And sometimes they will they'll get me because they'll talk about the San Francisco Giants, which I mentioned on my Twitter fairly often.
And then if they ask me something about the Giants, I have to respond.
But I will just learn from just those really basic ways of reaching out.
Yeah, that's cool. That's cool. It is interesting how much better the cold calling is getting with all that information out there.
I get cold calls pretty regularly to mention either something from the show or the Rick and Rick Rule the World podcast.
They're getting a little more sophisticated in a good way.
It's like more personalized marketing kind of thing, personalized sales.
So we don't run out of time. One of the things I wanted to ask you is who has been the biggest influence in your professional life?
I want to make sure we save time for that. In my professional life.
So I will have to say my husband. He is actually he's also a marketing executive, but in the financial industry.
So we do enough of the same things to geek out about website optimization and SEO and things like that together, which sounds so corny, but also have different responsibilities with our jobs enough that we can he can teach me something I teach him something.
But, yeah, we've been together for many, many years.
And, yeah, I would absolutely have to say him. I mean, his worth work ethic is like no one I've ever met before.
I mean, he could he could be CEO of a company someday and he will still probably only take, you know, days off when I make him.
I'm not sure that's a good thing. You need some work life balance in there, too.
I agree. I agree. Thank you. That's cool. That's cool.
All right. So we just have another minute here when we go through some some fun questions, you know, just kind of this or that kind of type of questions.
So the first one is Coke or Pepsi?
Definitely Coke. Definitely Coke. Excellent. You're of my own mind.
Dogs or cats? Oh, dogs. Huskies in particular. Oh, yes. Your dogs are amazing.
I saw them the other day in one of the video cast. Yeah. You know, I'm of the same mind.
I'm much more of a dog fan, but not by a lot. You know, I enjoy cats as well, but I'm allergic to them.
So it's it's not going to happen. Pizza or tacos is a good one.
Tacos for sure. I was born and raised in the Mission District in San Francisco.
Oh, man. See, this would be a tough one for me. I really like them both.
I could eat pizza or tacos probably every single day. All right. Last one. Ford or Chevy?
I have a Chevy, but I like Ford better. All right. All right. You know, I bought an electric car recently and I really considered that Ford Mustang, the new Mustang SUV electric one.
It looked really cool. All right. Well, thank you for your time.
It was great having you on the show. And let's keep in touch. All right.