Lead with Confidence: Invest in Relationships

Shannon Fitzgerald-Lussier
March 29, 2023

People take all different types of career paths; how did you get to where you are today? 

I interned as a marketing coordinator with a cybersecurity company in my senior year of college. We were an Eloqua customer, and when my manager resigned I was the only person left who knew how to use Eloqua.  

I had no idea was I was getting into. I didn’t know anything about workflows or automation, but I was able to learn about the tools from articles, being hands on, and leaning on our CSM. 

After I started feeling my stride with Eloqua, they switched to Marketo. It was early in the marketing automation game, so knowing both systems meant I was quickly recruited to do consulting.  

What excites you most about the role that you’re in right now? 

I love the diversity and challenge of marketing operations. 

Getting to manage the buyer journey from the beginning and move a customer down that funnel through relationship building is really exciting. I figure out how to nurture them and dig into the psychology of the buying process and what makes people convert.  

How do you move from being an individual contributor to a leadership path?  

Marketing operations is sometimes seen as a background role, but it’s such a critical function.  

You have all the data about what’s working and what’s not, and you have to relay that to the executive team and impacted departments. You decide whether or not to change what isn’t working, how it will meet goals, and how much of an impact it’ll have. So, it’s already tied to leadership.  

For anyone trying to take that path, know that it’s really about problem solving and providing solutions. It helps if you understand everyone’s role and the struggles they face, so you can help them overcome those challenges.  

Many marketing teams have been impacted by budget cuts recently. What are some things you’re doing now to keep your team motivated when you have to do more with less?     

We’ve scaled back a lot. We determine which tools are truly necessary for our success. 

The silver lining is that it’s allowed us to focus more on our customer. When you’re not crunched, you get into a lot of random daily tasks, and it’s distracting. When you have limited resources and budget, you have to focus on what really matters. At the end of the day, it’s about the customer and what they want and care about. The rest is just noise.  

You also need to remember that we’re all going through the same problems. Everyone is dealing with this uncertainty, but we’re all in it together and there’s some comfort in that. 

It’s 2023 now, what advice would you give to your 23-year-old self? 

Invest time and effort into relationship building. I was always really good at marketing operations and understanding the technology, but I kept running into the same issues again and again because I needed better communication and relationship building skills.  

In this role, you have to talk to a lot of different people. You have to find out what makes them tick and build a connection to get them to convert.  

I would tell my younger self to get out of my little corner and interact with people as much as possible. 

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