Remember the power and benefit of collaboration.
Natalie Nathanson is a tech sector entrepreneur with a passion for innovation, technology and the entrepreneurial spirit. With over 15 years of marketing experience, she has worked extensively with startups, small and mid-sized firms across the tech sector to drive towards company growth objectives. Natalie has expertise across a variety of marketing & sales disciplines including branding, messaging & positioning, demand generation, digital marketing, sales enablement, product marketing, channel marketing and inbound marketing and sales.
In 2012, she founded Magnetude Consulting, a B2B marketing firm that works with entrepreneurial firms who want to grow more rapidly and compete more effectively. Magnetude helps clients market the right way in today’s increasingly complex environment by providing fractional marketing department services with full-service capabilities spanning marketing strategy, digital marketing, demand generation, channel & sales enablement, content development and brand visibility.
Prior to founding Magnetude, Natalie managed a global marketing team at Forrester Research where she led programs around sales enablement, sales & marketing alignment, demand generation and product marketing. Natalie has also held a range of marketing positions at other B2B tech firms spanning product marketing, marketing communications and demand generation.
Where did the idea for Magnetude Consulting come from?
The business landscape has changed dramatically over the past decade with the proliferation of social media, the explosion of available marketing and sales technologies, and the evolution of how individuals and businesses research and purchase products and services. The need for coordinated, integrated marketing has never been greater, yet the resource constraints smaller firms face often make it hard for them to get their products and services in front of the right target audiences in an efficient and scalable manner. Marketing can serve as an equalizer, allowing firms to better compete in the market, although traditional access to marketing excellence is notoriously challenging for these firms due to their resource constraints.
Magnetude Consulting was founded on the premise that done correctly, marketing can be a great equalizer to help smaller, entrepreneurial and innovative companies get the visibility and growth they need to succeed.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
In a typical day, as with most Founders, I wear a lot of hats. I transition between all aspects of the business, from sales to client discussions to HR to business planning & strategy. In order to remain productive with so many different areas of focus, I take some time before the beginning of each week to look ahead and block off time to work through the most important priorities. This helps ensure I don’t spend time on the wrong things and that key priorities are addressed.
I also think about productivity within a given day, and I’ve found that I am most productive when I tackle my most challenging tasks in the morning and save simpler administrative tasks for my afternoons, when possible.
How do you bring ideas to life?
I always take some time to research conversations that are happening around my topic of focus. I like to see what others are saying and get some fresh insight, as well as talk to peers to get their perspective. I also do my best thinking in a non-working environment, like when I’m running. Then I put together a more formalized road map, such as a project plan, to detail the actions needed to bring my idea to life.
What’s one trend that excites you?
I love watching the evolution of where marketing and sales are headed as business functions. To an extent, these disciplines will always remain separate, but the lines are really starting to blur as marketing becomes more responsible for revenue. Marketers need to be thinking like sales people and vice versa. There are also a number of new technology categories emerging that are enabling sales and marketing to collaborate and share business objectives more effectively, such as sales intelligence platforms and account-based marketing software.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
I am always cognizant of time management and prioritization of tasks. It is easy to get sucked in to each daily task or issue as it arises, but I am conscious of being very deliberate about how and where I spend my time, always focusing on the most important initiatives. Though this is easier said than done on some days, I am continuously trying to improve.
What advice would you give your younger self?
Have more confidence…in myself and in my decisions. Also, remember the power and benefit of collaboration. My natural tendency is to think independently and work in a similar fashion, but I’ve always gotten much more value and perspective when I open it up to other ideas and ways of thinking, leveraging the smarts of my team and peers.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
Marketing should be part of everyone’s job, particularly in small businesses. Everyone within the organization needs to have a business development mindset and a general understanding of both marketing and business development tactics. Regardless of their position in the company and even for companies with a formal marketing function, each employee should do their part to help the company thrive and grow, rather than assuming that the responsibility falls on sales and marketing. This mindset should be engrained and part of the daily activities of each and every employee.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
I listen to podcasts and audio books constantly. Personally, I find that I never have as much time as I’d like to sit down and read, but I believe it is critical to stay informed and educated about the ever-changing business landscape. However, I can multitask and listen while driving, running, cooking or even shoveling snow during these brutal New England winter months.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
My leadership team and I are constantly reviewing the traits and characteristics of the ideal client for Magnetude. In staying focused on this over the past five years, we’ve learned a lot of the less tangible aspects that make clients a good fit for us…or not. We can recognize who we can best serve and thus, how focus business development efforts aimed at building and maintaining a stable base of long term clients.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
A few years ago I made a bad hire in a key position. The impact of this was widespread and costly, impacting the business over the course of that year. I overcame it by pushing forward, not losing sight of the larger goals I had for Magnetude, while re-thinking and improving our hiring process and practices. As a service business, our people are our most important asset. With that in mind and lessons learned from my hiring mistake, I’ve been able to build a strong, smart and cohesive team with expertise is all areas of marketing.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
As a dog owner and lover, I’ve always loved the concept of dog parks, especially for those who don’t have big backyards. But in the colder months, dogs are cooped up in the house without a way to exercise and burn off some of their energy. Just as we take our children to indoor playgrounds, I’ve often thought it would be ideal to have indoor playgrounds geared toward dogs. Someone please take this idea and run with it…and let me know when you do so I can bring my dog!
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
Recently my family and I went on vacation to Punta Cana. My husband and I blew at least $100 on nonsense the kids wanted…souvenirs, sodas, stuffed animals, etc. Why is that the best $100 I recently spent instead of just a waste? The excitement and smiles on their faces renewed me. Though I enjoy my children every single day, it’s easy to get caught up in the schedule and responsibilities of daily life. As an entrepreneur, I’ve found the work life balance to be particularly challenging, but essential, which is why I make family trips a priority. While on vacation, I get to take a step back and fully enjoy my family, including the moments when my children select ugly beach souvenirs to clutter my house.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive? How do you use it?
Please forgive the fact that I might be a bit biased as a Hubspot partner, but I do find the Hubspot sales and marketing platform tremendously helpful for productivity. Creating a single view of the customer, it is a great time saver, offering analytics, visibility and driving efficiencies for both sales and marketing. We use it within our sales and marketing functions (including myself as a daily user), and I highly recommended it for many small and medium sized businesses.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
It’s so hard to choose just one, so I’ll go with my top two from the last year or so. The first is “Sell with a Story” by Paul Smith. This is geared toward any business executive, marketer or sales executive involved in telling a company’s story. It is both practical and insightful.
The other book I’ll recommend is “Brain Audit” by Sean D’Souza. This book is a bit more intellectual and abstract, focusing on the instinctual level of why people buy and how that impacts marketing strategy.
What is your favorite quote?
My all-time favorite: “You miss 100% of the shots you never take.” – Wayne Gretsky
- Be deliberate in where you spend your time.
- Don’t overlook the value of collaboration.
- Prioritize work life balance.
- Learn and grow from your mistakes.
- Marketing is everyone’s job in a small business.
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Mario Schulzke is the Founder of ideamensch, which he started a decade ago to learn from entrepreneurs and give them a platform for their ideas.