This month we get to know Heidi, a cornerstone of the marketing team and founder of CB4’s Product Marketing Department.
What’s your role at CB4 and what does your day to day look like (including your interactions with other teams at CB4)?
My role at CB4 is Product Marketing Manager. I feel lucky that my day to day looks pretty different depending on whatever we’re prioritizing. It’s usually a healthy mix of legwork moving long-term, strategic projects forward and checking off immediate tasks to make sure we’re executing on goals for content and other deliverables.
Every day, I get to work closely with my teammates in marketing, biz dev, and design, as well as in product, customer success, and sales. I also have an awesome external team of retail writers, and I spend a good amount of time collaborating with them.
Can you talk a little bit about the path that led you to CB4?
I spent a decade-ish working in fashion retail, as much on the sales floor as in corporate offices for big, international apparel brands. In either capacity, my focus was making sure their brand identities were translated down to every store associate and every customer who walked through the door. So whether you’re a personal stylist at Saks on Fifth or shopping a rack in a suburban outlet mall, you’re still having an on-brand experience.
And even though working in that world was fun, over time I realized I was moving away from my passion for writing. I always intended to be a professional writer and communicator and I wasn’t getting to do that as much as I wanted in retail. So I found an amazing program at NYU and got my MS in Professional Writing, which helped me hone my skills in distilling really complex subjects for readers.
After I graduated, I was working as a marketing consultant and one of my professors connected me with Matthew, CB4’s VP of Marketing. He was looking for blog writers with retail experience, and I pitched some articles and started writing for CB4’s blog. Then, I got excited when I saw the Content Marketing Manager opportunity at CB4 open up. I came to the office to interview and Matthew and I really hit it off. And that’s when my more official working relationship with CB4 started.
What’s one new fact/skill/thing you’ve learned while working at CB4? (could be about retail or your specific role)
In retail marketing, I was working for very established, household name brands who had their standards set in stone. The point wasn’t to push the envelope when it came to what these brands stood for but to stay true to those standards at all times.
And that couldn’t be more different from the scope of my work at CB4. I came in on Day 1 and it was like: Let’s make a pain map! Let’s A/B test our messaging here! Let’s decide who we are as a brand! That was two and a half years ago, and we’re still redefining who we are and why we do what we do every single day. That’s perfect for me because when you’re a creative type and a perfectionist, you never feel that your work is done. There’s really no such thing as a finished deliverable in your mind.
The other thing that I’ve learned at CB4 is how not to work in a vacuum. Everything at CB4 is extremely collaborative. I may “own” a project, but what that really means is taking in everyone’s perspective and making executive decisions based on what I hear. It can be hard because at CB4 people are very passionate about what it is that we do and what we stand for. So I’ve really learned how to take into account every person and every team’s feedback to create winning campaigns.
Of CB4’s company values, which speaks to you most and why?
Speak your mind, because I’m someone who second-guesses myself a lot. Sometimes imposter syndrome rears up, as it does for so many people, and it can be hard to remember the truth that you’ve earned your spot at the table. I think that can be even harder for women. So I love that this value alleviates the question of if I should speak my mind. Instead, it gives me room to focus on how and when I speak my mind. And I love when I see my peers embodying this value. For example, my teammate Joe is great at just speaking up for conversation’s sake and challenging the status quo.
What are the rules you prescribe to or follow in life that help you form more meaningful relationships with potential customers?
I try to just listen, both in my professional and personal relationships. It’s like we all have this knee-jerk thing where we’re thinking about what we’re going to say next instead of truly just listening. I saw this a lot in retail sales and I see it in SaaS sales, too. The trick is to take the time to pause to take in what you heard before you respond. This lets you validate and reflect back on what you heard, which puts you in a much better position to be credible and provide value.
We’re all at home a lot more these days. How do you make sure you maintain a good work/life balance?
In the pandemic, I think I’m forced to have a decent work/life balance because of my kids. I’m privileged to have childcare, which lets me show up and focus during work hours. But in off hours, my priority is family.
The biggest challenge is making time for myself and carving out space for my own overall mental and physical wellness. In a world where friends and other support systems aren’t as accessible and I’m not hitting up the yoga studio, I find I have to make a conscious effort to show up for me, too. Because at the end of the day, that’s what enables me to live up to all the demands on me at work and at home.
What’s the best decision CB4 has made in the last year?
The very early realization that we had to pivot in the pandemic. Once we were home for about a week it was like, “Alright let’s pause for a sec. How do we need to change what we’re writing about? How are we going to change how we work for this new reality?” 2020 was both a threat and an opportunity. I think that even a lot of really good companies were slow and reluctant to act or take a stance at first, and we just weren’t one of those companies.
What does CB4 do… how did your answer to this question change before you started working here vs after?
CB4 helps retailers make stores better for shoppers with quick, easy wins. That big picture hasn’t changed, but the longer I work here the more I understand the nuances around all of that and where we sit within the complex web of retail technology today.