By Kate Frasca - November 17th, 2015

When I started at Incite Group, almost two and a half years ago, I didn’t know the first thing about marketing

Honestly, nothing.

In fact, I remember preparing for my first interview here – I literally Googled the term “marketing.” In milliseconds, Webster’s Dictionary told me that marketing is defined as the action or business of promoting and selling products or services, including market research and advertising. “Ok,” I thought, “that’s easy enough – I got this!”

So when my (now) boss, Nick, opened our first interview by asking what marketing meant to me, I looked him straight in the eye and said, “marketing is advertising. It’s the commercials I always fast-forward through when I watch my DVR. And the ads I skip over when I skim People Magazine. And some Facebook posts and Tweets from official accounts (I vaguely remembered reading something about Oreos and Twitter).”

Sadly, that was the best answer I could give. At the time, I had no concept of the scope of a marketer’s role. Nor did I have any notion of the tactics that marketers employ to ensure they do a thorough job.

Despite my horrendous answer, Nick pushed on. And the focus of his questioning began to shift – from marketing to customer service. For the remainder of our conversation, there was a clear theme to this interview: the customer.

He asked me to tell him about a time where I could have served my customers better; a time I demonstrated excellent customer service. He asked about how I would respond when I don’t know the answer to a question; and what my reply would be to a customer who says I’m taking too long to solve an issue. Every question out of Nick’s mouth was all about the customer. And luckily for me, I had plenty of experience with this, being that I’ve previously held positions as an Insurance Agent and in the public affairs department for a large utility.

I am sure you’re wondering, “Where is she going with this? And how did she make it to the second round interview?” Just hang on for one more paragraph – there’s a point to this story, I promise…

As any accomplished marketer will tell you, and as I’ve learned over the past two and a half years, the key to success in marketing lies with the customer.

If you don’t keep the customer as your number one priority at all times, you will fail. Because of this, I was granted the opportunity to be a founding member of Incite’s team and the organization’s sole marketer. By putting his faith in the principle that keeping the customer at the epicenter of all you do, Nick felt motivated to hire someone with seasoned career in customer service, but who knew little about marketing. And although it’s taken me over two and a half years to learn the fundamentals that most of you probably studied in Marketing 101 (I’m talking true basics like Google Analytics, a CRM system, programmatic advertising, webforms, tagging data, etc.), I don’t think anyone could have been a better fit for this position.

I know that my ability to keep the focus on the customer has not only kept me afloat during the times when my lack of marketing knowledge could have been truly detrimental, but it’s reaped rewards for our organization. My knack for customer service has contributed to enhanced customer satisfaction, reduced churn rates, and increased revenue.

But, I’m sure there’s much more we could be doing. So I’m reaching out to you – the marketing professional – to ask for your advice. I’d love to hear the ways in which you and your organization have changed to keep up with the ever-increasing customer expectations. You can comment below or reach out to me via email at to continue the discussion.

The Incite Marketing Summit: West 2016

May 2016, San Francisco

The Incite Summit: West is the USA's best brand-focused marketing conference. Taking place in San Francisco on 18th and 19th of May, we will bring together Chief Marketing Officers from major brands to debate one key issue. How you can get a more granular picture of your customer and then engage in "one-to-one marketing". We'll focus on perception, precision and personalization.

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