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Interview with Erik Newton – How to Scale Your Marketing Career: Lessons From a Former Senior Marketer from Netflix – Episode #41

“It took me many many jobs to figure this out—you are in a support role…marketing is a support role. ”

Erik Newton is the VP of Marketing at Milestone Inc. Milestone helps companies organize and amplify their digital information to reach the right audiences with advanced technical solutions for content and SEO.

He is a growth marketing executive who takes a full-lifecycle view of customer acquisition, experience, and retention. Prior to Milestone, he was the VP of Growth Marketing at BrightEdge.

Early on in his career he spent 6 years in Japan and earned his MBA there and then started his career at Dentsu agency in Tokyo. Erik has worked in tech marketing for more than 20 years at Adobe,, Netflix, and TiVo. He has published more than 175 blogs on SEO, is an accomplished speaker, and wrote a book called Hack the Corporate Fast Track.

In this episode Erik provides a great historical narrative of his career and the Silicon Valley scene in the 90s (he had met Andrew Grove and Steve Jobs in the same week), we talk about his experiences at Adobe and Netflix, the different roles and paths marketers can take today, how to speed up your career growth, and more!

Full Episode Transcript:

Kenny Soto  0:00  

We are now recording and 54321 Hi, Eric, how are you?


Erik Newton  0:03  

Hey, Kenny. I’m good. Great to be here.


Kenny Soto  0:09  

 So we just had an amazing conversation as usually occurs before recording an interview, about your career and your experience. So I think the best straightforward way to dive into this interview is to ask you, how did you get into digital marketing?


Erik Newton  0:30  

Hey, Kenny, I think I was supposed to set up a better microphone. Right? I should use my better mic. I should, should we stop and do the mic? 


Kenny Soto  0:39  

Sure. That’s fine. That’s perfect


Erik Newton  0:48  



Kenny Soto  0:52  

All right. So my first question is, how did you get into digital marketing?


Erik Newton  0:58  

Well, I graduated with a degree in English. And I started in an ad agency and an ad agency. You know, my opportunity was approved being a proofreader. And being a copywriter, my goal was to be a copywriter. But she usually started out a little bit lower. 


And coming out of an ad agency, the the opportunity in Silicon Valley was this emerging internet advertising model, which, you know, wasn’t very lucrative at the time. But I, I joined Netscape because of my knowledge of media buying from being in the agency. And that brought me into digital marketing on the ad model, which went through some ups and downs, but became the dominant model, you know, decades later.


Kenny Soto  1:44  

Now, you’ve worked at impressive companies like Netscape, like mp3 dot com, Adobe, Netflix, I want to focus more so on Adobe and Netflix, just for this interview, what are some key lessons that you learned from both of your experiences working at Adobe and Netflix?


Erik Newton  2:11  

Yeah, so Adobe, some of the business lessons at Adobe were about how to grow. And this was at, you know, even though I was a lead at Adobe, the company did a pretty good job of acquiring other companies of potential pretty large mergers, that would add 50 or $100 million of revenue to the business. And then they would keep that product alive, which is sometimes difficult after a merger to keep the value of what you’ve acquired, and not kind of break it and trample it and lose the value that you invested in. 


So they, they, they would look at adding things to the Creative Suite, and then how the operations of how they were distributing it. And back in the day, they distributed on CD. So there was a lot of logistics involved before there were digital subscriptions and digital automatic updating. So those were some of the interesting things as a culture. Adobe was not terribly collaborative. So it was difficult to work across departments, people tended to have their area. And the office setup was all separate offices with doors on them. 


So you could be quite separated from other people, and you’d kind of walk over knock on the door or set up a meeting, go into conference room with people. So that that was kind of a challenge that of how you get across across other people, groups and departments to solve problems. And it got to be you know, it’s a little bit discouraging if you try to solve problems, but it’s sort of gets you more negative feedback than positive when you’re trying to address a problem. And yeah, Adobe had two sides, the printing side of the business and the more familiar digital graphic side of the business, and the business was directly connected to, to Apple.


 Right, the the back in the day, all Adobe products ran on Apple day, and they didn’t they weren’t even put in a room. So as Apple’s business started to degrade, Adobe’s business started to degrade too. And it was kind of imperative to diversify that risk, which is essentially platform risk, and start talking more to Intel and start talking more to Microsoft. And in sort of distancing ourselves from Apple, which is it’s a little bit sad because they’ve been good partners for more than a decade already at the time. And I had the opportunity to meet Andy Grove when he was chairman, CEO and Steve Jobs. In the same week, we met both companies. 


And we had sort of different stories because we were leaning towards, we were leaning towards Intel and Microsoft to try to get our stock from not getting pulled down into what was happening in the funk with, with Apple. And then we met Steve Jobs. So I have this very interesting contrast of two of the biggest names of the of the era of the 90s, you know, 80s and 90s. 


In, in tech in Silicon Valley, very different people, you know, very, very good at different things. But you know, what I learned from from Adobe is about diversification, about portfolio management, about partner management, about risk management, and then trying to figure out how to do just to just Teamwork was kind of a big challenge that you had to put a lot of time and effort into, to do a good job. And one of the things you start to realize as a marketer is that tech companies are dominated by engineering and product, and often sales. 


So if you’re if your marketing function is not the go to market mechanism, meaning like a b2c style online credit card sale, if it’s distribution channel, or direct to Corporation direct to enterprise, you are often in an awkward position, you’re often deprioritized in just in the pecking order of their world. And you if you don’t recognize that it can be frustrating, but if you do recognize it took me many, many jobs to figure this out, is that you’re in a support role, my job is to help sales my then my job is to help distribution. 


And my job is to help Arn and PR like marketing is, is helping push all those things forward. And it’s a little bit better for alignment. If you see yourself in a support role than in a, I’m going to make a decision other people are going to do what I say kind of role that’s that’s almost never going to work in marketing. But when we talk about other companies, you know that where there isn’t a sales group that that can be more, you can be more assertive.


Kenny Soto  7:07  

Now that would be I’m assuming specific to like all of the companies you worked at and we gathered that answer from your experience specifically at Adobe. Are there any other unique lessons that you learned from working at Netflix?


Erik Newton  7:36  

Yeah, Netflix, the Netflix was an amazing environment that was focused Do they like to focus on disability and do this thing, right? And if you have extra time, just go back and check it?


was used and library, right, in digital, meaning that he saw this thing crashing, you saw the DVD business peeking out at some point and the digital business taking over? And he saw it as you know, two lines of business one funding the other very clear strategy. Another strategy that that that Reed was so clear on is our are our largest cost at Netflix, this is gonna be a little bit hard for you to guess because you’re you might not be from that era. But what do you think their largest their largest cost was?


Kenny Soto  8:46  

Out Of Home in me until era?


Erik Newton 8:49  

Mail, right. postage, the cost of postage and delivery was the hundreds of millions of dollars when? Yeah, good guess. So like a $900 million company with $300 million of postage. But read also saw that as he’s going from as he’s going from sending DVDs to delivering digitally that that postage money is going to be freed up and he said, Oh, clearly, I’m going to invest this money. 


Erik Newton  9:19  

I’m going to transfer this money to the content to the movie studios to the producers. Yeah, so that was those are some interesting lessons. It was strategic clarity, and victory. Like they only had two products, they had one product, then they had two products. And that’s all they wanted. And they wanted to succeed at really just one of those products that product they have now which is the digital business. There’s some experiments now with with games and other other revenue streams. But that’s not their that’s not their core style or culture. They were super, super focused. 


And marketing played a huge role there and more than 102 only $5 million or is budget and generating profitably kidding had a lot of authority. But over time, they did want to go away from spending money to building an advantage in the product. So what that means is like televisions and DVD. That’s what was more advantageous for them than then continuing to spend money, which doesn’t have a long residual tail on it, you get an acquisition that lasts for a year or two, but you acquire one customer. But when you acquire like a line of business hardware, right, it goes, it goes on, and it’s it’s much cheaper per acquisition over time.


Kenny Soto  10:52  

Because you have all of this experience at different, really big companies. What are all the different job roles in a marketing team? And how do they mesh together?


Erik Newton  11:04  

Yeah, so this question comes up a lot in executive interviews, like, how would you structure the department, and you think about, you think about the structure, let’s say it’s, let’s simply led by a VP, it has a couple of directors. So as a marketing person, your strength is usually in one of three areas, you have a kind of a strongest, a second strongest, and then the weakest area. So those areas are demand generation, product marketing, and branding, and communications. 


Erik Newton  11:37  

And depending on where you start your career, you’re gonna get stronger at one of those first, but as you get to Director, Senior Director and VP, you’re going to have to figure out all of them. But one of the things you want to do is hire your strongest, most resource, maybe Highest Paid second in command in your weakest area. So if you are a demand person and a product person, then you hire a your senior director might be you might invest more money and more of your resources.

In getting that comms person who’s really going to be good at pr IR and AR, that’s going to that’s going to support you. Same Same for if you’re weak on if you’re weaker on product, then you bring in that product person as as your senior director, or at least a very, very strong director. Now, those are the three areas. And now within each of those directorships, there’s three or four or five roles that need to be filled. So let’s start with demand generation. 


So within demand, you have somebody who’s on the paid channels, and depending on your budget, you could split your paid channels into display, paid search, possibly email. And then paid social those could be one, two, you know, 123, or four people, depending on whether your budgets 3 million or 30 million, if it’s 30 million, you’re going to be spending four or five, 6 million each, it’s it makes sense to pay somebody to really pay attention to that five or $6 million. That’s on the paid side. 


Also on the demand side, which is demand and retention is the email program is that should always be at least one person splitting that person is very taxing mentally, because there’s so much work that has to be done on an email on email campaigns that easily consumes a full headcount. Now, when you go into product marketing, the go to market is kind of you need, this is a difficult job there. There’s no training for it, everybody comes at it from one of the other fields to become a go to market product marketing manager. And you’re going to be launching typically once every six weeks, usually two launches per quarter. And depending on your lines of business and your personas, you should have more than one product marketer. Now one of the really tricky things is does the product marketing person sit in in engineering and product? Or do they sit in marketing? And or does it go back and forth? And this is a sort of an unresolved question. Most companies are more comfortable most most tech companies are more comfortable with product marketing and product. But you still have a gap to jump over even that person has to jump that gap. Can


Kenny Soto  14:20  

I get really quickly? Yeah, sure. Who wouldn’t be the best person equipped to make the decision on where that person should be?


Erik Newton  14:31  

Yeah, that’s a good question. The best equipped person is usually the CEO or the founder. And those people are usually tech bias. They usually come from the tech side or the sales side, not usually the marketing side. So that you decide where to put the person but wherever you put them, it doesn’t matter because it’s still a team. It’s still teamwork. It’s an extended team play to bring the materials to market it.

And what happens is when they live in engineering and product, the, the material sometimes is not customer facing enough, it’s internally oriented, because that’s what that’s their, their their environment is. So you know, product centric, but you want it to be solution centric. So somebody on the marketing side, and this is sometimes you have like you have a product marketing person on both sides, you put one in product marketing, and one in product management and one in marketing. And those two people work together to make the go to market package.

That’s probably the most complicated function in there. Now, another job you need covered is analytics, you should have a thinker, a an analytical thinker, who is all about tracking, reporting and forecasting and marketing operations, that person will typically handle that they’ll also typically be the marketing tech stack leader, so that that person will make decisions about which, which software’s do, we need now, which ones do we need next year and work on the integrations.

So that’s like 567 functions, then you’ve got a designer, sometimes you have a creative director, sometimes you at least have a designer, then you need a web developer. And the web developer can be in marketing, the web developer can be an engineering, they usually want to be an engineering, they want to be in dev, then somebody on the marketing side, same as with the product marketing, product management kind of stretch, that person has to essentially manage customer experience, and put all the requirements to the, the developer to get those things right.

Now, as you move over to, as you move over to the comms side, you’ve got a PR person, an AR person, and an IR person, those those can be combined into one two or three people. But that gives you about it gives you about 10 or 12 people that you need to run a marketing department and then video editing. Often you need a really good Contractor, but you often you probably don’t need an in house person full time for that.


Kenny Soto  17:06  

For the audience members that don’t know, and correct me if I’m wrong here. PR press relations, AR agency relations IR International Relations


Erik Newton  17:16  

investor. Yeah, yeah. Sorry to use the abbreviations. Yeah. So press relations, Investor Relations and analyst relations. They’re related, because they’re very outbound functions. They’re very, you know, collecting information, getting requirements, and then sending those informations back out. And press relations people either manage the agency or manage the press, managing the press is really tough. If they’re gonna, if they’re don’t have a significant agency contract, that person has to be dedicated to press relations. Investor Relations, is important in a public company, where you’re, you know, you’re promoting the value of the stock, the valuation, you know, that you’re going to institutional buyers and so forth. That was really on the bigger companies. That’s a big deal. Analyst relations is a very labor intensive job of essentially doing press style relations to analysts like Gartner and Forrester and IDC. Very important when you’re developing software and hardware products,


Kenny Soto  18:20  

I’d love your opinion on whether or not there needs to be a specific person with a growth title and what your opinion is on the whole idea of people having growth titles head of growth, growth, marketer, growth, hacker, etc.


Erik Newton  18:38  

Yeah, growth is a significant area. Now product lead growth for the audience means that you’ve developed something in the product that is like say freemium like a free email account in order to get a hosting account or free URLs or free security, that there’s some there’s some try before you buy Netflix had a freemium. Two week free trial, I think now it’s a four week free trial. And that is product lead growth means you don’t need as many people, but you build growth into the product. And it’s a difficult function to fill. With one person, it’s usually one leader.

And then two or three people. Same straddling issue that you had on the other things I talked about, like between marketing and product, that you’re building things into the product that are sticky and engaging, and that do a good job of getting people to what’s called time to first value that they get to value and they say, Oh, I like this, I like this app before. They just feel like their phone is too full of apps and they want to delete one that they’ve tried it and they’re getting, they’re getting value out of it. So growth is a really popular function. And yeah, I could have mentioned it I mean, sometimes they people have been taking the job functions that used to be called digital or paid and making them growth.

And what that means in the simplest sense is that But performance oriented and ROI oriented, but if those people don’t have product skills to deal with engineering and Dev and product management, they’re not likely to be terribly effective. And then they’re, you know, then there is an integration with email, email, or texting or under the outbound outreach platforms that need to be tuned and managed. So that the growth that the people are moving through getting value.

So let me give you an example. Let’s say it’s 25 years ago, and I gave you a mobile phone, you know, that used to be really big, but you know, they were pretty cool. It was a big walkie talkie kind of device. Typically in your car, if I gave you that, I say, I’m going to Kenny, I’m going to give you a two month free trial of this thing it costs it’s worth hundreds of dollars per month for the subscription, but I’m just going to give it to you, and I’m going to help you, you know, get you installed, hooked up in your car, stick in your car battery, you know, the cigarette lighter to get power to it.

Now, if you don’t use that phone, you’re not going to convert from a free subscriber to a paid subscriber. So I also as a marketing, as a marketing department, I have to tell you, when you can use your phone, how you can use your phone, who you could call, what kind of situations how you could find a restaurant, how you could get directions, any of the kinds of things you might have, or need to call somebody pull over make that phone call, then you start to get the value out of the phone, or you can have meetings and one on ones in your car, by, you know, by doing an earpiece or doing a speaker and you could save on our on your commute, you could talk to one of your staff members in each direction. And that creates a lot of efficiency for you then you say, Oh, well, this is this is worth it. That’s sort of the role of growth, marketing as adoption, adoption and value recognition. And it’s complicated.


Kenny Soto  21:57  

Regardless of the role, what would your advice be for the first time manager of a team where they have never had to give instruction help provide opportunities for personal growth to other people? How would you like what would be the first three things you would tell them so that they can succeed in a managerial role?


Erik Newton  22:21  

Yeah. So the first one is think about leadership more than management, and lead, nobody really likes being managed, because they feel like a loss of freedom. That’s why the term micromanager will come up more than any other complaint from a particularly junior members. So how do you lead? Well, you have a clear strategy. You have clear priorities, you have realistic timelines, SMART goals, and all the things you can do as a leader, and that you’re doing a good job of managing up towards, let’s say, You’re the let’s say, you’re a senior manager, and you’ve got a staff of two or three, senior manager needs to be really tuned in with the director. And the director needs to be tuned in with the VP.

And the VP needs to be tuned in with the CEO. And if you’re communicating clearly the information people need so that they can make decisions and priorities and make their contributions. That’s more on leadership and management. In terms of like what people want, they want a little bit of guidance, and junior people who are less than, say 10 or 1012 years in their career, they want they usually want but they almost always need coaching, they need development. So in some functions, management works pretty well like sales, we got really junior people in a first, second, third year, their career really trying to hit specific goals.

And, you know, using management attention as a way to get repetition and make progress. When you get into marketing people, they are usually more independent, they sometimes have another degree of education, they sometimes have the master’s degree, and they’re going to be less receptive to being managed closely. So your job as a manager is to manage the quality of something. So you’re your reviewer and approver. But as a as a young manager, you have to be really careful not to rewrite things because you’re so recently been a doer that your instinct is to like, rather than go through another meeting of reviewing this with you, I could just fix it.

I could just rewrite this paragraph, but you got to give direction without it being too detailed. And then ask them to get help people understand quality and standard style and direction without getting too far into their business that it demotivates them. So it’s a tricky play all the way up through the particularly through the middle ranks because those people think they’re ready to. The other thing you have to manage is that people at that level the first couple years, they want to be promoted, they want to move up in their careers and they put a lot of pressure on you To promote them. And they might not be putting the right pressure on themselves to be promotable.


Kenny Soto  25:08  

What makes someone promotable? Is there like a moment or series of steps that they need to, like get to, before you can get an indication or signal that they’re ready? Yeah,


Erik Newton  25:18  

it’s very multifaceted. I’ve got a chapter in my book, How To Hack the corporate fast track that details a scenario of where I asked the SVP, what my senior manager needed to do to be promoted to director and he didn’t really like the question. But he explained like 10, or 12, different things that somebody would need to do. First of all, you have to do your job really well.

Like if you’re not, you’re not at least an A minus in your job, there’s no real reason for the company to promote you. Right? Why would the company promote somebody who’s not quite in the 9090 percentile or hire the you have to get along with the people at your level, and they need to support you being promoted? That’s kind of a that’s kind of an on on? That’s one you wouldn’t suspect right? That you need other people’s support to get promoted. You think about the people above you, yeah, your manager and their manager need to need to want to promote you.

The other thing that’s really weird about promotion is that you need to be doing some of the job you want to be promoted to and be doing it rather well. And that’s not easy, because your boss often doesn’t want you encroaching on their work. Because maybe they’re busy. Maybe they’re not maybe they don’t want you getting like, people don’t often say yeah, sure, like do the job, I’m interested in, you know, do this cool part of this job. So you have to, you have to get reps in the job, you don’t have to prove you could do the job that you want to get. You have to be really coachable. You have to be self aware. If you’re not coachable and self aware, why would you? Why would you be progressed? Why would you be moved up in the company? If you don’t show this potential to scale up?


Kenny Soto  27:09  

Can you tell us a little bit more about your book?


Erik Newton  27:12  

Yeah, hack, the corporate Fast Track is a collection of advice that I made for just the kind of situations you’re asking me about people about 10 years into their career, thinking they’re ready for senior manager thinking they’re ready for director and the kind of blind spots that they had. So those blind spots are like, being positive, you know, like, you can’t really be a negative person is one of the things you need to mitigate risks in your career, you need to avoid big failures for the company.

But you need to primarily be a positive and optimistic person. Otherwise, people just don’t want you around. They don’t want to be on your team. They don’t want to be you. They don’t want you for their manager, they don’t want you on their staff. If you always say negative risk, risk mitigating type comments. So, you know, I call this start with Yes. So somebody asks you to do stuff, you think that that’s not a really good idea. But you shouldn’t say that you should lean in with enthusiasm rather than concern. Right?

People want to know that you’re on board, and that you’re going to give it a go. And then you give it a go. You do what you can and you get you get a blockage then you go back and said, Can I get your advice on this rather than I knew this wasn’t going to work, you got to really avoid that ego ego driven. I was right I you know, I could see the future here. Maybe you could, maybe you couldn’t. Another issue can me is you have to trust your boss. If your boss you sometimes as a junior middle level person, you don’t see the entire landscape. And if you don’t, your boss almost certainly sees more and farther than you because they’re, they’re getting access to more information. And if you don’t trust your boss, and you’re second guessing your boss a lot, you’re going to end up in conflict with your boss, you have to get along with your boss to get promoted. You have to like your boss, your boss has to like you.

So even if you you know, there’s always friction and stress between any two people in a corporation, it’s never it’s never all easy. But if you don’t, you have to make yourself like your boss. And if you really don’t like your boss, you got to get it. You got to eat that elite, you got to get a new boss, you got to be in a different group in the company, or leave the company. Because that’s, you’re gonna you’re gonna get both of you stuck and you’re gonna you’re gonna end spend energy on conflict, rather than on building things together. I call the other thing that people don’t realize that junior middle level people they want attention from their boss, they want support from their boss, they want development from their boss, but what they don’t realize is that it can go it goes the other way too, that you support your boss, you fortify your boss.

And if you don’t think like that, why would your boss want to promote you? Why would your boss want you to be more powerful and get paid more money? If you don’t make the boss’s life? It’s easier. So those are a couple of lessons that I cover in the book that, you know, people can read in more detail if they’re interested.


Kenny Soto  30:09  

I want to ask you more of a technical question. Yep. Why aren’t websites getting any better? Even though it’s 2021?


Erik Newton  30:20  

Yeah, this is something that really surprises me. You know, I’ve been on the internet since since Netscape, since the beginning of the consumer internet, and I had a compact computer with a 56k 56k, dial up modem. And, you know, sometimes that loaded, you know, took a little while to load, it was really hard for pictures. But things were made for that bandwidth, so that the sights and the data you could get, and the forums and the communities and things you would do on that were, were lighter. And I think it’s kind of like a highway, when you build a new highway in Los Angeles, the population just follows the highway. And so rather than reducing traffic, you just attract more, more images and rich media, and you make your website more complicated. So I think there’s also a gamesmanship of designers and developers that I have to do something different, that wouldn’t be creative. To just make last year’s design better and faster, I have to make last year’s design, I have to do something different and original. And that originality often involves rich media, which can tend to make it heavier. So what I looked at in the data is that websites, mobile websites are four or five times faster. And mobile sites in the same 10 year span are two times slower. So the bandwidth is quadrupling and the sites are in in speed is dropping, and half meaning 10 second load time to 22nd load time for a lot of a lot of these connections. That is like eight times slower, actually. Right, then then, and then. Then just moving forward. Yeah, go ahead.


Kenny Soto  32:07  

And this has negative implications, not just from like a user experience user interface perspective, but also from like a search engine optimization perspective as well, correct? 


Erik Newton  32:19  

Yeah, it does. It does, Kenny. And that’s that’s where Google comes in. Google has taken on the role. I think, somewhat reluctantly, I don’t think they intended to be this, but they are the the experience police on the internet. And what they have said is that if your website is slow, if it is hard to use, if it is the images are unstable, and where you’re going to click with your finger on your mobile phone is moving around, and people are having a weird experience that makes them want to bounce out.

They’re saying, we’re not going to send you as much traffic, we’re not going to make rank you first, second, third, or fifth, we’re going to drop you to the second or third page because you’re slow. So Google has gone ahead and define things like amp. AMP is a markup page, it’s accelerated mobile pages, that allows you to make a version of the page that will load much, much, much, much faster on on a mobile device. And only less than 5% of websites are using AMP pages.

Right now, it’s a little bit of a hassle, because you have to make another version of your website of your web page. Essentially, it’s a lightweight version. And milestone, you know, has milestone does this for customers and milestone has found you get a 2030 40% increase in Visibility. But not only that, like you were saying the experience, if the version is faster if the pages are loading faster than the conversion goes up, and Deloitte and Google did a study that a point one second improvement in page load speed has a 9% improvement in conversion.

So that means a one second two second is going to be like 100% better conversion, because people are going forward on the customer journey rather than bouncing out. So you know, milestone is strongly encouraging this for their their customers for all the websites we develop and the CMS we have we build these functionalities in we watch what Google’s saying they often signaled the market with 689 months advance notice that people need to be doing this.

And the way you can see this now is what’s called good URL. So in Google Search Console, there’s a setting for page experience. And and the percent of your URLs that are fast, that are fast enough for Google essentially loading in about one second or less, that Google will reward you for that. But that’s just great for the experience. And it’s the opposite of your opening question, Kenny of why our websites getting worse and slower. I think they’re just getting worse and slower because the designers think they can.

But that’s the that’s one of the tensions in marketing. You know, the what the designer and somebody has a concept once and what the performance or the growth marketer or the you know, the website manager or the SEO manager really knows that You need is speed, speed is better than almost other all other design elements like if you turn in terms of like, return on effort and dollars, it will be so much like, if you put 30% of your effort into speed rather than design. It’ll help your business more than a cool looking design in most cases.


Kenny Soto  35:27  

Two more questions. Sure. The first one’s hypothetical, the second one and think about this is a question that you will ask me. So just think about a question you want to ask for me. But my hypothetical question for you is, if you had a time machine, and you have everything in your head right now, you go back 10 years ago, how would you get to where you are today? Only faster?


Erik Newton  35:50  

Sure. Number one thing is pay attention to my boss, pay attention to what my boss’s priorities are, what my boss’s goals are, take the feedback that I’m getting really earnestly and put it in practice, let them know that I’m coachable that I’m listening, you know, over deliver work a little bit harder than other people work a little bit longer than other people focus on getting reps asked for feedback, people aren’t people are not very likely to do you get some criticisms, but to be like in a in an environment where you regularly get feedback, like, like an athlete, like an athlete on a on a sports team, where you’re practicing a lot, you’re getting a lot of feedback, all those reps, accelerate your experience.

Another thing I think people should do is read nonfiction books, you know, I would have started reading more would have covered more of the content that was available. I like books, you know, either audio books or written books. I like the depth. It’s a lot more than a blogger to, you know, for somebody to read the work that somebody put together, and it takes years to write a book I found out after I wrote mine. And be really, really positive not not to say that you should be fake or inauthentic.

But find the most remember to say complimentary things. Remember to say positive things to people, your boss included, be a little bit careful with executives, executives don’t sometimes don’t like any kind of commentary on their work I’ve had that go like, go the other way where they thought I was judging them. Even though it was positive, he still thought it wasn’t my place, right? You got to be a little bit careful. But be a problem solver be a solution identifier, you can’t just mitigate risk. If you’re always mitigating risk, the company will just get rid of you. Because we don’t need we don’t need a bad news machine. We need we need somebody we need a good news machine.

Yeah, we need action. We need operations, we need resolution. Most things are 90% operational. So Good ideas are great to have. And then, you know, one hour of good ideas, nine hours, nine hours of building it out and getting it enabled. Those are a couple of things I would want my younger self to know to have a smoother career.


Kenny Soto  38:06  

Do you have a question for me?


Erik Newton  38:08  

Yeah, question for you, Kenny, is what? What is your path in marketing? Now then, as you’ve talked to all these people, what have you learned about how to build your career? That’s different than what you were thinking when you just were figuring out your first marketing function? What is your what’s your path through this now?


Kenny Soto  38:32  

I, I think I lucked out because I studied music in college. And because I was looking for alternatives to a music career, I met someone by the name of Maurice Bradfield, who taught me about personal branding. And I think that’s where my edge is, where, because I have a blog for five years since the beginning of my career. Because I’m doing this podcast, which is a networking tool, plus an education tool, I’m able to get that edge against my competition. If I’m applying for a job.

I think the main lesson that I learned is if I don’t have a small business to get those reps that I’m looking for, for the future job, I can just use my personal brand to get those reps. Because the technology I’m using is available to anyone. And so long as I look for the tutorial of how to use it, I can promote whatever I want, in this case, my personal brand.

So to answer your question, I would say the key lesson that I’ve learned throughout the years is regardless of where I will be in the future, I know the answer to getting there is just promoting myself and not promoting myself for like the gain of being braggadocious, if you will, but just to expose myself to other people like you who you have like 356 years of excuse me six magnitudes or magnitudes more experienced than me, and I’ve learned more from you than I could have from any number of blog posts. for any one marketing course, and I kind of use this podcast as my marketing, master’s degree, if you will, because I’m able to design who’s teaching me.


Erik Newton  40:12  

Yeah, so can you let me? Let me sharpen up the question and potentially the answer? What are your hard skills? So those are those are some of your some of the calm style, the calm side skills, what hard skills? Can you put down his resume bullets? content of what you’re doing from the answer you just gave me? How does that translate into things I could hire you to do for my department,


Kenny Soto  40:35  

current in the moment and content strategy. Also researching an audience building a buyer persona, I had to do that for this podcast, website design, because I had to develop my own website, website development as well, because I know how to code. And I would say, last but not least, press and PR, because that’s something that I’m now starting to learn for this podcast is how to reach out to press to get more guests and to grow and scale.


Erik Newton  41:05  

Got it? Yeah, I’ve got a I’ve got a follow up question and another direction. It’s a bit of a zinger question and not an easy one. How can empathy play a role in your career success, it’s a topic that’s not often brought up. It’s a real soft skill. So now we just talked hard skills, and on soft skills, what can empathy do for you, to make you successful?


Kenny Soto  41:31  

Think when it comes to empathy, part of the hard or difficult way of developing that skill is just constantly reminding myself that I’m interacting with other people. And if I can keep that in mind, whenever I’m interacting with someone and know that they’re seeing life through a different point of view, whether that’s my boss, someone on the same level as me, someone who’s in a different department, a podcast guest, if you will, it helps with just understanding the bigger picture and can help with making more informed decisions. And to tie into a previous episode.

Soft skills are more important than hard skills. I’m learning this in real time as well, I’ve noticed that just being able to get hired from 14, if you can demonstrate soft skills in an interview, the hard skills speak for themselves, you got the interview, because you listed out your hard skills and the shows in your past work experience. People need to know that they can spend time with you in and out of work, can they grab a beer with you whether they will or not, that’s outside of the point of view, but like, can they talk to you on a daily basis? Are you fun to talk to? And can they bounce ideas off of you so that you can work? Yeah, we’re common goal.


Erik Newton  42:49  

Yeah, yeah, I think empathy is a very complicated word. And I don’t think I understood it well, for maybe 20 years into my career. So sounds like a good jump are easier to understand. One is listening, listen to other people and act like you listened, and show them that you listen, that makes people know that you’re paying attention to them, and they feel cared about.

So caring about other people, it’s sort of antithetical to being a high performance business person, you know, if you think about, like, the typical movie character who’s like, you know, trying to get promoted and stuff, you usually, that person’s usually shallow and, and callous, and, and insensitive, but just caring about other people caring about their success, caring about giving them some credit when they when they’ve done a good job, those those are, those are parts of empathy, that you that you, you know what other people are experiencing.

If you don’t show any empathy, people are going to assume that you have low self awareness. If you have low self awareness, people will dislike you, they will dislike you and they will root for your failure. And so it’s their weird phenomenon. There’s so many things you have to be good at, to move all the way up to division leader.


Kenny Soto  44:09  

I think this is a perfect way to end the episode, just for everyone listening, thinking about empathy and thinking about caring about others. I think that’s antithetical or just like the core skill of what a marketer does anyway. Eric, if anyone wants to connect with you online, where can they find you?


Erik Newton  44:27  

Sure. I’m Eric dot n at Milestone You can reach me there you can find me on LinkedIn at slash Erik Newton and you can message me there or connect to me there. Let me know that you’re from Kenny’s podcast audience and I’ll I get a lot of invitation. So I’d like to sort through those a little bit. And yeah, it was great speaking with you and great. Hopefully it was useful for the audience.


Kenny Soto  44:50  

Certainly, you’ve just listened to another episode of Kenny Soto Digital Marketing podcast. I hope everyone has a great week. Bye.

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