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Interview with Kathleen Booth – Why Marketers Need to Understand Cyber Security – Episode #64

Kathleen Booth is the VP of Marketing at, the market leader in digital engagement security solutions used by businesses looking to optimize their revenue and buyer experience by taking back control over third-party code on their websites. Prior to joining, she spent 13 years in the digital marketing agency world, first as Owner and CEO of Quintain Marketing and then as VP of Marketing at IMPACT.

Kathleen is the host of the long-running Inbound Success Podcast and was named by TopRank as one of the 50 Top B2B Marketing Influencers of 2019.

Questions I asked her:

  • Does a marketer need an MBA to succeed?
  • What are the benefits of joining an advisory board?
  • Why is 1st party data important for marketers? What are the differences between 1st-party, 2nd-party, and 3rd-party data?
  • Why is cyber security important to marketers?
  • What are the 3 categories of cyber security vulnerabilities? Your tech stack, your website, and your team…
  • How does cyber security play a role in the world of e-commerce?
  • What are client-side injections and how do they affect consumers and marketers?
  • How do browser extensions (like Honey and Capital One Shopping) interfere with revenue attribution reports for online retailers?
  • Do e-commerce businesses actually benefit from using coupon codes? How do they affect conversion rates?


Full Episode Transcript:


Kenny Soto 0:02  

Hello, everyone, and welcome to the people of digital marketing with your host, Kenny Soto, and today’s guest, Kathleen booth. Hi, Kathleen, how are you?


Kathleen Booth 0:16  

I’m great, Kenny, thanks for having me on the show.


Kenny Soto 0:18  

So as always, I like to start off these podcast episodes by asking each guest the same question just so the listeners can get more context about who you are as a marketer, and as a professional. So my first question for you, is what got you into the world of digital marketing?


Kathleen Booth 0:35  

Well, actually, it was funny, I studied political science. And when I was in school, and I had done my undergraduate degree , I was actually in the process of doing a master’s in international politics at George Washington University. 


And about halfway through that, the university offered existing graduate students the opportunity to apply for and do a second degree, without having to take all the entrance exams, and, with the ability to kind of double count some of the credits. And so at the time, I was like, boy, I’m doing another degree that doesn’t seem like it’s gonna get me a job. 


And so I decided to do an MBA to make myself a little bit more marketable. And, I did that in parallel with my masters. And I just fell in love with marketing. And I didn’t really use it for the first, probably seven to 10 years of my career, because I had these dual degrees, one in international politics and one in marketing. 


But there came a point in my career, I was working on international development, where I recognized that a lot of the projects that we were working on were getting derailed because of poor communication. 


And that actually drew me back into marketing. And I started working on how do you improve outcomes through better strategic communications earlier in the process, and, and eventually, and this is sort of a long story, but I’ll make it short, hopefully, eventually, what happened was, there was a lot of international travel required for that job. 


And when I met my husband and decided to have kids, I had to rethink my entire career because I couldn’t travel all over the world. And so we actually decided to open a marketing agency because he had some background in that I had a degree in it and had been doing some work related to it. And, it was a great way for me to build a different sort of career that would allow me more control over my travel schedule in my life and my ability to be with my family.


Kenny Soto 2:33  

I believe I’ve asked this before with other guests, but I would love your own unique perspective. Do you believe that all marketers should get an MBA? What would be the pros and cons of doing this? So?


Kathleen Booth 2:47  

That’s such an interesting question. And I mean, obviously, I chose to do it. But I think the world has changed a lot. And if I were doing it over today, my own personal choice is that I probably wouldn’t get an MBA, I would, you know, maybe marketing, maybe major in marketing. 


But there are a lot of great marketers who don’t have marketing majors. For example, a lot of great marketers have psychological backgrounds, because they understand what makes people motivated to take action, and make decisions, and many of them come from Creative Writing backgrounds. 


Many of them are political scientists like me, oddly enough. So I don’t think it’s so much about having an MBA, I think it’s about having a degree that is going to help you with the fundamental skills needed to be a great marketer.


I mentioned psychology as one or you know, marketing, certainly as an undergrad would be another. And then, and then getting your start and getting experience. I just don’t see unless you want to work in big corporate marketing. 


And for some people, that might be the right path. Like if you wanted to go in and work at MasterCard, be a part of their management development program and eventually get into their marketing department. 


An MBA might be helpful there. But for most other companies, an MBA is not the price of admission, it’s more experience. It’s more the raw skills, you have your ability to write your ability to think your curiosity, and the problem-solving skills that will get you a job.


Kenny Soto 4:28  

I did some research on your professional background and saw that you were a part of an advisory board. What are the benefits of your career? When it comes to joining an advisory board? Is it also something that you would recommend marketers do? Or is it something that’s more unique to each individual?


Kathleen Booth 4:50  

Yeah, I mean, it’s something I’m passionate about because I did own a digital marketing agency for 11 years and I have that entrepreneurial streak in me where I no longer own my own business. 


But I owned that agency, I had another startup at that time, and I worked with so many entrepreneurs as my clients. And I love that stage of business where you’re helping a company grow and the impact that can have on people. 


So it’s something I’m passionate about. I do also think that there’s a lot to be gained from serving in an advisory capacity it gives you, it does give you an opportunity, and a perspective into how other businesses run and make decisions, and the market dynamics and also what’s working and what’s not from a marketing standpoint. 


And that was something when I had my agency that I think really helped me learn a lot and learn quickly is that I was working with companies across, you know, 10s of different industries, I’m hesitant to say hundreds, because I’ve never really actually counted. But, you know, it was everything from SAS to landscaping to dentists, to cybersecurity. 


And I always felt, at least for me that cross-pollination was really powerful in terms of giving me the ability to think differently and to affect different outcomes for the businesses that I’m marketing for. And I think you can get the same thing out of serving in an advisory capacity. But for me, more so than anything, it’s a way of giving back.


Kenny Soto 6:23  

Got it. Now, I’d love to start diving into your area of expertise. But before we do so, could you describe to the listeners what you currently do for your job?


Kathleen Booth 6:34  

Sure, so I am the Chief Marketing [email protected], which is a SaaS b2b SaaS company, we sell solutions that help brands protect their revenue, their user experience, and their brand, really, by controlling the third-party code that executes on their website. 


And it’s my job to pretty much do a little bit of everything in marketing because we are still a startup, we’re still a small company. So it’s everything from being the evangelist for the brand and telling our brand’s story to develop our go-to-market strategies and our lead generation plans, defining what the brand stands for, and working with the team to execute all of those things. So it’s fun, it’s fast-paced, it’s a lot sometimes. But I do love it,


Kenny Soto 7:27  

Thanks to this podcast. And I think it was the second guest that I had, I learned about the differences between the first second and third party data. But it was fairly new for me as a concept. For the listeners who are joining in for the first time on the podcast, can you describe the differences between the first second and third-party data? And how does it actually affect them? As marketers?


Kathleen Booth 7:50  

Boy, I don’t know if I’m gonna be able to give a great definition, I would say that the way I think of it is, there’s first-party data. And to me, there’s everything else. And the reason I say that is that my kind of ethos, as a marketer, has always been, first and foremost, to develop an audience that I own. And ownership is a weird word to use. 


But what I mean by that is, as marketers, we have a lot of choices with how we reach the people that we’re trying to touch with our marketing. And some of those channels include, you know, things that we have a lot of control over like our website, which I would say we own our email list, which we own. 


And then there are other channels like Pay Per Click marketing and social media where we don’t own the channel and therefore have a relationship with the audience. And then there’s also opportunities through retargeting and other tools like that, that are even kind of less directly connected. And so for me, the most important thing, the thing that future-proofs, your business, and your career, your job as a marketer is developing an audience that you own, which is your first-party data. 


And so that is getting people to come to your website and having a system in place to understand who those people are, and the actions they’re taking. That is building an email list, so that you own the data on your audience and can communicate with them directly, regardless of what other platform changes happen. 


That is building a community and that community, obviously, your choice of where your community lives, tracks right back to what I said earlier about how much you own it. You know, if you build it on Facebook, as a Facebook group, you partially own it, but you’re still subject to Facebook’s whim. 


If you build it in Slack, you have a lot more control than you know, you could create a portal on your website, which is even something more within your control. There are pros and cons of all of those but I think the theme that underlies all of this and that I would really want to focus my answer on has to do with thinking about the future of your company and your ability to be an effective marketer for that company. 


It really hinges on growing your own audience, which is your first-party data and then putting systems in place to underpin that. So that you really understand not just who those people are, but what their interests are and what their behavior is.


Kenny Soto 10:18  

Kathleen, before we started recording, you mentioned cybersecurity as an important topic you’d like to discuss, why is cybersecurity important to digital marketers?


Kathleen Booth 10:31  

So I’m so passionate about this one. As I mentioned, you know, I got an MBA in marketing, and the word cybersecurity, I don’t think it ever came up in that entire MBA, and I’m pretty sure that it’s, it either doesn’t come up these days, or it’s a very tiny, tiny piece of any marketers education if you’re even getting a degree in marketing. 

I was really first exposed to cybersecurity when I had my agency and I had, I think five different cyber companies as clients. And so I learned a lot about it at that point. But at the same time, funny enough, my agency’s website got hacked. And I came in one day and the website was gone. 


And there was a picture of a young lady on the homepage. And thankfully, I had put measures in place that allowed me to restore my website within five minutes or under thank God. Because, you know, today, your website really is your storefront, it’s your business. 


But that, that they always say, and later I went, and I went on to work as the head of marketing for a couple of different cybersecurity companies after I sold my agency, and every cyber security practitioner that I met, really drilled home to me that number one, I don’t think people really ever appreciate cyber, until they themselves had been the victim of some sort of cybercrime. And, and that’s definitely true. I mean, I later had my Apple ID stolen. 


And so it’s been driven home to me, but, but as a marketer, I’ve come to really appreciate what a responsibility we have for cyber, and this is something that I think might raise some eyebrows of people listening, because, again, we’re not taught this. 


It’s never really in anyone’s job description when we’re hired. And it’s not a word we’re used to using unless we work in the cybersecurity industry. And so what I mean by this is that you know, today as marketers, there’s, I think, some Gartner research or Forrester research that shows that marketers these days have larger IT budgets than IT leaders within companies. So we control the vast majority of accompanies it spends. 


And much of that is, is very public facing things like the website and other tools that are visible to the world. And anytime you’re talking about it, you’re talking about cyber vulnerability. And so in the sense that we do own a lot of that budget, we also then, by definition, own the responsibility for ensuring that the IT tools that we are purchasing and that we are managing on a day-to-day basis, are not exposing the company to vulnerability. 


We’re also responsible for the website generally. And that is a major point of vulnerability that we need to ensure is secure. And we’re also responsible for social media, which, you know, I would say the number one point of vulnerability for any company is its people. 


And social media. And I can get more into this in a minute, provides a malicious actor or a hacker or whatever you want to call them, with generally everything they need to carry out a very successful attack on a company. And I can give some examples of that. But these are all things that as marketers we need to know about in order to really protect ourselves and build successful careers.


Kenny Soto 13:59  

Before you do provide examples. I’d love to know if you have like a list of resources that someone can leverage to start like on the right foot in learning about cybersecurity as it relates to them as a marker.


Kathleen Booth 14:14  

You know, there are so many out there and there there are a lot of free ones. And I generally say to people, that the best place to start is the Department of Homeland Security because there is actually a Division of Homeland Security called Sisa C I S A, which has to do with cybersecurity. 


And their website has so many great links to resources and to education. And it’s a great way to educate yourself and I believe you can just go to so C I S and you will find quite a bit of information there that will get you started and it will take you to other websites, but they’ve done the job of vetting for you. 


Kenny Soto 15:04  

Perfect. Now can we talk about specific examples where a company can be attacked by a malicious player?


Kathleen Booth 15:15  

Sure, and I’m going to divide this into three categories that I think are specifically relevant to marketers, because, you know, we don’t, we’re not going to have sole responsibility for cyber, your IT leader or your outsourced IT provider is going to play a big part in this too. 


But there are three areas where I think marketers really can exercise a degree of control in helping to ensure the company is protected. The first I have already mentioned is our IT spend and doing your homework, right, making sure that, the vendors you’re purchasing it from are vetted and legitimate. 


And in some cases, that’s very easy, like many of us use, you know, our spend goes to things like marketing automation platforms or, or CRM platforms. And those tend to be large, well-known companies that have lots of information publicly available on their websites about how secure they are. 


But we also purchase other software, and it could be apps or plugins, or things. And those might come from less well-known sources. And I do think it is incumbent upon us to do our own due diligence to make sure that those the makers of those tools are taking steps to ensure they are secure, and that you’re checking on that. 


So that’s number one, it’s really doing your homework with your IT spend and then following up. And having a vehicle through which to track whether any of those providers have had a breach so that you’re aware of it when it happens, and you can take the steps you need to take. That’s number one. 

Number two is websites. So this is a huge one. As marketers, we generally are responsible for the company website. And the very nature of how websites are built today is that they rely on third-party code. What I mean by that is this: when we first started building websites a very long time ago, many of them were just hard-coded HTML sites. So we wrote the code. 


And we put our website up now, thank God, it is so much easier to build websites. And we rely on tools like content management systems, such as WordPress, HubSpot, E-commerce, and Shopify, that make it so simple to stand up a website without having a lot of technical skills. But those platforms are in them in and of themselves. third-party code platforms. 


And so again, do your due diligence on those as important and not use a platform that you haven’t carefully vetted. But then even once we build our sites with those platforms, we inevitably add other third-party elements. And this is where those apps and plugins really come into play.


WordPress is a great example. There are 1000s upon 1000s of themes that people use to design their WordPress websites. And many of those because WordPress is open source come from places that may be suspect. In fact, I think it was about a year and a half ago, the Department of Homeland Security. 


That same group I mentioned Sisa released an alert, saying that one of the more popular WordPress themes sold through the Envato marketplace was in fact built by hackers for the express purpose of harvesting information. And Envato. If anyone’s listening, Votto Marketplace is a very widely used widely trusted source for WordPress themes. And so you would think, Oh, I’m going to Ambato, this must be fine. But this was not fine. 


This was a malicious theme. Now, it’s hard very often to know these things. And to discover that on your own like this was a research that was discovered by cybersecurity companies. And so in these cases, it’s important to track these notifications and see if the site that I mentioned does have a way for you to subscribe to alerts that they send out for big breaches or big vulnerabilities. 


I would recommend subscribing to that so that you at least know if the thing that you’re using has been compromised, and then you can take steps to fix it. But I would also say with your website. This is why it’s so important how you choose your hosting platform. Every website needs to be hosted somewhere. And I told the story earlier of when my agency website was hacked. At the time my website was on WordPress and we were using WP Engine as the host, which is built for WordPress. 


And the reason one of the many reasons we chose that hosting platform was that it had a feature where it took consistent backups of your website multiple times per day. And if anything should happen, which it did for me, they had a one-click reinstall. So you could go in, find the latest uncompromised backup and just hit a button and take it to live again, which is exactly what we did. 

So I was able to restore my site in under five minutes, which would not necessarily have been possible with every host. You know, and you also want to look at things like, do they have phone support? Or do I need to submit a ticket? How long is it going to take me to get a response, most of us can’t afford to have our websites down for three days. 


And if you’re using a hosting platform, that doesn’t provide you with very fast response times, or the ability to talk to a person, you might want to reconsider. And so those are kind of the considerations at the website level. The third area is social media. I mentioned this earlier as well, that, you know, we own social we post a lot. 


There, there is this whole category of cybersecurity vulnerability called social engineering. And this goes back to why I said people are our greatest vulnerability if we can convince a person to take an action that makes the company vulnerable. That’s the easiest way for a hacker because most companies have good cyber defenses. But people have a way in. And so some examples on the social front are. 


This has happened a couple of times now to companies I’ve been involved with. I was actually working at a cybersecurity company last year when our CEO and Head of Sales went to work at a conference and, they sent me back a picture of themselves at the booth. And I posted that picture on LinkedIn. And I tagged them. 


And I said, here’s our CEO and our Head of Sales working in the booth at this conference in Georgia. And within an hour, somebody emailed, they must have gone on to LinkedIn, looked at who worked for the company, they must have found the people who had joined it the most recently, so the newest people, they emailed one of those people and said, They pretended to be the CEO and said, I’m at a conference in Georgia, I need your help, could you please go out and buy gift cards and send them to me, so that I can use them for these prospective clients. 


That’s social engineering, it was a brilliant attack, if you think about it, because the person looked at the LinkedIn post, knew where the CEO was, knew his name, knew who he was with, and was able to figure out from LinkedIn, who the newest employee was, and communicate with that person through if they couldn’t do it through email, they could do it through a LinkedIn message. So you know, I’m not saying stop posting these things. But I’m saying it’s about awareness and understanding how as marketers, we create vulnerability, so that when this happens, and funny enough, this exact thing just happened again, at my current company, in a slightly different way. 


But as soon as you know, if you’re able to spot those, those attacks, understand how they’re happening. As soon as they happen. You can alert the rest of your team, you can educate your team on what to look out for. And you can also do it preemptively and say, Look, our executives are traveling, you’re never going to get a request for anybody to buy gift cards. 

So that’s a quick overview. I have so many more examples I can give you on the website front, which is probably the biggest one. And I can talk a little bit about how it manifests in E-commerce. But I’ll stop and see if you have any questions.


Kenny Soto 23:28  

Well, I do have several comments. First, I have used volatile elements for many WordPress themes made for clients. So it’s kind of scary in a way to know that they had that compromise. But at the end of the day, as you mentioned, it’s just doing your due diligence before you use any tool. That’s really one thing that’s important. 


And then the second thing to know is in regards to website hosting. I, I have to agree with you when it comes to thinking about like, what are the perks. And also how are they with customer support. Because if there is an issue where your site goes down, and my site has gone down, at least 17, if not 18 times from the five years that I’ve owned it owned, excuse me, each time it’s gone down. 


My website provider, GoDaddy has helped me get it back up in less than two minutes by simply opening up the Support Chat and saying, Hey, my site’s down. Can you help me? So that’s definitely something that you want to consider. And it’s, it’s reassuring to know that although there are malicious players out there, there are simple solutions just like employee onboarding, and having your new team members know there are potential scenarios that you might encounter. 


Because we work in b2b SaaS, or because we work in a tech company where people will try and get the data of the team or the data of our customers. And here are the ways that you can prevent this from happening. I know there are tools like I’d like one password, for example, that help with that kind of area. 


And there are general practices for helping with phishing attempts and emails. All in all, I do suspect, Kathleen, and let me know if I’m incorrect here. The tactics that are being used today will become outdated next year, and then there’ll be new tactics that malicious players use against us, correct?


Kathleen Booth 25:22  

Oh, absolutely. I mean, I always describe malicious actors like water, you know, and when you think about geography and how canyons are formed, it’s because water when it’s traveling in this world, it’s gonna look for the path of least resistance and it easily adjusts course, right? The same thing with cybersecurity. 


Yeah, malicious actors are our, I’m going to call them lazy by nature like they’re going to look for the easiest way in. And they’re also not just lazy, but they’re also fast-moving and agile. And I know that sounds like almost contradictions, but, but they are looking for the biggest bang for their buck. 

And if you have a good defense, they’re going to go elsewhere, you know, and that’s just, that’s a good overall cyber posture. That means training for your team. And by the way, as a marketer, you can play a role in advocating for your company for cybersecurity training, if your company is not already doing it with its team and staff. That’s so important. As part of the entire approach to cyber, you’ve got to cover the human element as well as the technological element.


Kenny Soto 26:33  

Now, you mentioned e-commerce. And that is a topic that I love to talk about. And I can definitely talk about it for hours. So I would love to know, when it comes to cybersecurity and E-commerce, what are the considerations that marketers should be keeping in mind?


Kathleen Booth 26:48  

Yeah, so this is something that I’m really focused on right now, just because of what I [email protected]. And I always, I don’t usually call it cybersecurity, because marketers very often hear that and they think, well, that’s not my responsibility. 


And so I like to think of it as digital engagement, security, where, you know, history back in the brick and mortar days before the internet existed, our, the way, the way we built relationships with customers and prospects, the way we engender trust, and the way we were able to, to close deals was through engagements or interactions with our buyers. 


And that was either somebody coming into your store or walking into your office or back in the days of a door-to-door salesman, you know, there was that, but it was this engagement that we had these relationships and these interactions. 


Well, now that all takes place virtually through a website. For, you know, a growing majority of businesses, especially after you know, COVID. And with E-commerce, it’s entirely your business, your whole business is your website. And so our ability to create a safe and secure environment where we can engage with buyers is critical. 


There’s a lot of data that shows that people will not buy from sites where they don’t feel like their personal personal information is secure. But it’s also about, you know, the responsibility you have as a business to create a really great user experience because people have a lot of choices these days. 


And if their user experience isn’t great, they’re not going to come back to your site. And it’s about protecting your revenue. Because if your business is your website, that’s where all your revenue is coming from. 


And so, with E-commerce, in particular, there are a lot of different elements to this. I mean, there’s preventing fraud at checkout, the thing that we’re most focused on is third-party code on your site. And I already mentioned things like apps and plugins. But there’s this whole other category. 

This is so interesting to me, and I never knew about it until I came to this company. There’s this whole other category of third-party code called client-side injections. And that is just a very fancy way of saying it’s the code that the website visitor brings with them to your website. And we’ve all experienced this. 


And we all do it as consumers and as users of the internet. If you’re listening to this, and you’re at your computer, just look at your computer right now pull up your internet browser, and look at all of the extensions that you’ve installed in your browser. 


Like as I’m talking to you, Kenny I’m looking at my Google browser that I have opened and I’m a marketer, right? There are certain plugins or sorry extensions that many of us use things like I use Awesome Screenshot to take screen videos and screen captures of websites and visiting I use built with to understand what technology a website has been built with. You know, there are so many of them but for E-commerce. 


Some of the extensions that are particularly impactful are coupon extensions like honey and Capital One shopping which Probably a lot of us are used to. And the reason that these extensions are so significant to all businesses is those browser extensions are installed by the user and have an elevated level of permissions to execute on the websites that the user visits. 


So, and it makes sense, right? If you think about how extensions work, built with being a great example, that allows you to see was this website built on WordPress or on Shopify or on Magento, or on HubSpot, the way it’s able to do that is it’s able to look at and scrape the code on the back end of the website. 


And the website is not giving built with permission to do that, built with permission, because the way Internet browsers work is that they allow anything that the user installs in the form of the extension to have a greater level of permissions, it doesn’t need the permission of the website, to operate. 


So it’s an incredibly important category of third-party code for us as marketers to understand the extensions, because we have less control over them. And some extensions are very benign. And you don’t really have to worry, like, I don’t care if somebody uses built with and knows what my website is, is made with.


If I’m an E-commerce business, I do care if somebody has honey or Capital One shopping, because that is an example of an extension that has a direct impact on the user experience, the revenue that I’m bringing in, and my brand. 


And so until recently, there hasn’t haven’t been a lot of good ways to control that, like these extensions pop up. And if you’ve ever used them, they seem so great as a shopper, you go to a website, you put some things in a shopping cart, and the extensions pop up in your browser window. 

And so that’s the first kind of red flag I think for an E-commerce business is that these are pop-ups, right? These are things that are somewhat interruptive to the user experience, but in many cases welcomed by the user. 


And then if a user says agrees to test coupons, so like honey might pop up and say I have 10 coupons for this store, would you like me to try them? If I hit the button and say yes, what honey in this example is going to do is it’s going to start to auto-inject those coupon codes into the promo code field a checkout on my e-commerce website until it finds a code that works. 


If it doesn’t find one that works, it’s just going to say congratulations, you already have the best deal. If it finds one that works, that shopper is going to get a discount. That on the surface may not seem problematic, like a lot of E-commerce merchants hear that and think, Well, that’s great, that’s gonna help me close a deal or you know, affect a sale with somebody who might not otherwise have purchased? Well, the reality is, the vast majority of the people that are getting to the checkout and putting things in their cart, have already decided they’re going to buy these things at the price that they were advertised for. 


So they don’t need the discount in order to convert. And in fact, we actually have a lot of AB test data to back this up that discount plugins or extensions do not help conversion rates. In fact, if anything, they hurt them. And so what’s happening is the browser extensions coming in at that very, very last mile of the buyer’s journey. 


And all it’s serving to do is lower your average order value. And the consequence of that is not just that you make less money off of your customers, you also then can’t rely on your attribution data. Because the thing that the coupon extensions do is they claim last click attribution for the sale. That’s a bit. So it’s a huge problem. 


If somebody comes to your Facebook ads, gets to your website, and puts things in checkout. And then all of a sudden, at the very last minute honey claims credit for that sale, you’re not going to know that it’s really your Facebook ad that brought that person in, and oh, by the way, he’s claiming credit whether they found a valid coupon or not, which is a huge problem. Wow. So


Kenny Soto 34:16  

You’ll want one thing to add, which is related to this, I have 27 Google Chrome extensions, then I’ve probably only used three of them on a daily basis, which is surprising. I know for a fact we can dive in deeper when it comes to the world of E-commerce. But Kathleen, we might need to do a part two, because I do have to ask two more questions so that we’re still within the time limit of this podcast. 


So my next question and it’s more on a holistic slash, high-level overview of your career. What soft and hard skills have you leveraged throughout your entire career?


Kathleen Booth 34:52  

Well, I’ll focus on the few that I think have made the biggest differences for me, and I think the number one soft skill. And the number one skill overall is just an insatiable curiosity and desire to understand how things work and to solve problems. 


That is something that you can’t teach somebody, they either have it or they don’t. And if you are in marketing, and really many different career fields, if you don’t have this, you are not really going to be able to go all the way. Because we’ll just use marketing as an example. Like it changes. So often, technology is constantly changing. 


There are always platform changes, you know, Facebook changes its algorithm or Google changes its algorithm. There are new technologies cropping up all the time. It’s having the desire, first and foremost, to stay on top of all of that, and to be a lifelong student is vital. 


And then, you know, the other half of that is when confronted with something you don’t understand, having the drive to figure it out, I always call this a high figure it out factor is so so important. And so above everything else, I think those are the things that I would say have made me successful. 


And then after that, I think, and I don’t know whether you consider this a hard or soft skill, but writing is so important. It’s part of almost everything we do as marketers, whether we’re writing ad copy, email, copy, website, copy, you know, reports to a board of directors, internal communications, it’s at the heart of everything, and you really have to be able to write and be persuasive in your writing. Those are really the top two. Beyond that, I think everything else is pretty easy to learn.


Kenny Soto 36:47  

I’m glad you mentioned writing. And I know for a fact that my mentors are going to listen to this episode. And it’s thanks to him. I took an advanced grammar course, it was an elective, I didn’t need to take it right before graduating college and I had no idea why he kept pushing me, hey, you need to do this, you need to do this if you’re going to get into marketing. 


Kenny Cleese takes advanced grammar. And  I know now in hindsight, why he told me to do that. Because in my field of community management, advertising, and social media engagement, you have to know how to write property, and also how to create buying triggers, and triggers for action in general through copy not just with animation, video, and graphics. 


So I’m glad that you mentioned that because it is a core skill that I think any marketer, heck, any professional meets know how to write effectively, whether that’s to get more customers as a marketer or to communicate project management tasks, processes, etc, internally, with any team you’re working with, would you would you it? 


Kathleen Booth 37:52  

Absolutely it is it is so fundamental, so critical, and so shockingly hard to find people who are really good writers. I can’t underscore that enough.


Kenny Soto 38:05  

If anyone wants a good book, and this is an easy read, I’ve read this book at least five times. Now that’s how good it is. I believe it’s called on writing a memoir of the craft by Stephen King. 


It’s my favorite book from Stephen King aside from all of his amazing stories because he catalogs the journey of how he wrote each of his books, and what was going on in his life. 


And what was he learning as a writer, as an author, through each of these books that he was working on? So I’ll put that in the show notes for anyone who’s interested in basically becoming a better writer. Now,


Kathleen Booth 38:41  

you are the second person who’s mentioned that book to me, by the way. So I think you’re right. There’s something there.


Kenny Soto 38:46  

I don’t know for sure. He’s, he’s a great storyteller in general. But the way he tells the story of his career is there’s a reason why it’s my favorite book. Maybe even any of the books I’ve read are nonfiction, which is saying something. 


So, Kathleen, my last question for you, which is the question I asked all of my guests at the end of this show is if you had a time machine, and you can go back 10 years into the past, knowing everything you know, right now, how would you accelerate the speed of your career? 


Kathleen Booth 39:17  

Oh, that is such a great question. And, it’s an interesting time period because that would be 2011. And in 2011, I was halfway through my journey as an agency owner. And I wound up selling my agency in 2017. And I think that boy, what would I do differently? I feel that I probably would have joined more communities with my peers. 


That’s become easier today with technology. I’m a member of a lot of slack groups, a lot of other communities is where, you know, other heads of marketing are. And it’s given me tremendous exposure to people in different environments than me and at different stages in their career, people who’ve been heads of marketing for very large companies, for companies that have, you know, grown and become unicorns. 


And understanding those journeys has been unbelievably enlightening. Back in 2011, there were definitely communities. But I think, you know, there were LinkedIn groups, but I’m thinking more, I had a number of opportunities to join, paid communities, and there were more paid communities at the time. 


Now there are more free ones. And I just never, I don’t think appreciated the value in paying for Community membership. I was being cheap, honestly. And looking back now, having done it, I understand the amazing impact that can have on your ability to accelerate your learning and to build a powerful network that will position you for greater opportunity. And so I would say if I had to go back, I would definitely spend the money and join some of these communities.


Kenny Soto 41:11  

Thank you for that. And thank you for all of the wisdom you’ve actually shared throughout this entire episode. If anyone wanted to find you online, where can they say hi?


Kathleen Booth 41:20  

So I am most active on LinkedIn. And I connect with everybody so the head there sends me a connection request and sends me a DM I’m I always respond unless you’re trying to sell me something in which case, I probably won’t respond unless it’s something I really want to buy. But you can certainly connect with me there. You can also follow me on Twitter. My handle is at work mommy work.


Kenny Soto 41:41  

This has been another episode of the people of digital marketing with our guest Kathleen booth for the listener who’s listening for the first time. I feel like the theme of this episode was just being more tech-savvy and understanding not only cybersecurity but your role as a marketer needs to be not only creative but also technical. If you haven’t done so, check out episode 62. It’s with Dan McGraw of 


He also talks about mahr tech, your tech stack, and how to do due diligence on tools. So I think both of these episodes will tie in really nicely together. And again, Kathleen, thank you for your time, and thank you to you the listener for listening to another episode. And as always, I hope everyone has a great week.




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