Welcome to another inspiring edition of HERstory, where we spotlight the dynamic journeys of women shaping the marketing world. In this installment, we sit down with Trish Seidel, whose bold pivot from communications to growth marketing fueled the remarkable ascent of Springly. Trish gives us a candid look at the trials, errors, and back-to-basics approach that skyrocketed the brand’s success.
She delves into the essentials of crafting a compelling go-to-market strategy, emphasizes the non-negotiables of product positioning, and the absolute need to engage directly with your audience. Trish also shares a refreshingly honest perspective on the role of content marketing, advocating for patience and a data-driven pitch to win executive endorsement.
Navigating through an impactful career, Trish Seidel has confronted and risen above industry challenges, including pervasive sexism. Her story is a testament to resilience, insightful marketing strategies, and the unyielding power of community and skill-sharing, illustrated by her pivotal role in the eMentoring program at W4. Join us as we uncover the layers of expertise and experience that Trish brings to the ever-evolving marketing landscape.
Let’s dive in!
Welcome, Trish! I’m so excited to learn more about your journey from roles focusing on communications and editorial management to your later roles in growth marketing.
Your expertise has clearly played a significant role in your career path. Can you share some of the innovative strategies you adopted to increase growth so exponentially during your tenure at Springly?
Honestly, it was a lot of failure. We tried every “quick win” in the book and went down the list of low-hanging fruit until we had no idea what to do next (this was also during the height of covid, so things were extra hard).
So, what does a marketer do when they don’t know what to do? Go back to the basics. The foundations of all good marketing can come back to excellent content, providing value.
We decided that investing heavily in SEO was our next move. We had seen it done with our French sister brand (although, it happened much slower) so we had some assurances that it was a low-risk, high-reward strategy.
We started at producing 5 articles a week (from 2-3 a month), and scaled to eventually reach 25/week at our most. As this was before AI was created, you can only imagine how much work it was!
While we used other channels to support us, organic was the main channel of acquisition for Springly that made it such a success today.
When working on go-to-market strategies, what do you typically focus on as your starting point? What tips do you have for someone working on their first GTM strategy?
Be obsessive over product positioning and your target audience. This is the first and only way to begin, otherwise, your other efforts could fall flat. Your product has a unique positioning in every market, and it’s not the same for every market.
This is important: Marketers need to speak to customers, leads, potential customers, etc! There is no way around it, especially in the early stages. You need to talk to them, build relationships with them, understand how they think and what they need vs want. If you don’t know, then again, you can’t market anything properly.
Content marketing is often a longer-term approach to growth. How do you get buy-in from senior execs to invest in and be patient with the process?
First of all, content marketing is only possible and effective with internal buy-in. My first piece of advice is to only work for companies that believe in it (even if they don’t necessarily understand it). If not, you will spend too much of your time selling the strategy vs actually executing it. It sounds obvious, but is much more challenging than you think!
I have found taking a data-first approach is the best to speak to executives. As best you can, provide general projections for how many leads/opportunities/mql/sql/clients your content strategy will bring in. You need to speak in their terms: revenue. This is the most effective way I’ve found and turns something theoretical into something concrete.
Small caveat here: project as best you can, but you need to explain that content reaches much farther than numbers on a dashboard, and often in terms we can’t measure with data points. After sharing my generalized projections, I often use this metaphor: You walk into a café and see two people working on their laptops. One on a Mac, one on a PC. If you had to define which one is in finance vs which one does creative work, what would you say? It’s simple, but it’s an association we can’t measure.
During your time at W4, you coordinated the eMentoring program in addition to your responsibilities as a communications and editorial manager. Could you share the highlights and learning experiences from this role?
This is hands down one of the best jobs I ever had. My role in the coordination of the eMentoring program was to match mentors with specific skills to the unique needs of our grassroots partners in the field. For example, a lawyer here in Paris who could help answer some legal questions for our project in India. Or, a marketing executive who could help create the website for a project in Iran.
The beautiful thing about this role was that it showed me the power of giving back but in a much different way. People could donate their time and skills vs their money, which is often FAR more impactful than sending a few hundred euros. Sometimes showing up for an hour is worth more than several hundred, or even thousand, euros.
This role taught me the power of project management which is an essential skill I need in content marketing today. Being able to manage schedules of people, dealing with many human issues like time management, changing schedules, unreliable internet in remote areas, preparing the mentorship meetings in advance, and keeping motivation high were fantastic lessons that I use daily.
In your view, what are some of the upcoming trends in SEO, branding, and growth hacking that we should keep an eye on?
Stop neglecting the power of AI! I see so many content marketers shy away from it, be afraid of it, or simply don’t understand how to use it. It is a powerful tool and when used correctly, it can save so much time, energy, and you can then focus your energy where it is truly needed. You do not need to be writing meta descriptions anymore, it’s a waste of time.
As for branding, thought leadership and personal branding is having its moment in the spotlight and it’s well deserved. If companies can brand through their employees, and reassure their audiences that they have hired the best and the brightest, then it’s a great way to build authority. Additionally, it makes hiring top talent more simple if you are willing to give them time to invest in themselves.
Looking back on your career thus far, what felt like the biggest challenge you had to overcome?
Sexism. As a female, we face simply so many more challenges than our male counterparts (coupled with being petite, blonde, and peppy), and there was a time that it started to take a toll. Now, I see it as a challenge that I can navigate, but I think I had to go through the weeds, wallow a bit about it, then pick myself back up and decide to keep moving forward. There is no choice; either you let it eat you alive or you face it head-on.