Tell us about your role and how you got here. What made you join IdentityForce and now EZShield + IdentityForce?
I fell in love with Marketing shortly after joining a small high-tech start-up as an Event Manager. Each position thereafter provided me with various opportunities to get engaged with PR, Product Marketing, Demand Generation, Content Marketing, and Marketecture – all while working closely with Sales and Client Support organizations to fully understand the customer journey. I embraced and maneuvered myself into as many different responsibilities as possible, learning from as many people as I could to understand how Marketing truly impacts the entire organization, from the inside out.
I joined IdentityForce in October 2016 – it was an opportunity for me to grow outside of the traditional B2B Marketing that I had been focused upon and extend into B2C. It was also an opportunity for me to grow outside of my comfort zone in an industry that was also unfamiliar to me at the time, although I had experienced Identity Theft firsthand earlier that year. In August 2018, IdentityForce was acquired by EZShield. The EZShield + IdentityForce acquisition provided me with the opportunity to further expand the Marketing organization while combining the powerful value propositions to two companies. A massive rebranding is up next.
Your company just went through an acquisition, how has that changed your role and the way you work?
It’s made me broaden and expand my thinking and take into consideration two strong brands, each with their own distinct audiences. It’s taught me how to balance past methods and new growth strategies in order to achieve repeatable success. It’s also taught me more about listening deeply to the ideas and perspectives of others and pushing limits on how to transform Integrated Marketing strategies.
How did it change your vision of Marketing infrastructure and tools?
The value of a unified system with integrated single-source analytics has been something I’ve been a huge proponent of for years. However, after the acquisition, this was even more critical – as it’s just not scalable to run separate systems. We were two very separate Marketing teams, and one main area the teams could rally behind was the convergence of the Marketecture, as this was something we worked together on within weeks of the acquisition. Whether or not team members agreed which systems we should or shouldn’t use, everyone could agree that consolidation was key for us to move forward as a highly-effective Marketing organization.
As a CMO of a company that serves both B2C and B2B customers, what are the biggest challenges and what advice would you give other marketers targeting both audiences?
Learn from both sides. As you run campaigns, take the time to survey consumers while listening to your B2B audience simultaneously. Leverage success from one side to the other. Be creative and constantly seek how you can leverage a ‘halo effect’ that will fuel awareness throughout all audiences.
What are your predictions on the most impactful disruptions in Marketing Operations for 2019-2020?
I’m actually not someone who likes to predict the future or pretend that I know more than anyone else in the industry. However, what I do know is that strong, unified, collaborative teams who leverage a best-of-breed set of strategies will fuel healthy alignment with Sales teams and all others throughout the organization. This synergy has always made Marketing thrive and will continue to do so. For my current team, the partnership between Marketing Ops, Demand Gen, and Content Marketing is crucial – as they are directly feeding the Sales organization.
We’re seeking new technologies, strategic partnerships, and innovative strategies that will continue to help us grow and deliver increased results. As we’re a team of acquisition Marketers, Marketing Ops plays such a crucial role in keeping us all aligned and to ensure there is one truth we are all rallying behind. So, I would also say that Marketing Ops will continue to be one of the most in-demand functions within a team. It will be one that all those within Marketing relies on for right-time analytics to demonstrate success while helping us mold how we will attack markets in the future.
As a woman in the rapidly growing security ecosystem, what message would you give to others in the Marketing and Sales functions?
Work together and always respect each other’s unique contributions.
How do you adapt your management style when managing a small team vs. a large team?
A commitment to a smaller team is all I’ve known, as I have never worked at a company with more than 150 employees. You have to be hands-on and know what’s happening, understand what everyone on the team is working on to ensure alignment and efficiency for seamless execution. You also have to be prepared to pitch in and execute right alongside everyone on your team – Leadership by example is even more crucial as everyone on the team plays a meaningful role and no one goes unnoticed or simply ‘blends in’. You also have to be available to all of the dynamic needs of every team member, which is most likely your day job – nights will be spent getting whatever other work you need to get done, done.
How do you mentor your Marketing team at EZShield + IdentityForce?
I always strive to be 100% authentic with my team – and to always give direct feedback. The clarity of expectations is key. And, continuous communication harmonizes everyone within the team. I also encourage everyone on the team to keep learning outside of their day job – whether it’s conferences, workshops, podcasts, or other opportunities to network and engage with like-minded professionals – it’s critical for further Career Development.
One word that best describes how you work.
What apps/software/tools can’t you live without?
PowerPoint. Anyone who knows me knows I have a very special relationship with PowerPoint.
What’s your smartest work-related shortcut or productivity hack?
I hate to be a Debbie Downer, but shortcuts might shorten the time spent but they don’t deliver the same results. What works is Prioritization – focusing on the big initiatives and not letting simple, easy tasks that don’t move the needle distract you.
What are you currently reading?
‘In like a Lion, Out Like a Lamb’ – I have six years old, who is learning how to read and so a lot of what I’m looking at right now is for him. However, I do spend time on LinkedIn every morning and I consume as much as I can there, from posts by Arianna Huffington to Richard Branson to Seth Godin, and others within the high-tech industry – I love following and reading about what former colleagues are doing and what they are passionate about today. And, from time to time, I will pick up a Wonder Woman comic book.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
To not take things personally or worry about what others think of you. Of course, that doesn’t mean I don’t. But, I always try to remember to not make business personal and to just be the best I can be, for me, and for all those relying on me.
Something you do better than others — the secret of your success?
Not only a good planner but, I think I’ve become an expert at balancing vision with execution. Motivating a team to rally around strategic initiatives through a focused plan – with clear timelines and deliverables – has enabled every team I’ve worked alongside to achieve impressive results on-time and within budget.
Thank you, Donna! That was fun and hope to see you back on MarTech Series soon.
Donna Parent is a Chief Marketing Officer of EZShield + IdentityForce, award-winning providers of secure, Digital Identity Protection and Cybersecurity solutions that help consumers, partners, and organizations of all sizes protect what matters most.
Donna joined IdentityForce in 2016. She is a high-energy marketer with proven experience, leading value-added integrated programs designed to accelerate the trajectory of fast-paced, growing businesses. She has held a number of Senior Marketing positions at emerging software vendors spanning application Performance Monitoring, real-time Business Intelligence solutions for SOAs, and Online Intelligence applications for monitoring business activity through open Internet resources. In August 2018, IdentityForce was acquired by EZShield.
At EZShield + IdentityForce, Donna is responsible for the corporate, product brand, and distribution strategies, along with go-to-market initiatives for promoting the market’s leading Digital identity theft protection and Cybersecurity solutions. She is focused on fueling lifelong relationships with consumers, businesses, and strategic partners.
The MTS Martech Interview Series is a fun Q&A style chat which we really enjoy doing with martech leaders. With inspiration from Lifehacker’s How I work interviews, the MarTech Series Interviews follows a two part format On Marketing Technology, and This Is How I Work. The format was chosen because when we decided to start an interview series with the biggest and brightest minds in martech – we wanted to get insight into two areas … one – their ideas on marketing tech and two – insights into the philosophy and methods that make these leaders tick.