We all know that marketing needs to be authentic and tell believable stories. But aside from the marketing itself, the marketing leaders behind those strategies need to be authentic and believable too. Christina Mautz from Moz tells us why, and how she puts this principle into practice every day on the job.

This authenticity starts with the hiring process. When asked if she was a growth marketer, Christina replied. “No, I’m not.” A gutsy move in the current economic scenario, some may say. Listen in to know what she did say, and how it landed her the job anyway.

Erica and Christina also explore why being a ‘consultant’ is not necessarily a bad thing when applying for a full-time marketing leadership role (although others on this show have told us they didn’t see it as a great sign if someone had been a ‘consultant’ in the middle of a regular marketing career).

Christina shares what was compelling about her process of joining Moz as CMO, her take on the ideal first 90 days as CMO, and the challenges and opportunities as she went about taking the reins as CRO (Chief Revenue Officer) as well as CMO at Moz.

Did we get your attention?

      Share with your network on LinkedIn and Twitter.

Erica Seidel [00:00:02] Welcome to ''The Get '' the Marketing Talent podcast. This is Erica Seidel, your host. We explore what it takes to get and keep the best marketing leaders in the B2B SaaS world.

Erica Seidel [00:00:16] Oh, I am joined by Christina Mautz, who is the Chief Marketing Officer and acting Chief Revenue Officer at Moz in Seattle. And we are so happy to have her joining the show. And it's great to have a Martech CMO and acting CRO with us. So, Christina, welcome to the show.

Christina Mautz [00:00:37] Thank you. I'm glad to be here.

Erica Seidel [00:00:40] All right, so let's get started. My first question for you is, in our previous interactions, I just find you super authentic. And that's my first observation. And I wanted to know what your secret is like and how that authenticity has come into play when you have been making career switches yourself and also when you're hiring.

Christina Mautz [00:01:04] If there's a secret there at all. The secret is to just truly be comfortable being you, especially as a marketing leader. Because I think of marketing, it's so critical that we connect with our customers, and we have empathy.

Erica Seidel [00:01:21] What's the question? And I ask everybody, what's the question that you want to be asked to demonstrate that you are a great marketing leader?

Christina Mautz [00:01:32] Think I plead to a question I'm seldom asked if I could, but I would love to be asked just what marketing means to me? Because I think we jumped so, so quickly. Even at my level, when I'm interviewing for a C level position, there are so many questions about, well, the one I got all the time. Are you a growth marketer? No.

Christina Mautz [00:01:54] And I think one of the reasons I went through many interviews for it to secure this position. And I think one of the reasons that I went through so many additional interviews was because I kept saying, no, no, I'm not a growth marketer. I'm a strategic marketer. I'm a marketer who will deeply understand your customers. I will meet them where they're at and will understand the needs of Moz.

Christina Mautz [00:02:17] And if our company at this moment needs to grow, that's the top priority, then I will organize my team for growth. But that's not always the top priority. And if I were only a growth marketer, I'd be constrained. So, you know, so to go back to your question, like, well, what I'd love to be asked. What does it mean to me? Because I think marketing is, I think it's misunderstood. A lot of people conflate marketing with sales. Yes. Still. And there's this idea that as a marketer, you were just driving for conversion. Just get that conversion. Get somebody to transact. And whether that conversion happens online or through your direct sales channel or whatnot, end and marketing are about so much more than that. And especially today where the consumer's very sophisticated and they have so much information available. And so their path to purchase is not linear. It's anything but linear. And we've known that for a long time. Right. But in that environment where you have a consumer who is often winding their way through, trying to figure out a decision and maybe even not realize that they need to make that decision, yet a marketer is about understanding them and understanding that windy path and making sure that they provide what is required at the moment that consumers at whether that consumers a beer or a consumer. Right. And so to ask me as a person, a candidate, what did marketing mean to me? I would have the opportunity to express that it's so much more than the transaction. And developing that relationship with the customer leads to a transaction. The transaction, to a certain degree, is the indirect byproduct of really great marketing.

Erica Seidel [00:04:06] This is your first CMO role. But you've been a VP of marketing before at another smaller company, and you're also head of marketing at a piece of Amazon. So let's talk about that VP of marketing role versus CMO role. What do you see as the key similarities and differences?

Christina Mautz [00:04:25] So it depends a lot on the company Because, at some companies, the VP of marketing is, in some ways, the de facto CMO, depending on the size and the point of the company's growth. How long have they been around ? Are they at an early-stage startup? Are they a more mature company? But I'd say in theory, the VPof marketing is in charge of marketing. It is their job to understand the company's goals that marketing can achieve. Organize the team around those goals and achieve those goals. Right. And that is typically growth. But it can be another. It could be other things as CMO's role to me is so much more. You're an officer of the company. It is your job to help develop the strategy for the company. And in many companies that are excellent customer drifted, marketing-led. It's also about driving that strategy. So how do I understand where the company is at, what they need to achieve cross-functionally this year? And as a member of the executive team, as a CMO, it is my job to help make that. I'm in the cabinet, so to speak, the CEO's cabinet. Right. And  I play a role in running marketing. Definitely. But it's also my job to participate actively in that executive team that runs the company.

Erica Seidel [00:05:49] You got this CMO job, as I understand, right after spending some time doing your own marketing consulting business, people who have done a consulting stint are seen as jacks of all trades. They can be seen as just, you know, their backgrounds can be tough to pass because what matters in recruiting is kind of what did you do yesterday and what somebody did yesterday with ten different things across ten different clients. It's hard to have a story that coalesces when somebody is looking at a CMO job, and I'm speaking very generally. And so you're an exception to the rule.

Christina Mautz [00:06:28] What you're doing as a consultant is you're making yourself available to help companies solve problems that are typically seen as blockers to them getting on with what they need to get on with. So it's a short term problem, or it's something they've had for a long term, long time, but they can't define it to you. Go in and help them define the problem and recommend solutions, or they know they have a problem. You go in there, and you help them solve the problem. And so when I, you know, with even my interviews at Moz, I talk to them about the problems that I solved. I do tend to consult in the marketing realm. I mean, it's business management, marketing, consulting. You know, you tend to have some things that reach outside of consulting or outside of marketing. But so for perhaps it helps that I work a lot of marketing projects when I've consulted. So I'm able to say this company had this problem, probably syllogism problems that Mars might have had somewhere along the line. And here's what I did. Here's how I learned about the problem. Here's how I defined the problem. Here's how I came up with solutions involving people at the company. And here's how those solutions are being implemented. I think that's a key thing.

Erica Seidel [00:07:43] CEOs can often have a hard time figuring out what flavor of chief marketing officer they need. So is there any advice that you have for a CEO on how to navigate that process in the realm of marketing?

Christina Mautz [00:07:55] I think that CEOs who don't have a marketing background don't always realize how both multi-functional marketings are. And there's a multi-strategy. I don't even know how to say that. You know how many different strategies marketing can be employed to help drive. And so because marketing is such an interested, exciting, diverse tool kit, it's easy to just go to growth because, you know, CEOs want growth. And it's an easy thing to say, oh, just get me more revenue. Well, they might not understand a CMO who has a comprehensive and broad toolset. Can get that growth in a way that is going to serve the company better in a more holistic approach. It's not just about driving demand. It's about developing the brand. Developing thought leadership. It's about working on customer marketing. There are so many other things. And so perhaps it's just the idea of thinking more Broadway and asking questions that aren't just about what the current needs of the company are.

Christina Mautz [00:09:10] You know, that question was marketing meant to you? I had never, never thought about that. From now on, I'm going to put that question out there. Maybe I'll even ask you what I'm hiring.

Erica Seidel [00:09:19] Yeah, I mean, yeah. You want to be out. And you also want to ask, is that you know that. And then you probably want to ask the people who are interviewing on your team that as well. I would imagine that. Yeah, the answer is going to be instructive across the board.

Christina Mautz [00:09:34] I think so. And I also, you know, Sarah at Moz when I was interviewing, she at the end of the interview, had all these interviews, she asked me to come in to do a project. So as part of the interview process, you could call it like a Keystone project, like, I'm like, I'm in school. Right. I came in, and I was allowed to meet with as many people as I wanted. That was about a dozen people made available to me. I was given three days so I could go in and meet with a bunch of people. And the project was to define it as a path. He was packaging and pricing for mass, and for this one for the inferior product in three days, you know what should be the next step in packaging pricing? And so I broadened it. So even having three days, I'm like, I can't do packaging pricing without talking about positioning. And I was told, oh, you could do these in-depth interviews and blah, blah, blah. And instead, I chose a different way to approach that project. I took all the dozen. However, many people I can't remember now were somewhere on a dozen people. And I said I want the ball. But instead of doing individual interviews, I want them all in a room. I would like to come in and meet with them, for I think I did two hours. I did a design thinking project where if you're familiar with Stanford's design thinking methodology, I did this brainstorm sticky note exercise. And I asked them, you know, who are your customers? What are your customer's needs? And by doing that, I crowdsourced the positioning, packaging, and pricing. And so then I took all of that feedback from these. I was hired for three hours doing this sticky note exercise. I went back to my home office. I went through it, and I analyzed it, pulled it apart, put it back together. And I remember the recruiter called me during this time, and he's like, are you sure you don't want to do any in-depth interviews? Then this is what I'm thinking, okay. Other candidates must be doing in-depth interviews.

Christina Mautz [00:11:36] And I said, no, no, I'm going to trust this process because what through this process you were learning about me. This is a way I like to work as you're learning something about me. And then I went back. And when I delivered the results, I started by saying, this is not positioning, packaging, and pricing. This is defining the problems that Moz currently has around positioning, packaging and pricing, as told to me by this tremendous collaborative exercise where people built on each other, and we even had remote people participate. And it was wonderful because what happened is it started a conversation, and it got everybody in the room. When I came back to the present, all those same people were in the room, along with Sarah and a board member. I think I met her later. I don't think she was in that room, but it was wonderful because it got them talking. And so what Sarah and the others were able to see, is that what I see? I'm a problem solver. This is what I mean. I come in, and I help. I help identify and dig in. And I don't come in with all the answers would be ridiculous. The CMO is not a silver bullet, but a good CMO will know how to tap that expertise that already exists in the company. So I think I think Sarah was so smart because by doing that, she was able to see who I am and how I approach things. Anything that helped her figure out what flavor of CMO she needed, and thankfully it was me.

Erica Seidel [00:13:08] So you're acting, CRO, now you own both sales and marketing, not the customer success function, but sales and marketing, as I understand correctly too. What do you notice is different about that marketing and sales partnership now? And what are the unexpected things that you think another CMO would need to know before taking the CRO reins?

Christina Mautz [00:13:34] I think the unexpected things a CMO needs to know. I don't know if they're unexpected, but I think. Probably the one thing that worked in my favor is that I did have a close relationship with sales, my team even just physically sits near sales. And so we were always, you know, you go over, and you chat and whatever, you know, watercooler talk, right. Even when we're remote, we tend to have meetings together and so forth. So At least sales already knew me. And then, when I did start leading that team, I also promoted a sales director to manage the team on an ongoing basis because I recognized that I have never been a sales leader. I didn't want to assume the role of coaching individual salespeople because I don't think, first of all, I don't think I could coach them effectively. I don't know their world as they do. And also, I don't think they would respect me in that role.

Christina Mautz [00:14:35] But I also stood in front of them and said, I've never been in your shoes. So help me understand. Tell me what your pain is. No, that I will advocate for you. But you need to speak up and not be afraid. You don't advocate for yourselves as well. And so, so far, it's going well.

Erica Seidel [00:14:51] Are there any particular tips that you have for a CEO or even a board member who natively doesn't trust marketing as much as they wish they did?

Christina Mautz [00:15:04] That happens a lot. I don't even think like CEOs and board members; I think a lot of folks don't trust marketing and not for any evil reason. Right. No. Any negative reason so much as marketing has been hard to measure for a long time, and even now, with digital marketing has become so measurable; there are still aspects of it. We can't know, and there's always these arguments first touch attribution versus the last touch versus multitouch, you know, what drove the conversion? And a lot of times the answer is retail. We don't always distinctly know a single thing because it's not a single thing. Remember that customer journey? It's not linear. Right. And so it's hard for a CEO or board member when a marketer or ahead of marketing CMO can't say, here's the thing I'm going to do. Here are the top three things. And these three things are going to drive growth. I think that skepticism is natural. And I think if you can just accept that and not be hurt by it like a marketer, not feel that that is distrust of you as a professional or as a person, and instead work with the CEO of the board member to understand what you're doing. Be very transparent about your successes and your failures and the fact that you will keep testing because that is the way to do good marketing. I think that transparency helps build trust and that trust helps eventually overcome that skepticism. You might still encounter it from time to time, and it's okay. It's a healthy skepticism that's going to challenge you.

Erica Seidel [00:16:36] What advice do you have for other CMO's who come in and need to organize or reorganize?

Christina Mautz [00:16:47] I think the best thing you can do is not be afraid of it. Like the first 90 days as a CMO are probably one of the hardest jobs you'll ever have in your life because you were coming in and you are assessing talent at the same time, you're assessing the needs of the company, and you have to do it. And the only way to assess talent is to sit with them and to attend all their meetings. And yes, they're going to feel like you're looking over their shoulder because you are and get your hands dirty. Get into the marketing automation system. Look at how things are set up. Understand the nurtures, get into the cms, get into Salesforce like all of the systems that are used by marketing. Get into them. Look at the back end to look at the dirty laundry behind the scenes and then start meeting with the talent. Just ask them a ton of questions. It's almost like you're interviewing them for 90 days, and you will have your calendar back to back with meetings. You'll be interviewing your team. You'll also be going throughout the company, working cross-functional to understand the needs of the company. The velocity of the company. What they're trying to achieve, what successes they've had, what failures were they think they're blockers are. It's really like you're coming in as a consultant now for the first 90 days and in your problem-solving. And then, after that, I think you develop the organizational structure based on the needs of the company. It's part. Part of it is based on the objective. You know, are we going for growth? Do we need a growth-oriented team or so forth? But some of it is also just where the company is at. And then I think what you do with the talent is that that's what becomes tricky. You know, after you do that assessment, I think it's respectful to talk to your team and spend time with them as you're developing a new org structure, especially your leads or those people you've assessed who you think should become your leads. Let them be part of the conversation. Develop an org chart. That's a drag. And literally whiteboard it with your leads and put people in different boxes and say, what about this? What about that and who's better at this and who's better at that? And then, when you come to that final determination of what your org structure should be and who best in each box, make sure you talk to those people, and they want to be in those boxes and make sure you're not just plugging people into empty spaces. I think this is the most painful thing when you assess that talent. You have to be willing to make those hard decisions, even when they're great people in their talent, people. If you get people on your team that are not the right people for the right roles that you think are needed to meet the needs of the company, you have to be willing to let them go.

Erica Seidel [00:19:32] Well, we are out of time, but this has been great to hear more about your approach to marketing your philosophy and what you've been doing in the CMO role as well as the acting CRO role. I think there's lots of great stuff here. So, Christina, thank you so much for joining.

Christina Mautz [00:19:49] Well, thank you. This is a lot of fun. I appreciate being on.

The Podcast Team

Erica Seidel

Recruiter And Founder at The Connective Good As host of The Get, Erica talks to CEOs, VCs and Marketing Leaders about finding and keeping great marketing talent for B2B SaaS companies.

Team MarTech Advisor

Chief Editor Chitra Iyer, and the team at MarTech Advisor edit, produce and distribute The Get.


Episode Highlights

Guest Profile

Christina Mautz

Christina Mautz is the Chief Marketing Officer at Moz. She is Known for developing and driving strategic change initiatives based on market insights to enable greater efficiency and facilitate growth. Christina has 20+ years’ experience across a broad range of marketing.