Salary and Career: Kristin Carey on the benefits of doing some of everything

As part of our Salary and Career Survey, we interviewed people about their experiences in marketing. Today we’re talking to Kristin Carey who, like so many marketers, has worn many hats during her career. She’s done everything from cold calling to cutting-edge B2B marketing.  (Interview edited for length and clarity.)

Q: How did you get to where you are today? 

A: My degree was in marketing and operations management. My first offer out of school was with Walmart. I was going to be an inventory manager. They would give me a car and a cell phone, which no one had in 2001. They wanted me to go to Walmart stores and manage the inventory process and I thought about it and I was like I can’t say that I work for Walmart. I just can’t do it.

So my first job was with Citigroup. I was an asset manager in their training program. They flew me out to LA and I lived there for two years and then they said go ahead and rank these 10 cities by where you want to move to. And so, I picked Boise, Idaho, first because I love the outdoors and I was thinking, no one’s gonna pick Boise. I think I picked LA second and Salem, Massachusetts, third, then something else and then Philly. I got Philly. I got moved to Philly and probably eight months after, they laid off the whole division. 

Q: Why did you go with Citigroup?

With Citigroup, I really understood the division I was in. It was credit cards and. It was a call center.  I managed a floor of people. I got to really know outbound marketing: Objection handling, what do we say to a customer? How do we get them to pay? All kinds of things. Between that and being a cold-calling account executive, you can pretty much talk to anyone because you have been exposed to being hung up on and, all kinds of things. 

I found a startup called MRP and was there in the beginning with the founders James Reagan and Kevin Cunningham. I started on the phones as an account executive cold calling for Microsoft Dynamics and SAP ERP solutions, which is a nightmare but I did pretty well with that. Then I got to manage clients and then I recruited like 200 people and we grew significantly. 

Q: And then it was acquired by First Derivatives

A: And then we acquired two other companies and were moving from our teleprospecting portfolio and adding digitals. So, we started adding syndication display advertising, email nurture as an all-in-one solution, and then intent data and predictive analytics.

I was there for 16 years and ran global sales for a while. Got to travel all over the world. I ended up leaving them. Their family to me still to this day and I said, “I love you guys, but I’m gonna start switching it up here because I’ve done everything.”

Q: And you got your next job because of something that failed?

A: Exactly. I had partnered with eTrigue’s sister company, 3 Marketers Advertising and Jeff Holmes, the CEO, on a project for a major digital communications company where they did a high-end direct mail and we screwed up the campaign. It was focused on telepresence which was like the in-room conference rooms that were really big that companies could put in. 

The message was stop traveling and just meet people on video. We sent everybody a box with an airplane window on it. When you opened it was a personalized link with your name and then a tray of food like you would get on an airplane and an eye mask. There were three airlines on the list. We sent it to the very high-level people at the airlines. Continental Airlines wrote an email with the subject line. “I’m not laughing.” We got into big trouble. Did some damage control with the digital communications companu and I think their CEO had to apologize.

Q: And … 

A: So, we went through the wringer Jeff and I on that, but he ended up calling me because a mutual colleague had mentioned that I had left MRP and was looking.

Q: What’s your favorite thing about what you do?

A: The greatest part about what I do and what I love the most is the relationships with people because I’ve known some of my clients for 20 years now. I’ve seen them have children, and I have children and, just getting to know them as people and our goal always is to get them promoted and to look good with whatever we’re offering to them. That’s what keeps me in this space. 

Q:  Our research shows that there’s a 24% salary discrepancy between men and women in marketing. What do you think about that?

A: I understand the women’s movement and all of that. I also think women just need to ask for whatever they want and know how to negotiate properly and know their value. Sure you can blame it all day long, “Oh men, get paid more.” But what are you doing to promote yourself internally? Being an employee is as much of a sales pitch as selling your product to a customer. It’s important to build a brand to be posting on LinkedIn to share your successes internally and it’s not bragging, it’s not boasting, it’s being strategic in letting the people know who can make an impact in your career, either a sponsor or your CEO or whomever.

We’re always going to have problems, but where can you find the success stories and how can you promote those? I think it’s a woman’s responsibility to know their worth and know what the job could pay and to fight for that when they go into the role.

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