1. Growing up, did you have a business/entrepreneurial mindset? What led to you to study business, sales, and marketing in school?
Growing up I had two passions, dance, and golf. When it was time to decide what to do with the rest of my life, it was a career in golf where I saw doors opening. Not many women were in the field and I thought I could make a name for myself there. So, I enrolled in Professional Golf Management and, sure enough, I was the only female in the program! In my third year, I took Sales and Marketing and when I graduated, I landed a job in sales and marketing in (wait for it) the golf industry!
Since then I have worked in many marketing roles, always interested in what drove businesses to succeed. Those experiences have led me to where I am as a Fractional CMO.
2. What is a Fractional CMO (Chief Marketing Officer) and how does it differ from a traditional CMO?
A CMO (Chief Marketing Officer) is a well-rounded marketer who approaches marketing from a holistic and strategic perspective and is not a specialist in just one area of marketing. To understand the difference between a CMO and a Fractional CMO, think “shareable economy”. A Fractional CMO does everything a CMO does with less cost and commitment from you. The “fractional” part means they work with you part-time or a predetermined number of hours for a fraction of the cost of a full-time CMO. They work as an extension of the client’s team and are often a better fit for your budget.
3. Did you experience any struggles/make any mistakes/have failures when you were first starting out?
Yes. Yes. And Yes! Don’t we all? As an entrepreneur, we have so many roles and we need to keep on top of all of them. I knew that going in, but even still it was remarkable to me how many balls we had to keep in the air! Initially, I struggled with time management but I’m getting better at dealing with all the tasks that need to get done in the course of a day.
4. What are some of the biggest marketing mistakes you see startups making?
I would have to say one thing is taking on too much without the time or money to support doing it well. It is much more important to put the effort into a growth marketing strategy that focuses on the bigger picture and prioritizes what is of most importance for long-term success. Another issue is that startups often have ‘shiny object syndrome’. It’s tempting to want to follow the newest trends and sometimes it makes sense but often it is just distracting. It must support the business purpose, audience, and goals. Another reason a growth marketing strategy is so important!
5. What are some of your predictions for marketing trends in 2020?
Oh, where do I begin! Very briefly, these are 3 trends I see for 2020.
- There’s no doubt there will continue to be growth in the number of startups. I think what will be new is the trend to more collaborative startups where partnerships create more robust businesses.
- I expect we will begin to get away from content clutter. Content needs to be valuable and not just content pushed for the sake of pushing content.
- We know the lines are becoming blurred between our digital and physical worlds. I wonder about IRL (in real life) interactions and the role that tech (which we know isn’t going anywhere!) will play in creating more authentic human connections.
Stay tuned…. I will have more coming soon about the trends I see responsible marketers addressing in 2020.
6. What is a typical day like for you?
No two days are the same. That’s the bonus of entrepreneurship! Or is it the problem with entrepreneurship? Either way, I’m okay with that. I like the variety and calling my own shots when it comes to managing my time. I’m a night owl and do some of my best work later in the evenings. I try to schedule Mondays and Fridays as home office days and Tuesdays through Thursdays as time with clients. Sounds good but realistically it doesn’t always work. What is typical is that I always start the day with a coffee and make time for a long walk by the lake with our 4-legged love, Sir Douglas.
7. Is there such a thing as a bad idea?
Absolutely not! All ideas are good ones because they get you thinking. That doesn’t mean they are all good for you to implement, but they are good for you to consider.
8. You are also a SheEO Activator, helping fund, support and celebrate women entrepreneurs. What has that experience been like?
Yes, I am a SheEO Activator. My involvement this year has been limited to a monetary contribution. I am so supportive of the program that supports women entrepreneurs but as a growing startup myself, I am limited in the time I can give them. We all do what we can and at this time, for me, it’s with money, not time. For now!
9. How do you approach setting goals?
I start with long-term goals and work backward! I reflect on those goals and ensure they are clearly defined, challenging yet realistic and ultimately support my vision. From there, I break long-term goals into short-term goals and commit to milestones that will help me achieve those smaller goals. When I can knock off the short-term goals, the long-term vision slowly becomes a reality. It’s an approach I use for my own business and one I promote with my clients.
10. What advice would you give to someone who is considering “taking the leap”?
Go for it! But there are qualifiers. Starting a business is rewarding but it is not for the faint of heart. Startups take time to figure out and will take turns and detours along the way. And they should! It’s all about growth and learning. Only with a growth mindset and consideration of the advice you are given along the way does a startup make it. Have a growth marketing strategy for your business and expect to work long and hard. Patience is the key!
Emily Foucault is the founder and president of ThinkHatch, a business that provides Fractional CMO services to growing companies. Emily uses her years of experience at some of the largest global marketing, media, and strategic agencies to provide a service where her marketing expertise meets her love of mentoring. She is a Mentor for the ‘Build Your Dream’ Accelerator program at Make Lemonade, a co-working space in Toronto.
In her commitment to giving back to the community, Emily is proud to be a SheEO Activator who helps fund, support and celebrate women entrepreneurs, a supporter of CAMH, the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, and the founder of the charity campaign #HelpOurPetsTO. Emily’s achievements include recognitions for Startup Canada Female Entrepreneur, Notable Life’s Notable Woman and RBC Women of Influence.
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