We interviewed Jessica Kao, a Marketo Champion class of Winter 2016. Before she started her career as a marketer, Jessica was a field application scientist with a Ph.D. in Oncology. She then became a Marketing Program Manager at Affymetrix where she was introduced to marketing automation. At present, Jessica is working as a Client Services Director at Digital Pi. For her, sharing knowledge about marketing automation is what a true Marketo Champion really does.
My name is Jessica Kao, I’m Client Services Director at Digital Pi and I’m a Marketo Champion class of Winter 2016. My background is that I have a Ph.D. in Cancer biology from Stanford University which has nothing to do with marketing. I became a Demand Gen Marketing Programs Manager at several different biotech companies and that’s where I was introduced to marketing automation, first as an Eloqua customer and then multiple Marketo customers. So, that’s where I kind of got my first exposure to Marketo.
Do you have any interesting stories you’d like to share that took place during your career journey?
A couple of companies ago I inherited a Marketo instance and people didn’t understand how to use it, they didn’t like it, they didn’t understand what it could do for them and I was just beginning my journey in Marketo and marketing automation. When I went to Marketo’s Marketing Nation Summit I felt like my eyes were opened and I was really inspired by all these different marketers that are facing the same challenges and all of these different marketers that are really pushing the envelope and trying new cutting edge things. And what’s interesting I think is, it’s actually quite similar to what my background is cause as a scientist we’re always trying to push the edge and push the limit and do cutting edge things but in Science and I feel like that really carries over from a marketing automation perspective because we’re really trying to push the boundaries of what we can do and try new and innovative things. So, that’s when I really got hooked and addicted to Marketo, where I do bleed purple as I think all or most of Marketo Champions do. A lot of us are in Marketo six plus hours a day everyday, for the past [I don’t know] six years. And I was so inspired I remember going to Marketo University Day and learning about emails and landing pages and I remember distinctly going to the Marketo Analytic section and just being in awe and was so inspired and I said to myself “One day, one day I wanna be on that stage and I wanna be helping other people learn this.” Because this is tough, this is really hard. I mean, I consider myself an intelligent person but boy this is really really hard, this is not for the faint of heart. So, I was really happy and really honored to be selected the next year to become a Marketo speaker and I’ve spoken at Marketo Summit multiple years, last year or this past Marketo Summit. I was really honored to be able to give a talk on Analytics. So, [you know] those things that I said to myself like five years ago that I wanted to be on that stage and I wanted to inspire other people and I wanted to help other people be able to be better marketers.
Before getting into your chosen field, did you have prior technical knowledge in marketing and technology?
My PhD was on large data analysis looking for patterns in breast cancer so what I feel like what I do everyday and what I do in what I excel at is basically looking at data and looking at patterns. And when something looks off, how can I look at the data and how can I have the data tell me a story, [I mean] that’s what we do as marketers. Marketing has become more about analytics, it is more data driven and what I did in my life before as a marketer is to basically take and analyze a large amount of data and figure out what story it’s trying to tell me and draw insight from that.
Have you always wanted to be a marketer?
I think when I decided that I wanted to be a marketer was [I think] when I went to my first (Marketo) Summit.I was inspired, I’ve never been in a place where so many marketers were together and they were sharing the knowledge and inspiring each other and more learning from each other and everyone is on the same boat, we’re all struggling and have the same problems but at different companies and really being part of that community has really inspired me that [yeah] this is where I belong. And there’s this desire to continue to help others I run the Marketo user group here in Silicon Valley and I’m constantly trying to keep that going for the local group here as well.
What tips can you give marketers who want to learn marketing automation?
To present at a webinar, a customer webinar for Marketo constantly be on community and trying to help others, speaking at the Marketo user groups and basically share my learnings with other people, I think that’s really at the heart of being a Marketo Champion because you’re championing others at the community, you’re a leader within the community and we’re really I think from a community perspective we’re trying to give back and help others be successful and I think that’s how we get to be Marketo Champions.
Hope you enjoyed our one-on-one interview with our marketing champion. Stay tuned for more updates. Follow us on FB, Instagram, and Twitter for more updates.