In this episode of the Player: Engage Podcast, host Greg is joined by Christine Dart, the Global Head of Marketing at Helpshift and a Marketing Leader at Keywords Player Engagement. Christine shares her extensive experience in B2B marketing within the video game industry, discussing her dynamic strategies that have led to significant growth in revenues and leads. She also delves into her personal journey from mechanical designer to marketing maven, highlighting her transition through various roles and the importance of adaptability and continuous learning in marketing.

Key takeaways from this episode include:

  • The nuances between B2B and B2C marketing and how foundational marketing principles apply across both.
  • Insights into the evolving roles within marketing departments, such as the integration of customer marketing and the shift of business development roles under marketing umbrellas.
  • Christine’s approach to leadership in marketing, emphasizing the importance of alignment with company goals, understanding team dynamics, and the power of effective delegation.

For a deeper dive into how marketing strategies can drive business success and the importance of aligning marketing efforts with broader business objectives, tune into this episode of the Player: Engage Podcast. Discover Christine Dart’s expert strategies and learn how to apply them to your own marketing efforts for measurable success.

AI Transcript: Christine Dart

Greg Posner: 00:07: 00:50: Hey everybody, welcome to the Player: Engage Podcast. Greg here. Today we’re joined by Christine Dart, the Global Head of Marketing at Helpshift and a Marketing Leader at Keywords Player Engagement. With a knack for transforming visions into measurable success, she’s driven incredible growth across the video game industry and beyond, doubling revenues and tripling leads with her dynamic strategies. When she’s not leading her rockstar team or innovating new marketing solutions, Christine also enjoys the outdoors from climbing mountains to kayaking rivers. Hailing from Nashville with time spent in Colorado and her roots originally in Connecticut, she brings a blend of creativity and strategic expertise to everything she does. Let’s get into the game-changing world of marketing with Christine. Christine, thank you so much for joining me today. Is there anything you’d like to say about yourself?
Christine Dart: 00:50: 01:45: First of all, I want to say hi, everybody, and thank you so much, Greg, for having me on today. Not that I’m a stranger to the Player: Engage podcast, behind the scenes anyway. love having a chance to, you know, get a front row seat to everybody that great interviews and just I don’t know, hearing your awesome hosting style. So I’m excited to get to be on this myself today. And I guess one other thing to add, you know, because we kind of talked about, so my background in marketing, I do want to add a layer that my marketing experience is very, very B2B focused. So just take that as you will, as we kind of go through this discussion. So there are some nuances between B2B and B2C marketing, but at the end of the day, Marketing is marketing and, you know, a lot of the kind of macro pieces are the same throughout. So, yeah, really excited to dive in.

Greg Posner: 01:45: 02:53: Yeah, I’m excited. And as Christine mentioned, she is kind of the brainchild behind the Player: Engage podcast and helped enable everything to get set up and started and helping continue it. So, first off, I’m eternally grateful to her for that. But also, it’s opened my eyes to this marketing world, which, you know, when you live in a different When you live in a different position, I guess, right, as a sales engineer, you don’t understand what happens in marketing. You kind of think, oh, it’s easier, right? And then the same thing if you’re looking at it from a sales perspective, right? Everyone thinks what everyone else is doing. You don’t really truly take in the nuances that live in there and the detail that goes in there. It gets much more in depth than just, hey, I’m in marketing. With all that being said, and this next question is going to be a loaded one, but there’s different types of marketing that I’ve learned about. Keeping it simple, there’s influencer marketing, community management, social media marketing. Can you give us a high level breakdown? It doesn’t need to go into everything because I realize there are a lot, but what are the different roles that exist in marketing? After that, I’ll follow up. You don’t have to go into it, but who are the people that excel at these types of positions? pure marketing in my mind.

Christine Dart: 02:53: 05:35: Oh my gosh, there’s so many. And there’s so many ways to slice and dice. And I feel like every day I’m learning about new roles and functions opening up within marketing that like I hear somebody say they’re a whatever specialist. I’m like, what is that? Go Google it. I’m like, I think I’m supposed to know these things. But really, it’s just the world changes so fast. So there’s always kind of the hottest new trends, I guess, in marketing or just shifts in what’s working and what’s what’s not. Because I mean, everybody’s probably been pummeled by some sort of marketing tactic at some point, whether you’re, you know, getting a bunch of emails in your inbox, or, you know, getting spammed with a bunch of messages on LinkedIn or something like that. So it’s like things that work for a while everybody kind of catches on to and then it gets saturated and then you know you kind of have to figure out the next technique before everybody starts tuning it out and that’s the thing is people start tuning stuff out pretty fast so you just have to be aware of the fatigue and change but to answer your question at least some of the main functions that I work with today I’ll just start with my team as an example and this is not going to be the makeup at And every marketing department, every marketing department is going to look so different and different size companies are going to have different types of roles. But we’ve got product marketing, since we are, you know, Helpshift as a product company. So that’s really important. We recently introduced a function for customer marketing. And I’ll explain what, you know, any of these are if you want to dive deeper in. We’ve got, you know, demand generation, but it’s actually not as big of a focus for us as it used to be just because our kind of business goals have changed. We have got social media marketing, which is always important because you need to have a presence. And that’s kind of like the front row seat, people get to your company. Now Greg is working on the podcast, so that kind of sits between a few departments for us and really is its own standalone thing. I wouldn’t even call it its own like special job function, although it kind of is now. And who are we missing? We’ve got event marketing is a huge one for us. So yeah, there’s like all different facets and they each have very different skill sets. And we outsource a lot of things too. So we’ve got our parent company, Keyword Studios. So we’ve got graphic design resources on that side. And then we externally leverage SEO agency and a paid media agency, so paid advertising. And then we have a PR agency we use too. So all totally different functions and different skill sets involved, but they all play together really nicely.

Greg Posner: 05:35: 06:23: It’s funny in a similar way, right? We were talking with some people who create games, right? And they’re design artists. And all of a sudden there were so many different makeups in the artists, right? There’s 2D artists, 3D artists, there’s environmental artists. And then it’s like, you know what? Every position is like this. And marketing is no different, right? Because, you know, Yeah, I’ve been doing some of the social media stuff with the podcast, but like there’s other parts of marketing. I don’t even wrap my head around, right? I mean, when we’re doing stuff with the sales team or creating qualified leads, right? And I’m familiar with the terminology, but it starts to kind of like boggle my mind how deep in the terminology in the marketing world gets. But keeping it simple to begin with, if you’re coming out of school and you’re interested in marketing in your own Mind is there a best place to get started that gives you kind of visibility across the spectrum? Or is there kind of like find your passion and follow your passion?

Christine Dart: 06:23: 11:02: I’m somebody who I would say I Don’t want to say I found my passion and followed my passion because it wasn’t necessarily that but I did I go where opportunity led me. I would say I was very much an opportunist in my marketing career. So my, I mean, so my background isn’t marketing at all. My very first career that I had, I was a mechanical designer. So I did like 3D solid work stuff in the aerospace industry. And I designed tools that were used in the manufacturing repair of aircraft parts. So like, very far cry from what I do today. And I just, I was bored with it. And When I was in high school and college, I taught ballroom dancing, so I started a ballroom dance studio, or not a studio, but just like a business. It was just me, solopreneur, and I was teaching dance lessons. I actually first started pitching my services on Craigslist. And then I started hosting a weekly salsa night in Denver and I had to learn how to like get people on the door to that. So that was like my first introduction to marketing. There’s probably some other historic introductions too, but I just kind of never really knew what marketing, that I was doing marketing back then until I kind of had my own business that I had to build up. And then eventually I kind of realized I liked marketing and I really liked kind of the design side of it. So, I kind of got my foot in that way with like figuring out, okay, events seem to work and, you know, get you traction. And you need nice flyers to help attract people to your events if they’re like local, right? And you need a website. And so, those were kind of the first things I learned. So, mind you, like I just was self-taught in marketing when I got started. And then my first actual job that I took on was for a skateboarding company. skateboard manufacturing company. They manufactured skateboards and they were like, yeah, we need somebody to do marketing. We don’t know anything about marketing, so have at it, go figure it out. So I was very just scrappy and just tried and tested different things. And I kind of just built my career up from there. So for me, it was very much like opportunity what was available. So it was really figuring out like, social media and just doing my own graphic design and doing my own websites and or building those for other people. So I eventually kind of started my own business doing that. And eventually I found my way into marketing automation, which seemed to be a niche at the time that really wasn’t tapped too much. So automation and operations to some degree. So that was actually where I started focusing for a while. But because of the types of experience I had had, I had really looked all the way across the board at, you know, dabbled in all these different marketing practices. And so I was able to get a more generalist experience. So what I always recommend, back to your question, what I always recommend to people that are just kind of starting out is think about what you want to do in the future. If you know, like, are you somebody that’s trying to go to a marketing leader type of position, like, you know, VP, head of C suite, something like that? And how big of a company are you looking to go? Like, are you looking to go corporate? Are you looking to go like fortune 500? Are you looking to go startup? because your path is going to be different depending on kind of what trajectory you want to go. Like, do you want to be in technology? Or if you’re somebody where you’re like, I don’t necessarily want to be a marketing leader, but I enjoy marketing. And I kind of, you know, want to be able to just produce work and execute work. And that’s what I love to do. So if you’re somebody that is the latter, you might want to find a specialty that you really like. So, there’s tons of free information online and you can kind of dabble and, you know, hopefully if somebody is a student or something, they get a little experience in all of the categories, but I definitely recommend looking online and seeing if there’s a specialty that intrigues you. And, you know, Find people on LinkedIn, send them a message, and just say, hey, I see this what you do. I’m exploring career opportunities for myself. I’d love to learn about what your day-to-day is like if you’d be open to hopping on a call with me and chatting. Regardless of what you want to do, I think that’s always a great place to start is just kind of chat with people that are in the role and see what their path was. And then for people that are interested in being a leader, if you can kind of get in with a startup early on, I think that’s going to be your best. Just jump into the fire, get your hands dirty, and start wearing all of the hats and learning all of the skills. So you just have to really want to do that, though, because it’ll be a lot of work. But if you’re excited about it, it’s fun.

Greg Posner: 11:03: 13:06: I want to kind of just kind of double down on a few of the points that you made there because I love a few of them and we could tie them back to the gaming world as well. All right. Uh, the first is there are many different roles out there, right? And what type of learner are you? What type of ambition do you have? And there’s no good or bad one here, right? Some people like yourself, you are a solopreneur, so I can’t say that word, right? Solo entrepreneur. And I love that because that gets your hands dirty in a little bit of everything, right? Whether you’re starting your own salsa studio classes, right? Whether you want to start a car wash business, a lemonade stand, right? It doesn’t matter, right? Learn how you can get your name out there. Learn how people react to, but some people aren’t that ambitious that they want to go do that. So we take a look at, in my world, like the idea of a AAA studio, right? You can go work for a gaming studio, but you will be told to do what you do and you stay in your lane. There’s nothing wrong with that, because you could start to absorb everything from within that. You won’t have the same breadth as maybe someone else in that world, but you can start to learn what you like. And maybe you’ll learn that, hey, I don’t like this as much. I’m going to go somewhere else. And these AAA studios have that. Whereas if you go to an indie studio, you might be that solo entrepreneur again, where you’re kind of working in all different aspects of it. And the final point that you made that I really love is the same thing we talk about on many of our episodes, which is networking, right? People don’t bite if you ask them a question of what they do, what they love, what they don’t love, and how they do it. We’re talking to some friends in town now that are trying to open a cheese shop, and as they go to the town next door, they have another shop just like that. Ask what works, what doesn’t work, and they’re like, oh, they’re not going to answer my questions. No, people love to talk about themselves. So the more you can say, hey, why did you do this? Do you like this move? I think more people need to learn to network with these people, even if they don’t know them, because people will be honest with them. If you have these questions, and you’re trying to learn, people will help you understand and guide you. And I think when it comes to the world of marketing, there is a lot there, right? It overwhelmed me the first time I looked at it, because I was looking at Salesforce, I was looking at all these other HubSpot stuff, I was just like, I don’t even know where to start. So I love everything you said there. But if we kind of dabble down to what you love, and what you don’t love, right? Like, when you come to help shift, was it maybe three years ago, I think?

Christine Dart: 13:07: 13:09: Not even, it’s a little over two.

Greg Posner: 13:09: 13:38: A little over two years, right? You come to a company where we have some sort of established standards already, and you’re coming in with, I assume, sort of kind of creative freedom as long as you stay within limits. But how do you take a look at Helpshift and determine What do I want to do here? What do I need to do here? How do I hire the right people? I guess that part of the question is, there are roles that you’ve realized you don’t like in marketing, and you want to hire people that you know are better than you.

Christine Dart: 13:38: 13:41: Which question do you want me to start with? Because there’s a few.

Greg Posner: 13:41: 13:52: When you’re coming to a new company at a high level marketing position, how do you make sure you stay in the lines, I guess, but also spark some creative freedom?

Christine Dart: 13:53: 16:35: Yeah. So, you know, you need to be in tune with the rest of leadership and, you know, your CEO and understand what the goals are. Cause that’s kind of the first and foremost priority is making sure that you’re aligned. Right. And especially if you’re coming in as like, you know, a C suite or, you know, VP or senior leader, if you feel like you off the bat, aren’t going to vibe with the CEO and you’re not going to be aligned, like that might not be a job that you want to take. because you’re probably going to be like fighting each other all the time because you’re going to have different visions on things. So I think that’s probably actually even the first step is to make sure that you’re aligned with the company goals and then when you come in, if you’re already familiar with what the company goals are and you’ve hopefully asked some good questions about what have some of the challenges been and what’s worked in the past, what hasn’t, why did you change strategies, what were the previous strategies you’ve run, you can kind of start to get an understanding of what the pitfalls were and why. You should understand what was the market like at that time too because something that didn’t work you know, a few years ago might work tomorrow because the markets changed or the needs of the market have changed. So I would say first understanding a baseline of where you’re at and like where the company has been at since before you joined. And then, you know, if you’re walking into a team that’s already there, that already exists, you have to get to know everybody and their personalities and what they’re strong at. And, you know, like connect with them as human beings, because that’s how you’re going to get to understand like all right, maybe somebody has been kind of pigeonholed into this particular role, but their strengths are actually over here. And so you always want to be able to try to play to people’s strengths. And maybe that just means that you actually change how roles are assigned within your department first. So for me, like, I’d rather start with the team I have and figure out, you know, how can we make sure everybody’s sitting in a good situation where they’re both happy and productive and figure out if there’s any coaching that’s needed and, you know, where there’s maybe some skill gaps and you can either fill that in with coaching and training, you can fill that in with hiring, or you could fill that in with outsourcing from an agency and kind of figuring that out. So I would say that was the approach that I took when I came to help shift. And then sometimes over time, you realize that there’s definitely some gaps you need to hire for that, or you might need to restructure a little bit more aggressively and kind of change your team. But you know, by the time you’ve been at least there for a few months, you might have an idea of like what you really need to get things off the ground.

Greg Posner: 16:35: 18:15: You said a few things there that I think are again, just worth restating, right? One is one of the ones I think is most important that interviews for companies go both ways, right? You think you’re the one being interviewed, but at the same time, if it’s not a fit, if you don’t vibe with the leadership or your coworker, your potential coworkers at a company, right, even if it’s the greatest sounding job in the world, it’s not going to be fun, right? You need to be able to get along with your coworkers, even in a day where most people may work remote, you still are responsible for a helping someone else deliver a project or them helping you. So if there’s no vibing going on, it may not be the best fit. The second one is I liked some of the questions that you said, like what works, what hasn’t worked, kind of these baseline metrics. So you have an understanding going in. The more you’re educated about the role you’re about to take on, why things may have not worked as they should have in the past, you don’t want to make the same mistakes twice. And then coaching, I think, you know, as an employee, right, when someone new as a manager comes in and says, Hey, I love what you’re doing. But maybe you want some help here. I as an employee love that, because it just shows that the manager is taking the time to see what I’m doing, how I’m working, and they’re making a recommendation. And, again, as an employee, that’s just something that is important to me because it means that the manager or whoever’s coming in has my best interest in and I can trust them. So I really love all those points that you made. And the second part of that question, which I’m going to kind of alter a little bit, is when you identify kind of who’s on your team and what they specialize in. My question to you, Christine, would be what do you love about marketing and what don’t you love about marketing? And is that someone you wanted to hire for right away in that role of something you don’t love because you know you can have someone better, for lack of better words, to come in that doesn’t.

Christine Dart: 18:15: 20:57: Yeah, I mean, delegation is always important, right? And whether you’re a really small business owner and, you know, like, let’s not even talk about marketing, let’s just talk about you’re running the business and you need to figure out like how to get everything done in a day. And I think the common example I always hear is like, If you really hate doing taxes and accounting, hire a bookkeeper and a CPA because you can outsource that stuff and then you can focus on what you are passionate about and what matters to run your business. So you can think about that in terms of marketing too as a marketing leader. And for me today, the priority is really making sure my team has everything they need and making sure they’re equipped with… Whether it’s resources or whether it’s, you know, ideas and decision making or editing their work or, you know, making sure we’re on the right track for something. Are we monitoring the, you know, appropriate KPIs? For me, that’s where I need to be spending my time is looking at kind of the longer term picture and making sure that we’re kind of all working together to get towards that same picture. And, you know, everybody’s got kind of their piece of the pie that they’re they need to be focused on and make sure it’s it’s done well. So it’s kind of overseeing. So like, yes, absolutely. Delegate and figure out like who has what strings and enjoys doing certain things and hire that person. So they can get you where you need to go rather than trying to… Something we don’t talk about a lot when people are newer into management is how difficult it is to actually delegate before you’re used to it because it’s scary because you’re so used to being in control and being responsible for everything that you’re like, oh my God, if I don’t do it, it’s not going to get done right or they’re not going to see the vision I have in my head or it’s going to take me longer to tell somebody else how to do it and then go edit their work and fix their work than it is for me to just do it myself. So people are afraid to let go of the reins. But that’s why when you’re interviewing people and you’re deciding who needs to come in somewhere, even if you’re interviewing and choosing an agency to support you, you really want to, you know, make sure that you feel comfortable with their experience, their ideas, their passion even, so that you can feel comfortable letting go of the reins. And what’s going to happen is because it’s somebody that just gets to focus on that one thing. Like they’re probably going to be doing it with some passion and produce something better than you actually could have produced because they’ve got the mental bandwidth for it. Whereas you’re like trying to focus on 2000 other different things. And then, you know, what you do is just not going to be probably even the quality that you hoped.

Greg Posner: 20:57: 21:20: That’s fine. That was going to be my next question. I’m glad you kind of went into that is me personally. I don’t think I’m a good delegator and I’d love to become a better delegator, but, but Were you a delegator to begin with, knowing you were a solo entrepreneur? And I imagine you liked that hands on everything. How did you get into the mindset of, hey, I need to start delegating work? Was it just stress?

Christine Dart: 21:23: 24:15: Previous job that I had before help shift, I think is where I started learning how to do that and realizing it needed to be done. So I was working for a boutique consulting firm. We really wanted to provide exceptional work to clients and we were essentially overhauling their all things revenue. So marketing, sales, and customer success, marketing operations, rev ops. So I was in charge of the marketing side of that for our clients. The more clients you have assigned to you, the harder it gets to deliver exceptional work to everybody. So initially, I grew with this company, so they were very small when I started, and then I think we had tripled in size in a year’s time or something like that. Very quickly, we started taking on so much work that we were all kind of bogged down. We’re like, okay, we have to hire more people that are going to be supporting the project and be the executors. We, you know, I had some people that were brought on to my team and that was, they were very, very junior level. So it was kind of like having, you know, a fractional VP and then having like some junior level people supporting us underneath. And so that actually was what was that thing that people are scared of with delegating where it’s like, Oh my gosh, I’m just going to have to spend all my time like editing and fixing work. And I might as well just do it myself at this point. And so it was a learning process for me. And I would say the biggest thing I learned is if you’re trying to hire in a way that’s saving your company money, saving yourself some money by going for the smallest end of the budget that you can, so basically somebody that’s brand new, you have to be prepared to have the time to help support those people. Because one, it’s not fair to them. And two, you’re going to be doing yourself a disservice because you’re just like, not truly able to delegate like you really have to coach. So, I would say that was probably a mistake that we made, you know, being kind of a smaller company and just trying to like figure out how do we keep up with the, you know, amount of work that we’re able to take on right now. And, you know, what I found is the solution for that if you can afford it is to be able to hire somebody with more experience if you’re trying to like fully actually just give up certain aspects of the work. Otherwise, and I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with hiring people that are new because I think everybody needs experience and I love working with people that are new in their career and being able to mentor and help them grow and see their potential unlock. And I always have things I learned from them too. You just need to make sure you’re allowing yourself the bandwidth and space to support that because at least for a certain amount of time. Because if you’re hiring somebody that just does not have the experience in something, they are going to need the coaching. And yeah, I don’t know. It should just be fair to both parties.

Greg Posner: 24:16: 24:53: Yeah, I mean, even when you have a new hire that’s part of your company, onboarding is still typically three to six months until they’re fully comfortable with it. And now you’re hiring an outside agency to come in and help. Totally. Split between different ways. And I think it kind of comes down to you get what you pay for. And again, if you’re willing to coach, it’s okay, right? You can help coach young people and get them to kind of see what you’re trying to do. But if you’re just trying to outsource, I need you to take care of this and be done with it, right? You’re going to have to spend a little more money to get there. Let’s jump into our rapid fire round, which I think eventually I’ll stop explaining, but I’ll leave a few questions to you here and just answer them right off your cuff. Good to go?

Christine Dart: 24:53: 24:54: Good to go. Cool.

Greg Posner: 24:54: 24:57: What did you have for breakfast today?

Christine Dart: 24:57: 24:59: I haven’t eaten breakfast yet.

Greg Posner: 24:59: 25:00: No coffee?

Christine Dart: 25:00: 25:01: I did have some coffee.

Greg Posner: 25:01: 25:08: Yeah, and some water. We’ll count coffee as breakfast then. If you were going to go to a bar, what is the drink you will be ordering?

Christine Dart: 25:09: 25:29: So, everybody hates this answer because I won’t give you a straight answer. It depends on my mood. It depends on the bar. It depends on the wine selection or the cocktail selection or the beer selection. Yeah. So, I kind of like all of the things and I just like them to be done well.

Greg Posner: 25:29: 25:31: I just need a nice drink. That’s all you need.

Christine Dart: 25:31: 25:32: No cheap wine.

Greg Posner: 25:32: 25:40: There you go. What is your favorite or I guess what video game are you playing right now, if any?

Christine Dart: 25:40: 25:56: Nations of Darkness. I’ve been playing it for like a year and I feel like it’s time to find something new. I was just kind of like using it as a learning experience because I kept getting ads for it and I wanted to see what it was and then I got addicted to it and then now I’m just kind of I’m actually starting to get bored of it.

Greg Posner: 25:58: 26:17: But it’s a cool game. As an aside, if you come visit the blog post at afterwards, you can see Christine playing Get Off My Lawn at GDC. Or the little Brandy game. People love seeing that video. Finally, last question is, what is your dream vacation?

Christine Dart: 26:17: 26:28: honestly, that just have like a year sabbatical and kind of hop around without an itinerary and just, yeah, like all over.

Greg Posner: 26:28: 26:30: Yeah, backpack the world.

Christine Dart: 26:31: 26:43: Yeah, well, I also have a couple bucket list items. So I would really like to see the Northern Lights. And I’d like to hike in Patagonia. Those are two big ones.

Greg Posner: 26:43: 26:46: Northern Lights, go up to what, Norway? Isn’t that where you see them?

Christine Dart: 26:46: 26:49: Yeah, or Finnish Lapland.

Greg Posner: 26:49: 27:32: There you go. All right. That’s it. You’re off the hot seat. Easy peasy. I want to go back to delegation and this is more of a cheeky question for you, but I also want to talk about OKRs because OKRs are something that we do at Helpshift and a lot of companies also do it. I think it’s a Google framework. And it’s often said that the marketing team’s OKRs are kind of the best OKRs in the company and the ones that we should be modeling after. And I know Brandon, who also helps with the podcast, is a big lover of OKRs and helps you with them. So I was hoping you can talk about what OKRs are at a high level and how that’s a driving motivator potentially for your team.

Christine Dart: 27:32: 32:22: Yeah, so OKR stands for Objectives and Key Results. And it sounds like a very corporate term, but we have been using them at HelpShift even when we were a startup. So it doesn’t have to just be a corporate thing. And they’re actually very useful. And really, what it is is a tool to have company alignment across and down to make sure that we’re all looking at the larger company goals, but being able to break them down in a way that’s meaningful to each of our departments and independent positions in the company. Because when you take, you know, usually like these large company goals are going to be something like, achieving a certain amount of revenue or they’re like just really large milestones. So somebody that’s, you know, a social media marketer or somebody that’s like a talent recruiter or somebody that’s a graphic designer might see those and be like, okay, so how am I like, like taking my role of like focusing on this thing and contributing to this like big piece of the puzzle that I, you know, can influence in some way, but like I can’t take that on as my sole responsibility. It just kind of, things can get lost in translation or you start thinking about all of your to-dos, like okay, like I know that my boss said that I need to get this, this, this, and that done this quarter. So like how does that align with this company goal? So OKRs allow us to kind of like cascade down into smaller and smaller chunks so we can see actually where our influence is fitting into that puzzle. So for the marketing department, for example, we will take a look at the company OKRs for the quarter and the year together. And we’ll have a discussion as a team about like, what are the things that, you know, we’ve already talked about that we know we need to do. We also, I will say as a department, we look at this like from the year level too. So we already have kind of like a roadmap that we planned out for 2024 back in the fall. And so we just make sure like, that we’re all aligned on our individual parts on how we’re going to help contribute that. And plus, you know, as a department, we’re like, even though we each have our own responsibilities, they all overlap and work with each other to a really great degree. So, you know, everybody kind of gets in a group and communicates on like, okay, you and I are going to like, work on this. And here’s what we’re going to measure to determine whether we’re actually helping to influence this company, OKR. And I should break down the difference between an objective and a result to a key result. I didn’t do that yet. So the objective is, it’s more of a direction that you want to head. So you might say that like, hey, this quarter, we plan to provide greater transparency into what the marketing department is doing. And so that’s the objective. But then how do you measure that? your key results are the measurement and that can be something that’s numerical like a percentage or a dollar amount or a number of something, but it can also be a binary yes or no, this was completed. So something like, hey, we’re going to provide greater transparency, how do you measure that? Maybe there’s not really a number that we can use, but we can create a dashboard in Salesforce or we can have some sort of a PowerPoint deck that goes out at the end of every month or at the end of a quarter with highlights from some of the activities that we did and what the results were from those activities. That is a way that we can align as a department how each of us are going to you know, make sure that we have that piece of the puzzle that’s showing visibility. Let’s maybe use a more tangible OKR. So how about something like winning a certain amount of pipeline? And so say that’s the company goal. Is that like, hey, we want X number of dollars in the pipeline for Q3. And so from a marketing department, we might think about like, OK, we think we can reasonably influence this much of the pipeline. So, you know, maybe it’s like 25% of whatever that number was or 50%. And so we’ll like pick whatever that dollar amount is and say we’re going to influence this. We’ll see this much money in the pipeline that was influenced by marketing activities. And that’s the department level that we’re looking at. And that’s how we’re going to measure it. And so then we’ll kind of go down through each individual and figure out how each individual is going to like what they’re going to focus on in order to achieve that key result.

Greg Posner: 32:22: 33:05: What I like about this is that, and I’ve been talking about this recently online, is that, you know, as we progress in our careers, it becomes harder to measure what we do in a day. And I always reference that I started off as a support agent, and we talked about how many tickets we closed. But now all of a sudden, when you start managing, you start overseeing groups of people, your metrics and your target changes, and it’s hard, there becomes days where it’s like, what did I do today? I didn’t accomplish anything. And with OKRs, you can start to visually, visually show, hey, here is the mountain we’re trying to climb, and this is how high we can get it, and this is how high we can go, we can progress towards it. And I think it’s a great way to show how you can make an impact on the greater goals of the company. And I think it just is a good driver for people, because again, it’s visual, you can see it.

Christine Dart: 33:05: 33:07: Yeah, absolutely.

Greg Posner: 33:07: 33:17: I got a couple more questions here for you. And the first one would be, as a marketer, what skill do you think you tap into most often that you’ve learned in school that you would recommend people who are looking into marketing?

Christine Dart: 33:18: 33:19: that I’ve learned in school.

Greg Posner: 33:19: 33:23: That’s something, I guess you can learn it anywhere, right?

Christine Dart: 33:23: 35:09: Yeah. I think soft skills are really important. I think a lot of marketing is about listening. And so I feel, I noticed that I’m quiet a lot of times in, you know, when I go to meetings with my peers, so the other members of our senior leadership, And I feel like I’m often a very quiet person in there. And I used to kind of question myself and be like, am I not bringing enough to the table? Am I not being transparent enough? And then, you know, I’ve realized through self-reflection that it’s like, no, I just like to really sit and listen so I can have an idea what’s going on. and then make decisions based on that information. And I think that’s an important characteristic of people that work in marketing because our main job is to be in tune with the market, to understand the market, the people that make up the market, so the people we’re selling to, right? What their needs are, what their wants are, what trends are happening that’s either impacting them or that they’re getting on board with or wanting. Um, and then being aware of how we can, you know, reach them with the right message. And so I think to succeed in marketing, that’s probably the biggest soft skill that you could ever have. Um, technical skills really depends on, I think what your focus is, but as far as being a marketing leader, honestly, like being able to set goals like, okay, ours is really important. Being able to make a plan, um, and execute on the plan, but also recognizing when, where, and if you should pivot on something that you’ve put into place.

Greg Posner: 35:09: 35:51: You brought a good point and kind of, what was I going to ask? I had such a good question. Now it’s just left in my mind. You’re talking about the soft skills and talking to people. So my question is, you know, Again, another thing I realized about myself is that as I started moving up in my career, I stopped reading as much about technology and understanding what’s happening. I still do, but I used to spend all day reading what’s going on in the world. You’re talking about algorithms changing online, marketing changing. It’s cyclical. You get the same thing that comes over and over again. How do you, Christine, stay in tune with what’s happening in the market these days? Do you spend time during the day? Just leave the question as is.

Christine Dart: 35:51: 38:22: By market, do we mean like video games and customer engagement market or marketing world? Well, I went to a conference a couple of weeks ago, which was really great. And there were, this conference was interesting because it was a very social feel to it. It was a small boutique. And there were a lot of round tables that they had set up with very specific So you could kind of look at the topics and see what was most interesting to you and then go talk with people at that table about that topic for like an hour. And so the event was called Spring, spelled S-P-R-Y-N-G by Winter, which is also spelled with a Y. The I becomes a Y. And they just really did a great job kind of facilitating that and having moderators at each table that helped get people kind of talking about what their challenges were. And they also did a great job with the types of people that they, like the mix of people that came to this event. So it was very much all like VPs of marketing, CMOs, heads of marketing, a mixture of different sized companies. So it was a great way to understand like, hey, what’s working for you guys? What tools are you guys using? What strategies are not working for you anymore? And then having that discussion. And so I would say that was better than anything I could go read online anywhere or any news I could digest because you’re looking at the whole picture rather than just a piece of the puzzle. So you might hear a piece of the puzzle like, Oh, like, you know, influencer marketing and user generated content ads are like, super hot right now. And like, that’s what’s working. And you know, but that’s just like one piece of the puzzle. And it works for certain types of businesses. Whereas this was kind of hearing more of an overarching, oh, and they were pretty much all B2B companies too, which was also, you know, helpful where like there’s similar strategies in place. So it was kind of good to hear that some of the challenges that I had been facing were pretty ubiquitous, you know, across all marketers. And that, you know, hear how people were pivoting and what things were working for them, just to kind of make some predictions on where things are going with marketing techniques. I guess, honestly, networking and talking to people is probably the way I usually do it. There’s a couple of networking groups I’m part of online too or there’s like Slack channels you can go in and ask people questions or, you know, see what people are up to these days.

Greg Posner: 38:22: 38:31: Can you talk to high level? You don’t have to go into detail here but what are some of those challenges when it comes to B2B marketing that maybe we don’t realize?

Christine Dart: 38:31: 40:23: Yeah, so I would say there’s… You know, going back to when we were talking about roles and functions, there’s definitely some shifts in the responsibilities of marketing departments. So, um, something that I thought was maybe a little bit unique to us is, so we have business development under the hood of marketing at help shift. And, um, it used to be under sales and, and then we kind of did away with the program and then reopened it under marketing. And like I hadn’t worked for a company before that had, you know, BDRs under marketing. They were always under sales and just in my past. And so I thought it was kind of a unique thing that we did. And then at this conference, just a couple of weeks ago, I found out like everybody was managing BDR teams. So I’m like, Oh, like everybody’s doing this now. I didn’t realize like that was such a big shift where, you know, and I think it has to do with account-based marketing being so popular now where we have Especially for B2B companies where sales and marketing really need to be working hand-in-hand and marketing needs to have a lot of ownership over any kind of new business generation. So a lot of marketing teams are managing BDR teams now. The other thing that I’ve noticed that’s getting really popular is customer marketing. So I mentioned we kind of opened up that function about a year ago. And that’s something that’s been working really, really well for us is just being able to, one, like get to know our customers better and build better relationships with them. But also finding ways to be mutually beneficial, like what kind of opportunities can we present to our customers to come on Player: Engage podcasts, for example, and be able to talk about the hard work they’ve done with their team and put a spotlight on the hard work they’ve done.

Greg Posner: 40:23: 41:10: It’s fun when everything works together, as you were mentioning. As the sales engineer in me, we have new white papers coming out that your team’s working on with our customers. And some of the metrics in there are just so exciting to be able to share online. It’s things you can tell stories about. And I think Marketing is creating these great content for our team. And then it’s our job to build a story around it, to tell it to the right prospect. And then, as you mentioned, you’re working closer with our enterprise account teams now as well, to build kind of account based marketing to them. Very, very specific. And I think it’s really cool stuff. It really shows that like, we’re going to, we’re going to take a look at our top of our funnel, or I guess the top of our funnel, the most important customers and say, Hey, how can we better connect with them? Because it is a giant puzzle and understanding what connects with who, and I think it’s really cool stuff that you guys are working on.

Christine Dart: 41:10: 41:12: Yeah, thank you.

Greg Posner: 41:12: 41:31: I’m going to change up the question here this time and saying, if I’m starting my own indie studio and it’s me and my buddy and we’re really great developers creating the coolest game ever, but we are terrible at marketing, what would your recommendation be at hiring for marketing? Is there a specific role that would help an indie studio the most? Is it just the sole entrepreneur?

Christine Dart: 41:33: 43:13: It’s a tough one because I think it depends on a few factors. Obviously, budget matters. I’m assuming we’re going on a low budget, but you don’t know because sometimes people are like, no, I know I need to invest in marketing, so I’m willing to invest in somebody really great. And if you can invest in somebody really great, I would find somebody that’s got startup experience that’s successfully lead marketing initiatives at a startup because they’re going to kind of understand how to wear all those different hats and, you know, they’ll probably have a vision for what will work and what doesn’t. And I would also present the caveat of expect some failure because any startup, any new indie studio, anything like that, you’re going to have to try and fail a little bit to see what’s going to work for you for marketing, especially when you’re working with a marketing team of one and a small budget. And most of what you do probably has to be pretty grassroots and free besides time. So just allow some flexibility in that. Don’t expect miracles to come out of a small budget. But that being said, a team of one can still get you pretty far and at least get you to the next stage. Just have some grace with yourselves, your own goals, and whoever you hired to do your marketing. to just know that there’s probably going to need to be some failure and that’s okay as long as you’re learning from it and figuring out if you need a reverse direction and pull your funding from something and try something new quickly rather than just continually failing over and over.

Greg Posner: 43:13: 43:24: That’s our sales slogan of fail fast, right? If you see something that’s not going to work, don’t be afraid to cut your losses now because it’s just going to cost you more money to try and recoup what happened.

Christine Dart: 43:25: 43:26: Yep. And time.

Greg Posner: 43:26: 43:54: And time. That is valuable. So, Christina, I have one last question for you. As a Helpshift employee, and we’ve been acquired by Keywords a little over a year ago, we’ve seen a lot of cool marketing initiatives that you’ve helped lead the company into and some more exciting things to come. When you take a look at your Keywords and Helpshift career, is there something that you’ve helped create here at the company that just truly excites you or things that you would put on that resume to say, hey, this was such a cool thing that we’ve done?

Christine Dart: 43:54: 45:47: Yeah, honestly, the most recent thing I think is just the ABM program that we’ve been well, All right, maybe the customer marketing program has been the most exciting. It’s hard to choose because I feel like we’ve got so many exciting initiatives going on right now. But our customer marketing program has been so elements of it existed before we officially started calling it customer marketing. And some of it was owned by customer success. Some of it was owned by marketing. Some of it was like a joint effort. And so now it’s really making not just a joint effort between customer success and marketing, but also customer success sales and marketing and account management, which is kind of like another function that we’ve propped up at Keywords Player Engagement. And I just love seeing us help to create evangelists of Helpshift that don’t just care about our product, but also care about what we’re doing. Sorry, I keep saying help shift. And it really the story is like, this is like the post acquisition thing, right? It’s keyword studios now, right? And so just seeing like, how much they also care about the things we care about, and the types of thought leadership that we want to bring to the industry. And you know, the evolutions that we see in the industry that are coming that we’re as a technology company, you know, like helping to advance and that we’re excited about and like to see our customers also kind of like getting out there on panels and speaking about the same kinds of things. To me, that is really exciting to just kind of see this mechanism of not just us internally cross departmentally working together well, but also like our customers working in conjunction with us. And yeah, I don’t know. I just think it’s really cool.

Greg Posner: 45:48: 46:24: Yeah, it is. And again, as a sales engineer, I mean, it’s exciting to see these companies speak up and say good things and all the specific marketing we will do towards them. I think it’s really making an impact on how we operate and I think it’s great. With that, Christine, I think I’m out of questions. We got to learn a lot. We learned about interviewing, how it goes both ways, learning about metrics, learning about the different types of marketing in there. different roles that exist. I learned a lot and I appreciate your time today. Before we end the interview though, is there anything you’d like to say as a good buyer?

Christine Dart: 46:24: 47:06: I just want to thank you all for listening. I know this is probably kind of a different topic today than usual, less video game focused for sure. But still, marketing is something that we all, you know, interface with whether we’re the consumer seeing marketing, Um, and knowing how we’re being marketed to, or whether, you know, we’re the business owners or, you know, leaders of a company that need to figure out our marketing strategy. So really appreciate you all listening. Um, and I’m just really glad that Greg didn’t ask me about my MySpace top eight, because before this interview, he sent me the link to my old MySpace profile and started asking me that question. I was like, Oh no, this is going to be on the podcast.

Greg Posner: 47:07: 47:57: We will have Christine’s MySpace, along with all her other links that she may not know exist or out there, available on our Player Engage website. That’s I was going to leave the MySpace off, but then she told me the podcast wasn’t her favorite thing she was doing. So now we’re just going to throw everything out there. I think no matter what marketing plays a role, no matter what vertical you’re in, what industry you’re in, there is marketing going on. And I think just for people to understand what is happening, it is insightful in itself. So I think this is a great learning experience. I appreciate your time, Christine. As I mentioned, I’ll mention again, we’ll have the keywords and help shift website on our player engage blog podcast as well everywhere. I will share it on social media. I again, Christine, really appreciate you taking the time to come out today and I hope you have a great rest of your day.

Christine Dart: 47:57: 47:59: Yeah, you too, Greg. Talk to you later.

Greg Posner

Avid gamer with a passion for storytelling. My goal is to unpack the narratives of customers, partners and others to better understand how industry-leaders tackle today's challenges.

View all posts


Subscribe to keep your game strong with the freshest Player Experience insights from the industry's finest. 🎮

Community Clubhouse @ GDC

Player: Engage

Reserve your spot now to join the ultimate destination for enhancing player experience and support, ensuring trust and safety, boosting community engagement, achieving compliance, focusing on player-centric game development, and driving revenue growth.