An Exclusive Chat with Amrita Gurney, VP of Marketing at Float
At Artemis, we pride ourselves in doing recruitment a little differently. If you’ve partnered with us, maybe you’ve noticed…we ask a lot of questions. We work fast to become extensions of your business. We like strategy; helping you shape key roles necessary for scale, figuring out how to evaluate fit, and then becoming your brand ambassador in the market (and often a candidate’s very first touchpoint with your company).
We rely on our deep understanding of the different functions in the startup/scaleup org chart to do our jobs well. We also love to learn - a necessity when the pace of change in tech is - well - not exactly slow. One of the ways we stay up-to-date on different functions is a team favourite: the “Ask an Exec Lunch & Learn.” In true Artemis fashion we pull together all of our questions, ask a trusted leader in their field to give us 1 hour of their time, and then we soak up as much information as we can.
She started her tech career in Boston doing demand gen marketing for B2B startups and went on to lead marketing functions for strong brands we know and love like CrowdRiff and Audiobooks.com.
She joined Float in January 2022, where she has been building the marketing function from the ground up. She’s passionate about scaling marketing functions that make measurable contributions to revenue growth.
She has a marketing podcast! It’s called Standup Startup Brands and you can find it on Spotify, Apple, or wherever you get your podcasts.
How we know Amrita:
She’s a client! Our partnership with Amrita and Float began like many of our partnerships. She was already a leader in our network with a great reputation as a strong startup marketing leader. We knew her as a person and a leader whose values aligned with our own. We continued to stay in touch when she joined Float. When it came time for Amrita to grow her leadership team, we partnered on Float’s first Director of Growth Marketing search (which we filled with the incredible Sarah Klaassen!).
And now, some insights from Amrita!
Evolution of SaaS Marketing Strategies
Q: How has SaaS marketing changed in recent years?
Marketing at startups is a lot more than lead generation or performance marketing. It truly is an integrated discipline across Revenue/Growth, Brand and Product Marketing streams.
We are no longer in an environment of growing at all costs. Marketers need to think more about operating within more stringent constraints around payback periods.
The introduction of no-code and AI tools is a great lever for companies aiming to move swiftly. These tools will allow teams to work smarter and be more nimble.
Product-led growth is not the one-size-fits-all solution it was thought to be. It still allows marketing to take more revenue ownership, but not all strategies need to fit the product-led growth model, and that is okay.
B2B vs. B2C Marketers
Q: What are the key differences between B2B and B2C marketing environments?
I am oversimplifying here but the stakes are different. Especially when comparing higher-value B2B purchases with lower-value B2C purchases. If you buy the wrong lipstick, maybe you’ve wasted some money and you can recover from that. If you purchase the wrong CRM tool, it can cause problems ranging from internal reputational damage to even more expensive repercussions for the organization.
B2C markers usually deal with larger data volumes that require a more robust marketing infrastructure, and you can benefit from faster feedback loops which is great for experimentation and learning..
The role of brand is more obvious in B2C but this is one area where B2B and B2C may be more alike. I believe brand plays a role in influencing buyers in both B2B and B2C - a controversial take, I know!
Q: We are asked about T-shaped marketers often. What is a T-shaped marketer…and is it still important?
T-shaped marketers have deep skills in one discipline and shallower skills across other related disciplines. For example, a demand generation expert may have deep skills in SEM, SEO and conversion rate optimization and shallower skills in content marketing. They will not be experts in all of those areas, but they’ve been exposed to enough to be able to fill those gaps, especially for early-stage companies with small marketing teams.
A T-shaped marketer is more important in a company’s early days. Generalists are a necessity in, for example, a Seed-stage tech company with a small team and limited resources. A T-shaped marketer with a blend of 2-3 skills will have a broader impact. This is also helpful for redundancy planning. If someone on the team is sick or on vacation or at capacity, it helps to have individuals who can jump in and keep operations running smoothly.
As a company scales, the T-shaped marketer becomes less critical. Roles become more specialized and focused. It is no longer sustainable (and it’s often not scaleable) to have one person doing a jack-or-jill-of-all-trades role. You also (hopefully) will have more resources to split out functions.
Deep Dive into Marketing Functions
Q: Can you break down the different functional areas of marketing?
While there's fluidity in how teams are designed, common functions include:
Performance Marketing: Often sits inside demand gen, and focused on paid methods to direct people to the sales funnel, like SEO, SEM, and affiliate marketing.
Outbound Marketing: Includes ABM, events, and field marketing.
Content: Can either be part of demand generation or an independent function
Social Media: Often nested within content teams or under a broader brand umbrella.
Creative Teams: Design, copywriting, even web development sometimes lives here
Product Marketing: An underdeveloped area in startups that's gaining recognition.
Campaign Management: More common in larger organizations.
Motivation and Team Synergy
Q: How do you keep your team motivated?
In my experience, the most motivated teams understand their contribution to the bigger picture. As a leader, my job is to communicate and celebrate the unique ways each team member contributes to the broader objectives and mission. A demand generation team can often directly see their impact, but it might be trickier for product marketing to point to their wins. A content creator might see how their work impacts top-of-funnel traffic. I am consistently tying the “what we do” back to “why we do it” for my teams.
Communities and Peer Support
Q: What communities or peer groups do you rely on for support and mentorship?
I think there is a gap in support for marketing leaders, especially in Canada. One of the ways I fill that gap is through a Slack channel with a few leaders and friends in my close network. We all know and trust each other, so it has become a safe space for discussions. It’s a place we can go for advice on the questions keeping us up at night.
I belong to a handful of other marketing leadership communities, again mostly connecting over Slack. I miss the in-person interactions!
I also started a podcast called Standout Startup Brands. When I have a question about marketing or leadership and need to bounce an idea off of other marketing leaders, I’ll interview an expert on my podcast. I know I’m never the only person with the question, so it’s my way of learning for myself and hopefully helping others along the way!
Interviewing Marketing Leaders
Q: Can you share a few great questions you’ve received from marketing leadership candidates?
Great marketing leadership candidates will seek to understand the role and expectations of marketing within an organization. They know - and have already experienced - how companies approach marketing in different ways and have entirely different expectations of what marketing is. A strong candidate wants to understand quickly whether they align with this company’s approach.
Questions about culture, how best to contribute to strategic goals,, how they will be measured, and the expected impact and timeframe are all things I’d anticipate a candidate to dig into. It shows that they’re seriously assessing whether they can be successful here.
I like it when candidates ask who our company admires. It’s a question I would ask, too. The answer can give you valuable insights about the type of company they’re striving to become or emulate, and marketing’s role in achieving that future.
You can learn more from Amrita by tuning into her podcast, Standup Startup Brands, where she helps answer questions about brand building for marketers and founders at tech startups in the Seed to Series B stage, when companies don’t often have an established brand strategy or large teams and budgets.
You can also connect with Amrita over on Linkedin.
Thank you, Amrita!
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Artemis Canada is a boutique executive search firm specializing in placing top talent in the tech sector across Canada, the United States, and Europe. Our team of experienced recruiters has a proven track record of finding exceptional candidates for a variety of roles, from C-suite positions to high-demand individual contributors. For more information on our services, please visit our website at https://www.artemiscanada.com/