Marketers who are struggling with unwieldy technology stacks, who fear their companies lag the competition in the deployment and management of software, who worry they aren’t making the most of the tools at hand, know this — you are not alone.
This message permeates Anita Brearton’s articles and was a big drive in her founding CabinetM with Sheryl Shultz.
Brearton brings her years of experience as a tech start-up marketer and as CEO of an ecommerce company to remind marketers to take a step back, look at their overall business strategy and above all, breathe.
What was the biggest lesson you learned in 2016?
We founded CabinetM on the belief that it is really hard for companies to find the technology they need. And though we’ve validated that belief over and over, what we didn’t understand until this year is how much companies are struggling to catalog and manage the technology they have.
That lesson has had a big impact on the development of our platform and evolution of our mission, which is now to help marketing teams manage the technology they have AND find the technology they need.
What gives you the greatest satisfaction at work?
Seeing our very small and talented team transform my platform specifications into practical features and then seeing customers using the features we’ve developed. It never gets old.
Name one work-related moment that surprised or gave you an a-ha moment in 2016.
The discovery that many enterprise organizations have as much dark tech (internally developed marketing technology and integration code) as they do acquired marketing technology — and that keeping track of the dark tech is really difficult.
Did you ever take on a job you thought you couldn’t do?
For better or worse, I seem to do that on a regular basis.
The most recent example was taking on the CEO role of a venture-backed ecommerce company having spent my entire career in a B2B environment. Internet infrastructure to fashion for tweens was a huge jump. I wasn’t sure that I could do it but the VCs on the board were confident that I could and so I jumped.
In the end, that experience and the lessons I learned there about business processes and my own skills is what gave me the confidence to start CabinetM.
If you had to get rid of your computer or your phone, which would it be and why?
A year ago I might have said my phone since I’ve spent many frustrating years trying to remember to charge it, keep it near me and hear it ringing (we share an office and have to keep our phones on vibrate), whereas I sometimes feel my fingers are permanently glued to my computer keyboard.
Today though, I’d have to say I’d get rid of my computer because I just couldn’t give up the mobility of a phone.
In the last year I’ve trained myself to charge my phone every night and keep it near me throughout the day. I’ve also solved my “not hearing the phone problem” by enabling the hearing impaired option, so my phone now lights up when someone calls in case I don’t catch the vibration.
When you were seven years old, what did you want to be when you grew up?
A teacher and ballerina.