A Note from Our New Head of Marketing

July 5, 2022

Why should you care about a new Head of Marketing at Toolio? Does this mean you’ll be getting SPAMMED by Toolio now?  Or Toolio ads will begin following you around the internet like a creepy stalker? Well, honestly, that last one might start happening, but the mission of my position is bigger than selling people on Toolio; it’s about evangelizing for underserved disciplines. 

What I know about retail back office

I’ve heard on more than one occasion that retail back office jobs are the red headed step child. Critically important to company success. In charge of the biggest asset for retailers, inventory. Yet, these disciplines … “Don’t get no respect.” - Rodney Dangerfield - Michael Scott

My background

I come from a decade spent advocating for the marketing operations profession. During that time, I witnessed the incredible impact of something I call Discipline Evangelism (more on that below).

A decade ago, marketing operations professionals were the red headed stepchild of marketing: unvalued, underappreciated and underpaid. Today, marketing operations is often the first hire on a marketing team. They routinely rake in six-figure salaries, with the average after just five years of experience being $160,000 per year. The best of these folks are still fighting for their place with executives in strategic business decisions, but they’re on their way.

I’ve seen the careers of people skyrocket due to this growth. The benefits are many, but some of my favorite stories include:

  • The opportunity to afford their first home with enough rooms to have the size of family they never thought they’d have
  • Having so many job opportunities they can find a job where they can travel to any country to live and work
  • Building a thought leadership profile to monetize and becoming their own boss
  • Becoming financially independent and gaining the confidence to leave a toxic marriage

Advocating for a discipline changes peoples’ lives. I am honored to have been a part of making that happen for marketing operations. 

The marriage between my experience, Toolio and you

I’ll be honest, I wasn’t looking for a job. But, when I met Eytan and began learning about Toolio's customers and the back office disciplines supporting retail decisions around inventory, it intrigued me. So much of what I heard reminded me of marketing operations. The personalities are similar: hard-working, problem-solving and analytical minds. The challenges are similar too: in-the-weeds expertise that’s hard to explain to executives, sparse technology budgets and a world that’s in constant flux challenging what’s “always worked.”

Then I saw the tool, Toolio, and heard from customers how much it helps them. Again, this reminded me of my early days as a butt-in-seat marketer and my own experience with marketing automation tools. This mission, to provide the right tools to elevate the discipline, that spoke to me. 

As a marketer, I sell ideas to mass audiences. I wanted to bring that skillset to this problem. So although it’s my job to sell Toolio, I believe Toolio will grow faster and more sustainably as the disciplines we serve evolve in perceived importance. 

How will we do this together?

We’ll grow this space together through the help of my Discipline Evolution framework. 

Before I explain the framework, I have to say something about money. At the top of this framework is “Wage Increases.” That’s the end goal of the framework in my mind. Now, is making as much money as possible your end goal? Maybe. But I’m in no way attempting to convert you into quoting “greed is good '' or DiCaprio in Wolf of Wall Street. Plenty of people in these back office disciplines aren’t primarily driven by money. Again, this is the same as the marketing ops people I know - but as my example above illustrates - the money was a path to deeper needs. Safety. Belonging. Self-Actualization. Wage increases are the measuring stick by which we’ll know we made it. If you want to keep making your same salary, I’m sure your employer won’t mind.

Okay, onto the framework...

  • Wage Increases: Our end game here is to increase the visibility of the roles and promote the complexity of really great practitioners within these niche roles. 
  • Press: We need the press to acknowledge the emerging of these disciplines. When we hit a best job list, we’ll know we’re on the right track.
  • Events: Specific 1,000+ attendee events that focus on the discipline to aid in bringing more people to the discipline and continuing the education for those already involved.
  • Training: From all this knowledge, eventually formalized training and certifications are established. Think about accounting programs.
  • Niche Job Title Creation: As specializations become more respected and defined by the community that supports them, job titles act as recognition. We’re thinking about what these job titles might be for the future. Could it be Full Stack Merchant? Maybe a Merchant Ops role? We aren’t here yet, but these are the types of trends we see on the horizon.
  • Community: As enough people look to grow current skills or break into the discipline, communities emerge to support them.
  • Influencers: As people focus, best practices and lessons learned emerge. These are shared by leading influencers.
  • Technology Enablement: Companies start sprouting up to enable specializations with tools to help them do their jobs 
  • Specialization: Refined depth of knowledge and experiences within the discipline
  • Terminology: Specific terms to shorthand communication within the discipline and cross-functional teams
  • Jack-of-All-Trades Roles: Broad roles where employees have a breadth of responsibilities. This is the norm at especially small DTC companies, where something like merchandise planning is one of many responsibilities owned by a broad operations role.

What can you expect to see?

Looking at the space, I’d say we’re currently between technology enablement and influencer identification. This means it’s time to start building people up as influencers and build a community. We will be doing that simultaneously in the coming months. 

To that end, if you’ve made it this far, 1 - bless you and thank you, 2 - please reach out to get involved. Even if you don’t want to be an influencer, I would still love to meet you and know that this resonates with you. Connect with me on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/andreaelbee/ 

Lastly, on a personal note, I believe life is too short to pretend to be something you’re not. I take this role and my charge seriously, because your job is important to you, your family and your company …. Buuuuuut, I’m also a goofball and swear too much. You will see a very human side of Toolio from me and other folks on our team as we all work toward building back office disciplines into the well-respected, high-paying, modern jobs they should be. Life is too short to pretend, it’s also too short to live in Excel. Let’s DO this!

Andrea Lechner-Becker
Head of Marketing