Behind B2B #14: Emma Windsor
For the 14th instalment of Behind B2B, our series exploring the brightest minds in the industry, we meet marketing leader, podcast host and recent B2B convert Emma Windsor.
From a sports scholarship in the US to international marketing leader for Grenade, Emma Windsor has risen fast through the ranks of the marketing world – a testament to her passion for the craft in all its forms. In pursuit of a new challenge, the host of the Marketing Nuggets podcast recently made the switch to B2B land for the challenger consultancy, Elixirr – so we sat down with Emma to hear her story and get her thoughts on her experience so far.
Emma, you’ve worked for marketing teams all over the world – did you grow up with this career in mind?
To be honest, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do. I went to university in America on a tennis scholarship, and kept my options open with a degree in business. I ended up really liking both the management and the marketing side, and I wanted to stay in the US for a while after graduating, so I did my first marketing role there.
Then, I got a job in Ops over in Australia with the Olympics Committee. Sports was my passion, so that at least got me in the right area. But long term I wanted to be somewhere more creative, so I came back to the UK and did a Masters in PR.
To be honest, I didn’t love the PR side of it; I actually preferred digital marketing. Happily, I landed a job in the sports world, working with the NFL, the NBA and the NHL. That was where I really started to hone my skills across all different areas of marketing.
How did you become a marketing manager? And what eventually lured you over to the world of B2B?
Next, I became a T20 Project & Marketing Manager, then a Marketing Manager at Edgbaston. I knew nothing about cricket, but I really loved that role because it opened my eyes to all of the different avenues of marketing and how they all pull together to create maximum impact. That was my first look at stunt marketing, for example, and I remember thinking: I love this, I love doing a little bit of everything, seeing how it all comes together.
But it wasn’t just the practice of marketing I loved: I really liked being a part of the team. Camaraderie is always important to me, as is mentoring. Helping the next generation of marketing leaders climb the ranks is a huge source of satisfaction for me. At any rate, after Edgbaston, I did a stint at Grenade, where I played a big role in stunt marketing and worked on the international side.
But eventually, I thought it was time for a new challenge. I’d worked across so many areas of marketing and I thought B2B would be a new string to my bow. B2B gets a bad rap in terms of creative scope, but Elixirr are so ambitious – stunt marketing, campaign marketing, all the exciting stuff. I’m only six months in, but it’s been fantastic so far.
You made the switch in August 2021: what have the biggest differences been?
It’s interesting: there are plenty of differences (like more focus on middle of the funnel content, a slight shift away from influencer marketing, and some channel differences). But the key thing? It’s not about the quick wins. B2B is looking longer term, it’s about relationship building – actually, it’s a lot more tied to ‘people’ than B2C is because you have to nurture those relationships.
I’m spending a lot more time over on LinkedIn Ads and less time over on Instagram and TikTok for example. But whatever the platform is, it’s still the same premise: to take our audience on the right journey for them. I’m loving learning the nuances and also discovering that B2B marketers as just as passionate about doing the exciting aspects as B2C.
Speaking of podcasts: we’re big fans of yours! Marketing Nuggets offers great advice for aspiring marketing managers and old hands alike. What sparked the idea?
I really love the mentoring aspect of being a marketing manager, and I guess the podcast was born out of that. I see so many young, ambitious marketers that just need a bit of direction, a bit of steer. And I love to mentor, so week-in, week-out, I was having the same conversations with people, trying to help them.
Of course I’ll continue to have those conversations, but I wanted to create a platform where they could just go and dive into these bite-sized topics whenever they needed them. How to make a marketing plan, how to run a smooth stunt, how to get better ROI from Facebook ads… even top five marketing CV mistakes to avoid. The full title of the podcast is Marketing Nuggets: What I Wish My 20 Year Old Self Knew – so I’ve essentially just filled it with all the insight I wish I’d had.
As you immerse yourself in the world of B2B marketing, what does good look like for you? What’s your favourite B2B work?
I’m a sucker for an emotive campaign. One B2B example I thought worked really well was Starling Bank, ‘Helping business fly’. I liked it for a couple of reasons; as a bank, they could have done that thing where you try to talk to everybody and end up resonating with nobody as a result. Instead, they nailed down the audience as being small business owners. Starling spoke to people who had that working-from-an-office-shed, side-hustle energy, people who were building their brand on TikTok or Etsy or anywhere else.
From a marketer perspective, I loved that the main hero of the campaign was video – but it was deployed really nicely across all other mediums. Digital ads, socials. They used a simple image of the shed flying, and it tied everything together. That’s a mistake people make; great video that doesn’t translate to other platforms.
So yes: I loved it with my marketing hat on, and I loved it as a human. This was during the first year of the pandemic, but they got the tone just right – so many brands were tone-deaf around that time.
On that note, and for our final question: what’s the B2B mistake you think people should stop making?
It would either be: don’t skip the brand awareness step in a haste to get to thought leadership. Or, sometimes B2B marketers struggle with function over benefit. Having a genuinely brilliant product or service is great, but ultimately, telling me what it does isn’t the biggest thing. I need you to tell me how it’s going to make me feel, what I’m going to get from it. Because that’s all any business buyer wants to know, really: how’s it going to benefit me and my goals and my success?
That’s why you can’t understate the importance of having a good copywriter on the team. In my experience, copywriters are often the secret weapon of the marketing team – if you can write really resonating copy, you’re halfway there.