Business Bits with Casie Gillette

Akvile DeFazio
November 5th, 2014
Akvile DeFazio

To kick off my Business Bits interview series, I am extremely thrilled to have Casie Gillette sharing some of her insights on agency life, public speaking, and online marketing. Casie is the Director of Online Marketing at KoMarketing Associates, a B2B marketing firm based in the beautiful city of Boston where she leads the digital marketing strategy for clients, helps guide company initiatives, service offerings, and the organization’s presence online.

What drew you to working in the online marketing space and how did you get your start?

I actually got started in online marketing by accident. I had a very short stint doing some marketing for an online dating site (and by marketing I mean handing out flyers at clubs) and the guy who hired me for that ended up getting me an interview for an SEO position at the dating site’s parent company, which happened to be an SEO firm (random, I know). I had no idea what SEO was but figured it was time for me to get a real job!

Once I was in, I knew that’s what I wanted to do. It was fun and exciting and truthfully, I was always infatuated with the web…my college roommates used to make fun of me for being on the internet so much.

In addition to working in-house for part of your career thus far, you’ve mostly been involved with the agency world. Which aspects do you enjoy most about each?

Each side is so different but being able to understand the perspective from both the client side and the account management side has been invaluable.

When you work on the agency side, it’s easy to get frustrated by a client’s internal politics or inability to implement recommendations. But at the same time, you get to work on a variety of sites and face new challenges on a daily basis, which can be fun.

I can’t speak to anyone else’s in-house experience but mine was so fantastic. I was able to drive the SEO program from the ground up and at the same time take on new online marketing initiatives beyond SEO. I learned so much more than I would have had I remained only on the agency side.

They each have their advantages and I’m lucky I’ve been able to experience both.

What advice would you offer someone who is looking to make the switch from in-house to join a marketing agency for the first time?

Oh gosh…I think the main thing is to be prepared to move fast. When you are working in-house, you’re likely working on one site, maybe two. You have dedicated resources and you are spending all of your time focused on making those one or two sites really great.

In the agency world, you are typically responsible for multiple sites and have limited resources/budgets and there are just so many moving parts. Staying organized while moving quickly is an absolute must.

You speak quite often on the marketing conference circuit. For someone who is looking to improve their public speaking skills, what’s your secret to a successful presentation?

When it comes to actually putting the presentation together, I try to think about who my audience is going to be. How can I keep them engaged while at the same time giving them information they can use? I strive to make my presentations fun and interesting.

As for the speaking itself, I think it’s all about being prepared and being confident. I run through my presentations both out loud and in my head multiple times so that by the time I get up there, I know it in and out. There’s nothing worse than someone reading their slides or not knowing where they are in the presentation.

I also think you get better as you get more comfortable. I encourage people to speak in front of their colleagues for practice – offer to hold an internal training, lead a conference call, whatever, just to get a feel for it.

You recently spoke on competitive research for SEO at Search Marketing Expo (SMX) East in NYC where you discussed tools and tactics on how to mine valuable competitive insights in order to maximize your SEO efforts. One of your talking points was content marketing. If a client of yours is hesitant when it comes to content, how do you prove positive ROI to them?

You know, I’m lucky in that all of my clients understand that content is essential to SEO success. However, I know everyone isn’t always psyched to sign up for a full-fledged content marketing program. I tend to deal with this by simply starting small and showing tangible results.

Here’s an example – I have a client who didn’t sign up for a content marketing program specifically. But as we got further into their existing online marketing program and needed new content, we just started writing articles for them. As they became comfortable with our ability to discuss their brand and product, we wrote more. They saw the positive impact on traffic and leads (both to these pages and the overall site) and are now 100% on board. Sometimes you just need a small win.

Lastly, on a more personal note and as a fellow NY Knicks fan, what are your thoughts on the “Zen Master” (Phil Jackson) and what’s your win:loss prediction for the upcoming 2014-2015 season?

I’m psyched to have Jackson with the organization. Do I think it’s going to help us now? Absolutely not. But hopefully the Knicks will make some smarter moves in the future than they have in the past. I mean…can we get Oakley back on the roster (just re-living my 90’s glory days)? I’ll give them 48 wins.

Thank you so much, Casie! Want to get more insights or chat marketing with her? Connect with Casie on Twitter.

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