Welcome to CultivatED Marketer …

In this 14th episode of CultivatED Marketer, hosts Brent Bowen and Matt Tidwell, PhD, bring part two of their chat with Jessica Best, Vice President of Data-Driven Marketing at Barkley. In part two of a two-part discussion, we discuss tips Jessica has for becoming a speaker, her involvement in the Kansas City community, her work with KCUR, and what qualities she looks for in a teammate.

If you haven’t listened to part one, don’t miss it. We chat email marketing and Jessica’s work as an international speaker. About Jessica: She leads a team who drives customer-centric marketing through data-driven analytics and insights — with a spectrum of clients from Dairy Queen to Planet Fitness. Jessica is a world-renowned expert who has spoken about email marketing internationally, and she says she goes from “zero to maximum email marketing geek in less than 60 seconds.”


Jessica Best, VP of Data-Driven Marketing at Barkley

CultivatED Marketer Ep. 14 (Part 2) — Jessica Best

Brent and Matt chat with Jessica Best, VP of Data-Driven Marketing at Barkley.

  • Matt starts out by asking Jessica what advice she has for people who are looking into becoming speakers. Jessica says you might be surprised who is open to the idea of free education; for example, Nonprofit Connect has reached out to her year after year and she says yes. She always says yes to colleges and universities, too. Jessica says this is a great way to get started and get practice because educators are looking for people who are doing “it” — marketing, or whatever your specialty is — every day.
  • Jessica says it’s important to remember you’re not getting up and singing or giving a speech. You’re teaching people what you do, which can make you feel more confident as a speaker. She also says it’s very rewarding when people are paying attention and trying to put the pieces of what you’ve taught them together, and she sees this a lot at business conferences.
  • Brent highlights Jessica’s civic mindedness and asks about her role on the community advisory board for KCUR. What does that mean? Jessica says it’s a way for members of the Kansas City community to come together and give input and be involved in discussions with the radio station, which is the KC affiliate of NPR.
  • She’s also part of Generation Listen, which is for young radio listeners, and Jessica is the chair of that group. She mentions her past position as the president of the KC Direct Marketing Association, and she jokes that nothing is harder than being the president of a group of volunteers who don’t have to listen to you.
  • Jessica shares about her role as a board member for nonprofit music group, Te Deum, which she says has the goal of feeding people spiritually through music. She says if you’ve ever heard music or chants and felt “churched” in a way that feeds you spiritually, that’s what Te Deum is about, and the group has a diverse range of music they perform. She said when something speaks to her like that, she’s always happy to join another organization as a board member.
  • Matt turns the topic toward professional development and asks Jessica what attributes she looks for when hiring or working with new team members. Jessica says that many people aren’t already experienced in email marketing, but she’s looking for people who are analytical and have natural curiosity. She looks for people who want to continually learn new things and are self-motivated. One suggestion she has is to offer to audit your favorite nonprofit’s email program for the year. You’ll always learn something.
  • Jessica says when you start a new job, it’s a good idea to let your manager know how you best learn — whether you need to see it, hear it, write it down, practice, etc. She said it’s important to be your own best educator. And she suggests that you get comfortable with having your supervisor watch you work through a process to ensure it’s right.
  • Brent asks Jessica how she continually works on her own professional development. She says she spends a lot of time learning about data architecture and where it’s stored, shared, and moved. Jessica recently wrote a thesis on data architecture — a functional requirement document — for one of her clients.
  • Any last advice from Jessica? She says if you want to work in marketing but you’re not sure which part, give email marketing a try. There’s no formal “education” you need, so if you can prove yourself in two years, you can “write your ticket ” — or give Jessica a call.

Upcoming CultivatED Marketer Guests

  • Up next, we launch our series on mentorship.