We try to stay humble at Localytics, but there’s no denying it: we have an incredible team here. (#Blessed.) Our 5@5 blog series uses 5 questions to get a behind-the-scenes look at who’s designing, building, and marketing our platform, and how they do it. This week, we're talking to our Senior Director of Marketing Communications, Kristin Cronin.
Meet Kristin. She oversees everything from PR and events at Localytics to finding the compelling stories behind customer and benchmarking data. “At the highest level,” says Kristin, “it’s the story and the brand.”
"At the highest level, it's the story and the brand."
I worked at a startup midway through the startup growth phase, so I joined the other company right around the size we’re at. They went on to become public, so it was really interesting to see the change that happens in the company, both good and bad, when you go from a startup culture to a publicly traded company. Things are different.
It was good to have that perspective on how the business changes, and come back to a startup and feel the ups and downs that come with that again. But I can also see how we can shape this business to grow in the future. There’s a lot of consistencies around how quickly things change. You adapt quickly, you make decisions, and sometimes you change course soon after. You just have to be very agile.
I think super early stage startups can be a tough task, especially for a marketer. I’m attracted to a somewhat defined company that’s still growing and figuring things out but with a foundation, because I feel like my skill set is around scaling and growing. So I was interested in joining a company that at this point still feels small and connected, but on the verge of hitting the home run. That’s fun for me.
I feel like it might be cliche to talk about it this way, but I’m moved by the “why” behind things. It’s easy in the technology world to talk about what your technology does. That’s what you sell, and that’s what makes the company money, and there’s a lot of differentiators between your product versus another one, but I gravitate toward a feeling of why do you get out bed? What is it that you’re doing that no one’s really thought of?
You have to have this big idea at the center of it, and that’s your why.
It's a tricky thing to figure out. It’s uncomfortable, it’s not where most people’s heads go, but what I try to fight for is the very top layer of the story so people outside the company can connect with us. Walking in here I could understand what we were trying to do. I felt like there was a good effort to bring the story up a level. Now it’s just making sure as the market changes, as the world changes, as the business changes, we adapt that story and make sure it still resonates.
I also gravitate toward the why because I’m likely never going to be someone that goes deep on the ins and outs of products and why one feature is better than another. That’s not necessarily what gets me excited at the end of the day, though of course I understand the importance of that element of the story. I’m more focused on the problem that we’re trying to solve.
I'm thinking about the customers: what was their life before us? What is it after us? How is that different, and how is it better?
I think the biggest challenge is balancing the ability to think big about the future with the reality of today and making sure you’re effectively conveying both parts of the story to the outside world. And thinking very strategically about how you carry that out through the various marketing channels, whether it’s a session you are presenting at an event, a blog post, a press release, etc. It’s not easy to keep that balance because the challenges of today are often what keep most of us busy, but to me the sweet spot of my job is finding that place right in the middle.
There’s a lot of other hard parts of the job. Whether it’s events or PR, we’re always asking ourselves:
All of these questions are intangible and often hard to measure. That’s just a challenge of any kind of PR-driven role, but those are the things that swirl around in my head, when I think about where I feel challenged.
4. What drew you to PR and corporate communications? Is that still what you enjoy most about your work?
I went to Bentley University and majored in marketing. I was unclear about what I wanted to do. I loved my experience there, but I got to that point where you have to declare a major and I wasn’t sure. I knew I didn’t want to do finance and accounting, so this was the alternative to that.
My senior year I struggled to find an internship. I worked part-time at school in the Development office, and the gentleman that ran Development Communications said, “I think you’d be really good in this world. Why don’t you just intern for me?” It was my first taste of that world, and I realized: “Okay, I like to write, I’m a decent writer, so there might be a career here that’s not journalism.”
I graduated in 2003 and actually took a job training to sell fax machines because the job market was so bad.
Yup. Fax machines.
When I was in training for that job, a Bentley alum who worked at PR firm called and said “There’s an internship available. Do you want to come in?” I interviewed, and then went to this other job and tried to learn about fax machines. And at the end of that week I got the call that I had gotten the internship.
I was at the PR firm, Lois Paul & Partners, for 5 years. I started as an intern, and when I left I was a manager. It was just the best bootcamp possible for this line of work. I learned the grunt work side of it, how to deal with clients, how to learn new businesses and pull out what might be interesting stories. I think the story part of it has carried me since. I just genuinely love trying to tell someone’s story, and helping them tell it in the best way possible. So yeah, I do feel like this is where I should be.
And how I got here is kind of random, but the right things came to fruition at the right time. I realized, “this is something you could be good at. This is a career that has those elements you can build upon,” and I had great mentors that helped me get there.
Most of the apps I use help me do my job better, or stay in touch with people. Everyday apps like Facebook, Slack, Hangouts, Instagram, etc. I also work as an instructor at The Energy Barre in Medford, Stoneham, and Beverly, so some of the apps I use are geared toward that job, like Spotify and MindBody or apps to find the right tempo music.
We also have lots of seasonal fitness challenges for studio clients, and instructors often create short video workouts for challengers to do at home. I’ve found several cool apps to produce and edit short videos quickly and easily. A lot of us [at the studio] use Videoshop to produce cool, nicely-edited videos.
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