The world of marketing has changed significantly in recent years. We understand how important and challenging it can be to keep up with the changing landscape of business marketing. 

That’s why we caught up with industry expert Katie Fete, Director of Marketing at Compass Self Storage, to get her thoughts on marketing today and what it means for her role and business. She shared her experiences with us and explained how the changing world of modern marketing has affected her role throughout her career and within the self-storage industry. 

1. How long have you been in marketing?

I’ve been in the field about 15 years. 

2. Tell us about what has changed for you as a marketer in the last 15 years.

When I entered the self storage industry, I would say a good chunk of the job involved Yellow Pages advertising. We spent a lot of time figuring out that whole language, understanding the many directories, monitoring the timing for print, the sizing, and the amount of money to spend. Of course, that has changed a lot from today. 

Today we use much less print, and while we still do some, it’s much more of an online world. Back then, beyond Yellow Pages ads, we were doing a lot of print campaigns that included billboards, newspapers, and local publication ads. In the beginning, we did some online marketing, but it was still in its infancy. Everyone wanted to do banner ads or tile ads, and the website was more like a flyer or an online company brochure. It wasn’t interactive and you couldn’t conduct business online. 

The most powerful thing we have now that we didn’t back then is the data. It gives us the ability to react quickly when running a campaign online or offline, to have something as simple as a tracking phone number tied to it so we know exactly how many calls we are getting. We also record the calls and can monitor how our sales people at the local level are handling those calls, and use those for ongoing training. All of that is a huge change from where we were 10-15 years ago. 

Now there are all these new ways you can test your marketing efforts and then monitor how to react to the data. Before, we would place a full-page color Yellow Pages ad and have to wait a year to see if our call volume changed. It was hard to put your finger on what the major causes were in increased or decreased leads. 

Today, having more data has made us much more powerful and smarter as marketers. Personally, that’s what’s so exciting to me about marketing. It’s always changing and it’s become so transparent. Although sometimes we have to remind ourselves to give things more time and let a campaign run its full course before doing the analysis on how well it worked. 

3. What changes have you had to make to stay effective as a marketer?

It’s something that I think everyone is always working on. Taking advantage of webinars, articles, the knowledge of other people in the field, and joining online user groups are all helpful tools. It’s one of those things that I always wish I had more time to do. Staying on top of best practices—especially when they shift—is really helpful. 

I also think learning from younger employees has been interesting as well. In years past, we maybe weren’t gleaning as much job knowledge from younger employees as we do today. But now with our young hires, we see different marketing skill sets, such as being adept at social media and certain areas. They too have more to learn, but it’s a great opportunity to learn and collaborate together. 

4. What are the types of responsibilities you typically have in one week? 

Today I’m working on an outline for an upcoming presentation that I’m giving to our district managers from across the country at an upcoming meeting. They’re all coming in to our headquarters and I have an hour to present a whole bunch of information to them. I’m trying to cut down a little bit of the info and finalize the presentation. 

We’re also looking at updating some of our print ads, so I have a round of mockups to review with our graphic designer. Of course, there are always the usual team calls, project meetings, and miscellaneous items that fill the day, too. 

I’m also involved with our corporate fundraising campaign that we do every year with the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. Compass Self Storage just hit our biggest donation amount ever at $50,000, so I’m working on a press release to share that awesome news. 

5. How has G5 helped alleviate some of the items on your plate? 

We’re in the midst of moving our website to the Cloud, so that’s a process that I’m spearheading for our team. We just spent some time with several G5 team members to better understand how the back-end reporting will look. We’re super excited to share this with our management teams when we go live. The data we will now have on consumer behavior at the lead level is going to be a game changer.

Our client contact at G5 is also super responsive and helpful in providing insight, whether it’s recommending how to better maximize our ads or even sharing helpful solutions when  we have a store that may be in need of some more leads. It’s so helpful to have solid data and a person to collaborate with on what action we could try next.

6. Anything else on your mind that you’d like to share?

With the ever-changing marketing landscape and all of the new tools available, it’s an exciting time to be in marketing. If you’re open to change and to continuous learning, using these new tools will bring a positive impact to any business. 

Stay tuned for our next Q&A on a day in the life of a modern marketer!