Episode 4: Think Before You Leap featuring Chris Penn of Shift Communications

Chris Penn Banner

Welcome to the fourth episode of the Marketing Nation Podcast, presented by Marketo and hosted by Marketo’s Digital Marketing Evangelist, DJ Waldow.

Chris Penn joins the Marketing Nation this week live from the Marketo booth at Dreamforce (and inside the Marketo SmartCar! - yeah, we are serious. See picture below!) to discuss why the world needs more cooks and fewer frying pans when it comes to marketing automation and technology. He also explains his process for always pushing the envelope in order to make sure he and his team are consistently moving forward toward success.

ResizedImage288385 Penn and Waldow in Marketos Smart Car2

As Vice President of Marketing Technology at Shift Communications, Chris's job is to help people be better at marketing. This applies to both his clients and the people he works with every day. His goal is to teach people how to get the same results that he gets without actually being him. Everyone has their own set of skills and resources at their disposal, so they can’t possibly do the exact same thing that someone else has seen success from. They can, however, learn how to use what they have to create and measure a digital marketing campaign.

According to Chris, the digital marketing industry is still extremely new and uncharted for most companies. We still don’t have very good data from the marketing campaigns that we’re running, and worse, we don’t have great technology to then do anything with the data we collect.*

*At Marketo, we'd argue that last point!

Marketing automation software is like a frying pan, says Chris, because it provides you the platform in which to cook. But you still need a cook to work the frying pan, and that’s where consultants and strategists come in. Instead of looking to the next big idea or tool, it’s important to have a deep understanding of the basics because these are the foundation upon which everything else is built. For example, if you don’t know how to write a good email or tweet, a marketing automation software isn’t going to help you.

At some point soon, Chris speculates, the technology to derive powerful insights from our data will exist, helping us figure out what’s wrong, and what we should do next.

"If you’re good, you evolve. If you’re bad, you get left behind." - @cspenn (TWEET THIS!)

Chris is known for pushing the envelope (in a good way). How does he do this?

"Know what you can do, what your limitations are, and challenge those limitations," he says.

Chris gives a shout out to a free webinar to help you learn what to do with your content after you publish it.

In one of the fastest word association exercises yet, you’ll have to listen in to hear how Chris ends his amazing interview this week.


Want to be a guest? Have a topic you’d like to share? Email us: podcast@marketo.com or drop us a tweet using the #MktgNation hashtag. Oh, and if you love this episode… share it with your friends, co-workers, colleagues, and family.

Christopher Penn is SHIFT Communications’ vice president of marketing technologies. Penn has been featured for his leadership in new media and marketing in many books and in publications such as the Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, New York Times, BusinessWeek and U.S. News & World Report, and on television networks such as PBS, CNN, CNBC, Fox News and ABC News. In 2012, Forbes Magazine recognized him as one of the Top 50 Most Influential People in Social Media and Digital Marketing.