Interview with Marketers: Daniel Person

Daniel Person is Senior Manager of Content Marketing at Icertis, the contract intelligence company that pushes the boundaries of what’s possible with CLM. Prior to joining Icertis in 2018, Daniel spent 10 years in journalism, working for newspapers across the Western U.S., and publishing work in regional and national outlets including The Guardian, Outside, and High Country News.

1. What was it like to transition from a journalist to a marketer?

It was like stepping into a completely different world. All the jargon I was accustomed to: ledes, graphs, heds, were replaced with an entirely new vocabulary: KPIs, ROI, TOFU, etc. But in a way I think journalism made me a good listener and learner for exactly a situation like this. A journalism colleague of mine once said that one of the realities of the job was that, often times, you would cover a meeting where you were the least informed person in the room, and yet you were the one who had to write about it on deadline! That kind of pressure makes you good at staying comfortable in situations where you might not have all the information, and listen intently to pick out the data you need to make sense of things. Over time I could make more and more sense of things, and within a month I was talking a lot about KPIs 😊.

2. What skills as a journalist have you transferred to marketing and how effective has it been?

The skill I was hired for was writing, and that transferred pretty seamlessly. Journalism is a deadline business, so it trains you to be able to crank out lots of copy with not enough time do it. But what I found to be even more valuable, in the long run, was my journalistic ability to tease out stories and narratives from a lot of noise. As I noted above, journalism makes you a very good listener, and I like to think journalism gave me the skills to listen to my peers—many of whom are experts in their fields and fonts of knowledge—and translating their insights into accessible marketing material for the company. It’s been a privilege to get face-to-face time with our CEO, CTO, and other leaders to gather their thoughts for content, and over time, I’ve become a bit of an expert about the company myself—very similar to the way a good journalist eventually “owns” their beat. That’s helped me show leadership in our messaging and positioning, which goes well above beyond “copywriting.”

3. Why/how can other marketers benefit from a journalist’s mindset or approach?

I would encourage marketers, especially content marketers, to approach their jobs with an enterprising spirit. The content that the business thinks it wants may not be the best content you can deliver. Think about how you can “break” a story about your product or service that changes how people think about it. Of course you need to stay aligned with broader messaging and positioning strategies, but there is a real opportunity in content to show leadership around how the company communicates its value and its impact.

4. What is your MarTech Stack?

For me it’s all about Microsoft Word and PowerPoint! When you have the power of language on your side, the tech isn’t too complicated 😉.

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