Natalie Nathanson founded Magnetude Consulting in 2012 to provide superior resources and knowledge to companies seeking better marketing outcomes. In the seven years since the launch of Magnetude, Nathanson has watched her firm grow exponentially thanks to its uncanny ability to help B2B companies market to their clients.
Magnetude’s ability to evolve and adapt to the times and technologies, along with Nathanson’s entrepreneurial heart, has allowed for continued growth and expansion in the industry.
As Nathanson states, launching Magnetude Consulting took her out of her marketing comfort zone. That shift has allowed her to spend her time working hard to learn, grow, and provide first class strategic marketing services to growing B2B firms.
Nathanson recently took time to speak to Totalprestige Magazine and tell us a little more about herself and Magnetude Consulting.
Natalie, you founded Magnetude in 2012 and lead a team of senior marketing consultants in cybersecurity and the B2B tech sector. Can you tell us what led you to start your own firm?
I founded Magnetude Consulting on the premise that done correctly, marketing can be a great equalizer to help smaller, entrepreneurial and innovative companies get the visibility and growth they need to succeed.
Great marketing helps growing firms to compete against the “big guys.” I discovered this need while working in a variety of marketing environments, continuously seeing the opportunity to better serve B2B firms that have limited in-house marketing capacity. Over the years, we’ve developed specializations serving clients in B2B tech, cybersecurity, and professional services—markets in which it can be notoriously difficult to differentiate.
What was your journey from employee to entrepreneur like?
Being an entrepreneur isn’t easy, but I love it. In the beginning, I was constantly doing work outside of my comfort zone—from sales to growing the team in disciplines outside of my direct experience. After a while of existing on the edge of that zone, it became standard to expect more from myself. I love knowing that I created that for myself.
Knowing that both success and failure are in my control is motivating and empowering, although I’ll admit it adds a lot of self-inflicted pressure to my life. I’ve got the personality type that gets bored easily, and I’ve never been bored since starting Magnetude—there are always opportunities, challenges, areas to pursue, and new thinking to do. I haven’t looked back.
Magnetude Consulting has an expertise that spans several disciplines. Can you explain exactly what Magnetude does and how clients benefit from your experience?
Magnetude works with entrepreneurial B2B firms who want to grow more rapidly and compete more effectively. We offer full-service capabilities, which means our work includes the entire scope of marketing, including marketing strategy, messaging and positioning, digital marketing, inbound marketing, demand generation, channel marketing, sales enablement, content development, and brand visibility.
Many of our engagements start with fixed-scope “Rapid Marketing Assessment & Plans” that help companies analyze what they’re doing right now and develop the best marketing plan to meet growth objectives.
We are lucky to partner with clients on their growth journeys, which are completely different depending on the client. Most are looking to increase revenue, some are seeking investment or exit, others are looking for support with a company pivot or to successfully launching a new product or expanding into a new market. It’s so rewarding seeing our clients’ visions come to life, knowing we often play a pivotal role in bringing that vision to fruition.
An example of this happened recently for one of our clients. They were a relatively small firm and got acquired by one of the largest cybersecurity companies in the world, a goal that we’ve been working toward since we started working together. While that meant we would eventually part ways, we did so with tremendous pride.
How have the needs of companies in terms of B2B marketing evolved since Magnetude started in 2012?
With the proliferation of social media, the explosion of marketing and sales technologies, and the evolution of how people research and purchase products and services, the need for smart, integrated marketing has never been greater, yet the resource constraints smaller firms face makes it hard for them to get their products and services in front of the right target audiences in an efficient and scalable manner.
In essence, the “big guys” (and their “big resources”) are setting the standards. So, B2B companies need to be very targeted in their messaging and positioning in their market—customers need to know exactly how they differentiate from their peers. In an increasingly sophisticated market, there’s a need for better planning and prioritization to get the most bang for your marketing dollars, although many growing companies either don’t realize it or don’t want to invest. Those that do reap the benefits.
Magnetude has already attended a number of tech conferences this year, all over the United States. How important is it for you and the company to stay up to date with new tech when it comes to B2B marketing?
In marketing, things change fast. It’s extremely important for us to stay on top of trends, the latest technologies, current discussions, and happenings within our clients’ industries. To that end, we attend many conferences and events to make sure we keep track of those trends and keep our offerings relevant. This year, we attended INBOUND, B2B Sales and Marketing Exchange, and the Content Marketing Conference. You can also find us soaking up industry trends and information at events focused on the verticals we specialize in, like RSA, Black Hat, and AI World.
How is new technology changing B2B marketing?
We find that technologies that allow for better targeting and enhanced engagement are the most transformative for our clients. We leverage technology that enables companies to reach their desired audience in new or better ways. But we recognize that technology isn’t always the answer—at a recent conference, we learned that the typical marketing department uses 10 different technologies (give or take). That’s a lot, and in our experience, not all are being used effectively. The difference we can make as marketers is in being creative with our programming, and leveraging technology to make those campaigns as effective and efficient as possible.
One of the interesting things Magnetude has done was host an improv comedy night with the theme of cybersecurity. How did this improv night come about and how funny can cybersecurity be?
We were excited to host an event for those in our ecosystem in and around the cybersecurity sector. Most of us in the sector are inundated with back-to-back meetings, events, conferences and other competing priorities. Just as we advise our clients to do, we wanted to take a different approach and break the mold of a typical industry gathering. Partially because cybersecurity is such a serious topic, we tossed around ideas of how to break away from the expectation and make the event all about having fun. Thus came about the idea of a cyber-focused improv show, and we added in a couple other fun elements such as caricature artists.
We hosted the event at Laugh Boston and the improv team there did an amazing job of translating our notes and conversations into comedic entertainment. They certainly kept me laughing!
What are some of the trends in cybersecurity currently and how does Magnetude work within these trends?
The cybersecurity vendor market is rapidly expanding which means the market is very crowded. This makes marketing especially difficult for small and mid-sized companies to find ways to break through the noise and grow and compete effectively. Understanding exactly how you fit into the marketplace, as well as how you differentiate from the competitive set is critically important.
Security leaders and their teams are already so overloaded with sales messages from cybersecurity vendors—they’re becoming increasingly weary and skeptical. Getting through to them is no small task.
Clients come to us to help them determine which segments of the market will yield them the greatest opportunity, how to message and position the differentiation and value of their solution, and the right marketing tactics to leverage to build and nurture customer and prospect relationships that will ultimately translate to revenue opportunities.
In addition to our deep knowledge of the sector and experience of knowing what works based on nearly two dozen client engagements, we also have relationships with security practitioners who we will utilize as a real-world sounding board, especially when we work on clients’ messaging and positioning.
Natalie, what are some of the mistakes you see firms make in B2B marketing and how can those be overcome?
It’s funny you ask—we actually wrote a blog about this. It’s called “9 Marketing Mistakes Consulting Firms Make.” While this particular blog is specific to consulting firms, there are several mistakes here that resonate across a number of verticals, like relying too heavily on referrals and word-of-mouth marketing, hiring a junior marketer to handle all areas of marketing, and waiting until the sales funnel has drained to kick start marketing efforts.
We’ve also seen things go south when executive teams aren’t fully committed to marketing or don’t fully understand the various ways marketing can support business growth beyond just filling the funnel. Perhaps unsurprisingly, we’ve got another blog for that. It’s called “Beyond Lead Gen: 6 Ways CEOS Should Lean on B2B Tech Marketing to Support Growth.”
What’s the future of Magnetude Consulting? After seven years, where do you want to take the company you founded next?
We’ve been able to do all that I hoped for in the past seven years on a small scale—namely, help our clients grow and ensure they reach the exciting new milestones they set forth to achieve. In the years to come, I want to do that on a larger scale. I know that will require that we continue innovating, pushing boundaries, and keeping our clients’ best interests in mind, and I’m excited to lead Magnetude into the next seven years and beyond.
As I mentioned, we’ve grown substantially in cybersecurity, professional services, and disruptive technologies, so I look forward to growing our breadth of expertise in those areas. I also look forward to furthering investment in the business as we scale.
Natalie, what is a day in your life like?
In a typical day, as with most founders, I wear a lot of hats. I transition between all aspects of the business, from sales to client discussions to HR to business planning and strategy. In order to remain productive with so many different areas of focus, I take some time before the beginning of each week to look ahead and block off time to work through the most important priorities. This helps ensure I don’t spend time on the wrong things and that key priorities are addressed.
I also think about productivity within a given day, and I’ve found that I am most productive when I tackle my most challenging tasks in the morning and save simpler administrative tasks for my afternoons, when possible.
I’m also on a constant quest for knowledge. From the CEO peer advisory group I belong to, to my love of (okay, addiction to) business podcasts, I am constantly looking to expand my knowledge and thinking for the betterment of myself personally and the firm at large.
What is something most people don’t know about you?
I was painfully shy as a child—a true introvert through and through. People who meet me today don’t believe I was ever shy. It’s an example of what I was describing earlier of tackling things outside of my comfort zone until they move into the comfort zone.
Also, on a lighter note, I can juggle. I taught myself when I was about 10-years old, and while I’m not as good as I used to be, it’s a skill that makes a rare, but fun appearance occasionally during social gatherings.
What makes you smile?
My kids make me smile all the time (okay, most of the time). I have two kids – a three-year-old girl and a five-year-old boy. When they play, their joy is so genuine – it’s such a beautiful thing. It helps counter the challenging moments of parenthood.
Also, I love seeing people being genuinely good to others. You can spot it from a mile away, and it’s always so refreshing how small gestures can go such a long way.
What scares you?
Hands down, a potential economic downturn scares me the most (in a business sense). Over the course of the last seven years that I’ve been running and growing Magnetude, the economy has been strong. Leading the business through a downturn like the one we experienced in 2008 is a challenge I hope to never have to overcome. That said, I’m a planner through and through, and I already have some things in motion that can support our own business—and that of our clients—should the economy slow. There are a number of strategic inputs the marketing strategy discipline can help companies put in place to survive—and even thrive—in times of economic uncertainty. In fact, I wrote an article about it for Forbes titled, “Six Ways to Alleviate Risk and Recession-Proof Your Marketing Strategies.”
Do you have any hobbies?
The one hobby I have never wavered on since I first got hooked is running. My morning runs support my sanity—they’re where I do some of my best thinking. Of course, I have days (and unfortunately, even weeks) when I can’t fit in a run, but I always come back to it. There is nothing better than taking my dog, Henry, for a run around our neighborhood and starting my day with a clearer, more energized mind. I’m also starting to get my older son into running (very short distances) with me, and I’m hopeful it will become an activity I can bring into my family’s shared hobbies as my kids get older.
Which historical figure do you most admire?
I’ve never been much of a history buff, but I greatly admire the founding fathers for being such visionaries and risk takers—I’ve recently been indulging myself in learning more about this era of our country’s history. Their tireless dedication to the cause and to the people of our country have created something so much bigger than themselves. I wonder if they knew the enormity of what they were building at the time. They were quite entrepreneurial through and through—building a country instead of a company—and I recently realized that may be part of the reason I have the admiration and intrigue that I do.
Can you share two of your favorite quotes with us?
“You miss 100% of the shots you never take.” – Wayne Gretzky
“The pessimist complains about the wind. The optimist expects it to change. The leader adjusts the sails.” – John Maxwell
If you had the power to change just one thing in the world what would it be?
Human decency and the golden rule. It sounds simple to treat others the way you want to be treated, but it’s easier said than done for many people. Each of us only has one life and we need to enjoy it. There is no reason to cause others unnecessary harm, grief, or negativity. This applies to the big things and the little things. Kindness, however small, can make a huge difference on others.
For more information on Natalie Nathanson and Magnetude Consulting, please visit https://www.magnetudeconsulting.com