Best Practices

Explaining Modern Marketing to My Mom


My name is Martha Prange and as a kid I always had a hard time figuring out what my Dad’s job was. “He works for a mutual fund company” was my best response, which usually elicited glazed eyes and a rapid change of subject. Now our roles have reversed and it is my parents who have a hard time grasping what I do for a living.

My parents are not alone in their struggle to grasp the nuances of the ever-changing digital marketing realm. I have spent the last five years in this ‘Modern Marketing’ world and have had an impossibly difficult time explaining what I do to “civilians” – the strangers, friends and family members who often find themselves on the receiving end of digital marketing.

My mother’s name is Julia and she is a smart woman. She graduated from The University of Waterloo with a degree in Psychology, worked as a teacher before having children, and has always been interested in computers. Mom was a Mac fan before Mac’s were cool. And because she is my mom, she genuinely wants to know what the heck it is that I do for a living. Since I’m such a fantastic daughter, I have offered to take the time to explain to her the kind of work I do and answer her many questions about all things related to modern marketing.

With her permission, I have started documenting her questions and my responses to share it with the world in this series called (drum roll please) “Explaining Modern Marketing to my Mom.”

What I hope to achieve from this series?

Well, first I want my mom to understand my job. I also want to help anyone else (strangers and friends) learn about the wonderful world of Modern Marketing by explaining popular topics and trends in a way that even my mom would understand. A few of the topics I plan to cover in the series include:

Dear Martha:

  • I was looking at sunglasses online and now I keep seeing ads for sunglasses everywhere. Why is the Internet following me?
  • Is it possible to be invisible online?
  • What is Salesforce? I think your dad uses that.
  • You mentioned ‘lead scoring.’ What is that?

At the end of all of this, I am hoping my friends will stop telling people that my job is simply ‘Marketing,’ ‘SPAM’ or the most vague explanation I have heard to date: ‘Martha works in the Internet.’

So let’s get started with an “easy” one….

Dear Martha, I know you work at PathFactory, but I Googled ‘PathFactory’ and found a bunch of fashion books. Do you make those?

Nope, not quite, mom, but PathFactory does provide a fashionable and visually stunning way for business-to-business (B2B) marketers to “dress up” their content (white papers, articles, eBooks, videos, blog posts, you name it) and deliver it to their prospective customers online.

You know how you research purchases online, reading reviews and watching videos to educate yourself on what to purchase? B2B marketers are always looking for new ways to get their prospects to engage with their content to educate and influence them on their path to purchase. But getting anyone’s attention today is really hard, and holding on to someone’s attention for more than a few seconds is even harder.

What PathFactory Does

To help with this, PathFactory developed an “always-on” content engagement software solution (in techie speak, we call it a platform) that lets marketers do more with the moments of attention they generate by empowering buyers to self-educate at their own pace. Instead of delivering a single piece of content per click, which is the way most marketers deliver content today, PathFactory allows engaged prospects to consume more content in a single session. It’s kind of like how Netflix encourages viewers to keep watching episode after episode of their favourite show in a single sitting.

Using PathFactory, marketers can guide their prospects along their content journey. This is about telling a story and giving prospects the information they need to make a purchase decision in a compelling way that keeps them engaged.

PathFactory also tracks what pieces of content people are reading and for how long so our clients can determine who is really engaging with their content: If Sally filled out a form to view an eBook but never read it, while Bob spent 7 minutes reading the same eBook and another 5 minutes reading a related product review and a case study, PathFactory engagement metrics show this. Smart marketers use that engagement data to measure sales-readiness, trigger different follow-ups or even to pass Bob directly to Sales for a demo.

What I Do

In my role as a Customer Success Manager at PathFactory, I work with my clients (who are some amazing B2B marketers) after they purchase PathFactory to teach them how to use the software and work on getting their first campaigns out of the gate. We call this process onboarding. I stick around to support the client with a variety of best practices (tips and tricks for what works and what doesn’t based on past experiences with other clients), answer their questions about new features and develop or expand their marketing campaign strategy. It’s really about keeping our clients happy and helping to maximize their return on their PathFactory investment by getting the most out of the software solution.

Got that mom? Any questions?