Hi Joe, you are the Director of Marketing & Partnerships at xyzt.ai, a big location data visual analytics platform. To start, can you tell me something more about your responsibilities and what you do at xyzt.ai?
I would say that no one day is the same, and the responsibilities are wide and varied. Being a startup, we all wear many hats, some of which are not always related to our role, but that is the nature of the game. It keeps things interesting and exciting, but you have to be comfortable multi-tasking.
In my marketing role, I look after all aspects of our marketing and what we put out into the world. From the website to branding, social media to PR, content marketing to marketing automation, and events to advertising. There is a lot to do and only 24 hours in a day. As a startup, we need to pick our battles wisely and understand we can’t do everything at once, so planning is key. The marketing department is an engine for growth within the company, and lead generation is at the core of what we do.
In my partnership’s role, this is twofold. On one side, I help develop our partner program and provide marketing assistance to our partners who sell xyzt.ai on our behalf. On the other, I work with technology and data partners when there is a marketing opportunity for us to join forces. Please get in touch with me directly if you are interested in either of these. You can contact me at email@example.com.
How did you end up working for xyzt.ai?
It’s a nice story. I followed my heart and relocated to Belgium in mid-2014 to be with my partner. I took the risk and arrived without a job, knowing it would be easier to find one when living in the country. Fortunately, it didn’t take too long. I found employment and started working in early 2015. This is where I met Lida (xyzt.ai’s CEO) and Bart (xyzt.ai’s CTO), and the rest is history. Lida became my boss, and we worked very closely with Bart, so I got to know them both very well. Over the years, they have become friends and colleagues. We went our separate ways in 2019, and I joined a startup, but during this time, Lida and Bart were busy working on xyzt.ai, and in 2020 the stars aligned, and I was able to join them full-time.
Why did you want to work at xyzt.ai? What makes the company stand out to you?
It was purely because of Lida and Bart and the opportunity to build a company with them. From my previous experience working with them both, I knew that whatever they would focus on and put their energy into would be worth joining. They both have a long history in the geospatial industry and understand what is required from a product point of view, so I was confident they would be developing something the industry needed. We are a product-led company, so of course, the platform that has been built from the ground up by Bart and his team is a stand-out for me, and seeing it mature over a relatively short period of time is exciting to see. It’s also the relationships that we have been able to build with our customers and partners, and they are partly why the platform has developed so quickly because of their feedback and requirements.
What are some of the things you enjoy doing most at xyzt.ai?
I enjoy putting content out into the market and seeing how well it performs and how people interact with it. This is especially the case for social media, I enjoy the creation process, and you get to see some immediate feedback. Marketing automation is also a passion of mine, and using HubSpot to automate processes internally and externally is fun.
“You must keep your eyes open, keep learning, keep listening, and don’t be scared to try things out. Not everything will work all the time, but that’s part of the fun of trying and seeing how it performs.“Joe Threlfall, Director of Marketing and Partnerships at xyzt.ai.
What do you deem important for a marketer to be successful? What are some key characteristics a person should have?
As I mentioned earlier, you need to be able to multi-task, keep to deadlines, have a thick skin, and be able to take criticism and feedback (this is on my self-improvement list of things to do). Everyone you are working with becomes a marketing expert and has their own idea about how something should be done, and you will probably hear more about the things that did not go so well rather than what did. Being able to take things on the chin and move on is a valuable skill.
Modern-day marketing has so many components to it now, so knowing a little (actually a lot) about a lot is helpful, especially if you are in a smaller company with limited resources and budgets. You must keep your eyes open, keep learning, keep listening, and don’t be scared to try things out. Not everything will work all the time, but that’s part of the fun of trying and seeing how it performs.
How has marketing changed throughout your experience in the field? Are there any current exciting trends?
One of the most significant changes is the eruption of marketing technology; there is a tool for everything these days. As already mentioned, I have a passion for marketing automation and HubSpot in particular. It’s an excellent platform for internal and external use. Anything you can do to understand your customers and prospects better and to make their experience more tailored and relevant to what your business can do for them is great, in my opinion.
It’s always fun to end these team interviews on a more personal note; what is something you enjoy doing outside of work when you are not doing marketing things at xyzt.ai?
I’m a sports and fitness fanatic, always have been since an early age. Tennis was my first love, and I played competitively up until about the age of 18. After a 20-year break, I have recently picked up my racquets again, and it’s been great to get back on the court. Fortunately, it is like riding a bike, and my skills are still there after all this time. My second love is gym training and group fitness. In 2008, while living in Dubai, I moved from a participant to a teacher. I received my certifications to teach Les Mills BodyPump and BodyAttack, and then when I moved to Belgium qualified to teach Les Mills GRIT. Moving your body to music in a group setting is such a fun experience, and I’ve made some of my closest friends due to these classes and my teaching. Outside of tennis and training, I am really good at being lazy and enjoy taking it easy, letting my brain have a rest, and watching a Netflix or Amazon series or two.
If you could listen to only one music album for the rest of your life, which one would it be?
This is an impossible question for me; there is so much good music to listen to, and it depends on how I feel on the day. Can I bend the rules and pull all of iTunes into an album? Showing my age now, though, I love all the feel-good songs from the ’80s.