Get Ahead in Marketing: Leverage G.R.I.T. with Christina del Villar

🎧 Episode 96 of Yes, and Marketing


As marketers, our job is to market externally—but maybe we should all be a little more focused on marketing *internally.*

That’s an “Aha!” idea that Christina del Villar doesn’t just understand deeply for herself, but that she has codified and taught to others. Christina is a go-to-market expert with 25 years of experience leading marketing strategy for Silicon Valley brands, from bootstrapped startups to large public companies. She is also the author of Sway: Implement the G.R.I.T. Marketing Method to Gain Influence and Drive Corporate Strategy, which has been recommended by Doug Burdett as one of the top five books for a successful marketing career.

In this episode of Yes, and Marketing, Christina shares the ways marketers can gain influence with internal audiences and get a seat at the table, plus:

  • Every single customer touchpoint marketers can influence
  • The role content plays in developing go-to-market strategy
  • Why the best fighter jets aren’t necessarily the fastest
  • Strategies for an effective marketing career

Listen to the full conversation above or read on for highlights from the interview. You can also view clips from this and all our episodes on our show page.


📛 Guest-at-a-Glance

Name: Christina del Villar

What she does: Author of Sway: Implement the G.R.I.T. Marketing Method to Gain Influence and Drive Corporate Strategy.

Find Christina on the web: The book  | LinkedIn | Twitter

Get smart: “You need to start helping people understand the value you bring to the company.”


👉 Top Takeaway

Build trust and gain influence through G.R.I.T.

The G.R.I.T. methodology is based on the principles Christina has taught her own marketing teams over the years. “If you actually follow this methodology,” she says, “you have more time to be strategic and to really make sure that there’s alignment and focus on that influence within your organization.”

Let’s break down the four components of G.R.I.T.:

G: Go-to-market strategy

Too often, Christina says, we as marketers are responsible for executing a go-to-market strategy but aren’t involved in its creation. By getting involved in the process earlier, we can have a better understanding of the goals behind it and a more nuanced view of how we can help  achieve them.

“If you have that seat at the table, when you’re either defining the strategy or reviewing it—as you should quarterly or annually—then you have more insight into what the objectives are, what your roles are, and then you can bring your own expertise to that to make it better and potentially refine it,” she explains.

R: RPM (Repeatable, predictable, and measurable)

Repeatable, predictable, and measurable means you know what will work, how much it will work—and you have data to back it up. When it comes to content, this means quality over quantity. 

Christina’s strategy is to first create a pillar piece that captures your core message. Regardless of whether it’s a white paper, an umbrella post, or a webinar, “It has your values,” she explains. “It has your talking points. It has your products, and it helps people understand what you do.”

Then, she says, “You take that piece because that is your core—it has your messages in it—and you take that one piece and you use it over and over again for different things.”

“If you’re doing that,” she adds, “you have that consistency built in and you should get to a point where you can understand the return on that content.”

I: Intention

“Everything we do, every minute of our day—it needs to be very intentional because we don’t have a lot of time. We don’t have a lot of resources, and we’re trying to be as effective as possible,” Christina explains.

Marketers often get tapped for a wide range of tasks, from implementing a GTM strategy to handling swag. While most of us by nature want to help out wherever we can, learning to say no is an important part of becoming more effective as a marketer and driving more strategic goals within the organization.

“They’re going to just say yes to everything because they want to help and they want to be successful,” she says. “But at the end of the day, they’ll be more successful if they are intentional and they are thinking about how the specific activity is going to help a salesperson, or how the specific activity is going to build customer retention or reduce the churn.”

T: Tools and technology

Technology and data are crucial to executing and influencing your marketing strategy, but, too often marketers don’t own the very tools they most need. 

“You need to leverage these tools and technology to define your job, to implement your campaigns, and then to measure those results,” Christina says. “And oftentimes marketing doesn’t really own that technology. They need to start being more involved with it, making the decisions, helping to figure out what those workflows are, how it should be set up, what data should be extrapolated, and focused on what those results look like.”

If you leave the implementation and management of tools to others in your organization, you’ll miss the opportunity to make them as valuable as they could be. By getting more familiar with tools and data, you can both work more effectively, and better prove the results of that work.


💡 Episode Highlights

Read verbatim quotes from our interview with author Christina del Villar.

Her goal for the book

“Regardless of what your role in marketing is—whether you’re in content or you focus on digital ads and social media or you’re more focused on programs, campaigns, strategy—it doesn’t really matter. The concept is to gain more trust and influence inside your organization so that you’re more empowered to do your job, and to do it better and more efficient.”

The most important question to ask

“Ask yourself the question, ‘If your go-to-market strategy and ultimate goal is, let’s just say 10 million in revenue—everything you’re doing, is that helping guide you to that 10 million? And is that the most critical thing you should be doing today to guide you to that 10 million?’

Those are the kinds of things you need to think about. So, do you have that ultimate goal, and do you understand how you and your team are going to get to that? And then, is everything you’re doing at any given time helping you reach that goal?”

The mindset shift most B2B companies need

“I’ve worked mostly with B2B companies, so they are product-led companies, they’re solution-led companies. They started with an idea, with technology, it was built out, and at some point there has to be a shift from what that product or solution is, to a go-to-market strategy.

It’s a mindset shift, and it’s a shift with your executive management. And for your executive management—if they were the founders, if they’re the engineers or the technology behind this—it’s hard for them to now understand, ‘That’s great, but now that it’s built, we need to go get it out there.’ They could still potentially be focused more from a technology and product and feature functionality standpoint than, ‘Let’s get this to market. What are the values? How are we going to sell this and how are we going to keep and retain our customers longer-term?’”

Content isn’t just for prospects

Content is critical across the entire customer journey, and I think that customers are the ones that are left off the most. So for me, focusing on all content—obviously trying to get people through the funnel, but not forgetting that at the end of the day, you’re trying to retain those customers and reduce your churn, so, having communications and having content that’s useful for your customers.

We often would do like accelerated training or webinars to help our customers who are already on there and show how they can use your product, better thought leadership, best practices, case studies—all those things are really critical.”

Empowerment at every level

“It doesn’t matter what role you’re in, what level you’re in—if you’re entry level, if you’re the CMO—there are ways that you can identify specific areas that you can start to have more influence on and own and feel empowered to really help guide the company forward to reach its goals.”

Give the people what they want

“Don’t do a TikTok to try to address the IT folks, right? Go to GitHub and post an article there based on this pillar piece that you have.”

The one skill marketers need?

“To understand data, because that is what’s going to help guide you and help you make the right decisions.”


🎙️ Christina del Villar Quotes 

“Quality content is much more critical than quantity content.”

“It doesn’t matter what your price is. If you don’t have a buy button, nobody can buy from you.”

“Everybody should feel empowered if they have knowledge about something.”

“Oftentimes we sit back and wait for somebody to empower us, and I feel like we need to start empowering ourselves.”

“You need to be able to say no, but to say no in such a way that they understand that I’m saying no because it’s not in alignment with what we’re trying to do here.”

“Those are the key things I would tell people: Empower yourself, and understand data.”

“You need to start helping people understand the value you bring to the company.”


💻 Learn More

Check out Kathleen Booth, one marketer with so much wisdom to share that Christina thinks she should write a book.

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