TAB Bank VP of Marketing
University of Utah Masters of Business Administration, Entrepreneurship/Entrepreneurial Studies
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How did you get to where you are today? What is your story? What incidents and experiences shaped your career path?

Summarized By: Jyotsana Gupta on Wed Mar 11 2020
My story is kind of unconventional. My original plan was actually to go to medical school, so I actually got accepted to medical school and before I actually started school, I ended up having lunch with a friend of mine who was already in medical school, and we just had a casual conversation and one of the things you threw out there. He didn't mean to change my life, but it did change my life. He asked me what were the things that I studied or what were the things I read about when I didn't have to read and anything and then it got me thinking like none of that had to do with medicine ever. I only studied medicine because I had to and kind of being from a Korean household kind of Asian, there's some pressure really to become a doctor or a lawyer like that's what you become so that's what I was always going to be. At that point, I decided to switch. I didn't know what I wanted to do at first and so, I dabbled with a lot of different things, a lot of different areas for the first time in my career, really trying to explore what it was that I wanted to do. During my MBA program, I ended up taking a class, an entrepreneurship class, and I found my passion there. The passion was in the creation of new things and so, whether it's creating new projects, whether it's creating a new marketing campaign or a new business, that's really where my passions kind of came alive. I ended up starting my own business, and weirdly enough I actually was a fulltime blogger for about five years and so that's how I got into the marketing role, was being a blogger. Then I went to a local news station to be their social media director. I've got recruited to be their director of digital marketing for an ad agency here in Utah and then lastly with my current position, I ended up becoming the VP of marketing over at TAB Bank. So in a nutshell, that's kind of my story.

What are the responsibilities and decisions that you handle at work? Discuss weekly hours you spend in the office, for work travel, and working from home.

Based on experience at: VP of Marketing, TAB Bank
Summarized By: Jyotsana Gupta on Wed Mar 11 2020
My scope is everything that deals with marketing. So all of the decision makings, any go-to-market strategies and trying to understand various products that we sell really when you boil it down to it, there are four key areas. You have your products, you have your channels, you have your model and you have your market and really it's trying to find alignment across all of them. Everybody talks about product-market fit, but you have product channel fits and all of that stuff. So really my goal is from a day to day thing is like, How do we figure that out? How do we figure out the channels that will help us get to the right people at the right time and influence people in the right way? So originally, that's kind of the day to day and one of the things I really wanted to do is when I first started at my current position, marketing was basically a fulfillment center so the team like the executive team would just say, Hey, marketing do this and we did that. We weren't really an integral part of the overall strategy. When I came here, that was actually one of our big push is to go beyond marketing and to have a seat at the table, being able to help guide the overall direction of the bank as a whole so when you include that scope, our scope actually becomes wider than just marketing in general. So we're working and strategically aligning ourselves with the product team, with customer service, like basically the whole customer journey from starting to end so that we can help influence and have those conversations as to how best to align the overall business goals with the marketing goals. In terms of weekly hours, it really just fluctuate. So some weeks I work traditionally 40 hours a week and some weeks, I'm working 60-70 hours a week. It just really depends on the workload. Travel is kind of similar. Typically right now, during the conference season, we usually travel quite a bit and so between me and my team we are traveling quite a bit but February, March, April, we're probably traveling about maybe 25% of the time. But outside of that, we actually don't have too much travel which I like. I don't actually like to travel too much, so it's actually my position at TAB Bank, actually is a really good work-life balance so, like, today I'm moving. So I'm just at the house and able to do other things but what ends up happening is like later tonight I got stuff to do at work, so I'll do that, it's really nice work-life balance.

What tools (software programs, frameworks, models, algorithms, languages) do you use at work? Do you prefer certain tools more than the others? Why?

Based on experience at: VP of Marketing, TAB Bank
Summarized By: Jyotsana Gupta on Wed Mar 11 2020
Our marketing tech stack is just crazy. Like we have so many software that we utilized in our tech stack. But I mean, when you're boiling it down, for me, primarily we use those tools for analytical purposes and trying to understand basically what's happening with our customers like, what is their interaction with us? What are their experiences and looking at the data to help us tell the story that we don't understand and help us automate and making sure that thing doesn't fall through the cracks. So from that standpoint, I think probably my favorite tool right now is Marketo just because we actually use it for a variety of things, not just email marketing, but we use it for our whole ABM strategy, which is account-based marketing. It allows us to do lead scoring very well. Whenever we're looking at any software or tool, what we're really trying to find this, how easy can we gain information that it's supposed to be telling us in an efficient manner so that we are doing more than just observing and that we're actually pulling insights from the data. It's been my experience, almost all software tools that are out there, they're all pulling from the same data sources they just present it differently so when you're looking at those tools, basically, it's like, How can we get the information that's there, put it in an observable format and then pull insights from there? If I were to pick one, I'd say Marketo, we use that all the time especially integrating it with Salesforce.

What things do you like about your job? Were there any pleasant surprises?

Based on experience at: VP of Marketing, TAB Bank
Summarized By: Jyotsana Gupta on Wed Mar 11 2020
I think the thing that I love most about my job is like I said, work-life balance is really key, which I love but the autonomy to do and solve problems, I actually love that. For a lot of people, they get frustrated and they want clarity, they are like, just tell me what to do and I'll do it but when they deal with ambiguous situations or problems that don't have a clear set answer they run into challenges that can be kind of frustrating. But for me, I actually love that and I love the fact that at the bank on our president and executive team as well as our board they are just like, Hey, here's a problem, help us solve it like we don't care how you help us solve it just help us to solve this problem. So the autonomy to be able to fix and actually allocate resources because that's the biggest challenge. A lot of times people can see the problem, but they don't have the power or the authority to really actually allocate resources to be able to fix those problems and so the autonomy to be able to fix problems and then also as I said, the work-life balance is been great.

What are the job titles of people you routinely work with inside and outside of your organization? What approaches do you find to be effective in working with them?

Based on experience at: VP of Marketing, TAB Bank
Summarized By: Jyotsana Gupta on Wed Mar 11 2020
I work across the whole spectrum of the bank, from entry-level workers to the executive team but primarily I would say most of my interactions are with my peers and the executive team. So these are all of C level, our President, CEO, CFO, COO so the C suite but then all of the other Senior VPs and VPs in the bank, I work with them on a routine basis. When you're interacting with them and approaches that really work for me is really listening and it sounds like it's common sense, everybody gets it like you need to listen, but like people rarely actually listen and they're not like being very observant of everything that's going on. So as you are communicating, as you're talking you need to observe their body language like, what hints are they, maybe they seem that everything's fine, but clearly everything's not fine so there are other underlying problems and as you demonstrate and show that you're actually paying attention even to something like simple details like their kids things, they are like, Hey, it's kind of crazy my daughter has a birthday coming up next week or next Tuesday but then you come in and you give their daughter a birthday present on Tuesday and they are like, he was paying attention, he was listening even if it was a minute detail that didn't really matter to the job duties. So really, when it comes down to it, it's just like showing that you care about not only the work but you care about them and then they will reciprocate that, they'll listen to you and then you will create a connection with them that way. They will be like, Yes that's awesome, I love working with John because he cares and he pays attention so I'm going to care, now I am going to reciprocate that same level of respect.

What major challenges do you face in your job and how do you handle them? Can you discuss a few accomplishments?

Based on experience at: VP of Marketing, TAB Bank
Summarized By: Jyotsana Gupta on Wed Mar 11 2020
So right now our biggest challenge that we're facing is trying to find this product channel alignment. So we have various products that we are working with from a marketing standpoint but for a long time, before I got there, we were just kind of throwing money, we're just like, let's just do digital marketing, let's just do traditional like whatever we were just throwing things out there. But what we're trying to do is like, we need to create levers and create the product channel alignment so that we can actually forecast so that we can actually understand what the costs are going to be involved when we want to pull certain levers. So one of the first wins that we had was our deposit side, we were new into the consumer market so our goal was to raise $60 million in the first five years and this year one started last year and so I came last year, last June, the goal was that we wanted to raise $60 million in the first five years by the end of December of last year, we had raised $220 million in the first six months. One of the reasons that we were able to have that success is we have a learning framework, we have a lot of assumptions that we make and we just need to test them as quickly as possible so that we learn and understand those alignments and that's kind of what we were able to do. Now we have more than enough deposits so we had to get back because we solved that problem. But now, if we needed to raise more money or get more deposits, we understand because we created that product channel alignment now we can pull that lever, and then we have an accurate forecast of how much that's going to cost and what we need to spend in order to raise the money that we're looking for. Similarly, that's what we're trying to do now with our loan side like can we pull and right now, we don't that's a problem we're still trying to solve, but we'll get there.

What qualities does your team look for while hiring? What kind of questions does your team typically ask from candidates?

Based on experience at: VP of Marketing, TAB Bank
Summarized By: Jyotsana Gupta on Wed Mar 11 2020
So the at least from our standpoint, like our biggest thing when we look at hiring new candidates is obviously like if we're bringing you in for an interview, you already have the skills as we could see from your resume, we can see from your background. Do you have the hard skills to be able to do the job we're asking you to do? But the issue that I find when we're trying to find the right fit is people who are just all in like who are brought in who want to be part of this awesome, amazing team and who are kind of self-starters. So two things that we have to try to find out with an interview is Are they all in, will they just dive into it, be proactive so that I don't have to tell them. Like, I don't want to hire someone where I have to tell them exactly what to do. I want to hire people who are smart, and then it's like, Hey, here's a problem, help to solve it. Then the other thing is, how do they deal with ambiguity? It's actually one of my big things that I've been working forever and like human beings, like we don't do well with ambiguity like when we don't really understand exactly what how to move forward, we actually have a tendency to revert back into our old habits and our old practices. So it's like when you are faced with not knowing what you do, Do you know how to move forward in that situation? Because we're constantly like I said just a few minutes ago, we're talking about our products and that product channel alignment, we don't know what that looks like, and we don't know how to solve it yet and so now we're in that situation so, How do you move forward through and push through those challenges? One of the things that I like to ask and this is actually pulled from other people, but I think it gives me a way of looking into how their thought process is like, Is there something in your life you believe in that, less than 10 other people in the world believe in. So basically something that, like you believe in that literally know what else believes and oftentimes they'll do something, like some kind of random, like a political question or something like metaphorical, but on then we kind of push back a little bit because even it's like, I believe in UFOs. Well, you're not alone. There are a lot of people, more than 10 people that believe in UFO. We need very specific Like something that basically no one else in the world believes and ultimately when we ask that question and drill down into it, it basically gets down to them like, What do you believe in yourself that no one else believes in yet? Their answers to that, like how they think through that, often tell us a lot of really where they are personally and where they see themselves in the future.

What is a typical hiring process for a job like yours? What are the titles of people who interview? What questions usually get asked and how to handle them?

Based on experience at: VP of Marketing, TAB Bank
Summarized By: Jyotsana Gupta on Wed Mar 11 2020
Usually, if you're applying for a VP position, especially at a bank, you're either being interviewed by a senior VP or another C level executive. Like at a VP level, you're dealing with the executive team, whoever's hiring you is simply part of that team so those are the ones who you are going to be interviewing. The questions, they will ask all kinds of questions like, Tell us about some of your successes, a lot of generic questions like, Tell us about a time where you were able to overcome something challenging. But really, what they're looking for is someone that could help them solve the problems. The one thing that really helped me land the job that I currently have is that I knew that they were looking for someone who was proactive, and so during the interview process, I was interviewing with the senior VP of marketing and sales, and when I was interviewing with him, he was like, Tell me about some of the challenges that you have faced that you haven't solved or tell me about some of your challenges. What I actually did was before the interview, I did a ton of research about TAB Bank and what their issues were. So I came to him and said, These are the challenges, I see at TAB Bank and these are some of the solutions, like, I presented him with solutions. Now some of them were off base because I lacked context but the mere fact that I gave him solutions to the problems he's facing right now was a really big deal for him and then he was like, Done, we're going to hire you like if you're already doing this in an interview process, what's going to happen when we actually give you context that help us solve issues? However, you can really show that, like, you're just going to solve problems and people are going to be able to trust you and what's going to happen is especially when you're in a VP director-level position like most people actually don't have a seat at the table when it comes to the overall business decisions like they have inputs but really don't guide direction. But when you can prove to the executive team and the other product owners that you can fix their problems like for us, even if it's on a marketing issue, you come to us with a customer service issue or an IT issue we can help you solve that problem that all of a sudden you become a strategic resource set like the rest of the team goes to. So during the interview process, you really want to demonstrate that you can be that kind of resource, not only for the department but for the business as a whole.

What is a future career path for professionals like you? How long does it typically take to advance through various roles? How easy are such promotions to come by?

Based on experience at: VP of Marketing, TAB Bank
Summarized By: Jyotsana Gupta on Wed Mar 11 2020
It really is all over the map and it really depends on how ambitious and how proactive you are in getting to where you want to get you. So I have people who literally took 15-20 years to become a VP in the bank but then you have someone like me, I literally did a career pivot right just five years ago. In 2015, I was doing cardiovascular genetic research and now I'm am a VP of Marketing at a bank. But the reason why I was able to get promoted so quickly is because I demonstrated that, I don't even know how to handle this problem. I don't have experience in that, but I know how to learn, I know have to solve problems, and we're going to solve problems and really by being proactive in the challenges that were given to me. It's like, you know what, we're just going to start solving problems and even if we don't have a problem that was presented, we would find other ways to grow and by doing that, you really you stand out a lot. So if you're really proactive in your career, if you're proactive in solving other people's problems you can grow and get promoted very quickly. If you have a background that you can show right and that's what I was able to do at Epic Marketing because their biggest question is I didn't have a finance background so they were like should we hire a VP of marketing, who has no banking experience, and I showed them when I was at Epic Marketing, I was like when we worked with this client who has a gym, I never had gym experience, when I was working with this client who was in education, it was a college I never had college experience but I showed them even though I didn't have experiences in those areas, I was able to get wins and successes because of the way that we go about tackling problems. If you're going from entry-level to like a VP level, you're looking from 5 to 20 years. Like some people just go with the flow and just allow they don't direct their career path and so it takes a long time to get there. And I said mine was five years but I know people who are VPs of various product markets and companies and they were able to do it in two like they were able to really just demonstrate that they could solve all these problems for you.

What are different entry-level jobs and subsequent job pathways that can lead students to a position such as yours?

Based on experience at: VP of Marketing, TAB Bank
Summarized By: Jyotsana Gupta on Wed Mar 11 2020
So there's a lot of career paths. I mean, a lot of entry-level positions you can come through when you're coming into the marketing role. But typically, you're looking at kind of like a social media specialist or a digital marketing specialist who's doing some basic stuff with in terms of answering questions, posting on social media that's kind of like your typical entry-level position. But then, as you start to do some more advanced level content creation and strategies and then you're going into paid digital marketing like you start to get into it and then once you start fulfilling on some of these advance level positions, then you start managing people, and then as you start to manage people, then you start to grow into Managers, Directors, VP.

What were the responsibilities and decisions that you handled at work? What major challenges did you face in your job?

Based on experience at: Director of Digital Marketing, Epic Marketing
Summarized By: Jyotsana Gupta on Wed Mar 11 2020
My responsibilities over there were specifically I was director of digital marketing. So over there what I was doing, I was in charge of all of our paid channels, all of our SEO and I had a Seo manager, I had a PPC manager. So basically, anything that had to deal with digital marketing was kind of what we dealt with. And so as we were working with various clients and helping them solve their digital marketing needs, I was in charge of making sure that our strategies were sound, everything was good and that we were providing the best and the highest quality results that had to do anything with digital marketing in general.

How did the school prepare you for your career? Think about faculty, resources, alumni, exposure & networking. What were the best parts?

Based on experience at: Masters of Business Administration, Entrepreneurship/Entrepreneurial Studies, University of Utah
Summarized By: Jyotsana Gupta on Wed Mar 11 2020
So, with my MBA, I would say by far the thing that helped me more than anything was during my MBA, I actually took my favorite class, the class that actually kind of stripped my mindset, but it did not only help me find my passion it actually helped me think through how to problem solve. So what lesson it was teaching us was when you're dealing with the creative process, you just have a ton of ambiguity, How do you deal with that ambiguity? And how do you get through and learn and de-risk your knowledge so that you're able to better understand how to solve the issues that you're facing. I actually had a professor named Rob and he really did transform the way that I solve problems by thinking and giving me a framework by which to deal with ambiguous situations and just a creative process in general.

How did the school prepare you for your career? Think about faculty, resources, alumni, exposure & networking. What were the best parts?

Based on experience at: Bachelor of Arts, Biology, University of Utah
Summarized By: Jyotsana Gupta on Wed Mar 11 2020
Like I said, I was originally going to medical school, so I actually got my undergrad in biology. In terms of actual specific things that I learned, there's not a ton of application to what I currently do, but what I learned the most during my underground was like, it was really hard and especially as you're getting ready for medical school but you have a lot of extracurriculars that you're trying to do. You're trying to do research, you're trying to do service projects and everything in addition to doing well in school so what it allowed me to do is just create a really good work ethic to be able to learn and know how to handle hard and challenging problems.

Would you like to share something that is not on your resume? This may include your passions, facing setbacks or adversities, a unique experience, or an unexpected help.

Summarized By: Jyotsana Gupta on Wed Mar 11 2020
So for me, as I said, I constantly go on and I've mentioned a few times in this format, but it really is, persevering and then also who to do you when you don't know what to do and whenever the vast majority of people when they're facing that situation as I said, they have a tendency to revert back to their old habits. College students think that they're prepared, and then they go into the real world and they get into their jobs and then it gets challenging and they don't have someone that telling them exactly what to do. They're like, Hey, this is what we need to solve, solve it like they don't have a step by step directions on how to do that. So what end up doing is they end up reverting way back and like before all of the skills and everything that they learned in school, actually forget all about it and it's funny because, I've hired some of my former students I have taught as a professor, I've hired some of my former students, and I see it in them, and they're facing a challenge, and they don't know exactly what to do. So then they revert back to all of their old bad habits and I am like, What are you doing? And I asked them, like, You know how to do this, just think through your training, think about your learnings, think about the experiences you have, just take it step by step and really just focus on answering one question, and as you can answer that question, then you apply to the next and then you create this rapid experimentation that's what we do currently at TAB Bank and that's what we did at Epic Marketing and that's what I try to teach my students like, How do you create this rapid experimentation to learn quickly and that's how you really get through some of your more ambiguous situations that are more problematic and challenging to solve.

Do you have any parting advice for students hoping to get to a position such as yours? What 3 dos and 3 don'ts would you suggest?

Based on experience at: VP of Marketing, TAB Bank
Summarized By: Jyotsana Gupta on Wed Mar 11 2020
So one, just be wildly proactive, don't wait for other people to tell you what to do. Like if you're waiting for other people to tell you what you do, your career is now based on someone else's priorities like you're handing off your career and you're putting it in the hands of someone else like own your career, own that career path and the way that you do that is just be proactive. Look around for challenges and problems that need to be solved even if you've done everything that's on your job duties or your responsibility for that day, then look around. It's like, All right, well, what other things can I challenge myself? What other things can I face to work with? Another thing that I would say to do is also just learn, just read when you're at home, if you're only reading and working and doing things from 9 to 5 or only at school, you're learning curve will not only be steep, but it will also be long, it'll be a long learning curve. So what would you need to do is just and this is why your passion matters because if you're doing something that you're passionate about, you are naturally just kind of absorb and learn and you're just like, Hey, I just want to learn more about this stuff so you're reading articles, you're doing webinars, you're attending conferences, you're watching YouTube videos and it gives you context and understanding of how to do your job better and how other people in that space are doing that and so learning and learning a ton like you just have to learn outside of your normal work hours or normal school hours. Things not to do, this is kind of the opposite of what I just said to do, but don't just wait on other people like don't put your career in other people's hands, like own your career and the way that people do is they really do just say, Hey, boss, tell me what to do. And when I have done everything that you told me to do, I just relax or I just do my own thing. Another thing is, don't non-network so this is like a double negative of just saying to network. Networking is wildly important and is the key to success. People talk about hard work well, there are people that work hard that aren't successful and you need to be intelligent and smart, well, there's a ton of intelligent people who are not successful and there are a lot of dumb people who are wildly successful. One thing that most successful people have is they have a large, robust network and the reason why networking is so important is because your network literally defines your effective intelligence meeting that, like, there's an old saying that says, "It's not what you know. It's who you know." But a little twist that I have on that saying is "who you know is what you know" So if I'm limited to only what I'm able to do then what I'm actually able to do is actually very limited. But if I have a network that like, I can't develop software but I know a guy that can develop that software program or I know someone that can help connect me like an HR person that can help me connect with an amazing talent, whatever. Like now, all of a sudden, what I can actually do becomes multiplied by what my network is able to do and so when you create strong networks, you create a strong network effects.