Office Hours: I have led global marketing teams at Ancestry, LiveRamp, and Sephora. I'm Lindsay Chastain.Featured

Hi everyone! I’m Lindsay Chastain, strategy advisor helping senior marketing leaders drive innovation and revenue growth.I previously led global paid media and partnerships at Ancestry, was head of product marketing at LiveRamp, and directed digital marketing strategy and partnerships at Sephora. I graduated from the Ohio State University with a degree in marketing. Ask me anything about growth marketing, paid media strategies, marketing operations, leadership, and more!
Thanks so much for joining us @lbchastain!Elphas – please ask @lbchastain your questions before Friday, March 5th. @lbchastain may not have time to answer every questions, so emoji upvote your favorites 🔥👍🏾➕
Hey Lindsay, thanks for this AMA! Question: what are some of the best practices that you've seen in team collaboration between marketing, sales, CS? The marketing team usually has so much valuable data and insights that can help the whole org to improve and focus.
Love this thinking! When Marketing, Sales, and CS work together, it amplifies the impact of each team.One option is to establish a squad with someone from each of the 3 teams to brainstorm on how to best share and action on insights across teams. Then create a formal cadence so the larger group is hearing the shared insights and other squads start forming. You can force this by organizing around customer audiences and assigning audience growth targets, but an organic approach often leads to greater collaboration. Think about the data and insights going both ways: Another option would be to bring your insights and recommended actions to CS/Sales and ask for specific insights from them, explaining how you’d use them. Ex: CS/Sales can help marketing identify high-value customer attributes so you optimize your strategy to deliver more qualified leads and overall CAC is more efficient. It can be challenging to ask people to slow down enough to share insights across teams. I have seen a successful collaboration culture start after marketing leveraged data to demonstrate the role each team plays in moving customers through funnel states and showing how those metrics improve when teams collaborate.
Hi @lbchastain - thanks for sharing your wisdom and time.I'm building a hardware IOT water vending business that has a strong digital identity for UX and engagement. Currently relying on outsourced marketing talent but exploring my first FT hire. Do you advise someone with strength in product launch + marketing at this stage, or someone with experience in the community development role across our physical and digital entitites?Appreciate any and all insights.
Love the focus on community and engagement. Depends on what you this person to do - build a community, launch new products, develop marketing campaigns, manage customer communication, etc. and how you'll resource them (media budget, freelance budget, headcount, etc). Sounds like you already have products in market and the start of a community so might be a good time for a Community Marketing lead at a level comfortable being in the weeds and building a longer term strategy - maybe a current community manager hungry to grow.
Thank you @lbchastain!! Wow, so helpful. Excuse my chutzpah, but a quick followup: do you have thoughts on searching for such an individual as you recommend? Can start looking at the team of other digitally-driven community hardware products (Mirror, Peloton, Core, etc.) but also would welcome any tips or secrets of where you have found great people in the past.
Hi @lbchastain I wanted to ask, is there any strategy a blogger should have. I have owned a blog for more than five years now. I have been thinking of making it profitable but I do not really understand SEOS or how to get my blog to be come successful.
You've already done the hardest part (creating the content)! Plenty of ways to monetize so depends on the effort you want to put in and what aligns to your blog purpose. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is useful if you want more people to find your content (more traffic = more monetization with the tactics below), but won't generate revenue for you alone. For some basic SEO help, snag a freelancer on Upwork to spend an hour optimizing your site tags.Affiliate marketing is a great option: check out details on each affiliate network site and join as many as you want. Here's a few to start:,, allow ads to show on your blog: options include selling digital products like ebooks or courses, do sponsored posts/reviews (can do this with affiliate too)
Hi @lbchastainWhat are the main pitfalls to avoid when localizing marketing/gtm efforts? Or the flipside: What are the absolute must-haves when localizing marketing/gtm efforts?
Start with your top markets to build a repeatable plan for entering new marketsAudit messaging and content to ensure you’re resonating with each local audience (leverage local agencies if you don’t have the insights or bandwidth)Optimize international search rankingsAdjust marketing tactics based on the market vs assuming you need all the same tactics in every market Scale with localization/translation vendorsTier your markets and be clear upfront about resource allocation and ongoing support for each tierIf you have in-market teams and centralized global support, set clear expectations around roles and responsibilities and ways of working (then check in on it often!)
@lbchastain thank you for being here and sharing your knowledge! We're getting ready to hire our first marketing employee and I am unsure of the right combo of experience & expertise? We're a B2B HRtech SaaS company and I know marketing is critical but should it be someone with digital marketing experience, branding, etc.? thank you in advance!
Depends on what you want them to do. I'm assuming a sales motion is the priority so I'd focus more on product marketing/sales enablement. You can outsource the rest in the interim until you're ready to really scale the marketing function. Think about the level based on how you're planning to resource them - if you expect a VP level to work without a budget for freelance/agency support, that won't work. Someone with experience at your stage or just beyond is probably the best fit.
@lbchastain thank you for being so generous with your time! 1. What are some of your low cost software/tools in marketing? For example, my clients use We-Connect and Ask Neo.2. Can you recommend sites like AppSumo or Product Hunt to find more tools? Thank you!
I’m trying to build an app as a non-tech founder that has never lead a team or been in a management role. How do you grow as a leader?
Stay motivated - you are the driver. Know where you're going and why. If you get lost or forget, take time to reset. Your team will follow that conviction.Listen - to your team, to yourself, to people with more experience. Seek feedback!Cultivate self-awareness - be honest with yourself about your strengths and where you need support. Make friends with your imposter syndrome monkey. Try, learn, repeatRemember that no one knows what they're doing, everyone's at varying stages of try/learn/repeat. Go you!
Hi LindsayThanks for contributing to this space. I am working on a project that I believe could be a tremendous contribution to Ancestry, potentially one of their most important and valuable future assets.My questions: 1. Can I pitch it to you over zoom and get your advise (estimated 15 min)2. Do you have connection to any top executives or board members at Ancestry if we can take it forward?Happy to share any reward.I kept this private since I know Google is tracking the visible messages.Thank You so much Iza
Thanks for your time, @lbchastain! I work in marketing at a startup and it often feels super overwhelming - there is so much to do, but little time and resourcing, so you have to make tough decisions and trade-offs. What do you recommend as the top/high-level ~3 things any marketing leader should do when building a department from scratch? Without knowing the industry/any specifics, are there top channels you recommend investing in/prioritizing? Roles you recommend hiring for and prioritizing over others?
Building from scratch is always an adventure! Top 3 things when building a department from scratch: 1) Have a long term vision for your team so everyone knows what you’re building towards. You’ll keep adapting along the way but your team and your cross-functional partners can better support you if they know where you’re trying to go. This will also help with hiring. 2) Build an integrated function from the start so Marketing works in partnership with product, sales, engineering, etc. to grow the business. 3) Data, data, data. Make decisions you can back up with data - even if the data is just directional or qualitative. Where to invest:The simple answer is wherever your customers are. A lot will depend on your business model and what you’re selling. My advice is to start testing small based on where your customers are, and scale as you see results. You don’t need perfect tracking, just the ability to correlate a revenue lift to marketing activity so it can be as simple as a test and control in different markets and watching your revenue trend over the month. Don’t assume you need to do what everyone else is doing unless you’ve seen that tactic drive incremental results for your business. If you have a website you want people to visit, the always-on foundations include SEO (get a freelancer to set this up for you to start), paid search (pay a freelancer to run this for you with a small investment to start then scale as you see incremental impact but make sure it’s incremental...there is a point of diminishing returns on Paid Search that Google doesn’t want you to think about). A lifecycle email strategy for how you communicate with customers will be important if you want to retain customers over time. Other Paid Ad channels can be added in the same way: test and see impact, then scale.Roles:This will depend on your own area of expertise as well as the business. I always look for relationship builders with critical thinking skills and lots of initiative. At this stage you don’t want all specialists so make sure you hire people who are resourceful and can adapt with the business. Areas of focus:Product Marketing (positioning, pricing, packaging, partnerships, content)Performance Marketing (channel marketing, acquisition, engagement, retention)Communications (PR, internal comms, influencers, organic social, community)Brand/Creative (voice, branding, design, etc)Skillsets:Strategic planning and resource management: create and execute the plansAnalytics and Insights: Understanding your customer and how they respond to marketing is crucial for any business. You can outsource initial consumer insights research, but you’ll want ongoing insights to inform strategy. Those ongoing insights can come from customer surveys but also need to include performance data so you understand the impact marketing is having on the business and how to optimize your strategies. Find an analytics guru who understands the fundamentals of marketing measurement, testing analysis, and revenue forecasting. Have them build a foundation for measurement and reporting so it’s easy to demonstrate your team’s impact on the business. Channels: can go a lot of routes here - Performance Marketing, paid media, Growth, etcCreative/Design: you can use freelancers, but sometimes it helps to have an internal designer who can lean into different projects and iterate fast.Project management/operations/coordination: don’t forget about this - as you scale beyond your existing team’s capacity to keep everything on track and see all the various projects in motion, this is an important role.Good luck!
Wow, thank you so much for such a thorough response! Really appreciate it. In some ways, this was very comforting because I think I'm on the right track, but definitely sparked some ideas for moving forward. Thank you again!
Hi @lbchastain, nice to meet you! Looking forward to your responses to these questions. I'd love to know about your top marketing resources to get informed + inspired (podcasts, books, favorite follows, blogs, online groups, etc.)? Thank you!
There is so much amazing content available, it’s hard to pick just a few here! I like to dig around and follow link trails when I’m looking for insights on particular topics - sometimes you stumble on hidden gems you wouldn’t have found otherwise + you clarify your thinking in the process. I’m a RSS feed reader and sometimes Reddit junkie so I make my own content feed from a bunch of sources. Some marketing sources I follow: brandchannel, hubspot, moz,, quicksprout, forgetthefunnel,, women on business, reforge, seth godin, 2pml, annhandley, keeps me smiling about this thing we call marketing.When looking for specific info: Marketing Profs,,, feedspot, marketingland. For macro insights and strategic frameworks: Forrester, Gartner, McKinsey, SlideshareInspiration comes from many places so stay curious and take time to look at all types of visuals.And whatever your medium of choice (books, blogs, podcasts, etc), find content by women writing about their experiences navigating a career. While not specific to marketing, I have found it essential to hear stories from other women. For somewhere to start:
Thanks for joining, @lbchastain. We live in the "attention economy" now. What are effective growth marketing strategies at present? Big change I see: in the absence of in-person meetings/events, digital channels are crowded and decision-makers tune out;
You're spot on. So much saturation in every channel and consumer’s attention to ads differs widely across tactics. Pull vs push: Focus on creating an emotional connection with your target audience. Tap into emotions, have empathy, and make content fit for each context. You build that connection over time, so think about all the ways customers engage with your brand and how you can provide value at each of those touchpoints vs pushing the same message every time. Think in terms of content frameworks aligned to consumer need states vs linear campaigns with matching assets. This allows consumers to participate in the relationship. Community is everything: What kind of community is your brand enabling and how can you inspire others to join? (FOMO is real) It can be a community of consumers who have purchased a product (see lots of this in DTC brands with a hero product), a community of customers who are collaborating (UGC content/forums are key here), an exclusive community (loyalty programs), etc.
I would love to know how you have introduced and onboarded external team leads/managers:What challenges did you see? What were some key ways you set them up for success? How did you track and update them on their performance as they grew into the role?
Hi Lindsay! Thank you for your time! As a leader, have you run into situations where maybe someone in a leadership executive role is not performing to your standards and you want them to step up and do more? Basically, how do you handle performance issues (if you have encountered any) in an empowering and inspiring way?
Assuming this person reports to you: Make sure you’ve communicated clear expectations - take the time to write out exactly what you want the person to be doing, then discuss those expectations with them. Provide context so they understand your vision. (ex: I need you to take on x because our team is continuing to grow and I need leaders who can own their areas….) Make sure everyone is on the same page then have a follow up for them to communicate what they need to be successful. It can be an uncomfortable conversation to have, especially because us gals are often taught to be less direct in asking for what we want. Frequent feedback is really useful. Positive reinforcement of the behaviors you want, followup discussions (separately from a larger group) to explain when something didn’t work and brainstorm on how to approach it differently next time. Keep in mind that sometimes there are underlying issues (especially now in these crazy times) that might be impacting job performance so it’s always good to approach with empathy and ask questions to uncover what might be going on outside of work. I’ve had a few performance issues that were solved by working out a different schedule or getting some short-term freelance support. Most importantly, know when it’s time to part ways - if you’ve been clear what you want and your team member isn’t able or willing to do that, shift the conversation to how you both move on amicably.Be open to reworking your team roles and responsibilities to fit the talent you have. Listen to what motivates and inspires everyone and make sure you’re providing inspiration. I’ve had situations where a performance issue was because the person was bored in their current role - solved it easily by broadening their scope. A note of caution: it can be a self-fulfilling prophecy if you openly discuss someone’s performance issues with others. Start by believing in them and give them time to grow before you create the narrative that they aren’t capable of stepping up. Deep breaths. You got this!
That was a very eloquent, informative, concise and thoughtful response. I will definitely take your advice to heart! Thank you so much!
Hi @lbchastain! I’m in proposal writing, which is a marketing niche all its own. How can I more easily express that those niche skills are transferable across the marketing field?
First step, stop calling yourself a proposal writer ;) Every type of marketing writing is a proposal to get an audience to adopt some solution: internal presentations, sales enablement materials, ads, blog content, etc. so your experience is extremely relevant. Think about your skillset in terms of the value it creates (gets people to do stuff). Figure out which area of marketing you're interested in (content marketing, copywriting, strategy, product marketing, etc) and start reframing your experience using the language of those areas. Look at job descriptions and how people in those roles describe what they do. Start a project that allows you to flex your skills to create an output that matches what is common in the area you want to focus (blog post, messaging framework, white paper, positioning statement, ad copy, etc). Your niche can be your superpower and the thing that sets you apart from the herd.
This is excellent. I hadn’t thought of it that way before. Thank you @l@lbchastain!