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  • Writer's pictureKathryn Wharton

In conversation with Kathryn Wharton

In June 2023 I was interviewed by Veronica Swindale, Managing Director and Founder of NESMA (North East Sales and Marketing Academy) for Northern Insights Magazine.

2 page magazine spread with the spotlight on Kathryn Wharton.
Northern Insights Magazine, July 2023 issue.

I first met Veronica in September 2019 and she supported me through the pandemic and career change to achieve a distinction in my marketing qualification. It was great to sit down and catch up properly with Veronica, here’s what we discussed:

“Kathryn, thanks for joining me for this month’s interview.

I am sure most marketers know that you have pivoted successfully from being an archeology graduate and working at the Great North Museum into becoming a seasoned Marketing professional in the technology sector. What was it that attracted you to marketing for your career? I love that marketing is all about people. Without understanding a business's stakeholders, existing customers and target markets then any marketing you implement won’t be a success. As a thinker and a doer, marketing allows me to look across the business landscape on a strategic level and then implement the right tactics to achieve their growth objectives.

What steps did you take to help you on your journey? Through a skills assessment I discovered I had really strong human skills to support a career in marketing but lacked some of the technical knowledge. I completed my Chartered Institute of Marketing level 4 with NESMA to give me more understanding of the theory. Alongside that, I consumed books, podcasts, attended webinars and sought guidance from marketing professionals to help me build my career.

What attracted you into the marketing tech space? I made the bold move during the pandemic to join a tech company because I wanted to be at the forefront of cutting edge technology. I was intrigued to learn more about how this was being utilised across businesses and the complexity of marketing it to clients.

How do you think we should be preparing our marketing teams? Marketing teams need to spend time with the sales team. This will provide invaluable knowledge about the commercial side of the business, give direct access to prospects, understand the nuances of the buyer's journey, which will ultimately lead to a smarter marketing strategy and greater ROI.

To what extent have employers/employees changed their expectations since Covid? I think the biggest expectation in the workplace now is flexibility. Employees want to be able to do their work at a time and location that works for them. Employers set clear guidelines on what will and will not work for the business and communicate this effectively. I am really impressed with the approach Atom Bank used to implement their changing working practices and think other businesses can learn a lot from them.

You are fantastic at managing your own brand through physical events and social media networking. How would you recommend starting to do this? My advice would be to start small. Set yourself a realistic goal of posting once a week on LinkedIn or attending one event a month. When I am sharing content I always try to ensure it is either educational, helping someone else or is entertaining (but professional).

One of the initiatives you set up is the Women in Tech North East community. Why did you decide to do this? When I joined the tech sector, I looked for a network of like minded people for support and couldn’t find one so I joined forces with some other women to create it. We run quarterly events and have an online community of 900+ individuals. You can find out more about the community here.

What are your immediate next steps? I’m about to embark on another bold move and launch my own marketing consultancy. I see a huge opportunity to use my skills and experience to support SME’s with their marketing strategy to accelerate their growth plans. If you’d like to know more about this then drop me an email or connect with me on LinkedIn.


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