An old proverb says, “A single conversation with a wise person is worth a month’s study of books.” If that’s the case, I’ve fulfilled all my required reading obligations for a while.

For the past two years, I’ve been interviewing the world’s best and brightest marketers at least once a week for the Marketing Cloudcast, the marketing podcast from Salesforce. For most of that time, I hosted the show alongside Joel Book (check out 12 things we can all learn from his career).

I recently released my 100th episode of the podcast (that’s a lot of marketer interviews!), and I wanted to reflect on what I’ve learned after talking to so many of the field’s best and brightest minds.

Check out a preview of this episode here: 

For more, subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Google Play Music, Stitcher, or wherever you listen to podcasts. Here’s a look back on what I’ve learned.


1. Every marketer you admire has an insecurity.


After talking to bestselling marketing authors and C-suite members alike, I’ve learned that everyone has aspects of their marketing that they don’t feel 100% confident about. Every successful person has an area where they don’t feel they measure up. And every time you look on a stage and admire a super innovative, smart leader, know that they have insecurities about the job they’re doing.


2. Professionalism is nice, but kindness is nicer.


Professionals at every level of a company are regular people just like you. If you get the chance to talk to someone who intimidates you, it’s great to treat the situation with professionalism. But don’t forget to treat them like a human. Every professional you know has a real life aside from work (which, at times, they may balance more effectively than others).

Ask people if they have any pets, like my friend Jay Acunzo does. Ask what their favorite local restaurant or coffeeshop is, if you’re in their city. The point is to be kind and gracious, because people tend to remember the way you made them feel.


3. No “expert” has all the answers.


I’ve talked to plenty of marketing experts. But they still admit they have lots to learn. No single marketing talking head has the magic bullet to make your customers drown you with love and money. What you bring to the table — your experience, unique insights, and empathy for your customers — is just as important as any expert’s advice.


4. Technology issues plague everyone.


Don’t let technology get you down. While producing and hosting the Cloudcast, I’ve lost episodes, had to cancel on guests because of technological fails, and encountered every type of audio issue known to man. It seems like a relatively simple concept to record a few people talking about marketing, doesn’t it? But as I quickly learned, technology can be a stinker. There were plenty of times throughout 100 episodes that I wanted to give up, but I’m glad I continued pushing on.

If you’re pursuing a project you really believe in, I encourage you to find that extra push of perseverance and continue.


5. Scheduling can be insanely challenging.


I’d say the hardest thing about interviewing 100+ busy marketers is getting on their calendars! This was a lesson in follow-through for me. Sometimes I would reach out to an awesome marketer or meet them at an event and they’d express interest in doing an episode. But I’d have to follow up 3 or 5 times to make it actually happen. And when it did, it was super rewarding. Calendar reminders are definitely your friend.


6. Career paths are fascinating.


One thing I almost always asked my Marketing Cloudcast guests is how they got into their line of work and their career path. I’m struck by how many unique career paths there are to get into digital marketing today. It’s truly a technicolor dreamcoat of people from different backgrounds and disciplines, from journalism to advertising to data and analytics. Do you know the career path that your fellow marketers have taken to be on your team or in your department? This could be a great thing to discuss and draw from their past experiences.


7. Even insanely busy people can make time to read.


Whether they were a CMO or full-time marketing speaker, I asked plenty of marketers about their favorite books. Often, the guest would bubble up with excitement over their latest read. Even the busiest people can make time to exit their own echo chamber and read a new perspective, so start making time for this if you haven’t yet.


8. Data is one of the best conversation-starters.


I learned that presenting a data point and asking for someone’s take on it is a great way to start a conversation with business leaders. Marketers especially tend to love data about consumers and their marketing peers, so stay in touch with the latest research in your industry if you’re looking for lively conversation.


9. Truly commit to doing research before you interview someone.


As past Cloudcast guest Ann Handley shared, “Do your homework. You’d like to think this goes without saying, wouldn’t you? Yeah. Me, too. I’d like to think everyone knows not to ask me about the time I founded ‘MarketingSherpa.’ (True story.)” After interviewing 100 marketers, I quickly found that a bit of research enlightened me to what that person has already answered a million times, their background, and interests. This backstory makes your conversation deeper and unique from all the other interviews out there.


10. Get people into storytelling mode vs. professor mode.


Often, I’ve asked marketers to explain an important topic or trend in their area of expertise. Their replies went from good to great if I then followed up by asking for an example or story. Our brains also tend to remember stories better than explication alone, so always look for opportunities to teach — or be taught — by a story when possible.

I’ve moved to a new role within Salesforce, so today’s episode will be my last hosting the Marketing Cloudcast. The wonderful news is that two of my fantastic colleagues from Marketing Cloud will be taking over the show: Megan Collins and Tina Rozul. You’re in great hands with them. And I won’t be far, as I’m still in the Salesforce Ohana, now working primarily with our Commerce Cloud. Keep up with my work with Salesforce on Twitter, and thanks to all of you who have spent time with me on the Cloudcast over the past two years.

Want to hear more about Heike’s Cloudcast takeaways and what’s next for the Marketing Cloudcast? Join the thousands of smart marketers who are Cloudcast subscribers on Apple Podcasts, Google Play Music, Stitcher, or Overcast.