In an interview with Insights Success, the CMO, of Zurixx, April Critchfield, sheds light on the company’s cutting-edge solutions that create the best financial education programs and shares her insights about the company’s core competencies and its future. She has also broadly discussed about her overall journey as a marketing aspirant. Considering these influential and inspirational aspects, Insights Success recognizes April Critchfield as one of the influential marketing leaders to watch in 2019.
Below are highlights from the interview conducted between April and Insights Success:
Give a brief overview of your background as an influential marketing leader.
I think it’s very important to lead with action through example, and to encourage people to think for themselves and make decisions. If you have expectations of your team members, and you can’t keep your own deadlines, you can’t really expect to have other people meet the same deadlines. For example – being on time to work…. It’s a simple act, and it’s something 99% of the time you have complete control over. But, if you’re showing up to work late every day, then you can’t expect to have your team members keep their commitments to also show up to work on time. I also have been one who appreciates knowing how my role and my actions affect other people and departments. I like explaining the big picture and how everyone’s role makes a difference – I feel it is the best way to encourage forward thinking among your team members. When people come to me and ask a question or come to me with a problem, I will always answer like this: “no, and this is why” or “yes, and this is why.” We work through things together and I think helping team members come up with alternative solutions to problems empowers them to be stronger employees, and better thinkers.
What were the past experiences, achievements or lessons that have shaped your journey?
I’ve been fortunate to have great leaders shape me into who I am. I have worked in the corporate world for over 20 years and have been able to grow and take bits and pieces of each experience, leadership style and challenge with me along my journey. I have had influential leaders in every workplace that I’ve been a part of, and I can look back on every opportunity and say what I took away from it. I also have a few moments that I don’t like to remember fondly… the way I acted or behaved in certain situations, especially early on in my career. Not knowing how to handle stressful phone calls, meetings, or confrontation issues… but I wouldn’t change it.
Because of those (not so great) moments, I learned some pretty valuable things about myself. I know that it’s important to breathe, take a minute to let things settle, and to have patience, especially in stressful situations. Being able to go with the flow and proactively work to make a hard moment better, is a pretty amazing quality. I’m still working on it.
How do you strategize your game plans to tackle competition in the market?
I think being able to recognize growing trends and acting on them is instrumental in tackling competition in the market. There is always something you’re going to see or like that you can take and make it your own, or improve upon. You want your competition to think of you as an industry leader, not the other way around. Don’t wait for your competition to come up with the next big thing. Do it first. That being said – it’s also very important to involve people in the beginning stages of strategy. Utilize other people’s strengths and allow collaboration. It will save a lot of time and energy when you can feed off each other’s ideas, and work through a game plan together.
What were the primal challenges and roadblocks you faced during the initial phase of your career as a marketing leader?
I didn’t have a lot of marketing specific jobs or experience, so that alone was the biggest challenge…my background was in communication, accounting and analysis, so being able to combine that experience with the creativity of marketing was an amazing opportunity. I learned quickly about reaching out to others, managing vendors, trying new things, testing things out, and continuing education was key in the marketing world, it’s constantly changing. Marketing is so versatile, and being able to speak to a certain audience, and capture their attention through their response is a pretty fulfilling feeling.
What inspires you to become an influential marketing leader?
I don’t really see myself as “influential.” That’s kind of a tough question…. But I have had a lot of influential people guide and provide mentorship in my career. I strive to be like them, and to hold the same qualities that I’ve admired in other leaders. I have had people tell me that I’ve made a difference for them. That they’ve learned something from me, and it doesn’t matter what it is – if I have helped someone become a better version of themselves in any way, then I am happy with that!
Where do you see yourself in the near future and what are your future goals?
I want to always be learning and always be growing. I have a lot of things I still want to accomplish, like starting my own business, and getting more involved in my community.
What is your advice for budding and emerging marketing leaders?
Speak up! Remember, timing is everything. Make connections, network with people. Do things that might be out of your comfort zone. Do your research with the company, bring up fresh new ideas, and if your idea has already been brought up by someone else, and it didn’t work for some reason, find out why. Was it the timing? Was it the budget? Would it work now? Follow up and follow through.
About the Leader
April Critchfield is the CMO at Zurixx, and a certified Professional in Marketing with a demonstrated history of working in the events services and live seminars industry. She is a skilled marketing professional with a Bachelor’s of Science Degree in Communication, Organization & Speech from the University of Utah. April possesses the curiosity and ambition towards marketing. Initially an accounting background she enables her skillset in Negotiation, Budgeting, Customer Service, Advertising, and Event Management.