Speaker spotlight: Karla Rivershaw, Head of Marketing of Turtl

October 14, 2019

“It’s about learning as much as you can about your customer so when you do decide to start that conversation you’re fully equipped and know what you need to say and when you should say it.” 

#SuperchargeMarketing is just around the corner, an evening packed full of networking and insightful talks from some of the most exciting innovators in marketing right now. 

Karla Rivershaw, Head of Marketing at content solutions startup Turtl (creators of THAT #KillThePDF campaign), is one of the thought-leaders taking the stage to talk ‘B2B marketing’. We caught up with her ahead of the event to discuss her career and the industry. 


Tell us a bit about yourself and your role at Turtl?

I’ve been with Turtl since January (it feels a lot longer but that’s the nature of the startup world – everything moves so quickly as I’m sure you well know!). I head up the marketing department there, when I joined there wasn’t much of a department at all and they needed someone to build the team. We’re now a team of nine.

Prior to Turtl I worked at a startup before moving to Thomson Reuters for six years, which was taken over by private equity and ended up being called Clarivate Analytics. I worked across a variety of roles there: in product marketing, content marketing, social media and comms, field marketing where I headed up a team all around the world and finally in marketing operations before I moved to Turtl.

What got you into marketing?

It was a bit random, because I actually did a law degree! I thought it would be a good degree to get into whatever I wanted, and when it ended, I considered my options and decided I wanted to do something creative, so marketing made sense. I looked into various internships and ended up at a small company (of just six employees) in the environmental sector near where I lived supporting the business development team. As I was on the biz dev side of things I initially only had the opportunity to do a small amount of marketing, most of which was in my spare time. Then the industry started getting loads of funding and the company grew really quickly meaning there was suddenly a need for marketing. I took charge of the function and the company eventually paid for me to get formal qualifications. 

Falling into marketing wasn’t by design, but that’s how it worked out and I absolutely love it.


What marketing tools could you not live without?

To be honest I couldn’t live without our own content creation tool Turtl. It’s great because it helps us make content look fantastic and also provides all the analytics that help us understand exactly how people are using our content, allowing us to shake up our content strategy and identify opportunities for the sales team. It’s a really powerful tool and one I couldn’t live without.

Other than that our CRM is crucial – we use Hubspot for automation and sales – and of course Slack is really good for internal communication and making sure we’re all aligned. Those are my top three.

How do you see AI impacting the industry?

AI is one of those things that you hear people talking about all the time and I still don’t think the industry is ‘doing it’ properly yet. Marketers like talking about the potential of it but they don’t really understand how to use it.

“Marketers like talking about the potential of it but they don’t really understand how to use it.”

That being said, I think AI could be really powerful in the future. For instance, we’re looking at using machine learning for our tool Turtl to predict people’s reading behaviours so we can serve up the right content at the right time based on what we already know about them or people like them. This should massively increase engagement and avoid the scattergun approach where we put loads of stuff out there and just hope it sticks! With AI, marketers should be able to be more strategic, and increase the quality of what they are doing.

Do you have any tips for how marketers can implement personalisation without coming across intrusive? 

It’s tough to get that balance right. 

Ultimately, I think it’s about knowing your audience and trying to get as many data points as you can on them, then waiting until the right moment to start targeting them with meaningful content that resonates as opposed to generic content that feels like an imposition.


For instance, it really bothers me if I download a whitepaper and someone from the company calls me five minutes later and starts talking to me about that interaction – it just feels like you’re being constantly monitored. It’s much better to wait until they’ve shown enough indications that they have intent to use your product/service, so they are open to being targeted otherwise it feels a bit creepy and forceful. 

It’s about learning as much as you can about them so when you do decide to start that conversation you’re fully equipped and know what you need to say and when you should say it

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