Interview with Julie Sufana, Chief Marketing Officer at contextflow
Julie Sufana is the CMO at contextflow GmbH, a software company based in Vienna, Austria that develops deep learning-based tools for radiologists to improve their daily workflow. When not organizing events or writing the perfect pitch, you’ll find her on her yoga mat.
Your Journey as a Marketing Professional.
My journey to becoming a marketing professional is completely non-linear. Born and raised in Chicago, I moved to Los Angeles to earn my Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and Spanish at the University of Southern California. While I am grateful for my education, I felt completely unfulfilled creatively. Perhaps that’s why I promptly ran in the opposite direction after graduation and became an actress, working odd jobs to support my career. I held gigs as a tutor, salesperson, personal assistant, and senior account manager, amongst others. After years of hustle, however, the pendulum had swung in the opposite direction: I loved the creativity of Hollywood but the analytic side of my brain felt neglected. I decided to go back to school, this time in Vienna, Austria (that’s a whole other interviews, haha), where I earned my Masters in Marketing from the Wirtshaftsuniversität Wien. A classmate of mine posted a job opportunity from a startup looking for marketing help. That company ended up being contextflow, and I’m currently the Chief Marketing Officer there. We developed a deep learning-based search engine for radiologists to help them optimize their daily workflows. I absolutely love it. My team is fantastic, I’m constantly learning and I have the sense that I’m finally contributing to a cause outside of myself. Every day is different: I could be working on social media, business development, PR, events or developing a new process. Finally, I found a position that makes use of both sides of my brain!
What are the primary marketing channels you have worked on? What will be your advice to young marketers on each of these channels?
contextflow’s primary audience consists of medical professionals, so we mainly communicate via LinkedIn, Twitter and email. Occasionally we will release a PR article, we’re currently undergoing rebranding that will allow us to reach out to more channels in an effective way. But definitely, the best form of PR is ourselves! Our team attends dozens of events every year, and because of the nature of our industry and the fact that we are a young company, person-to-person is the most effective and targeted way to interact with potential stakeholders. There are so many amazing tools available to marketers, but my advice to young marketers is to choose fewer channels in the beginning and get to know people on a personal level. The idea that B2B ever existed is outdated.
What are some of the important marketing software that you have used and found to be really useful for your company?
Because we’re still a startup, we need to keep costs in mind…that’s not necessarily a bad thing! There’s a freedom that comes with sticking to a budget because it means we can focus on those channels we do choose to utilize and don’t exhaust ourselves by “throwing the paint against the wall” to see what sticks. Right now, we’re using Cloze for our CRM and Hootsuite for scheduling posts. Pablo by Buffer is a great tool for creating simple, professional posts in a matter of seconds, and they have a free version.
Would you like to share a few words about any marketing software that you absolutely love and always recommend it to others?
I would recommend Tweepi for anyone looking to target very specific individuals on Twitter. You add a few hashtags, choose some key influencer accounts whom your ideal audience follows, and the program gives you a daily list of accounts to consider following. Content Gems procures articles for you to share on social media based on criteria you provide and sends a daily list to your inbox. If you’re looking for content to post, it literally could not be simpler. By the way, both of those tools have free versions!
Your 2 line advice to people entering in the marketing domain.
Use both sides of your brain! You can’t just focus on reports or design; it’s the synergy of the analytical with the creative that can bring about the best results. Also, have a hobby, something that drives you outside of work when things get tough. I’m currently completing certification to become a yoga instructor, and without a doubt, I am a more patient, focused and compassionate employee because of it.