For this marketing director, checking out the competition is all in a day’s work

This is How I PickFu it, our Q&A series with people who use consumer insights in their work life.

Who: Katie Eckstrom
Where: Jersey City, New Jersey
What: Marketing director at Plugable for 5+ years
Current mood: 😊

For Katie Eckstrom, marketing director at electronics company Plugable, every day brings product challenges and a slew of decisions to make. 

She often has to make those decisions quickly. She rarely does so alone. Read on for a peek at what she juggles and how she manages.

Our questions for Katie:

Take us through a typical workday.

There is no such thing as a “typical” day in my world as a Marketing Director in the tech industry. I work in a very fast-paced environment with constantly shifting priorities and new initiatives. At any given time I’m juggling 3-4 new product launches, a talented growing team, and collaborations with external partners. 

Katie Eckstrom’s workspace with a view.

Even though every day is different, I definitely have a routine. My routine consists of an early morning walk while listening to a podcast or music. A stop at my favorite coffee shop for an iced latte or smoothie when I want to treat myself. Then I answer any quick emails, read any new blogs/articles I follow, and get ready for the day. I typically start meetings around 10 a.m. and end around 6 or 7 p.m. 

What I actually work on during the day varies from planning new product launches, looking over our analytics dashboards, giving feedback on new product packaging, managing our PR agency, leading content strategy, and so much more. 

I also have meetings like a weekly marketing management meeting, daily all-company and team stand-ups, 1:1s, a social planning meeting every week, and a touch base call with our PR agency every Wednesday. 

I love what I do because every day is different. I also love it because I get to work from home full-time. This means I get to work with an amazing virtual team across North America and pave the way in digital marketing for an e-commerce tech peripheral company. 

What tools and apps do you use regularly?

I pretty much live and breathe the Google Suite for everything day-to-day. I like the Google Suite because it’s super easy to keep everything connected and functioning together by myself and across the entire company. For example, I can view my calendar while working on a document or create a task when answering emails. 

The other tool I use a ton is Trello. I use Trello for short-term and long-term project management and team collaboration. It helps me organize, plan and automate projects for myself and my team. 

Another tool I love is Miro. Miro is basically an endless virtual whiteboard. I use this a ton for creative team collaboration, planning and brainstorming visual projects, and also for creative feedback across the entire company. Being a virtual company this tool has been a great resource for creative collaboration across departments like Marketing and Product.

Katie uses Miro boards for team brainstorming, planning, and feedback. | Source: Miro

How do you use PickFu in your work? What kinds of things do you test?

“Let’s PickFu It!” has become a common phrase you’ll hear people say across the marketing and leadership team at Plugable. 

We use PickFu as a fast and efficient way to gather real user feedback and gut-check our decision-making. For example, we will test two different main images against each other to see what Amazon Prime users are more likely to click on in search results in why.

The main image of a Plugable docking station — the UD-6950PDZ, to be exact. | Source: Plugable

There are so many different types of imagery tests we do, but we’ll also test and get feedback on product designs, branding, messaging, product information, landing pages, package inserts, and so much more. 

We’re constantly finding new and different ways to test different ideas and still feel like we’ve only touched the surface of what PickFu is capable of. 

What’s your favorite PickFu poll to run and why?

My personal favorite PickFu poll to run is to test something we’re doing against a competitor. For example, our main image vs. the top-selling product in that category’s main image. Or our brand bullet that’s on every product page vs. a competitor’s brand bullet. 

I love these tests because they are actionable and provide great insight into why someone would choose Plugable or another brand. I’m also wrong on which version I think will win more often than I’d like to admit 🙂

Main image testing is one of the more popular ways to use PickFu.

What do you do while you wait for your poll results?

a) Fix a snack

b) Do a 90-second plank

c) Check my socials

d) Answer emails

Who do you share your poll results with on your team?

Depends on the poll and who the information is relevant for. The entire Marketing department has a login so anyone can see what polls have been run in the past and what the results were. We’re typically sharing results across management since we get so many insights from the PickFu comments. 

Most surprising thing you’ve learned from your customer research.

There’s a time and place for benefits and features! 

We always hear the phrase “features tell and benefits sell,” but from our PickFu testing we’ve found that the lifestyle image with a benefit message doesn’t always beat out the product close-up with feature callouts.

Screenshot of a Plugable lifestyle image of a docking station listing features.
This product image highlights the features of the Plugable Thunderbolt™ 4. | Source: Plugable


Weirdest thing you’ve PickFu’d (or would like to).

We once PickFu’d three different email aliases to see what email customers would be most likely to remember and use when they had a product question. 

What’s your superpower?

I’d say my superpower is teleportation. 

I’m able to quickly teleport to the top of the mountain and get the 50,000-foot view of the strategic business initiatives and our customers, but then can teleport down to the bottom of the mountain and dive deep into projects/tasks and be more tactical. I really love doing both! 

A glimpse at some of the docking stations Plugable sells. | Source: Plugable

What’s your dream job?

I’m lucky to say I’m living it right now! I always dreamed of leading in an innovative, digital marketing environment and have been able to do just that, while building one of the best Marketing departments I’ve ever worked with.

What’s your top tip for someone running their first PickFu poll?

I have two tips that I wish I heard when we first got on the platform: 1) Don’t overthink it and just start! 2) When in doubt PickFu it! 

1) As marketers, we are taught to create tests that are targeted at the right audience, don’t use leading questions, etc. to get statistically significant results, but what I’ve learned with PickFu is that you can always switch a few variables and run it again. Getting caught up in creating the perfect test is going to hold you back and you’ll learn more by running more imperfect tests than few perfect tests. 

2) I love using PickFu as a third-party opinion in quick decisions we need to make. When we don’t have a clear answer or want to gut-check our decision-making, PickFu has been an invaluable tool in getting instant real customer feedback.

Get customer feedback with PickFu. Sign up free and start today.

Janet Rausa Fuller

Janet Rausa Fuller (she/her) is the content marketing manager at PickFu. She could live without dark chocolate, but she’d rather not.