Insights

Natalie Mankowski Wins Sitecore MVP 2021

In the Strategy category

I could not be more excited to announce that my marketing master of a manager, Natalie Mankowski, has won the prestigious title of Sitecore Most Valuable Professional this year in the Strategy category.

Not only does she help businesses get the most out of Sitecore's powerful marketing features and provide resources to other marketers in the Sitecore community, she also inspires me to strive for my own success every single day.

I wanted to chat with Natalie about her Sitecore journey, what she was able to accomplish, and how myself and other marketers can rise in the ranks to attain our own Sitecore MVP awards.

Tell me a little bit about your background in marketing and working with Sitecore?

I’ve always been interested in marketing technologies and automation.

I first heard about Sitecore years ago in my first marketing position. We were in the market for a new CMS and I was doing a lot of research about the best options out there.

When I came across Sitecore I couldn’t believe that such a CMS exists. I wanted to get my hands on Sitecore badly, and to discover all the features that were so ahead of its time.

Fast forward years later and I was lucky enough to get a job consulting for Sitecore clients at Fishtank, where I get to work with Sitecore everyday and help businesses get the most out of it.

How has Fishtank Consulting helped you progress in your career and want to pursue the Sitecore MVP title?

I feel blessed to be able to work with Dan [Fishtank's President] and the Fishtank team. We work exclusively with Sitecore so everyone here is really an expert. It’s a great environment to grow as a marketer and to master the platform because everyone works with Sitecore day in and day out.

Dan’s passion for Sitecore, his knowledge of the platform and dedication to the community really inspired me from day one.

What made you decide to work towards becoming a Sitecore MVP? Who did you turn to for support?

When I first started contributing I never set out to be an MVP. All I wanted to do was help other Sitecore users.

Since my first day working with clients I noticed how unconfident most marketers were with Sitecore. Their businesses invest in such a powerful tool, but its incredible capabilities are wasted because their teams don’t know how to use it.

I made it my mission to publish as much strategic content as I could on the areas I noticed marketers were struggling with, so that they have the knowledge to not only use it, but to also grow their businesses with it.

At the start of the year I set the Sitecore Strategy MVP as a goal for myself, and Dan encouraged me to go for it. He was my mentor throughout the journey and gave me a lot of guidance and support.

What advice do you wish you had when you began working towards earning your MVP status? What advice do you have now for others starting their journey?

I was lucky to have a lot of great advice from Dan already, so there wasn’t anything I wish I had known beforehand. I do wish I logged my contributions in a spreadsheet throughout the year though. I left logging them until the end and then it was a bit of a nightmare trying to organize them all.

The biggest advice I’d give to others wanting to start their MVP journey is to be very clear with what your why is. Know why you want to be a Sitecore MVP.

When you need to commit hours of your free time every weekend and after long days at work to write content, film videos, plan webinars and do your contributions, you need to be inspired and passionate to make it happen. For me the inspiration came from wanting to help other marketers get the most of the platform, and pave the way in areas that didn’t have content already.

Another big tip is to start your contributions early and contribute steadily throughout the year - don’t cram in the last few months!

What does it mean to you being the only female Sitecore MVP in Western Canada?

There’s still a big gender gap in the tech industry. I think a lot of women are held back by preconceived notions of what they’re capable of and what can be done in the technology field that’s just not marketed towards them.

I hope to inspire other women to follow this path and I hope to see more female Sitecore MVPs in the future.

What were some of your key contributions in 2020?

  • I published over 35 strategic blogs on topics covering personalization, campaigns, profiles, experience analytics, goal setting, A/B and multivariate testing, forms, marketing automation and many more
  • Wrote a comprehensive four part series to setting up Sitecore personalization that was shared by Sitecore & many MVPs
  • Published a series of ‘how-to’ YouTube videos for content authors that were also liked and shared by Sitecore
  • Created screen-recorded GIFs and downloadable infographics that show step by step how-to's
  • Started Facebook and LinkedIn groups for Sitecore Marketers and Content Authors so members could ask questions and receive free Sitecore advice and help
  • Published Sitecore strategies, tips and tricks on social media channels

How do you think your win will impact Fishtank Consulting and the services we offer?

Most of my contributions were in areas that there wasn’t any content on, so in a way I felt as though I was blazing the trail for other marketers to make their Sitecore journey easier.

Throughout this journey I learned a lot about how to implement strategies and use all the marketing features to drive business results, which is something a lot of marketers struggle with.

I hope to impart this knowledge on our clients so they can get the most of Sitecore. So if you’re a marketer and struggling with the platform, please reach out to me, I would love to help you! It’s not all about development work, the real results come from strategy and Sitecore’s marketing features that are at the forefront of customer experience.

What’s next for Natalie Mankowski?

I hope to contribute even more to the community this year and explore more areas that marketers are struggling with, so I can make their lives easier.

I’d like to grow the Facebook and LinkedIn groups and have some more interaction on them, as well as doing a webinar series that would give attendees the opportunity to ask questions in real time.

If you would like to connect with Natalie, check her out on Twitter and LinkedIn:

Twitter
LinkedIn

We'll be cool about it. Promise.

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Meet Kayla Forgett

Digital Marketer

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Kayla is a Sitecore Digital Marketing Optimization Certified Digital Marketer who focuses on everything from SEO to content strategy to social media to create impactful user experiences and brand growth. She's worked coast to coast in Canada in industries from NATO defense technology to collaborating with A-list celebrities and influencers for brand campaigns. She's a self-described 'marketing chameleon' that's able to take on any project. Kayla's a big fan of her two cats and strong cups of coffee. You can find her on the ski hill in one of her many retro ski jackets in the winter and travelling abroad in the summer months.

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