A lot can happen in a year at a company that’s growing quickly. Scott Brandt, the Chief Marketing Officer at Sprout Social, joined the team in April 2015 and has already been part of the launch of two new products (Landscape and Bambu), a $42 million round of funding and more than 300 product and feature updates.
For this round of Meet Team Sprout, I sat down with Scott to discuss the biggest lessons he’s learned in his career and talk more about his first year at a growing company. Read on to learn what Scott sees as the key to effective marketing, the obstacles he regularly tackles and why he’s so passionate about all things internet.
Name: Scott Brandt
Started at Sprout: April 2015
Can you tell me a little about your career and how you got to Sprout?
I started with internet companies back in the mid to late ‘90s. I worked at a company called TMP Worldwide, which bought the company that became Monster.com. Growth exploded. I worked for a few companies owned by Monster, first in sales, then in consumer advertising, and then I joined a company called SurePayroll. It was similar to Sprout in that it was business-to-business (B2B) and five or six years old at the time.
What interested you about Sprout?
I was fortunate in that I had a lot of opportunity. Payroll is a more established industry, whereas social media is more nascent. I knew that Sprout was a good company, with a good reputation, in an exciting industry, and I wanted to be part of that.
Did anything surprise you when you first got here?
One of the things I like the most about working at a young company like Sprout is the great energy and curiosity. There’s too much talent around us here for anyone to rest on their laurels. The level of talent was a really pleasant surprise.
Something I didn’t expect was how quiet this office is! People are social, but they really put their noses to the grindstone.
You recently spoke to students at Harvard Business School. What was your main advice for them?
Listen to your customer. Everything starts with the customer. What are their needs, what are their objectives. Understand the benefits they seek, not the features you give them.
That’s the most important thing to do on social media too. If your customers are on social, find out where. Then go down the path of relevance: Be yourself, develop a voice and understand that social media isn’t just promotional.
What are your recommended books or blogs for marketers?
In one word, what’s the key to effective marketing?
What do you like to do outside of work?
One through 10 would be family, whether that means my kids’ activities like sports, dance and theater, or hanging out with my wife. I love taking pictures too.
Something I’ve noticed in these Meet Team Sprout interviews is that, in a good way, people at Sprout have similar answers to those core questions. Family first comes up a lot.
The lifestyle and flexibility that Sprout affords us is incredible. My commute is a little long, but that way I have some time alone before I walk home and into the fire.
What’s the most valuable lesson you’ve learned over the course of your career?
Never stop being curious. If you stop learning, you’re in trouble. Halfway through my career, I’m still as eager to learn as everybody out on the floor.
I’d also say, pick something you love to do. If you don’t love it and don’t have a passion for it, the days can get awfully long. Fortunately, I’ve picked a path I love. The internet fits: It’s always changing and there’s always something to learn.