Future Role of Marketer: an interview with Crystal Henrickson of Talent Collective

November 20, 2017

While marketing leaders are stressed about filling positions and meeting targets, Vancouver-based career coach Crystal Henrickson of Talent Collective is focused on the industry challenge of retaining and maximizing talent.

She views team engagement and culture as one of the major challenges facing organizations in the future, as the role of the marketer shifts. This thread will be prominent on December 6, 2017 at The Vancouver Club as she moderates the BCAMA Thought Leadership event: The Future Role of Marketer. The event features panelists from TELUS, Bench, HR Open Source, and Red Academy.

“Feelings–sense of impact, belonging, etc, can’t be sacrificed for profit or metrics sake.” she says. This is one of her key insights after coaching 100+ clients to become more effective leaders, and consulted 30+ startups about culture.

Her lessons come from experience; she spent a decade leading marketing and community teams at Yelp, Invoke, and CHIMP, prior to transitioning to a career coach.

Just like she transitioned from employee to consultant, expect her to open up dialogue about the impact of non-traditional roles becoming increasingly normal. Marketers are craving more freedom and it’s leading to more part-time, contractor, and consultant arrangements. Organizations are also more regularly outsourcing specialty work.

We first met each other nearly ten years ago and just like many others in Canada, we know that Crystal has a unique ability to assess the pulse and needs of marketing teams. In fact, five years ago she was the first person to tell me that Uber’s culture was toxic.


Future Role of Marketer: an interview with Crystal Henrickson of Talent Collective.

Arpy: You’re one of the most respected career coaches in Canada today. But over the last ten years you were primarily a marketer and community builder that led programs for a giant list of companies. Why the career change?

Crystal: Ah, the career change… It’s interesting that from an external perspective it feels like a ‘change’. For me, supporting people in their career pursuits has been a longer thread than marketing or community building. In some ways, I have reflected that marketing + community building actually helped me pave towards career coaching.


Arpy: As marketing has evolved it has become more about data and systems. A marketer’s impact is more abstract than ever. How are the people you coach reacting to this?

Crystal: A common thread amongst every client I’ve worked with to date is the desire to make a meaningful impact. And when there is a disconnect between what the individual is doing day to day and the impact it is having, disengagement seems to happen. If they are, you tend to see less productivity and output from individuals.


Arpy: What do you believe the Future Role of Marketer will be when you look 5 or 10 years into the future?

Crystal: Future role of marketer: I think the future role of marketer will continue to be shaped by the organization’s more nuanced strategies. This mixed with the trends of the digital nomad, solopreneur, freelancer increasing, I believe we’ll likely see larger portion of the marketing team being outsourced through trusted vendors. I’m also curious about how senior level leadership roles in marketing will shift. The CMO and the CRO — how will organizations find the level of experience and breadth of skills needed in the senior level roles when the landscape of specializations continues to grow.


Arpy: Is there one area/skillset/role within the overall “marketing” discipline that you can point to as an area that today’s marketers need more skill to be successful in the future?

Crystal: To be more successful in the future, marketers need to look towards the places in their wheelhouse where they are out of balance and look to grow their skills in those areas —to become more well-rounded— to create more understanding and empathy across the entire discipline.


Arpy: Do you have any marketing advice for 25 year old you, that you’d like to share?

Crystal: Dabble, even if just a toe dip, in everything. It will help broaden your horizons, expose you to even more perspectives, and help connect those bridges faster. Don’t pretend you know so much ☺️ ask more “How does that work? And What does that mean” questions. Oh, and you should learn at least some code.


Arpy: From your experience, what are a few things that marketing leaders and executives can do to better support their marketing teams towards success?

Crystal: I work with many individual contributors and emerging leaders through my career coaching practice and one thing that is consistent — teams and individuals lack clarity. A recent study by HBR, points to 50% of individuals lack clarity on what they need to accomplish day to day. That means 1/2 of a marketing team isn’t so sure about what’s really important for success. Communication skills need to rise beyond weekly team meetings and Slack messages. Meeting individuals where they are, and asking powerful questions to confirm understanding, adoption and motivation is key.  


Arpy. What are you looking forward to asking the panelists at the Changing Role of Marketer BCAMA lunchtime event on December 6?

Crystal: I’m so curious to learn about panelists perspectives about what experiences + skills marketers need to be arming themselves with to meet the future. Blending marketing teams is art + science. I can’t wait to explore with them their philosophies on what makes for an outstanding contribution in a marketer!  



Crystal Henrickson is a career-coach, co-founder of Talent Collective, and will be moderating BCAMA’s “Changing Role of Marketer” Thought Leadership Luncheon on December 6th. Get your tickets now.




Arpy Dragffy is the Head of UX & Strategy for PH1 Media, a Digital Product, Strategy and Innovation Studio, and the Thought Leadership Manager for the BCAMA.