Interview: Katrina McCarter
My name is Katrina McCarter and I’m the Founder of Marketing to Mums. I am a marketing strategist and I specialise in helping businesses sell more to Australia’s most powerful consumer, mums.
I have over fifteen years sales and marketing experience working across diverse industries including grocery, hardware and online - always targeting mum as the purchaser. I launched my first business at 40 and launched Marketing to Mums, my second business in late 2015 at the age of 44, after a successful sales and marketing career in the corporate sector.
Tell us more about your background and the things that stand out for you as bold actions that have led you to where you are now?
I grew up in Perth with a single mum who was determined for me to understand money – how to make it and how to manage it. I had my first part time job by age twelve and I also was given large sums of money to manage my school books, uniform expenses and pocket money from the age of 13.
I left home and moved interstate at seventeen to the bright lights of Melbourne, some three weeks after finishing high school. I’ve always loved plenty of action so in the years that followed I spent a lot of time in New York City. My aunty and uncle live there and my uncle and I would have long conversations about the things I wanted to achieve in my life. It was through these discussions that I learned that I could achieve anything if I truly wanted it badly enough. I also learned that sometimes we are our own biggest obstacle, that sometimes we just need to get out of our own way.
Ultimately though, I’ve always had an overwhelming desire to test my skills. I have enormous respect for people who back themselves, take risks and challenge themselves by launching a business. I am someone who is willing to try something out. Yes, failure scares the crap out of me but my desire to succeed and create something far exceeds that fear. I am rarely deterred by small probabilities. If there’s a chance I could pull it off I will chase it. The worst thing that can happen is that I fail and learn a heap of new things along the way. I live by the words ‘Be Bold’ which to me refers to pushing myself out of my comfort zone as often as I can.
How did you learn how to be successful in business?
I have a strong academic background in business. I completed a Bachelor of Business (majoring in Marketing) and an MBA (International Business) however my greatest learnings have come through experience and seeking out others who have done it before me. I feel I had accelerated learning in business when I decided to launch Bubbler.com.au, my first business.
Bubbler.com.au is an award-winning shopping website for mums with kids aged under 12 years. Over five years I built it to a community of 150,000 mums without ever spending more than $300 a month on advertising. I got the idea to start this business after playing cards with my girlfriends and they were all talking about these great deals they were picking up. It was 2011 and the group buying industry had just launched in Australia. Once the seed was planted I had to find finance. It was a solid four or five months for me to secure four investors in my business. Next, I had to create an ecommerce website, find merchants wanting to sell things, secure partnerships and grow my email list. For the first couple of years I was doing most jobs myself with the aid of a couple of contractors so the skill set required was broad. Each step was a steep learning curve and I picked up new skills and experience along the way.
I now share those learnings to allow many women to leapfrog some of those early mistakes. I think finding a good coach can be a major asset. I also recommend networking extensively within your industry and looking to collaborate with other businesses who share the same audience as you, but who are not in direct competition with you.
What changes or new projects are planned for 2017?
In January this year I sold my first business, Bubbler.com.au, to enable me to focus 100% of my energies into my marketing consultancy so I am feeling really excited about the year ahead.
I have also just launched my first piece of research for the corporate market, a survey of more than 1800 Australian mums, which shares just how mums want to be marketed to. I am also sharing my insights into mums by speaking at major conferences and events. I will be speaking this month at AdTech in Sydney and Mumbrella next month.
I am also considering rewriting my book, Marketing to Mums, for the US market. This book went to #1 on Booktopia’s Business Bestseller list and has been very well received by women in business in Australia. With women entering business at two to three times the rate of men, I’d like to explore how I might be able to assist women in business in the US who target ‘moms’.
CONTACTS + CREDITS:
Interview by Gretchen Hillhouse 2017
You can find out more or contact Katrina at www.marketingtomums.com.au