As a Silicon Valley veteran, Ann Sung Ruckstuhl has seen it all in high-tech marketing—from start-ups that have developed into household names and to ones that vanished with barely a trace. Fortunately, her marketing chops—and background in electrical engineering—have kept her in the game and on winning teams. In fact, Ruckstuhl’s marketing leadership has helped LiveOps go from being an unknown to a leader in the SaaS contact center market, growing at three times the market rate.
Marketing strategy: I try to keep things simple with three steps: immersion—putting yourself in the buyer’s shoes; outcome—we always focus on the desired outcome; and what I call “high then low”—focus on the three things you want to say about a technology, then bring it down to the next level of conversation without getting bogged down in tech details.
Winning ways: I’ve been around Silicon Valley a long time and can’t pick just one. I’m proud of person-to-person payment online and my work with Billpoint; also, my time with Sybase. Most recently, I’m really proud of LiveOps. Toward the end of last year Ovum acknowledged us; that basically put LiveOps on the map as a market leader.
Defining moment: It’s not related to marketing, but having my second child almost derailed my career. I remember thinking that every woman who works and has a family has to go through this. How do I balance? What helped me was my husband, who’s very supportive, and my female colleagues. When you cross that threshold you have to have the humbleness to reach out for help.
Trend watching: Integrated marketing has evolved. Now, the big challenge is multichannel contextual marketing. This is the Holy Grail that most marketers are trying to get to. Marketers now know who it is they’re dealing with. Leveraging this context is absolutely vital.
Words to live by: My father was a general manager for General Instruments. He had 1,000 people under him. He taught me three things when it comes to management: you’re a manager first, a coach second, and a friend third. You need to be balanced about these things.
Good read: Rebooting Work: Transform How You Work in the Age of Entrepreneurship by Maynard Webb and Carlye Adler. It’s probably the best business leadership and self-discovery book I’ve read.