Startup Stories: Alexandra King, Co-Founder & Head of Strategy at Ask Marketing

Ask Marketing’s Ali King joins us to talk about building her company with her sister, Stephanie, and launching their online education platform.

by hao-nguyen on November 22, 2021

Alexandra King is the Co-Founder and Chief Strategy Officer at Ask Marketing, a company she founded with her sister, Stephanie. As a company, they focus on digital marketing strategy, advisory and education.

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Hi Ali, it’s great to have you back here chatting with us again! For those who may not know, could you tell us a little about Ask Marketing and what led you launching it? 

Ask Marketing launched almost 5 years ago now and set out to help SME business founders and directors with their marketing strategy. 

Off the back of the rapid acceleration of digital, SMEs were needing and craving access to the same level of marketing strategy and leadership as their corporate counterparts, without the huge price tag that came with internal digital managers or CMOs. 

Everyday we work with any business looking to establish, ramp up or totally overhaul their marketing. We build the 1) strategy, 2) tools and 3) resources to create exemplary marketing functions. 

What have been some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced over the past few years while building Ask Marketing, and what have been the key lessons you’ve learnt from those challenges?

In summary, the biggest challenge for us has always and will always be to remain focused on staying in our lane and not trying to become everything to everyone. I know this will probably resonate with so many business owners. Naturally, you want to help everyone and do everything, but that’s not always feasible, nor the reason we created this business in the first place. 

The biggest challenge has turned into our biggest strength and that is, to do one (or few) things extremely well. And then form exceptional industry partnerships to be able to cover the rest. People now come to us and ask us to do their strategy, and wholeheartedly trust our opinion on who best to manage the execution, whether this be via an internal resource, or via one of our agency partners. 

You also run Ask Marketing Academy, an online education platform for digital marketers. What were you seeing in the marketing industry that led you to create the Academy?

This is something I am super excited to chat about! We launched Ask Marketing Academy off the back of some pretty real challenges that the marketing industry was, and still continuing to face. The main reasons we wanted to develop this was:

  1. The expectation on experience level required for entry-level marketing roles
  2. The expectation that marketers are unicorns – i.e. able to work across all/most facets of marketing 

I provide a really real example of and go into these challenges more in this post

We wanted to provide a way of linking marketing theory, systems and process, with practical, real-world experience to help marketers build confidence and progress. 

We have our hero course, the digital marketing bootcamp, and several short courses too. They are all self-paced and include helpful mini-projects, bonus downloadable resources & a private Facebook community group for friendly support when needed. 

How does running the Academy side of things differ from running Ask Marketing? Are there lots of new things you’ve learnt since launching the education platform? 

Whilst there is a natural crossover, Ask Marketing Academy is an entirely different business being an education product made for emerging marketers and marketing teams. 

The list of lessons we have learned is certainly a long one. From developing learning outcomes to creating engaging modules with animation, to building and marketing our own product. 

We are working on some really exciting plans to see the Academy being rolled out for many marketing agencies and organisations as a training tool – which is what it is really all about – helping as many marketers as possible with practical ways to implement marketing strategies and build their confidence!

You both spend a lot of your time working with start-up and scale-up founders, what are some of the most exciting companies or trends that you’re seeing emerge? 

I saw a brilliant post the other day, so I will try and summarise it here. 

Facebook is the world’s most popular media owner, it creates no content. Bitcoin, the world’s biggest bank, has no actual cash. AirBnB, the world’s largest accommodation provider, owns no real estate. Uber, the world’s latest taxi company, owns no vehicles. 

It was such a great post. The commonality here that we are seeing amongst startups, is that they all provide an exciting piece of technology that facilitates connection, distribution and transaction.

The other exciting thing we are finding is the emphasis on purpose-driven business. It’s being called out a lot, but it’s real. We work a lot with technology incubator Hyper, building digital strategies for the founders who come through their program. More and more, we are seeing businesses being established which allow consumers to give back to their community, spend more time outdoors, with family and their pets.

One last question before I let you get back to it, what are your long-term plans for Ask Marketing? Where do you see the company headed in the next 3-5 years? 

Our mission is to be the industry leader in marketing strategy. For founders of startups, through to leaders of mature companies – our strategists deliver across b2b, b2c, product, service and eCommerce companies. We want to be the place that founders and business leaders turn to build a plan and advise on the best way to execute it. 

Our number one goal is to continue to systemise our onboarding, program and delivery to ensure our clients have the best possible experience.

We are also laser-focused on continuing to develop our partnerships with marketing agencies and business accelerators, that our strategies can support. 

Thanks so much for your time Ali, it’s always great catching up with you. I’ll see you around in the office!

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