Steven Handmaker podcast interview on changes in marketing leadership

What’s Changed In My 15 Years Of Marketing Leadership


In his 27 years of marketing leadership experience, Steven Handmaker has seen the industry evolve tremendously. Over the years, marketing has become equal parts creative and data science melded together, connecting the dots to help increase sales. Steven has been on the marketing team at Assurance since 2004 and on this episode, he shares with Bernie Borges how marketing has evolved in his time there.

Assurance is a B2B commercial insurance brokerage managing over 6,000 clients for all things insurance, including property and casualty, employee benefits, life insurance, worker’s compensation, etc. Steven was the first full-time marketing person on staff and has worked to build the brand of not only the company but also the individual brokers. Listen as he shares how Assurance has evolved from the days of cold calling into the world of digital sales in an industry that has been around since the 19th century.

Subscribe to Modern Marketing Engine

Apple Podcasts |Stitcher | Google Podcasts

'What’s changed in my 15 years of marketing leadership?' Listen to learn how #marketing has evolved from @Handmaker #CMO of @AssuranceATeam, on this ep. of @MMEnginepodcast w/ Vengreso CMO, @BernieBorges. #DigitalSelling #MMEShowClick To Tweet

Get the Vengreso State of Digital Selling with LinkedIn 2019 report to learn how sales professionals stack up on requisite modern selling skills. You’ll also hear from 15 executives with their insights and key recommendations. You’ll also learn how you can arrange to get your own custom digital selling benchmark for your sales team. Just go to

Why Building A Brand Is The First Priority Of Marketing

When Steven first started at Assurance, his initial focus was to build the brand of the company. Their goal was to be the “Google” of insurance in workplace morale and environment. They wanted to attract the top brokers, to their company and in Steven’s opinion, they’ve succeeded. 

After building the Assurance brand, the marketing focus shifted toward its online presence. Steven realized that while Assurance needed a strong brand, so too did its brokers. The modern buyer does their research prior to interacting with a company, so their brokers need to be prepared to enter into conversations with potential clients at any point in their journey. Building the individual brands of their brokers became the new focus to widen the Assurance net of influence.

How Social Platforms Affect Marketing Strategy

To build their broker’s individual brands, Steven and the marketing department focused on building professional, branded social profiles. They recognized that the buyer was interested in what their brokers were sharing online both on their personal and professional profiles. They encourage their client-facing employees to share valuable content on their branded social profiles to establish their expert status in the industry. 

Once their client-facing employees’ profiles were established, Steven’s team turned toward the entire company workforce. Assurance encourages every employee to brand their profile and share information about the company and the industry, expanding the online presence of Assurance. By using the digital signals of their potential clients, the marketing team creates content that speaks to their client’s pain points. That content is shared by their employees across all of their professional profiles.

How do social platforms affect #marketing strategy? 🎧@Handmaker, #CMO of @AssuranceATeam, answers on this episode of @MMEnginepodcast with @BernieBorges #CMO of Vengreso. #DigitalSales #ModernMarkegingClick To Tweet

Why In Today’s World Marketing IS Sales

In Steven’s words, gone are the days of marketing being singularly creative. They are no longer only the “make it pretty people.” Every marketing interaction is a potential sales opportunity and marketing and sales have become one. Marketing enables sales to do their jobs by providing useful data on the modern buyer. 

The sales team uses the data provided to them through their marketing channels to reach out to pre-qualified clients. Every piece of content that the marketing department creates aims at bringing the modern buyer deeper into the sales process so that the sales team is working with qualified leads. Marketing continues to nurture those potential buyers making them warmer through every interaction with the company.

How Marketing Leadership Has Evolved 

As digital selling has become more prominent, the role of the marketing leader has turned toward being an educator. The marketing professional has to train and help salespeople use the tools provided to reach their target audience more effectively. The salesperson has to know their market. Not every interaction needs to happen online, but regardless of the industry, the broker needs to know how to engage using social platforms.

No matter the industry or the target, salespeople need to prepare to be available and willing to respond quickly. Speed is important because the modern buyer is always on and so too should be the sales professional. Listen in to this episode with Steven Handmaker, CMO of Assurance to hear why education, speed, and marketing and sales alignment are the key focal points in Assurance’s marketing strategy. 

🎧 Listen to learn how marketing leadership has evolved with @handmaker, #CMO of @AssuranceATeam and @BernieBorges #CMO of Vengreso on this episode of @MMEnginepodcast. #SocialSelling #SalesLeadershipClick To Tweet

Featured on This Episode

Outline of This Marketing Leadership Episode

Resources & People Mentioned on this Marketing Leadership Episode

Get the Vengreso State of Digital Selling with LinkedIn 2019 report to learn how sales professionals stack up on requisite modern selling skills. You’ll also hear from 15 executives with their insights and key recommendations. You’ll also learn how you can arrange to get your own custom digital selling benchmark for your sales team. Just go to

Connect With Bernie and Modern Marketing Engine


Subscribe to Modern Marketing Engine

Apple Podcasts |Stitcher |Google Play | Google Podcasts

There are TWO WAYS you can listen to this podcast. You can click the PLAYER BUTTON at the top of this page… or, you can listen from your mobile device’s podcast player through the podcast subscription links above.


Discover why building a brand is the first concern of #marketing with @handmaker, #CMO of @AssuranceATeam and @BernieBorges #CMO of Vengreso on this episode of @MMEnginepodcast. 🎧 #PersonalBranding #MMEShowClick To Tweet
In today’s world, marketing IS #sales. Join @Handmaker, #CMO of @AssuranceATeam to learn more, on this episode of @MMEnginePodcast with @BernieBorges, CMO of Vengreso. 🎧 Listen! #SocialSelling #MarketingTipsClick To Tweet

10 thoughts on “15 LinkedIn Profile Optimization Tips to Get Found This 2023”

  1. My LinkedIn account was ranking on the first page for best mommys blog keyword quite a few years back and I didn’t have any idea. While working, I stumbled upon the Analytic section of LinkedIn and saw that most of the visitors are coming from search engine later on I realized that in my profile I’ve used “Mommy’s blog” word a lot of time and that is the reason why it was ranking well on SERP. This is how I came to know about SEO and I was also amazed by the fact that how easy it was to rank for competitive keywords back then. Anyways loved your article and please share more tips on SEO.

  2. There is a lot of value in this article, especially for those looking to improve their visibility on LinkedIn. My favorite of the fifteen tips shared in this article is number nine. I’ve observed that people with custom profile links, seem to get more attention than those who haven’t customized their LinkedIn profile URL. Interesting article, thank you for taking the time to put it together.

  3. I agree with the recommendations, they are a very important part of our strategy on LinkedIn, it can give confidence to potential customers (or leaders when someone is looking for a job).

  4. People shouldn’t underestimate keywords on their LinkedIn profile! This helped potential buyers to find me on LinkedIn more easily when they searched for certain products and/or services. Thanks Viveka!

  5. Thank you for another great blog post. For the alt text and/or naming images, do you mean two to three different keyword phrases as a maximum, like this?

    B2B cybersecurity content marketing writer , technical writing cybersecurity content , cybersecurity technical writer , David Geer

    Or can you add more keyword phrases than this?

  6. All the information is very helpful which can help us to increase our Profile ranking on LinkedIn. Another big interesting article, this blog is very useful for the Optimization of my LinkedIn profile.
    I also get much knowledge from this blog.
    thank you keep sharing.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

For security, use of Google's reCAPTCHA service is required which is subject to the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.

I agree to these terms.