Katie Curnutte: Patience and PR [Built in Seattle Ep. #45]
2 min read

Katie Curnutte: Patience and PR [Built in Seattle Ep. #45]

Katie Curnutte, Founding Partner at KMG, talks about breaking into tech, Zillow's early days, the "patience game," and how to demystify startup marketing.

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Great marketers know that it's a "patience game."

Katie Curnutte has seen it play out many times.

She was SVP at Zillow where she had an 11-year career building their data-driven PR and brand strategy. Now she's Founding Partner at KMG working with startup CEOs to build brand, marketing, and PR strategies.

She wasn't a tech insider to say the least.

Her story goes from small town Illinois to journalism in Boston and ends up landing her in Seattle's tech scene in Zillow's early day.

She even got to orchestrate a live event with President Obama (which she talks about on the show).

Like many guests, it never a straight line.

Katie shares her lessons on this episode of The Built in Seattle Podcast.

Episode Highlights

  • Why she likes to be behind the scenes building other people up.
  • How a love for story telling got her into journalism.
  • Why patience was key to Zillow's brand building success.
  • How Zillow rose above the noise with data.
  • How she saw leaders shine in a layoff.
  • Why leads need to deliver the hardest messages.
  • What reporters actually care about.
  • How she got Zillow CEO to do a live event with President Obama.
  • Finding the right channels for a startup brand.
  • What most founders get wrong.
  • How to explain marketing, PR, and brand to a tech founder.
  • Why Joe Coffee and OwnTrail are her Seattle business role models
  • Why Maria Colacurcio is her Seattle leadership role model.

Katie's Bio

Founding partner at marketing and communications firm Kingston Marketing Group. More than 15 years experience building consumer brands and leading successful strategic efforts, including communications and government relations. Expert at navigating extremely sensitive issues, protecting companies’ and executives’ reputations. Deep expertise in leading internal and external communications through pivotal moments like IPOs, M&A transactions and crises.
Roots in consumer communications using economic data to build media coverage and thought leadership. Built public relations operation in a company with no marketing budget, helping attract Zillow’s first 20 million unique users.
Experience scaling teams and communicating to multiple audiences during periods of rapid growth. Extremely strong leadership and diplomacy skills, with experience leading highly engaged, large teams.