Women in Marketing: Expect the Unexpected

Women in Marketing: Expect the Unexpected

Excavators moving dirt on the job site. Truck drivers hauling cross country. Farmers out in the field harvesting.  

Women leaders in these types of male-dominated industries may be the last thing you expect. But not today. Not anymore as the voices get louder and more diverse, and the focus on women inspiring women continues to intensify. Which is why Simantel is such a relevant choice for one of the agency spotlights in celebration of Women’s History Month.

Although female leaders in the marketing and advertising industry are on the rise (we’ve seen it first-hand within our own AMIN network), what is still a rarity to see is women leading agencies that specifically work with industrial brands. That’s what makes Simantel so unique. We’re a full-service marketing firm that has been working with industrial B2B clients for almost 40 years, including industries like construction, mining, transportation, energy, oil and gas, agriculture and more.

 Have you ever heard of a couple of female leaders training a group of truck drivers about their brand, or seen an executive who is expecting her third child lead a workshop for a Fortune 100 heavy equipment company, or heard of a female copywriter speak up in a room full of male engineers about their value messaging? I have. And it’s awesome!


So, how does Simantel do it?

I guess you can say it’s in our roots. Simantel is a majority women-owned business and has been for over 15 years. In fact, our former owner Susie Ketterer, who retired at the end of 2018, led Simantel for years and was also the President of AMIN Americas. The agency now has three owners, two of which are successful women who have built a career from passion and perseverance.

Although we do hold a Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC) certification, what has really been vital to Simantel’s success is the focus on the customer and bringing a softer, more human side to industrial brands.

In our industry, we are seeing B2B and B2C marketing collide. B2B consumers are coming to expect B2C-like experiences. They’re looking for brands to connect with them on a personal level, the way B2C brands do. Simantel focuses on bringing empathy to the B2B industries we work in; thanking truck drivers for all they do, celebrating the people behind the manufacturing line, recognizing the heroics of farming and making heavy equipment operators relatable.


What does it take to be a female leader in an industrial segment?

To get the answers, I went right to the source. Maggie Whalen Misselhorn and Misty Dykema are both Owners and Principals at Simantel. Both women have differing backgrounds and responsibilities at the agency, but both Maggie and Misty have worked hard to get where they are. Anyone who knows either of them will tell you that their confidence and grit never waver.

Maggie Whalen Misselhorn joined Simantel in 2000 in a business development role. With her quick wit and creative thinking, she became an inspiration to anyone who worked with her – agency members and clients alike. In 2004, she transitioned to creative leadership and later joined the ownership team. When Maggie took the role as executive creative director she was part of the 3%. A statistic that represented the number of women in creative director roles in the U.S. While it’s true that the percentage has steadily increased since 2009, we still have work to do. And we can thank women like Maggie for being one of the brave first ones to pave the way. Maggie’s passion, determination and innovative thinking continued to grow her career. In 2019, Maggie became an agency Principal and remains the agency’s go-to resource for an outside of the box idea or a quick turn of a clever headline.

When asked how she stays creative and innovative after all these years, Maggie told us that “besides being surrounded by the most talented creatives I know, it’s about understanding the marriage of logic and emotion. What we say has to connect with both the hearts and minds of our audience. Being creative is not an excuse for not doing your homework, the best creative is the most informed creative.”

Misty Dykema joined Maggie on the ownership team in 2015. She has led the agency in all things strategy. There is no problem too complex that she can’t whiteboard! Misty was the youngest student to graduate from Bradley University’s Executive MBA program. Her work has come full circle, because 12 years later Misty is now an Executive Coach and EMBA Instructor at Bradley University. With a special interest in leadership and facilitation, Misty was a developer and co-facilitator of The Leader’s Life forum, a program for leaders seeking coaching on career and organization development.

Through her opportunities to interact with some amazing marketers and leaders, she was looking for a new way to share these stories and help further our industry. So, she started hosting a podcast called Marketing Sweats by Simantel, where she talks to hardworking professionals in marketing, technology and customer experience. It’s here where you’ll find interviews with other amazing women marketers from a global industrial manufacturer, a Fortune 100 heavy- equipment company and a forward-thinking energy company. Through all of this and while leading an agency, Misty still finds the time to be an active board member of AMIN Americas.

When asked how she continues to push the envelope, Misty told us that she is “a true believer in the concept of always being a student. I love to learn. I’m always asking questions to work toward the true understanding of different perspectives. While there is something to say about surrounding yourself with like-minded people, there is also so much power in pairing yourself with someone who thinks differently. That collaboration, that’s where the magic happens.”


Surround yourself with good people.

We’re not saying that only women can bring the softer side to industrial brands, because that’s not totally true. The smart and talented men at Simantel do that too. What we’re saying is that ideas can come from anywhere. Inspiration can come from anyone, regardless of gender. And it needs to start with empathy and a true understanding of the customer.

In fact, Simantel does have a third member of the ownership team, Tim Leesman. Strong females in business across the world often are working with smart and talented men like Tim. Men who understand the value of gender equality, but also celebrate the unique perspectives we all bring that make our business successful for our clients and employees alike.

Thank you Maggie, Misty and Tim from Simantel for helping to continue paving the way for women in business. 


By – Alicia Ruemelin, Marketing and Brand Director at Simantel