Among the speakers at Experience Inbound 2017 is Jen Spencer, VP of Sales & Marketing for Phoenix-based Allbound. She joined the startup in 2015 and helped bring the company to its first $1 million in revenue in less than a year using her innovative inbound marketing program. She will share how she did it during her presentation at the event.
In this Q&A interview, you’ll learn about Jen’s diverse background and the challenge of balancing work and life, plus what fuels her passion for marketing, her insights into current trends, tips for creating content, and how a company can outshine the competition with a strategic inbound approach.
1. How have you mastered time management between work, family and fun, especially with having twin 13-year-old boys and two dogs at home, and serving as VP of Sales & Marketing at Allbound?
In no way, shape or form have I mastered time management, but I do rely on two main tactics:
- Do it when I think of it.
- Ask if it’s “mission critical.”
On that first tactic, there are times I know that if I don’t do this RIGHT NOW, it’s not going to happen. If you’re on the receiving end of that particular task, you’ll probably think I’m Wonder Woman. I’m not.
The “mission critical” assessment is trickier. There will never be enough hours in the day, let alone enough financial resources, to act on every great idea, and I have to remind myself of this often. The Eisenhower Method is helpful for classifying what’s urgent and important, so I don’t spend all day putting out fires that might seem urgent, but ultimately aren’t going to dramatically impact the end result I’m seeking.
2. A large part of your history was working with the Arizona Theater Company. At what point during your career there did you find your passion for marketing?
I certainly didn’t grow up wanting to be a marketer. Journalist, playwright, teacher, theatre critic, novelist—these were the disciplines that piqued my interest. But there’s a common theme here…I’m a storyteller. A communicator. I think my passion for marketing is really a passion to share great ideas with the right people.
3. In general, where do your customers see the greatest, immediate improvements after onboarding with Allbound?
Some of the biggest woes we hear from executives involve the proverbial "black hole" that consumes their channel partner program. Here are some of the questions that plague them pre-Allbound:
- Who are my most engaged partners?
- How is our channel growing month over month—and how does this impact revenue?
- To what can we attribute partner success? Feet on the street? Training materials? Marketing collateral?
When an organization uses Allbound, we provide them with the ability to not only answer these questions, but also to calculate their Channel Velocity Rate (CVR), which allows them to immediately start zeroing in on and improving the performance of individual partners and even their individual sales reps.
4. A common struggle with Inbound Marketing is the constant demand for new, high quality content. What are your tips for companies struggling to keep up with creating content and competing with companies creating similar content?
Before you do anything, you’ve got to clearly identify your buyer personas. It’s possible that while you might compete for mindshare with a competitor, your true buyer persona is different—and that needs to be reflected in the type of content you create. I think it’s important to create relevant, helpful content that has a very particular point of view. Your company is unique. You’re not a carbon copy of your competitor, so allow those things that make you different to shine in your marketing content.
5. What is a leading trend in Inbound Marketing that marketers should be paying attention to in 2017?
Interactive content should be a part of every inbound marketer’s playbook. We live in a gamified world. As children, we all eagerly awaited the opportunity to push the glowing buttons in the elevator. That sense of wonder, experimentation and control doesn’t go away when we become adults, and interactive marketing content provides an excellent vehicle for merging work with fun. Little things as simple as short quizzes, ROI calculators, or group contests can foster engagement at every stage of the buyer’s journey, from awareness to consideration and from consideration to decision.
6. Who would benefit most from your talk at Experience Inbound 2017?
People who are ready to go all-in with inbound will benefit most from my talk, but there’s a little something for everyone, really. I try to provide lots of tactical takeaways that marketers can start applying to their programs immediately, but I also think an executive who is still on the fence about the impact inbound has on his or her company’s revenue will have a few “aha” moments in my session.
7. Have you ever been to Wisconsin? What are you most looking forward to, other than visiting the legendary Lambeau Field?
I have actually never been to Wisconsin! I’m a total foodie (and craft cocktail enthusiast), so my favorite thing to do when I’m visiting someplace new is to experience it via food and drink. No chains! I’ll be on the hunt for the best local fare, and I welcome suggestions.