Welcome to our new “Spotlight” series.
We thought it was about time that we introduced you to some of the industry’s brightest and finest. That’s why, over the next few months, we’re going to be asking a number of industry folk their thoughts on the email industry, to give you their answers.
And who better to include in our first installment, than our very own new VP of Sales in North America, Lisa Finfer.
Q. What attracted you to email marketing?
A. I had been in various roles in sales and marketing primarily in the telecommunications space early in my career. Here I was selling and communicating mostly with technical teams. My degree was in marketing with a minor in finance and I had a real desire to speak to marketers. Email marketing at this time (2004) was relatively new and a green field of opportunity. The idea of using technology to power email communications that could significantly impact a large enterprise business was fascinating and very exciting to me.
Q. Where were you at before Adestra?
A. I have been lucky enough to have experienced many facets of the industry including sales, services and customer success. Before Adestra, I spent several years working with many other ESPs. I started my career with an on-premise company called Accucast, selling to large enterprise customers like Delta Airlines, Bank of America, Walmart.com and more. I then transitioned to lead Silverpop’s (now IBM) global internal agency handling campaign production and strategic services. I then led the southeast customer success team for Responsys. I was responsible for building and launching a globally adopted customer success framework for how we sold and supported our customers. My most recent company was MessageGears where I led the sales efforts literally from grass roots to multi-million dollar accounts.
Q. In your opinion, how has the email marketing industry changed over time?
A. Early on marketers were not very sophisticated. They had a group of consumers that they wanted to communicate with and they sent email. However, as new technologies came into play and consumers were constantly “on”, marketers had to start reacting to these needs.
Marketers, too, have more sophisticated needs these days, trying to leverage all the data they have available about their customers from so many different channels in an easy and manageable way. I think that they will respond and resonate with partners that can help them continue to advance and innovate without having to sacrifice support and service.
Q. What is the biggest challenge you see in digital marketing?
A. Rising above all the noise. There is a ton of noise in the market today. Every company says they can do everything, but what is the truth and what do marketers really want? I think that in a time of massive consolidation, marketers are seeking a partner that is completely open and genuine in their approach to supporting and making them successful. It’s not all about just a technology, but how you work with customers on a daily basis to create trust. In a world of an ‘always on’ consumer, we know that data is just getting bigger and bigger. I think customers will flock to providers that can provide a unique and genuine approach to solving all these aspects.
Q. While succeeding through the ranks, did you have any mentors/ people you looked up to?
A. Yes, I have learned many things from different individuals along the way. I’ve realized that it’s very important to learn something every day, and to know who brings different skills and ideas that can complement or even challenge you sometimes. I’ve had mentors from previous jobs that I still communicate with and learn from today. Sometimes just bouncing ideas off them, or asking how they would handle a situation, a problem or a unique opportunity is so very helpful. I think it’s very important to have a variety of people in your network that bring unique views to every situation.
Q. Why Adestra?
A. I can say with 100 percent certainty that first and foremost it was all about the people. I could tell that every interaction I had at every level was an honest and genuine one. I knew that I wanted to be part of a team like this — one that puts people first both internally (staff) and externally (clients).
Secondly, as I dug into the product/technology, I realized that there was a huge opportunity in the market for a powerful product that was easy to use. I have seen in my experience that others offer either a very powerful technology that is difficult to use or implement, or one that’s easy to use but there is no power to help marketer’s elevate their programs.
Lastly, the way that Adestra weaves customer success pillars into every aspect of what it does sold me.
Q. If you could only take one thing onto a desert island, what would it be?
A. Since I recently went through a couple hurricanes and have been so grateful that I have not had the devastation that many people have had, I would only want to have a simple roof over my head to provide shelter.
Q. If you won $10 million in the lottery, what would you do with it?
A. I would probably first buy a villa in Tuscany and then learn how to produce a beautiful wine.
Q. Glass of wine or a margarita?
A. Wine please! But I do like my pint of beer.
Q. Fast forward five years, where do the biggest opportunities in email marketing lie?
A. I think that technology is going to continue to advance. There will always be new providers coming up with a vision of what they can do for a marketer. I believe that the future will be providers that can look forward and continue to innovate across all channels, and leverage data from anyplace in a simple way. From a marketer’s perspective, they will need to continue to to be agile, advanced and innovative.