A Conversation with Nancy Liberman, VP of Marketing at JRNI
In today's MarTech leader conversation, we chat with Nancy Liberman, VP of marketing at JRNI. JRNI is an appointment scheduling platform for large enterprises. Nancy tells us how she has been busy coming up with innovative ways to market the service.
JRNI is an appointment scheduling platform. It allows you to set up a button on your website, a landing page, or a marketing email. We enable customers to book live or remote appointments online. We focus primarily on banks, retailers, and credit unions, so it allows them to manage personalized one-on-one or one-to-many conversations at scale.
I'll give you an example. You may be going to a wedding in Greece, so you set an appointment with your favorite menswear store to buy a suit. Our service can help streamline this in a number of ways. You're controlling your time; you're controlling how you want to meet. You’re also managing your own safety, because the store probably has consultation set up with ample cleaning time between each—so you’re not in a crowded store with other customers. You pick your location; you answer a couple of questions about the wedding so that when you go in to meet with your shopper, he may have pulled linen suits rather than wool suits, because you're in Greece. And while you’re there, the associate shows you a matching tie and shoes. The goal is to provide you with a more complete service. That would be an example of how we're used.
The company has been in business for 12 years. It started as a company called BookingBug, and it was very much centered around the notion of scheduling with a small business focus. In May 2019, with a bigger suite of products than just scheduling, and a focus on growing our enterprise business, we became JRNI. And we now have a team of about 90 people.
In terms of competition, there are a number of banking and retail platforms that have some aspect of scheduling built in. It isn't always as full-featured. In the other area of competition, there are the lower-end small-business-oriented solutions. You see a lot of calendaring solutions that a sales rep might use to schedule a one-on-one meeting. And that's great, but when you start to think about scheduling resources with multiple agents or multiple sales associates with multiple services in multiple locations, multiple time zones, and multiple languages, it becomes much more complex.
I work as part of a management team, and I'm responsible for our public position. That's anything that goes along with marketing communications, PR, the website, the podcast—all of our content that is out there, which includes our sales materials. Then the other piece is the lead gen side and the support of the sales team.
We have a small but mighty team. We have a product marketer who handles technical collateral, go-to-market strategy, interfacing with the analyst community, and sales enablement. We have a content manager, who handles the blog, the website, emails, customer communications, and SEO. We have a demand gen person who handles installed base marketing, new customer acquisition, nurture campaigns, industry events, and search engine marketing programs.
For us, success is about company growth. I'm generating leads, and sales is turning those into accounts. And then I'm turning those wins into stories that beget other new leads. So I think everything is about growth and about providing value for our customers.
In terms of my day-to-day, we usually have a brief team meeting where we discuss new initiatives and programs as a team. We discuss our plans for distribution, graphics, and so on. In our management meeting, we see where the holes are. And then there are always other things. Some days I do a press interview. Sometimes I write a case study. And then there are the less exciting things like making sure that my leads are sinking into Salesforce properly, writing job descriptions for some team growth, or reading up on the market and looking for pieces that we can use in social media. So there's really no such thing as a typical day.
We use a few tools. We use Salesforce.com integrated with Marketo. We use Sprout Social to manage our social media. But the best tool that I think we use is Monday.com. It’s a project management tool in which we’ve built a web tracker, a media tracker, and a PR tracker. It allows us to look at all of the activities going on, track progress, and bring in anybody else who's involved. It's my favorite tool to use.
I think the main goal for us in the next year is really to listen to our key customers and deliver on some of the things that they're looking for. They're always looking for a new level of complexity in the customer journey. They're looking for more languages as more businesses begin to go global. They are looking for an admin experience that's easier to use. They're looking at when new devices come onto the market. We have to be ready to manage those devices. I think in the next year, you'll see us grow our partner network. We want to continue the type of growth and leadership position that we have in the market right now.
In terms of challenges, one was obviously COVID. COVID introduced a challenge for our prospect base. We found ourselves asking, "How do we stay in touch with our customers and continue to deliver the services they're used to receiving from us? How do we maintain a level of being personal?" It's changed the whole lens of how people are approaching customer engagement.
But the biggest obstacle in this role is innovating. One thing this year showed us is that consumers are fatigued with webinars and virtual events. So, alternatively, finding the right pieces of content or educational material that help you stand apart from everyone else is sort of the biggest challenge right now.
This year was interesting in that we introduced a podcast. We've done seven episodes so far. And that whole process has been fascinating, from planning the content to promoting it to finding people to participate. That's been a really, really interesting project that was led by our content team.
I would say the other thing we've experimented with this year was working with a company called Hushly. We started working with them to deal with the issue of landing page abandonment. If the system senses exit intent, you're presented with bingeable content. With them, we’re working on maturing that whole process. It's interesting to see what pieces people are reading and to see the increase in forms being filled out. I sort of love this whole idea of bingeable content.
I think the whole area of events is going to be really interesting to watch. Over the past five years, we saw the number of webinar registrants decline—then, all of a sudden, that interface was the only thing we had to work with. I think event companies worked really hard to find the right technology to make an event experience come across well online. I think some of them did really well, and I think some of them failed. The types of events where you set up a virtual booth—I don't think they're going to fly. The idea of driving people through a virtual exhibit hall is a really tough concept. To have a truly meaningful conversation with a potential prospect in that environment is tough.
I think keeping content fresh, relevant, and interesting is what it's all about. We have a great content person, and the ideas she comes up with are unbelievable—it's hard to keep coming up with the ideas. In the enterprise space, nobody really wants to read a listicle more than once a year. They want to see videos; they want to see real problem-solution content.
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