Jeffrey Rohrs, VP of Brand Marketing at intelligent automation provider ActiveCampaign, is a creative, strategic, and experienced marketing leader with a passion for collaboration, innovation, and building dynamic brands in today’s fragmented media landscape.
He is an author, recovering attorney, bacon-lover, and Clevelander-at-heart. He has served as Chief Marketing Officer at Tendo, Filo, Jobvite, and Yext as well as VP of Marketing for Salesforce and ExactTarget.
Connect with Jeffrey on LinkedIn.
What You’ll Learn In This Episode
- About ActiveCampaign and his role.
This transcript is machine transcribed by Sonix
Intro: [00:00:04] Broadcasting live from the Business RadioX studios in Atlanta, Georgia. It’s time for Atlanta Business Radio. Brought to you by On pay. Atlanta’s new standard in payroll. Now, here’s your host.
Lee Kantor: [00:00:24] Lee Kantor here, another episode of Atlanta Business Radio, and this is going to be a good one. But before we get started, it’s important to recognize our sponsor, Onpay. Without them, we couldn’t be sharing these important stories. Today on Atlanta Business Radio, we have Jeff Rohrs with ActiveCampaign. Welcome.
Jeff Rohrs: [00:00:43] Thank you Lee, great to be here.
Lee Kantor: [00:00:45] I am so excited to learn what you’re up to. Tell us about Active Campaign. How you serving folks?
Jeff Rohrs: [00:00:50] Yeah. So we help small teams power big businesses with intelligent marketing automation. Essentially, our platform enables companies to integrate with existing systems, whether they’re point of sale, whether they’re informational customer data, etc., so they can power more personalized, relevant and timely messaging at the moment that mattered. So some customers come to us and they use us for basic email marketing, but our vision is to always help them graduate up to, uh, increasingly better, more efficient, more agile kind of uses that are automated and working while they sleep. And that just simply allows those businesses to develop better relationships with customers, more responsive relationships. So if you’re signing up for a newsletter or if you’ve purchased something, you’re getting those responsive emails right away, regardless of the time of day. And it also enables you to kind of nurture folks and do communication strategies that drip out the information that you want about your business over time, so that you have a more educated customer base who is more appreciative and embraces the totality of what you offer.
Lee Kantor: [00:01:55] So what is kind of the sweet spot for your ideal client? Because I would imagine that, you know, every size business needs help in this area.
Jeff Rohrs: [00:02:05] You’re absolutely right. And our sweet spot, it really falls on that small teams piece of our message. We find that a lot of marketers, entrepreneurs, they might be multiple hat wearers. So we could be dealing with somebody who is a solopreneur, right? They’re the only one in their business on up to kind of the mid-market, where you might have a team of five, ten, 20, 30 folks, but inevitably they feel smaller than they really should be. They’re underfunded. They’re understaffed. They need to do more with less. And so we really kind of operate in that area across all different types of verticals. So we have customers in real estate, customers in franchising and multi-location, customers in health care and food service and e-commerce and education. So it’s it’s great to have a flexible platform because it suits many types of business applications. And with both the intelligent marketing automation platform and our CRM, we can do a lot of great things for folks as they look to grow their business.
Lee Kantor: [00:03:02] So when you’re saying small teams, so like the solopreneur, this isn’t a good fit for.
Jeff Rohrs: [00:03:09] No, it is actually a good fit. We’ve got a lot of folks who are, you know, the chief cook and bottle washer of their operation. Right. They’re interested in growing a business. It could be somebody who’s a content creator. We’ve got folks who operate yoga studios and other types of businesses where there are not a lot of employees. And the reason it’s great for them is because they can invest the time on the front end to set up the types of communication, cadences and integrations that power the different communications via the automation platform and just let that run their business, dipping in when they need to do new types of promotions or they have new types of offerings. Um, and then also we have a great and a very vibrant partner community who can offer services as well. So as the business grows, it might be growing in terms of revenue, but maybe that entrepreneur does not want to grow it in terms of employee count. They can look to hire help, uh, from our community as well. Uh, and then if they get to the point where they do want to add staff, um, we’ve got, you know, a number of certified consultants around the globe being a company that services, you know, uh, customers in about 170 countries worldwide.
Lee Kantor: [00:04:21] So let’s kind of drill down and, and help that entrepreneur that, that, uh, hypothetical yoga studio, uh, entrepreneur. So you’re, you know, you had this dream, maybe you work corporate and you say, hey, I’m going to open a yoga studio. So now I’m all in. I’m a yoga studio operator. And I realized pretty quickly that, um, in my head, I was spending a lot of time doing yoga and helping people with yoga and sharing my love and passion about yoga. But in reality, I have to get people in the door. So now I’m also a marketer, and maybe that’s not my, you know, go to skill set. How would I kind of leverage active campaign? Like what would you do on day one when you decided to open up your shop and, and to build out some sort of a marketing plan, leveraging all that active campaign has to offer?
Jeff Rohrs: [00:05:17] Sure. So you open up those doors. We’ve got a free 14 day trial, and we will onboard you with personal one on one training to basically set up the first types of email or other communications that you need to have going out to get your business underway. And that could be that you’ve got a website that you are perhaps selling subscription or memberships, and what you need is via whatever platform you’re using for the membership component. You need it to integrate with active Campaign to power those communications that confirm your membership, that then perhaps put you on a multi-touch kind of campaign to educate you about what to expect in your first visit to the studio, as well as how often you may want to come and what other services there are. So what we find is that when you’re that type of an entrepreneur and you’ve got that level of commitment, folks are pretty, pretty savvy as to how they want to communicate. And so those one on one trainings, combined with other educational things we do, like we have traveling study halls in cities around the globe where our customers and partners get together with our trainers over 1 or 2 days and actually get their hands on in the platform, learning how to do more and more sophisticated things with active campaign.
Jeff Rohrs: [00:06:35] But it starts with that first email. It starts with that first integration. Those are the keys to marketing automation. The integration is the heart and soul of it, right? So you integrate active campaign with something, let’s say a point of sale system. Now, something that happens in that point of sale system can trigger an email. That data from the point of sale system goes into your customer database. You begin to build a profile on which you can then trigger different messaging. So as that sophistication goes up, the training and the opportunities the individual has to learn increases. Well, some folks tend to outsource that. Maybe it’s a small family business and they want to have a brother or a sister or a son or a daughter, a husband or wife do that work. We often see that. But as the company gets bigger and they begin to hire marketing talent, that becomes a more specialized. And then we also see, as I mentioned before, partnership uses. So it’s an extremely flexible platform in that regard. It really depends on where the individual is in terms of their abilities and and whether they want to handle that stuff on their own.
Jeff Rohrs: [00:07:38] We find with a lot of kind of those savvy solopreneurs, they want to they want to get their hands on it because they want to control the messaging out of the gate. And then as it grows, they want to hand it off, and they want to automate more and more so that the business is running, you know, while they do the things they love. And that’s ultimately what marketing automation should do. It should make more time for the things you love, whether that’s, you know, surfing in the case of our customer, boat surfing, yoga, um, you know, that’s very much what he likes about, uh, having active campaign is it gives him more time on the waves, more time with his customers and the folks that he’s teaching how to surf. We’re teaching yoga. Um, for others, maybe they want more time in their business, uh, for strategy or training employees. So it’s really up to them. But the sky’s the limit when it comes to marketing automation, because as you add more systems, that’s more data. And data is just gold today to power those personalized communications.
Lee Kantor: [00:08:33] Now, do you still feel that email marketing, uh, should be, if not at the heart of but a large part of, uh, small to midsize business owners marketing?
Jeff Rohrs: [00:08:44] Absolutely. If it’s not, you are behind. Um, I have been in the email marketing industry now for, uh, over 25 years, and I used to do a presentation in the late 2000, uh, 2000. So probably like 2008, 2009 that I could still give today verbatim about email is dead. And what I would show people is articles from every year, and I could do it from every year since then to today, where somebody is declaring that email is dead and it’s not. It is the for many people, it’s the silent driver of the majority of their online revenue and their communications. And the reason is it is extraordinarily affordable. It is something that everybody has access to and checks, and it is not subject to the whims of ownership, as we’ve seen, perhaps with Twitter, where you have an owner come in, change the rules of the game, and now all of a sudden, people’s engagement dries up and they’re left holding the bag going, well, how do I reach my customers? Well, with email, you’re building a database of subscribers that’s an owned asset. The more subscribers you have, the more people you can reach, the more amplification you have and the more business opportunity you have. And so one of the cold truths of the last few years, I’ve seen many social media mavens who kind of shoot, you know, kind of, uh, eschewed, uh, email for other, you know, newer channels, kind of have the cold realization that they should have been building email lists, and now they are they’re going back to that. Well.
Lee Kantor: [00:10:17] Yeah. That’s something that I always recommend to my clients, is that you want to own kind of the ability to communicate with the people important to you. All these third party apps out there, um, that are encouraging you to create content and share stuff and build the following. At some point, they’re going to charge you to reach those people. And even if they’re not charging you right now, you’re not reaching the totality of your people that you’ve spent all this time and energy and money in, in putting on this platform. All you’re doing is helping them. Something a long time ago told me, if it’s free, then you’re the product and so on. All these on all these platforms, you’re really helping them get advertising dollars. You are the content for them that they’re making money off of you, and you don’t have any control over the people that you’ve been building up as followers unless you write them a check.
Jeff Rohrs: [00:11:20] You’re absolutely right, Lee. And that’s one of my favorite quotes in business. Uh, and I actually wrote a book ten years ago called Audience Marketing in the Age of Subscribers, fans and Followers. And it was all about this. It was about the fact that there are different types of audiences depending on the channel you’re in, and you need to understand when you’re building something on someone else’s land. That’s what happened with Twitter. That happened with a lot of different social media channels that ebbed and flowed. But if we look across the last 25 years, what has remained steady, the ability to go to a website, the ability to search and the ability to send and receive email now, we’ve added additional channels over those years. One of the ones that is now central to our lives is text messaging, right? Sms has grown dramatically. It has not eclipsed email when it comes to the communications around, let’s say, e-commerce discounts, subscriptions, newsletters, etc. but it is a critical cog in the machine and one that again, you can power with marketing automation when it’s the right channel to communicate. But you’re you’re really hitting around this important idea of owned audiences, which is what email is, which is what a base of of of text messaging, SMS subscribers is. And it’s actually kind of the foundation of a big event that we’ve got coming up for Leap Day, where we’ve linked arms with a lot of other, uh, B2B software providers in the industry, uh, to create an event that’s going to help, uh, customers and businesses of all sizes learn how to make more time.
Lee Kantor: [00:12:50] So let’s dig into this Leap Day extravaganza. That active campaign is, um, kind of headlining. Uh, tell us about the event and some of the partners, uh, and what what a person can expect.
Jeff Rohrs: [00:13:05] Yeah. So it is called the Active Campaign Leap Day Extravaganza. And it’s brought to you by Active Campaign Calendly. Uh, gold cast and the juice and calendly is synonymous with time because they are a calendar application that allows you to get much more efficient with scheduling by enabling people who want to schedule time with you to access your calendar. Gold cast is the platform for this virtual event, and the juice is a great B2B subscription. Uh, that. If you’re interested in B2B content about marketing, I highly recommend subscribing to them. The reason we’ve all joined together is like our customers and our partners. Everybody’s being asked to do more with less these days. And so that drive towards efficiency and productivity means that Leap Day is really the perfect day to be reflective on this, right? What is this year give us? It gives us 24 hours out of the blue. When you really take a step back and think about that. That’s kind of crazy in a modern society that every four years we just have to throw another day on the calendar in order to catch up. But we thought about it in, in a different way, and that was one of the promises of active campaign is efficiency. That’s intelligent marketing automation. Automate things so that you have more time.
Jeff Rohrs: [00:14:13] And so instead of doing a usual run of the mill conference, we’re pulling together all of these customers, all of these speakers, all these sponsors, and every single one of the sessions. All of this is for free, by the way, is going to be about how to make more time leveraging technology, strategy or process. And so there will be technology providers showcasing how you use their tools. We’ve got an author of a new book called Time Boxing about doing one thing at a time. Well, we’ve got great speakers from across the marketing universe, and this is 29 hours straight of content on February 29th. And the way we pull that off is the magic of time zones. So we are running effectively for your listeners from 4 p.m. eastern on the 28th of February until about 8 p.m. eastern on the 29th of February. And if folks want to register, it’s totally free. They just go to leap, Leap Day, dot live forward, slash Atlanta, and you can go ahead and register there. Folks from around the globe are going to be participating. And we’ve got content for entrepreneurs, marketers, folks who are interested in improving their career, interested in improving their SEO, their email, their marketing automation, their events. There’s something for everybody who is an entrepreneur or a marketer.
Lee Kantor: [00:15:28] So, um, how am I going to consume this content? Is this something that if I don’t if I miss it live, I can get a replay? Or is this like a perishable that, hey, you, you better be there or you miss out?
Jeff Rohrs: [00:15:40] Uh, thank you for asking that question. Because in putting it together, the last thing we wanted to do was convey that you got to sit there for 29 hours straight. Now, I’m crazy enough to do that, but I got to make sure this thing comes off without a hitch. Uh, but folks are welcome to dip in and out throughout the, uh, the broadcast on the 28th and the 29th. And then we will be making it available on demand through the end of March. Uh, and that provides everybody with a chance to find the content that is of interest to them and participate in it and, uh, and ultimately get the value that hopefully they find several things that are going to help them be more efficient this year. I should note, though, that the benefit of participating in the live event is that many of our sponsors, many of our speakers, are going to be participating in the live chat. So they’re recording sessions, but they’re going to be in the live chat there to answer questions. And each of our sponsors is creating virtual booths so that, as folks say, oh, that’s interesting. I want to learn more. They don’t have to go search for it on the web. They can just move on over to the booth and they can ask and answer those questions. We’re also providing for our community of of customers and partners, uh, a help and education area, so that we can answer their questions right away. So it’s going to make for a really fun, uh, 29 hours, uh, of content. But yes, it will be available on demand and all of it for free.
Lee Kantor: [00:16:58] And if somebody wants to learn more about active campaign, where should they go?
Jeff Rohrs: [00:17:02] Yeah. For active campaign, just go to active campaign.com. As I mentioned at the top, uh, we offer two week free trial for new customers. You can come in, sign up, you’ll get, uh, one on one introduction to the platform and learn about it over those two weeks. And our folks will do their best to show you how it can benefit your business. And if it’s for you, great. If it’s not, we understand. And, uh, the the leap Day extravaganza is for customers, partners, and anyone doesn’t have to be a customer or partner. And again, that’s at Leap day dot live forward slash Atlanta.
Lee Kantor: [00:17:36] Good stuff. Well thank you so much for sharing your story today. You’re doing such important work and we appreciate you.
Jeff Rohrs: [00:17:42] Thank you very much and I hope you have a great day.
Lee Kantor: [00:17:44] All right. This is Lee Kantor. We’ll see you all next time on Atlanta Business Radio.
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