I’ve often found myself the only woman in a meeting or sitting at the decision table. This can be intimidating because often your opinions and perspective are not always shared with the rest of the room. I’ve learned to be confident in my approach and keep a thick skin. I am not easily offended nor deterred, and this has allowed me to continue to progress in my career and not waste time second-guessing someone’s motives or my own intentions. Women currently hold only 5% of leadership positions in the tech industry, and more than two-thirds of US startups have no women on their board of directors. I hope to see a movement to empower all women across every industry to take part in meaningful work and to use their voices to inspire positive change. Once women are taught and have access to the keys to success, they are unstoppable.
I had the pleasure to interview Jennifer Shambroom. Jennifer is the CMO of YouAppi. YouAppi offers the first comprehensive 360 Platform for premium mobile brands.
Thank you so much for joining us Jennifer. Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
As a Colorado native who is obsessed with extreme sports, I’ve always considered myself an adrenaline addict. I ski raced for 10 years after college and continued mountain biking, whitewater kayaking, skydiving, rock climbing, trail running, triathlons and anything else to raise my heart rate. I attempted to mesh my love of extreme sports with my work at the beginning of my marketing career by working at ski resorts, but unfortunately quickly realized I would never be able to pay the bills.
I decided to explore marketing in the tech industry. Naturally, I gravitated toward startups because I felt the same rush working for a newly budding company as I did racing down a mountain on fresh, white powder. I knew if I wanted to be part of a startup, I had to be fearless, ready to move quickly and pivot at any given time. It’s extremely rewarding to be part of a young organization and watch it grow from the very beginning. Startups are what boosted my career from small marketing jobs at ski resorts to becoming a dedicated marketing CMO in the tech field.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began this career?
One of the most challenging moments in my career was taking a company through its Initial Public Offering (IPO). The key to managing it successfully was brand cohesiveness across the entire organization both externally and internally. Never is this more crucial than when taking a company public. Everything must be coordinated down to the minute — those first few moments of trading are critical.
The process was intensive and hands-on, from managing advertising across publications, launching a new website, to working with the SEC on a press release and helping to create investor content. In addition to meeting the needs and expectations of the Board of Directors and internal teams, I was also in charge of overseeing the roadshow and all of the data and content that goes along with it.
It was a lot of moving parts and just remembering it all brings back the stress of that time. My best advice to those who find themselves managing an IPO is to keep the lines of communication open and well documented, and surround yourself with a supportive and capable staff who can execute quickly and efficiently.
Can you share a story about the funniest marketing mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
Early in my career I was enlisted to help with a project. Part of my responsibilities included a writing task for the Chief Strategy Officer at Verticore who worked for Shell Oil as the CIO. I hadn’t written a technical piece in my life and I had to ghostwrite a white paper from him. While I’m confident in my writing these days, it was quite an undertaking as a young marketer with no prior technical writing experience. Let’s just say, it wasn’t a work of art. From this I learned to approach new tasks and challenges with a fair amount of humor and ask for help from those who have expertise on the matter.
What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?
YouAppi offers the first comprehensive 360 Platform for premium mobile brands. The platform was designed to increase acquisition and retention of mobile customers, and employs powerful technical capabilities to ensure brands connect with the most relevant mobile users in their market. Recently, the YouAppi team released new upgrades including greater protection from fraud, improved brand safety with increased bot detection and prevention, a first in the industry. It enhances marketing analytics and has a global reach into all major video digital channels.
Recently, we were recognized as a top contender on Deloitte’s Technology Fast 500™ Bay Area list, ranking 15th out of the 500 fastest growing technology, media, telecommunications, life sciences, and energy tech companies in North America. We’ve experienced incredible growth in the past few years including a nearly 2500% growth in revenue since 2014. It’s exciting to be recognized by such a prestigious award and we’re eager to continue scaling.
Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?
At YouAppi we feel strongly that women need to be mentoring women to develop tomorrow’s leaders. This conviction led us to develop a mentorship program to enable women to more easily support other women within the company working to achieve their career goals. It’s rewarding to know we established a process for women to gain valuable experience and try new roles, moving from Account Management to Sales, from EA to HR, Field Marketing to Global Marketing, etc.
Leaders succeed when they have the chance to connect with others and learn. By being a part of this program, women take courses to help advance their skills and capabilities, further building a leadership pipeline within our company.
Are you able to identify a “tipping point” in your career when you started to see success? Did you start doing anything different? Is there a takeaway or lessons that others can learn from that?
I’ve been incredibly fortunate in my career to have accomplished many of the goals I set out to do. I noticed a shift in the way I worked when I moved to the Mobile Business unit at InfoSpace and prepared the business unit for sale. Throughout the project, I was working with an A+ team. Our ability to come together and collaborate put everything in place and it wasn’t long before we succeeded in selling the unit. Experiencing how being part of a driven, streamlined team can make such an impact has led me to seek out and build exceptional teams. Teams can make all the difference in our work — for better or worse.
What advice would you give to other marketers to thrive and avoid burnout?
Marketing is an always-on industry with a tendency to be challenging and unpredictable. My philosophy is to adopt an 80/20 mindset and give your attention to the 20% of your daily activities that amount to the greatest results — don’t sweat the small stuff, just keep hustling.
How do you define “Marketing”? Can you explain what you mean?
Marketing is building a company’s brand which is far more than just a company name, or a visually appealing logo, or a tagline. The brand represents an organization’s values, capabilities, differentiators, strengths and vision. The strategy behind brand representation must be tied intrinsically to business goals and reflect in every part of the organization. Whether direct interaction with customers, internal employee engagement, business practices or leadership methods, the most successful companies are those who treat their brands holistically and consider its impact across every facet of their business. I’ve been fortunate to work in companies that understand the value and widespread reach of their brand, and have found great success in building a brand legacy from top to bottom and from inward out.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
As I mentioned previously, your team can make all the difference when it comes to attaining success. It’s incredibly difficult to pinpoint one person who helped shape my career, as I’ve learned so much from teams at every stage. I have fond memories working with Steve Elfman at InfoSpace. He was one of the most competent, pragmatic, intelligent leaders I’ve ever had the opportunity to work with. He taught me how to hone my skills in developing functional and effective business strategies and execution plans. I observed how he brought about operational excellence and business development that helped place companies on a growth trajectory.
Can you share a few examples of marketing tools or marketing technology that you think can dramatically empower small business owners?
Small businesses can be empowered and streamlined as they enlist tools that allow for team collaboration and general success. A few of my favorites include the following:
– Google Analytics
– Google Ads
– Google Search Console
– Adobe Creative Suite
What are your “5 Non Intuitive Marketing Strategies For Small Businesses” (Please share a story or example for each.)
– Make It Fun — Small businesses thrive when their teams are enthusiastically on board with the company’s cause. Make the work fun and worth doing. Don’t be afraid to scream and dance when it comes to your work and beyond.
– Turn Up the Volume — Small businesses often put everything on the line to get started. Because of this, there’s no time to sit quietly and wait for opportunity to find them. On the contrary, it’s time to rock out, don’t be afraid to make some noise!
– Be Irreverent — Leaders and teams of small businesses shouldn’t limit themselves by approaching every task the same way. Be fearless in pushing the boundaries in the work you do.
– Don’t Bog Into the Details — As I mentioned, employing an 80/20 mindset will allow you to focus on what matters most and allow your mind to be busy at work and full of creative ideas.
– Build Passion Into Your Team — Successful organizations create and develop environments where their teams love going to work. When passion is the fuel for every project and task, employees want to be part of it.
– Hire for creativity and audacity — Knowing the need for a passionate, invested team, it’s imperative to hire talent that can push the limits and positively contribute to an organization’s vision.
If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
I’ve often found myself the only woman in a meeting or sitting at the decision table. This can be intimidating because often your opinions and perspective are not always shared with the rest of the room. I’ve learned to be confident in my approach and keep a thick skin. I am not easily offended nor deterred, and this has allowed me to continue to progress in my career and not waste time second-guessing someone’s motives or my own intentions.
Women currently hold only 5% of leadership positions in the tech industry, and more than two-thirds of US startups have no women on their board of directors. I hope to see a movement to empower all women across every industry to take part in meaningful work and to use their voices to inspire positive change. Once women are taught and have access to the keys to success, they are unstoppable.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
“Make the best, laugh at the rest.” This has proven incredibly useful in my career and many other aspects of my life, as I am reminded of the things I can and cannot control. If it’s something within my power to affect, my goal is to always give it 100% of my time, talent and effort. If it is outside of my control, the best I can do is laugh — no matter how frustrating, disappointing or worrisome. It certainly is a much happier way to live!