Jacquelyn Goldberg, PebblePost’s first Director of Sales, has been named the company’s VP Sales, Financial Services. “Jacquelyn was employee number six at PebblePost and has played an integral role in shaping the company, let alone driving growth,” says Geoff Dodge, Chief Growth Officer. “Her tremendous success at PebblePost and investment in paying that knowledge forward is invaluable. We are keen for her to bring her product knowledge and customer-first approach to this important vertical.”
Goldberg — who helped forge early relationships with retailers such as Boxed.com, ModCloth and TUMI — sees a natural synergy between PebblePost’s innovative melding of channels and the financial services vertical. “We’re taking the best of digital and the best of direct mail to create a new experience for the consumer,” Goldberg says. “Obviously, there’s a lot of potential for us with financial services. They’re very data-driven, looking for ways to make that existing funnel more efficient, which is exactly what we do.”
In addition, through its Programmatic Postcard™ and Programmatic Catalog™, PebblePost solves the contextual problem that plagues a purely digital platform. “If you’re signing up for an investment account and that brand’s display ad then appears next to a very tasteless piece of content, that can cause irreparable damage to that brand,” Goldberg says. “The context of where you appear is immensely important for financial services in particular.”
The PebblePost approach has also proven highly effective at reaching millennials. “They’re not on a lot of demographic lists because they don’t own a home or car in many cases, and they haven’t necessarily built up a ton of credit either,” Goldberg says. “So, the millennial mailbox is really prime territory — and if you can deliver something that’s relevant to them, they will act on it. There are 79 million millennials in the U.S. spending $600 billion per year. And 77% of them pay attention to direct mail ads, according to a USPS study.”
To learn more about Jacquelyn Goldberg and how PebblePost is uniquely suited for the financial services sector, read the Q&A here.
Getting to Know: Jacquelyn Goldberg, VP Sales, Financial Services at PebblePost
Can you briefly reflect on how far you and PebblePost have come since you arrived in 2015?
When I started, we were the purest of the pure startup. I was employee number six. A lot of people think it’s sexy and cool to be on the ground floor of a startup — which it can be. But when I walked in I had a laptop and that was about it. I had to figure it out. Which I loved. I had to create my own job description.
Can you describe the process of creating your own job description?
I went through our CEO’s LinkedIn and took over his calendar and booked as many meetings as possible to learn as much as I could. I knew that would be the fastest, most efficient way to learn. I also had to interview people and hire them to help build out the team while all of us were also building the organization. When I started, we didn’t have HR; we didn’t even know how to bill people. I think we got our first check in the mail about three months later and it was like, “Oh my god, people are paying us!”
Why was PebblePost able to gain traction so quickly?
Retailers took to us immediately because we were solving a problem for the market. Brands are riddled with challenges in digital with ad fraud and viewability and intent — just the disposition the person is in when they receive the ad. With display, your intention is to read an article, not read an ad. That’s why display continues to suffer in terms of performance. Facebook can be effective, but the intent, again, is not there. You’re going there to socialize. That can be great for branding, but it’s not always great for conversion. Those are all the reasons retail did really well with us and we secured some unprecedented case studies. People couldn’t believe the results — 71 times return on ad spend, 11% total mail conversion rate, etc.
What led you from your original role, Director of Sales, to your new role, VP Sales, Financial Services?
After I had spent some time building out the retail vertical, I took a step back and took a good look at financial services. Obviously, there’s a lot of potential there for us. They’re very data-driven, looking for ways to make that existing funnel more efficient, which is exactly what we do. We also solve the contextual problem that plagues digital. If you’re signing up for an investment account and that brand’s display ad appears next to a very tasteless piece of content, that can cause irreparable damage to that brand. The context of where you appear is immensely important for that vertical.
Have you learned anything about PebblePost that might surprise people — that seems counterintuitive?
Yes. The PebblePost approach is highly effective at reaching millennials. Millennials grew up in a digital world and have become banner-blind and blind to digital in general, especially email. But the physical mailbox is pretty empty for them, especially in urban areas. That’s another reason we’re such a good fit for the financial services vertical. Millennials don’t show up on a lot of demographic lists because they don’t own a home or car in many cases, and they haven’t necessarily built up a ton of credit either. So, the millennial mailbox is really prime territory for financial services — and if you can deliver something that’s relevant to millennials, they will act on it. And once they’re in, they’re hopefully in for a long time.
Does the PebblePost data on millennials line up with your own experience as a millennial?
Absolutely. For instance, when it comes to credit cards, I’m a points girl. If I get a 0% APR credit card offer in the mail, that doesn’t resonate with me at all. It goes straight in the trash. But if you offer me 10,000 points for convincing a friend to sign up — I’m in. I recently got 10,000 points for convincing my boyfriend to sign up for my credit card. His brother reached out to him with the same offer two days later. Sorry — too late! As long as the offer is relevant and timely and makes sense to the consumer, the emotion they feel is really strong. I think that’s crucial to what we’re doing and why we are prime for this market.
Are you at all intimidated by venturing into such a competitive vertical?
No, not at all. Yes, it’s highly competitive, but that’s what gives us an advantage. The ability to stand out is very important. People typically do a lot of research on financial services products. This is not an impulse buy. So, to get more information directly into the consumer’s hands, the way we do, given how timely and relevant it is to the consumer, is really important.
Do you have a personal motto that guides you through work and through life in general?
“I am responsible for my own destiny.” You can blame other people or circumstances all you want, but at the end of the day you’re responsible. I have little patience for people who continually complain about things that can be fixed. Life really is too short.
What’s been the high point of your PebblePost career so far?
There hasn’t been one particular moment — it’s more the same moment many times. What’s most exciting is when I have a great meeting with a brand that just gets it and is so excited about what we’re doing. It happens all the time and it is so cool.