Look! Up in the sky! Is it a bird? A plane? No, it’s a Conversation Intelligence Hero!
Invoca’s new Conversation Intelligence Heroes program gives our customers a platform to highlight their successes with conversation intelligence technology. It also has perks like personal branding opportunities, VIP invites to regional events, access to private beta programs, and more.
As part of the program, we’re putting a spotlight on our most inspiring heroes. Today’s featured hero is Taylor Pawley. She’s the director of marketing at Rick’s Custom Fencing & Decking, one of the largest retailers of fencing and decking in the Pacific Northwest.
Check out our Q&A with Taylor below, where she shares her career progression, advice for young marketers, and how Invoca helped her drive higher-quality leads.
I got a marketing degree as well as a theater directing degree because I had intentions of running a theater company one day. It’s interesting because a lot of what I learned in my marketing degree was pre-social media and digital marketing, so I’ve had to continually learn to keep up with the current landscape. A lot of the foundational strategies I was taught in school are still relevant though: knowing your brand, knowing where people are going to find you, and then creating content to support those two objectives.
My theater degree, surprising as it may sound, has been really helpful in my career. I had a directorial emphasis, which taught me skills like organization, team management, and collaboration. I always tell people to take an improv or theater class if you have the opportunity. It can teach you a lot about working together and collaborating to bring something creative to life. I would say I use my theater degree as much as my marketing degree on a daily basis.
Right after I graduated, I started working with Rick’s Custom Fencing & Decking as a sales associate. I learned as much as I could about the business and kept progressing from there. After a few years with the company, I took over the marketing department in 2019. In that time we've grown the company from $36 million in revenue, to just over $50 million this year.
Absolutely. I can collaborate with sales on a deeper level because I know the products intimately as well as our sales process. I also know the pain points that they face. For example, I know there’s a significant difference between just generating a high volume of leads and actually giving them high-quality leads that are going to result in sales. That was an issue that we had faced a lot in the past.
I also know what the sales process looks like once those leads come in and how marketing can assist throughout the process. This experience has made a huge difference and allowed our teams to collaborate more effectively toward our shared goal: increasing our revenue.
One of the highlights of my career was the charity work I did during the COVID-19 pandemic. Rick’s Fencing wasn’t as negatively impacted as a lot of other businesses in our community, since more people were working from home and realizing they need all kinds of fencing and home repairs. So, while other companies were shutting down and people were losing their jobs, we were deemed essential. This didn’t sit right with me and I wanted to find a way to give back to those in need.
I went to our leadership team and shared my idea to create a program to support people impacted by COVID. So, we created the Rick's Community Support Drive in June of 2020. It soon became a major part of our overall company outreach and marketing strategy. In addition to helping those in need, it boosted our reputation and made us a known name within the community. I’m proud to be a part of an organization that prioritized charity and giving back to the community during such difficult times.
Since it was formed, Rick's Community Support Drive has raised over $200,000 in funds for charitable organizations. We’ve also helped with local projects like building a fence around our community garden. In addition, we’ve done two partnerships with the Make-A-Wish Foundation where we've granted a backyard wish to a family.
To me, the Rick's Community Support Drive is a win-win for everyone. Our employees love being a part of the programs. They see the influence that we're having and the positive effects on our community. It’s been one of the biggest successes of my life.
Want to learn more about the Taylor and team’s outreach in the local community? Check out the webpage for the Rick's Community Support Drive here.
Beyond charity work and volunteering, I really enjoy golfing. I also love wine. My dad’s starting a winery right now, so I’m helping him set that up and hire the right people. Plus, I get an excuse to taste some samples!
About 50% of our leads come in over the phone. However, we didn’t have the right tracking in place to understand which campaigns were driving phone leads. This made it difficult for us to optimize media spend. With Invoca, we can see how many phone leads our marketing programs are driving, in addition to the clicks we were already tracking. We used this data to make smarter optimization decisions and achieved these results:
Once the marketing team started using Invoca to drive more leads, we wanted to make sure our sales team was providing a good experience to convert them. With Invoca conversation analytics, our sales managers use AI to automatically QA 100% of inbound calls based on their criteria. This has allowed us to coach agents more effectively and achieve these results:
Want to read more of Taylor and team’s incredible story? Check out the full Rick’s Custom Fencing & Decking case study here.
Lots of new platforms have popped up over the years, from TikTok to Instagram to Facebook to Pinterest. Following new trends can be important, but you shouldn’t blindly follow them. You can’t lose sight of where your customers are actually finding you and taking action. I see a lot of marketers hopping on the latest trendy platform, even though it’s not the best place to reach their customers and drive results. Maintaining a presence on all these platforms is a huge time commitment and it can take away resources from other tried and true strategies.
For a company like Rick’s, it's not as important to have a TikTok, since our customer base is a bit older. We have Instagram and Facebook presences, but they’re only supplementary. Consumers might go there to do research, so we want to have good photos and information. But when they're actually ready to get fencing work done, they’re going to search for a provider on Google. So, we spend most of our budget on PPC advertising to increase our visibility — and we use Invoca to improve the effectiveness of our PPC. I don’t see our strategy changing too much in the future. We know the channels that matter to our audience and we’re continually optimizing them.
A lot of marketers ignore things that haven’t worked for them in the past instead of taking the opportunity to revisit them and tweak their strategies. For example, we used to do direct mail campaigns and they didn’t perform that well for us. We recently tried them again and they became one of our most effective channels. We also started sending out postcards and that effort increased our sales revenue by 12%. Now that more people are working from home, they’re actually taking the time to look through all of their mail.
We’ve also had a lot of success with placements in advertorial magazines, especially publications about home improvement. I thought newspapers and print publications were dying, and everything was going digital. But when one magazine gave us an incentive to place a free full-page ad, we had to try it. Turns out, it was a huge lead driver.
So, I would tell other marketers to be willing to revisit past strategies. You may find a new angle that can change the game for you. If you have to spend a little bit of your budget to experiment with something, you can always back out. It just doesn't hurt to give it a try. Just make sure you’re collecting all the metrics you need to measure your success.
When you’re starting your career, it’s really important to understand what other marketers are doing. Take that meeting, read that newsletter, attend that conference, join that webinar — immerse yourself. Each of these opportunities will give you valuable nuggets of information. Over time, these will build up and you’ll have a whole toolkit of marketing strategies you can use in your day-to-day.
Are you interested in becoming a hero? Turns out you don’t need to get bit by a radioactive spider. You just need to be an active Invoca customer and participate with the community in some of the following ways:
What do you get out of it? Below are some of the perks that Conversation Intelligence heroes enjoy:
You can register to become a Conversation Intelligence Hero here or scan the QR code below. Just remember: with great power comes great responsibility.