Here is a transcript generated by of The Content Mix podcast interview with Jaime Lee, head of content strategy at AdRoll, on using customer data to address pain points:

Carlota Pico 0:21
Hi everyone, and welcome back to The Content Mix. I’m Carlota Pico, your host for today’s show, and I’m excited to introduce Jaime Lee, who’s Head of Content Strategy at AdRoll, and also an avid tennis player and on top of that she always brings her dog everywhere. How cute! Jamie, welcome to The Content Mix, it’s so great to have you here.

Jaime Lee 0:40
Thank you. It’s great to be here.

Carlota Pico 0:43
Thanks. Jaime, tell me little bit about your dog. What types of dogs do you have?

Jaime Lee 0:46
I have a chiweenie and she’s a princess.

Carlota Pico 0:49
Your firstborn child?

Jaime Lee 0:51

Carlota Pico 0:52
I’m in the same boat, but I have a cat, but also my firstborn child. Okay, Jaime, so enough about our pets. Let’s talk about you. How did you get to where you are today?

Jaime Lee 1:03
It’s been a long journey, it’s been an interesting journey as well. I, I was finishing my college studies and thought I wanted to be a lawyer, so I was working in a law firm as a legal assistant under very competitive lawyers, and I really loved the rigor of everything and how we were working towards a goal, but it just didn’t give me the creativity that I needed. So after I graduated, I decided to start my own nonprofit, which I was really passionate about. And it was all about supporting Deaf awareness. I have two Deaf siblings and I saw a lot of the challenges that they were going through and I thought, just bringing awareness to the Deaf community and bringing that into the hearing world would be something that I could maybe make a difference, just in the Bay Area as that community. But through that I learned there was like hidden marketing themes through all of the, these different points in my career. I started a website, I got on YouTube, was doing tutorial videos, was active on social. And that I think shaped kind of the, my next steps in my career. I went on to do some consulting work, social media and just writing for some startups in the Bay Area. While I was doing that I also launched a little e-commerce business on eBay and did, through trial and error, find, found the right products that I wanted to be selling, learned how to attract new customers with my shop and reaching out and making sure that, that they’re satisfied when they receive their products, reaching out to them as there are promotions going on. But then I got this opportunity to join an enterprise company and I thought wow, this is really intimidating but I may as well jump on this opportunity. And from there I did more partner and sales enablement, working on the communications and events to help our sales team. And then from there, it was just all content marketing, and that’s where I am today.

Carlota Pico 3:09
What an exciting journey. So did you study marketing in school or did you just learn it along the way?

Jaime Lee 3:15
I learned it mostly along the way. I studied communications, and, I mean there are like fundamental theories that you learn but there was never like a marketing application class, and I thought, one of the classes that got me as close to marketing was around organizational communication and we had to do projects around how do you evangelize teams throughout an organization. And that I thought might be fun. I thought that would be my connection to the business world and I can see myself doing something like that. But then I just stumbled on marketing.

Carlota Pico 3:49
Okay, so how do you evangelize teams?

Jaime Lee 3:54
So, evangelizing, like change through teams, and it’s a very strategic process where you have to communicate with all of the stakeholders, you have to have, it’s almost like a mini marketing campaign where you have to have a very concise message. You have to kind of have like a 360 angle of the messaging and who, what types of messaging go to which stakeholders and then, in what, what order do they, are they looped in and how, through what mechanism. Is it an in person meeting? Is it an email? So there are a lot of similarities between that and marketing.

Carlota Pico 4:31
Wow, so it’s like personas, but like internal personas that you also have to talk to in a certain language in order for them to resonate with your messages.

Jaime Lee 4:39

Carlota Pico 4:40
So interesting. Okay Jaime, let’s take a walk down memory lane. Looking back on your experience, what have been some of your favorite campaigns to date?

Jaime Lee 4:49
There are so many, I would say one that really pops out is a tip or treat campaign for Halloween. And the idea there, which I, I really love the campaigns that are kind of cheeky and fun. And so this was definitely one. But it hit on all of the components that make marketing successful. We leveraged partners. We leveraged all of our distribution channels, we actually repurposed content that we had already produced earlier in the year. So it was super scrappy, and we made it time-based. So, every day, a new tip, which was a piece of content or treat, which was a flag item, was released at 9am, and it ran through a period of seven days. And our partners would alternate, whether they provided the tip or the treat, and they were committed to do sharing on social and we had a hashtag going where there was a raffle where, where folks who shared it or entered into a raffle at the end of the, the campaign. And it was just so successful because we got so many people excited and on board, and the time-based element I think really helped with that because every morning at 9 a.m. people knew that we would release a certain part of the website. And they could engage with whatever the content was or be the first to claim the prize. So that was really exciting,

Carlota Pico 7:12
Wow, that makes me so excited right now. Okay. So tell me a little bit about market-wise. Was it localized for the US or was that campaign also pushed across Europe?

Jaime Lee 7:22
This one was specifically localized for the US.

Carlota Pico 7:26
Okay. Very interesting. And in the US, you approach the US all as, like, one country or do you like localize it by states?

Jaime Lee 7:34
For this, it was, it was actually broad-scaled. Just the topic and the theme of Halloween was, resonated with everyone and it made sense.

Carlota Pico 7:43
Okay. But, let’s say you were to do a new campaign. So, looking at it from, as, as a European that I am, let’s say, I was hired tomorrow for a role in the US and I had to distribute a campaign across the US. What would be your tips on that? Is it better to localize per state, or is it better to just have one campaign that fits all states?

Jaime Lee 8:07
It really depends on what, what it is that you are marketing. So the, the Halloween example was very applicable to everyone, but I would say, especially now in COVID times, different states have different restrictions. So being aware of what those are, that will help you determine how you communicate to each of your audience segments, so like if you’re promoting an event online, and it is, you don’t want, you want to make sure that you’re not promoting to the wrong audience because some places are more relaxed than others.

Carlota Pico 8:46
That’s a really good tip, Jaime, because we face that problem with our own clients. The Content Mix is owned by VeraContent which is a content creation agency. But we have clients from all around the world, and obviously COVID hit at different points, and at different moments, right. So like China was hit with the first wave, then it moved over to Europe, then afterwards to the United States, then Latin America. And in terms of creating content it was really important for us to resonate with local audiences and also be able to understand what they were going through. And so some of the things that I did was tap into local news. To understand the beat of the local market.

Jaime Lee 9:20
I think that’s so important because if the message isn’t resonating with your audience, they’re going to tune you out, that’ll leave a bad impression, they probably won’t want to hear from you ever again.

Carlota Pico 9:31
Yeah, definitely. Especially if you’re pushing out content that says, hey, like, come join me in the park, and it turns out that that city is on lockdown.

Jaime Lee 9:39
Yeah. Yeah.

Carlota Pico 9:40
Not a good idea. Okay.

Jaime Lee 9:41
Not a great.

Carlota Pico 9:43
Could you talk to me about some of the challenges that you’ve had to go through as well throughout your professional career?

Jaime Lee 9:49
Being in content I think one of the biggest challenges is proving the worth of the work that I’m doing. Content is a fairly new field, I would say probably the workings of it started 10 to 15 years ago with social media, the old school blogger sites. And then over the years it has really solidified into becoming this massive opportunity for businesses now you’ve seen even C-level content titles which are rare, but we’re moving in that direction, which I think is really interesting. But with that, there are still challenges. So, depending on where, what organization that you’re in, where you are, your stage of growth. The challenges will be different, and you’ll be at a different touch point, as it relates to proving the value within your internal organization and trying to get buy-in from stakeholders, trying to get people on board with you through the content journey and showing the impact that it has on your customers.

Carlota Pico 10:55
Yeah, no, definitely, I agree. When I started off in marketing, it was back in 2008 and literally social networks hadn’t really taken off yet. Businesses weren’t using social networks and now we see this boom of b2b companies on Instagram, on TikTok, trying to maneuver these social platforms that are obviously consumer platforms, right, they’re for people. And you have businesses that are selling to other businesses, trying to figure it out to attract a new audience, from those networks as well. So I mean, I think that we still have so much, so many possibilities in terms of reaching different audiences in different ways. And I’m excited to see what will happen after COVID-19 as well.

Jaime Lee 11:36
I agree and I think that I’m always looking, as a content marketer, I’m always looking for what’s the next thing. And I believe that it’s experiential content, I don’t think we’ve reached that yet. I think Amazon and Netflix are really inspirational for how we serve up content to consumers and creating an experience that is seamless for them.

Carlota Pico 11:58
I definitely agree. Okay, Jaime, let’s take a look at what you’re doing today. So, you are Head of Content Strategy at AdRoll, and for our audience’s FYI, could you give me a 30 second elevator pitch on what AdRoll is or does?

Jaime Lee 12:12
Yeah. AdRoll is the marketing platform for growing e-commerce brands. It allows e-commerce brands to acquire and retain customers through strategic growth marketing initiatives. It offers email marketing, advertising, AI-driven product recommendation and a way to measure cross-channel engagement all in one platform.

Carlota Pico 12:36
Okay. Very interesting. Jaime, I was on your LinkedIn profile snooping around before our interview, obviously, and I saw that you published a 16-page report about acquiring and retaining customers through economic change. So I’m assuming that you’re referring to COVID-19 in part, right?

Jaime Lee 12:52

Carlota Pico 12:53
Okay, could you summarize that report in two minutes for us?

Jaime Lee 12:57
Yeah, what was really interesting about this and I would say this was another campaign win for us, or project win, was we turned this around in seven to 10 business days. Actually it was seven to 10 days total, including weekends. That is sourcing all of the information, writing it and designing it, so definitely a shout out to everyone at AdRoll because this was a joint effort. I worked with our marketing team, I worked with our sales team to get a beat on what customers were saying, what the challenges that they were facing with all of this change. And, and this was actually all coming together in March, that was very soon after the US hit lockdown. And then I interviewed a few consumer brands myself. So, this ebook was a result of synthesizing the top challenges that they were facing. We wanted to make it really, really snappy and concise, with the specific challenge. And then there are multiple solutions that are offered that any brand could implement with the resources that they currently have.

Carlota Pico 14:08
Wow, sounds like a fantastic resource. Okay, so let’s dive further into it. Let’s say that business stops from night to day, and it’s a marketing professionals job to reengage an audience that has just lost interest. What are some tips and tricks for marketing professionals who are tasked to doing that?

Jaime Lee 14:26
That is a business’s worst nightmare. But there are things that they can do. They, what it really comes down to is digging into the data and the insights that they currently have. Understanding what those customers were interested in and try and find opportunities to offer them additional value that is complimentary to what they were interested in. Now, if you are looking to attract a new audience, I, it also goes back to looking at the customer data and seeing what were, where were those customers, how did they engage, how do they like to communicate, what are some of the publications that they might be engaging with or reading or where can you find them on the internet, basically. And then using those tactics to reach out and branch out to find and attract new customers.

Carlota Pico 15:22
Okay, what if you don’t have any data? Then what do you do?

Jaime Lee 15:25
You’re asking me the tough question. If you don’t have any data, go back to what you were doing to, definitely start collecting any, any data that you should be doing. If you have Google, I would say that most people probably use Google Analytics, even within that, you should be able to find something. But if you really don’t have anything, then you can start from, you can start from scratch. It sounds like you’re not as far down the line, but it would be easy to kind of go back to the basics of what you have been doing to acquire new customers and try doing that. And learning from just, how did you acquire customers? What are some of the things, too, that you can do to offer more value to continue attracting?

Carlota Pico 16:13
What about the power of surveys, like let’s take one step back. When I started in the marketing world, I used to do loads of surveys. Well actually, as an entrepreneur I would literally sit outside and just ask people to fill in surveys all day, so that I understood how they were going to use a product that I was developing at that time. But at the same time I think marketing professionals who do that also from a content point of view like there’s a survey that says, what type of content are you interested in, that’s data right there. That doesn’t require money. It just requires time.

Jaime Lee 16:42
Yeah. Surveys are a great way with the, with customers that are engaged. If they are still talking to you it’s a great way to reach out to them. You can send them survey or you can if you want to connect on a personal level, if you want to give them a call and get something more robust and qualitative, maybe make them feel special by saying you’re one of our really valued customers, we want to get a better understanding of what you’re going through right now and how we can help. I think with that you also have to be careful around that messaging, not to come off as fake or that like you’re not genuine. Other ways I think that, that brands can reach out, is to also look at their network. What are some other companies that they can partner with? And then go about it strategically. So if you don’t have all the resources, two is better than one, right, they always say. So partnering with another brand is also another effective way. They’ll bring ideas, they’ll bring additional resources. They’ll bring a new network for you to tap into.

Carlota Pico 17:54
That’s fantastic advice, Jaime. Okay so, as a content expert, I’ve heard time and time again, people saying how important it is for the content to be genuine, for their content to be authentic. But what does that really mean?

Jaime Lee 18:08
I, this is something I’m particularly fascinated about. Coming from the b2b world of writing and content. That feels more disingenuous, I feel like. It feels robotic, it feels like it’s coming from a selling angle, it’s coming from an “us to them” angle. I think what consumer brands or direct to consumer brands do really well, that I have tried to make a part of my world and how I write content is the conversational piece, and the more customer centric angle. Like what, what are the challenges that they’re actually facing, not what are we selling. Getting kind of out, stepping outside of yourself and your world and what you are there to do, as, as a, an employee supporting your business and thinking about the challenges that you’re actually helping people solve.

Carlota Pico 19:05
And as a b2b tech company because you’re originally from Palo Alto, right?

Jaime Lee 19:10

Carlota Pico 19:10
And you worked for a few technology companies as well. Okay. So how can a technology company humanize their products, or their content?

Jaime Lee 19:20
It starts really with understanding your customer and understanding what their pain points are, and then connecting the dots to, how do you solve those pain points. And then using that in your language.

Carlota Pico 19:30
Okay. And I guess also remembering always that on the other side of a screen or on the other side of a gadget there’s always a human being. Until robots start taking over the world, right?

Jaime Lee 19:39
One day, yeah.

Carlota Pico 19:40
One day. God, scary times. Okay, let’s stick with COVID right now and then we’ll face the next challenge as it comes.

Jaime Lee 19:46
That sounds good to me.

Carlota Pico 19:47
Yeah, Jaime, okay. I want to talk a little bit about your experience running virtual events. So there’s a lot of noise out there, and people’s time and also attention span is extremely limited, do you have any tips or tricks for marketeers who are now having to run virtual events for the first time?

Jaime Lee 20:04
Yeah. Definitely look for ways to make it bidirectional. Traditionally before COVID most events were very one-way. We are talking to you. Maybe you can drop in some questions in the chat box, but now we’re seeing people start flat channels where they’re like, go network and engage with other folks during this presentation, or they will break out into groups and throw some topic, or questions at them and have them discuss, and then have them bring it back as a group and, and then they share their insights and they learn from each other. So I think one of the things that we lost initially from moving from offline to online, was that connection with other, the networking aspect, especially from, I’ve heard that a lot from people, it’s like, we miss networking, that’s the biggest thing. So, offer opportunities to network. Another thing that I was thinking about that I haven’t really seen recently, but I’m sure it’s gotta be out there. One of the events that I attended had, offline events, had a leaderboard or rewardification or gamification aspect to it. And I thought that was really, really exciting, and it got a lot of engagement. There was an app that you would download for the event, you could see all the sessions, see all of the people, connect with them, talk to them try and meet up every time you performed an action you would get points, and then you would make it to the leaderboard. And the people that made it within the top of the leaderboard obviously got more, more engagement people were reaching out to them. I myself wanted to connect with all of them on LinkedIn. But I think that’s another opportunity for folks as they create online events.

Carlota Pico 21:53
That’s so, that sounds like so much fun. I want to play that game. Okay, Jaime, looking back on your experience, let’s say you had a chance to do it all over again. One, would you still choose a career in marketing, and two, would you do anything differently?

Jaime Lee 22:10
Choosing or dream career?

Carlota Pico 22:14
It can be a dream career. Let’s say you’re a billionaire and you can do anything in this world. What would it be?

Jaime Lee 22:19
I would be a pro athlete.

Carlota Pico 22:21
Oh. Okay. In tennis?

Jaime Lee 22:24
Yeah, definitely. I love spending eight hours a day, just playing tennis, refining tennis, learning tennis. All of the strategy that goes into it. And I feel like that probably stemmed from my childhood. I grew up doing competitive sports. Even when I was like, eight-years-old I would spend 30 hours a week doing competitive sports. And I think that just instilled in me this. I don’t know if that came first, or if I was just born that, I would like to say I was born that way and it was the perfect timing of an opportunity that my parents gave me, and I loved it. But if, if I could do anything in the world, if I could go back and do anything that’s what I would do. But I’m too old now.

Carlota Pico 23:14
Well, you’re never too old to work as a marketeer for a tennis company or a tennis personality.

Jaime Lee 23:20
That’s true, that’s true. But if, I am happy with the choices that I’ve made. I couldn’t see myself doing anything else right now.

Carlota Pico 23:30
Okay, excellent. Now, we are going to be moving into our set of rapid fire questions which is basically your recommendations for our audience. So to get this section started off, I’d like to ask you about your source of inspiration. So who do you admire? Professional role, influencer, maybe a tennis player.

Jaime Lee 23:47
I admire so many people, this is a really tough question for me. I admire, this thing is going to sound so cheesy but I like to extract things that I admire from everyone and everything and every experience that I surround myself with. From the friend that I went out to dinner with last night, we were talking about work, she has an amazing work ethic. I, I take that as inspiration from her. From my mom who just lives in the moment and loves every, every single day. I take that from her. From some of the colleagues at AdRoll, who, I love how they articulate what their, their plans are or their challenges are and how they plan on going about conquering them. I take that from them. So I think it’s important to find inspiration in every interaction that you have.

Carlota Pico 24:45
Wow, what a beautiful message, I’m almost speechless. But thankfully, not speechless enough to not ask you the next question. Okay, what about a resource that you’d like to recommend? A little birdie told me that you have your own podcast.

Jaime Lee 24:57
Yes, I would highly recommend Unrolling E-Commerce, launched this year by our very own Laura Finnerty, shout out. She’s done an amazing job at pulling it together, going through, interviewing almost a hundred brands and getting insights from the, from marketers and what they’re facing, how they’re conquering the world. And it’s really inspiring. Season two is coming out later this year so look out for that.

Carlota Pico 25:28
Okay, excellent. And last but not least, what’s your favorite app at the moment, and why?

Jaime Lee 25:36
This is a good one. And it sometimes changes, but right now it is Sloth. Sloth is an interesting app. I’m a huge fan of productivity hacks. And what Sloth allows me to do is to kind of segment my day. I like to start my day with trying to tackle two to three, or three to five priorities for work. And I time block, all of that in the Sloth app. So I put the bigger things first in the day. But I also include my morning routine and like set time aside for that. So, it has like this countdown timer and when you’re done with each activity, it says, okay, you’re done. Time to move on to the next. So that really helps me focus and really focus on getting what needs to be done done and not getting carried away and wasting more time.

Carlota Pico 26:31
Wow, sounds like a fantastic app. I’m going to have to download it myself as well and help me focus, because sometimes with so much going on it’s hard to get everything done, or to at least get the most important stuff done. Right?

Jaime Lee 26:42
Yeah, definitely. Especially now that everyone’s on lockdown. It is, it is challenging so I’ve been trying to find ways to still be productive and for me that makes me happy. That it has taken a load off of my, my mental you know any mental weight. It makes me, you know, shut it down, it’s fine, move on to the next thing.

Carlota Pico 27:06
Awesome Jaime. Well, again, thank you so much for joining us on The Content Mix. Unfortunately we are out of time, but I love the energy that you brought to this interview, and I really appreciate your time and those awesome insights that you shared with us.

Jaime Lee 27:19
Thank you so much for having me. It was so much fun.

Carlota Pico 27:21
The pleasure has been mine. And to everyone listening in today, thank you for joining us on The Content Mix. For more perspectives on the content marketing industry in Europe, check out The Content Mix. We’ll be releasing interviews just like this one every day, so keep on tuning in. Thanks again, have a fantastic weekend. And see you next time. Bye.

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