There’s nothing more important to serving our clients and customers than supporting happy and productive team members and leaders.
Jonathan Gray is the senior vice president of marketing and leader of revenue generation, business development, and marketing services for Revana. He leads a team of professionals who oversee marketing analytics and integrated marketing services programs that automate electronic marketing strategies on behalf of industry-leading clients. He was involved in developing new digital marketing and sales solutions, such as RevanaAnalytic Multichannel Platform (RAMP) and RevanaAQ360SM, which won a Gold Stevie as the 2016 Best New Marketing Solution.
Gray brings more than 15 years of sales, marketing, and communications experience in the telecommunications, cable, and retail industries. He previously held a B2B and B2C strategic segmentation role, as well as product marketing and campaign strategy roles, for Qwest. He also worked on sales best practices and strategic support roles for Nordstrom, Inc.
Where did the idea for Revana come from?
Revana provides acquisition, growth, and retention solutions for some of the world’s leading brands. We are the combination of a top 25 digital performance marketing agency and five-time “sales outsourcing provider of the year” award winner. The name Revana is the combination of the words “revenue,” “results,” and “relationships with nirvana.”
What does your typical day look like, and how do you make it productive?
I spend a lot of time with clients and prospective clients discussing opportunities to increase the performance of and ROI from marketing and sales. We discuss the evolution of digital marketing and data analytics and their ability to drive increased performance in acquiring new customers and deepen relationships with existing customers. To be more productive, I spend time staying up to speed on examples where companies are seeing great success in driving performance from digital performance marketing strategies and B2B and B2C sales programs.
How do you bring ideas to life?
I like to bring ideas to life through sharing ideas and enthusiasm with others. We have formal and informal ways of sharing, like sharing tweets and research in real time to make sure everyone is up to speed on the latest news and “wow moments” in the industry. Formally, we have weekly idea sessions to translate research and brainstorming into the evolution of our product roadmaps. We leverage agile methodologies for our product development so we can incorporate the latest ideas into our development sprints.
What’s one trend that really excites you?
One of the trends that really excites me is the ongoing evolution of the customer buying journey. Now, customers have access to so many information sources and digital channels that we have to incorporate data in the marketing and sales experiences in totally different ways. Optimizing the marketing and sales experiences to deliver great customer experiences will be a transformative part of how brands serve the evolving customer buying journey. Addressing this trend is one of the most important things I’m focused on right now.
What is one habit that makes you more productive as a business leader?
One habit I think helps me to be a more productive business leader is supporting the leadership development of the terrific team members I get to work with. I like hiring and working for people who are smarter than me. It makes the days much more stimulating and productive, and it enables us to grow as a business and as individuals. There’s nothing more important to serving our clients and customers than supporting happy and productive team members and leaders.
What was the worst job you ever had, and what did you learn from it?
My worst job was collecting coins from pay phones in the Arizona summer heat — while driving a truck without air conditioning! I learned that having the right tools is important for every job and that senior leaders need to stay connected with the experience of each and every employee. Employees have to be happy to make customers happy. And being appreciated and supported with the right tools is important.
If you were to start again, what would you do differently?
I would invest in Apple, Google, and Amazon early on!
On a serious note, though, I would have built my network earlier and been more proactive in social media sooner. Today’s business relationships are founded on digital relationships, and we need to allow for time to care for those relationships. I continue to remind myself to spend time tweeting and communicating; it’s not easy with a business life and maintaining balance with my personal life, too.
As a business leader, what is the one thing you do repeatedly and recommend others do, too?
I love to tell great stories about our “moments of genius.” Everyone wants to hear what’s new and deliver great results. It’s important for us all to tell stories about our successes, bringing our capabilities and results to life.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
The one strategy that helps my business grow: evangelizing. Get other people in the business — especially sales and operational leaders — excited about the company’s capabilities, and support them in communicating success stories.
What is one failure you have had in business, and how did you overcome it?
We built a business case for a new product that didn’t achieve its goals. We overcame it by developing other products to replace the one that didn’t take off. We also had to give senior executives confidence that we wouldn’t have a flop again.
Tell us something about you that very few people know.
I love playing and coaching volleyball, although my competitive playing days are over. I’m part owner of Aspire Volleyball Club in Arizona, and we have a gym with more than four courts, more than 25 girls’ junior volleyball teams competing in tournaments this year, and six boys’ teams.
What software and web services do you use? What do you love about them?
I’ve grown up with Microsoft tools, so I am comfortable in all those software programs. I can barely remember what we did for presentations before PowerPoint! I love being able to quickly assemble presentations that communicate successfully.
I also love Twitter; the access to information is incredible. I’m looking forward to improving my own use of it for business development and to help folks learn about Revana.
What is the one book you recommend our community read, and why?
“Business Blindspots” by Ben Gilad is a must read. It’s old, but it opened my eyes to making sure we don’t accept the past without challenging it.
Which people have influenced your thinking and might be of interest to others?
Don Peppers — he started customer-centricity with 1-to-1 marketing, and he continues to drive innovation in customer experience management.
Mario Schulzke is the Founder of ideamensch, which he started a decade ago to learn from entrepreneurs and give them a platform for their ideas.