Magic in the mix: A Q&A with our new VP of Marketing, Micha Hershman

What’s it like to build and lead a marketing dream team?

With a twenty-year career integrating inbound and outbound demand generation strategies to drive growth and revenue at B2B and B2C organizations from Dark Horse Comics to Eventbrite, it’s safe to say that Envoy’s new VP of Marketing, Micha Hershman, is more than up to the task.

“Micha is a perfect fit for what we’re doing here: always looking to be innovative, different, and progressive,” says Larry Gadea, CEO and founder of Envoy.

I sat down with Micha to find out how creativity is integral to his leadership strategy, why he genuinely loves meetings, and what’s on the Envoy marketing horizon.

Welcome to Envoy! Our marketing team is growing quickly, and we’re so excited you’re here! From paid media and social to content, field marketing, and marketing operations functions, building a fully-integrated demand generation team is no small feat. What’s the secret to creating a successful cross-functional marketing team?

MH: There’s no secret! Here’s my formula:

  1. Hire rad people who would be great at anything they tried, and make sure that you enjoy spending a whole lot of time with them.
  2. Constantly invest in team growth and development. I’m a big believer in the 70/20/10 concept!
  3. Work closely with the team to establish a clear vision, and ensure everything you do is laser-focused on the customer.
  4. Measure the results of your work. Evaluate your performance honestly, and learn as fast as you can.
  5. Don’t get discouraged. Do more of what’s working, reinvest unproductive resources––and never, ever quit.

How do you integrate creativity into leading a team?

MH: The magic is in getting the right mix to solve for the business need. Hire a balanced team of left and right brained contributors. Don’t be afraid to leverage third party assistance when you’re out of your depth. Agencies are successful for a reason

Numbers, clarity, and structure expand our ability to be creative. As Orson Welles once said: “The enemy of art is the absence of limitations.” Have fun at all costs: enjoy the work, enjoy your teammates, make some mischief, get excited. If not, find something else to do.

“Good ideas can come from anywhere: something you read, the normally quiet person on the team, or an idea from your competitors you made better. Recognize that not everything needs to be a novel, radical innovation. Innovate where it matters. Everything else is excellence in execution.”

— Micha Hershman, VP of Marketing, Envoy

Think of this: of all the music in the world, 99% is derived from essentially the same harmonic theory and a half-dozen scales. Said another way, Taco Bell, for example, is an amazing business for a lot of reasons. Mostly, it’s because they keep coming up with new products based on the same limited set of ingredients.

What’s the most important lesson you have incorporated into your leadership strategy throughout your career thus far? How do you bring out the best in your team’s talent?

MH: My leadership strategy is intimately intertwined with my approach to getting the most out of the team. Develop and commit to aggressive, thoughtful, challenging, and carefully detailed career development plans.

Leaders who invest deeply into the success of their employees drive more productivity, reduce costs associated with churn, increase accountability and yield improved results. Full stop.

The outbound marketing landscape is transforming rapidly. Which trends do you feel have staying power, and what are you excited to experiment with?

MH: As far as staying power goes, planning, process, and strategy are and will continue to be what separates good (or lucky) marketers from great marketers. I would say the same goes for:

  • Customer research. It’s critical to world-class marketing.
  • SEO-driven content is and will continue to be a differentiator, a lead generator, and a brand builder, especially for the SMB and mid-market segments. Paid media innovations are and will continue to be how we reach new audiences.
  • Marketing automation is and will continue to be key to growth at scale.
  • Conversion rate optimization is and will continue to drive both efficiency and effectiveness.
  • Highly-targeted, account-based marketing is and will continue to be a powerful enterprise sales and marketing strategy.
  • Integrated data is and will continue to be critical in how we everything we develop: products, messaging, creative, campaigns, and more.

I’m betting on the following short list of “trends” to become more mainstream, accessible, and effective in the coming years:

  1. Personalization
  2. Voice search
  3. Machine learning & artificial intelligence
  4. Customer data protection

In addition to your years of marketing experience, you have a background in content direction with the comic book industry. What was it like to ideate on content for the entertainment industry, working with such renowned and beloved brand names as Star Wars?

MH: It was awesome, interesting, and challenging. These are brands I have loved for years and that got a ton of attention from customers: Star Wars and Harry Potter, for example. I got to learn so much about how global licensed marketing partnerships work. There are real constraints with real consequences regarding what you can and cannot do when developing partner marketing programs with the biggest brands in the world. That was one of the main challenges.

Who’s your favorite comic or character?

MH: I always wished I was Batman: smart, determined, and competent. Then I got sad when the internet superhero quiz told me I was the Hulk: smart, introverted, and super calm…until I’m not.

A trusted coworker and good friend recently told me I was most like the Marvel character Loki. It’s true that I have an always-on, low-level of mischief brewing. There’s always an idea waiting to emerge. I’m going with that one for now.

What are your top three reasons for joining Envoy?

MH: The existing product. The product market fit is unparalleled. The customer experience is amazing. The viral growth is truly enviable.

The vision and the opportunity to be a part of building the Envoy brand into a world-class, household name.

The workplace culture is customer-centric, values-oriented, and vision-first.

What is something you are most looking forward to getting up and running in your first 30 days at Envoy?

MH: Don’t laugh: I love meetings. My favorite business book of all time is called Death by Meeting by Patrick Lencioni. An ideal weekly marketing staff meeting has a purpose, includes constructive feedback, involves the entire team, is educational, and is productive. It’s the bedrock that awesomeness is built on. How you manage (or don’t manage) meetings speaks volumes about your company culture.

I can’t wait to see what’s in place, get feedback from the team, and bring my own point of view to the process!