In case you missed the big news yesterday, we announced that we raised a $12M Series C and acquired a Seattle based company called PaperShare. It’s an exciting time as we’re growing fast, and the addition of the PaperShare team is a big part of that. I sat down with one of those new team members, Rob Stevens, Senior Customer Success Manager to discuss the acquisition, what the experience has been like, and where he sees things heading in the future for both companies.
[G.I] For our readers who might not be familiar with PaperShare, give us a quick overview. What does it do? What problem does PaperShare solve?
[Rob] A lot of people think that marketers sit around all day writing catchy tag lines and press releases. More and more, marketing is about telling stories across a variety of mediums, what everyone generically calls “content marketing” today. Companies spend billions of dollars creating this content … and then it just sits there, inert.
PaperShare’s raison d’être was two-fold. First, empower content marketers to get their content everywhere it needs to be to get it seen, in as frictionless a way as possible. We have a variety of ways to do this, but suffice it to say that making individual marketers or small teams more agile was a major focus.
Second, while PaperShare could help distribute content across a variety of sites as well as social media, we still had a single, canonical version of that content, so all of the data on how that content is performing get captured in one place. Do you know if your content actually being viewed? PaperShare knows!
[G.I] With the acquisition, we not only inherit the PaperShare tech, but also the team, including yourself! Tell us a bit about your role, and the others who are coming on board.
[Rob] Being in a startup culture, you need to be able to cover a lot of ground, and I like to think of myself as a utility player, to borrow a sports metaphor. I’ve had three major phases of my career so far, starting in technical support and customer service, moving to journalism, and finally in Marketing. You wouldn’t think those had much to do with each other, but the technical side helped me take complex technical concepts and explain them in a relatable way. The journalism part taught me how to tell engaging stories. And the Marketing (particularly in tech) is about telling engaging stories about technology, so it all comes together.
I’ve called my role “Customer Success” (you pretty much get to make your job what you want it to be in most startups), because I bring my experience as a marketing practitioner to each interaction with our customers, helping them learn how platforms like PaperShare (and now Dynamic Signal) can help them get these stories they’re telling seen by the people that matter most: potential customers! But doing it in a way that’s not overwhelming marketers with technical jargon they don’t necessarily understand. Making my customers successful in reaching their goals is what makes me successful.
PaperShare was a very lean and efficient team, and our incredibly talented developers, led by Lynn Keele, are currently exploring ways to not only improve what PaperShare was doing well, but how these two amazing platforms can be brought together to improve the marketing landscape.
[G.I] What’s it been like for you personally? I know it’s been in the works for many months so I bet it’s great to finally be able to tell everyone about it huh?
[Rob] You have no idea! The team at Dynamic Signal has been incredibly supportive and open, but the hardest part of this has been keeping it a secret until we were ready to announce. Keeping my enthusiasm bottled is not one of my strong suits! Particularly knowing all of the incredible opportunities for customer and employee advocacy were about to be opened for our customers, not sharing that with them has been hard, particularly since that was such a huge part of the job!
[G.I] How has the transition gone? You’re primarily working with our Client Services department correct?
[Rob] Smooth as butter! It’s always a challenge integrating two independent teams, particularly when part of the team is remote, but luckily for me, Madhu Chamarty and the entire Client Services team have been very welcoming, not to mention receptive to the viewpoints I bring with me. VoiceStorm has been an incredibly easy platform for me to learn, and I’m already jumping into the deep end and working with some of Dynamic Signal’s impressive client roster.
[G.I] It seems like a logical fit to pair PaperShare with what we’ve created at Dynamic Signal. What do you think is the most complimentary part of the two technologies?
[Rob] I’d say there are two major ways PaperShare fits with Dynamic Signal. On the technical side, both teams were working with the same core technology, so it doesn’t take a ton of effort for our team to understand how the VoiceStorm platform works and vice-versa.
From a user-perspective, PaperShare’s biggest challenge was in getting employees notified when there was new content and sharing it. Dynamic Signal has done a tremendous job of making effortless something that we, frankly, struggled with. On the flip-side, customers using Dynamic Signal now have the opportunity to have a easy to use platform for hosting content, creating landing pages effortlessly, and getting more insight into the performance of the content itself. It really is a win-win!
[G.I] Where do you see things heading in the short, and then long term as far as potential integration and collaboration are concerned?
[Rob] We’ve already begun to find the “quick wins!” For example, PaperShare’s “PaperClips” (small libraries of content you can host anywhere) can already be plugged into a page in VoiceStorm to give employees a place to find internal documentation and content.
While plans could certainly change over time, down the road, I envision a single platform where agile marketers can post any kind of content to a variety of channels, then from a single Dashboard, watch how people are engaging with that content. And I mean real engagement, how people are consuming that content, and tracking it back through the sales pipeline to get to an ROI metric that is more than smoke and mirrors. We’re closer than you might think!
[G.I] What companies is PaperShare already working with where you see potential to integrate the advocacy marketing elements of Dynamic Signal?
[Rob] Funny you mention that…I just had a great call with my customers at Intel, which is a mutual client of Dynamic Signal. There’s a ton of potential between the groups working with PaperShare for their content marketing, and the ones working with Dynamic Signal on the advocacy side. Intel creates a ton of fantastic content, but getting it seen is a challenge. With our two platforms working together, Fortune 500 companies can be just as agile in their marketing as the leanest startup!