Forbes Agency Council member Lori Paikin is the chief revenue officer of NaviStone, a startup marketing technology provider that combines the immediacy of digital browsing data with classic direct mail to create a new channel for retargeting that helps increases revenue and improves marketing efficiency. NaviStone’s approach provides more responsive customer acquisition, reactivation, and retention strategies in a privacy-safe way.

As CRO, Paikin employs her experience in database marketing, customer acquisition, and marketing strategy to oversee NaviStone’s marketing and sales efforts. “At NaviStone,” she says, “we are building something from scratch and introducing a relatively new solution to the marketplace. Bringing this solution to advertisers and seeing the impact the program has on their business is the best part of the job.”

Paikin’s passion for startups developed as an unexpected result of taking a big risk. “I am inspired by people who take a risk to do what they love to do,” she says. She gave herself that opportunity shortly after her career began, moving cross-country from New York to Colorado with no friends, family, or job prospects in the area. She took a chance on a startup that eventually went public and was acquired, and the seed was planted.

Paikin’s robust marketing experience spans three decades. She ascribes her success to persistence and long-term business relationships. She says, “I have been in the direct marketing industry since 1989 and continue to work with many of the same people today that I worked with back then. Developing and maintaining ongoing relationships with both clients and employees is something I strive for.”

When she’s not working, Paikin spends her time volunteering for two nonprofits. She supervises court-ordered visits between children and parents with Family Tree, and is a member of the board, the grants review committee, and the events committee for Ray of Hope Cancer Foundation.

Below, Paikin offers her insights on the value of maintaining team relationships over time, developing a balanced perspective, and setting priorities in business.

 

On Business Relationships and Teamwork

Startups are hard work. There is a level of commitment and patience needed for a startup to succeed; things won’t always go right the first time. Building a team with the right individuals that exhibit these qualities is critical. After many years, I have learned that I need to surround myself with great people who exhibit these qualities and share the passion around doing something new. I am fortunate enough to work with a team of rock stars that I have worked with at two, or in some cases, three past companies.  While we think similarly, we also each bring unique skills to the table that complement each other. I have surrounded myself with people who have strengths and skills that I don’t have, and I leverage them for those things they do so well.

As the person who oversees marketing and sales within NaviStone, I have to balance my time and energy between identifying and introducing new customers to our solution, understanding what’s working and what’s not working with our existing customers, and thinking about the bigger picture — the broader vision for the department and company. I am not the best person to go out and identify the best new customer for our solution, but my head of business development, Angie Arnspiger (someone I have worked with in my last three companies) is. I am not the best person to figure out the specific nuances of each account we manage to ensure the strongest results possible. But my head of client partnerships, Courtney Schack (also someone I have worked with at my last three companies) is. Rounding out the trifecta is my head of marketing, Megan Rainey (whom I have now worked with twice). Without these people, and the team they build, we would not be able to accomplish all the things we need to do to succeed in a start-up.

 

On Perspective

There are typically several paths you can take as a startup company grows and expands. I’ve seen co-workers move to different verticals as part of their development. I’ve seen others round out their business acumen by working in different functional areas within the organization.  I have always stayed the course. I started in the industry working with retailers and still do to this day. I have always been on the sales and marketing side of the business and still am. I am continually challenged by the changes to the marketing and privacy landscapes.

I have never worked directly on the advertiser side of the business; I have always been a solutions provider to the advertiser. I’ve wished I had spent time working as a marketer for a specific brand advertiser, actually walking in my clients’ shoes, to experience the specific challenges they face first hand.

Whether you “stay the course” and deepen your knowledge within your chosen field, or accept different opportunities that allow for a greater perspective across that industry in general, I think it’s so important to continually challenge yourself, to learn new things, and to share those learnings with your customers to help drive their success.

 

On Priorities

Be sure to invest in what is working.  We have a tendency to invest time and resources to “fix” the things that aren’t working.

Think about the most challenging account you manage. Nothing is working. You can’t seem to make that client happy. You invest so much time and resources trying to figure out why things aren’t working, and the return on the spend is minimal.

Now consider your best customer. Things are working well for this customer. The client is happy. Invest more of your time in that account, in that client, and see the benefit to you and the client.

We are successful if our clients are successful.  Full stop.

 

Bonus Tidbits

What’s on your desk right now besides your computer?
Picture of my son and husband, a printer, which I never use, and a candle.

What’s your favorite dessert?
Anything chocolate

App you can’t do without?
Spotify

Place you’d most like to visit?
I travel quite a bit. Next on the list is South America and Antarctica.

Favorite artist?
Dave Matthews Band

Connect with Lori Paikin through the Forbes Councils concierge (members only), or on LinkedIn.

LOCATION

Forbes Councils
745 Atlantic Avenue
Boston, MA 02110

LOCATION

Forbes Councils
745 Atlantic Avenue
Boston, MA 02110

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