PEN Profile: Andrea Kayal
Andrea Kayal is a visionary marketing leader, with the rare gift of being able to view a business holistically and identify (and execute on!) key areas for improvement. That’s what she’s been doing as VP of Marketing at Signpost, where she’s been wholeheartedly committed to building an inbound go-to-market strategy for the last year-and-a-half. Andrea built marketing chops at Sailthru, Octagon and Lua Technologies, and she’s an active member of the Primary Expert Network, where she’s always willing to advise fellow marketers and founders on their most pressing needs.
@andreamkayal | @Signpost
Hometown: Wayne, NJ
What brought me to New York: Silicon Alley. It’s an amazing nexus of technology buzz, with tons of amazing companies in a very condensed area.
Why I love the NYC tech scene right now: I love the collaboration that exists here. So many people are interested in learning how to grow and improve, and everyone is really supportive of each other. I enjoy meeting with different people in the industry who are looking to grow their marketing presence, and I’m always willing to help in any way I can.
Favorite business meal/drinks location: 7 Grams Caffe
Last thing I Googled: “How to hang a ceiling fan.” I just bought a house, and I’m seriously lacking in handy skills. Bob Vila really knows his stuff!
Biggest challenge I’ve overcome at Signpost: Building an inbound go-to-market channel as an additional revenue driver. It’s a completely new way of growing the business, and we’re trying to beat the economics of a machine that’s been running for five years. We’ve been doing this primarily through digital marketing, and figuring out how to predictably scale an operation that has us responding to inbound requests within five minutes of receiving them. It’s a goal that poses challenges every day, and we’re constantly tweaking and optimizing to make this a consistent and scalable process. I’m extremely proud of being able to directly contribute revenue to the company.
What I’m best at: Hiring. I’ve built up a team of absolute allstars, and they’re what’s making the Signpost marketing engine run. The secret to hiring well is being ruthless in your requirements. Look for people who are functional experts, and build vertically. If candidates don’t meet your requirements, keep looking. It took me six months to hire my director of demand-gen. Especially in small organizations, one wrong hire can really have disastrous results.
Thing that drives me most crazy: Technology with black boxes. More specifically, the unpredictability of Google AdWords. Does anyone really understand how this thing works?
My first job: I worked for a sports marketing agency called Octagon, their biggest client was BMW. We were on the road driving BMWs, and setting up events. It was like Road Rules! Aside from being enormously fun, it was also my first foray into marketing. I learned how hard it is to pull off a successful marketing campaign, and how to get into the “all in” mentality to produce quality work and maintain consistency.
How I keep stress at bay: I love gardening. My weeks are nonstop crazy, so I reserve weekends for mindless activities.
How I keep my team engaged: I give them work they enjoy doing, and that they feel will add the most value to the business. I’m not a micromanager. My team has objectives they need to hit, and I check in once a week to make sure they’re on track. I don’t care if they’re in their seat for 24 hours a day or five hours a day. I just treat them like people and let them do their work.
Other than mine, NYC tech company I most admire: On the consumer side, I’m OBSESSED with Maple: It’s delicious food delivery. What more do you need to know? They’ve built an amazing brand with an amazing product. I could eat their food three meals a day, and I think I might be subconsciously ordering the meals just so I can get their cookies... On the SaaS side, I love InVision, which has an exceptional user experience.