We caught up with Gershik to ask about his typical day, his favourite ecommerce experiences and what it takes to work in the industry.
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Please describe your job: What do you do?
Steve Gershik: I lead a brilliant team of international marketers for inRiver. We’re responsible for demand generation, product marketing, content and communications and branding for our product information management (PIM) product that helps ecommerce marketers and merchandisers sell more products at a lower cost.
Whereabouts do you sit within the organisation? Who do you report to?
Steve Gershik: I’m part of the go-to-market team which includes our chief revenue officer Jimmy Jeppson and our vice president of services, Maria Bolmstedt. I report to a talented marketer in his own right, Thor Johnson, who is inRiver’s CEO.
What kind of skills do you need to be effective in your role?
Steve Gershik: In order to be effective, I need to balance a mix of a number of skills: finding and developing great marketing talent, analysing market and marketing performance data, drive revenue growth, and staying close to our customers and prospects.
Tell us about a typical working day…
Steve Gershik: We have an internationally distributed team so I’m often on the road. When I’m home, I start work at 5 a.m. to be able to collaborate with our European team during the afternoon of their day, switching to our US team as they come online.
A typical day may be working on product positioning, sales enablement and analyst relations, combined with thinking about better ways to make our customers successful at marketing and selling their products online. One of the ways we help our customers do that is by helping them stay current on trends in their market that can affect their business. I end every day thinking about how we can generate more demand for our products and services around the world.
What do you love about your job? What sucks?
Steve Gershik: I love the challenge of keeping up with the rapid pace of change of marketing in general and the unique needs of ecommerce marketers in particular. I work with an incredibly talented team across the world.
What sucks is not having all of us together in the same room at at the same time that frequently because we are more creative, energetic and fun when we are together as one.
What kind of goals do you have? What are the most useful metrics and KPIs for measuring success?
Steve Gershik: My goal is to help our customers be wildly successful and help create a community of experts that help them learn from each other. I measure success by traditional marketing metrics such as inbound interest, marketing qualified leads (MQLs), sales qualified leads (SQLs), opportunities and closed revenue. We also measure account expansion and retention very closely as we are a SaaS company and retaining customers is keenly important.
What are your favourite tools to help you to get the job done?
Steve Gershik: The backbone of our marketing technology stack – Salesforce.com, Pardot and WordPress – helps us create a stable infrastructure from which we can track and measure performance. We use Slack as a marketing team, which helps mitigate the effects of time and distance of our team members. We spend a lot of time on Zoom, which lets us meet virtually.
How did you end up at inRiver, and where might you go from here?
Steve Gershik: I love being part of growth-stage, category defining companies. inRiver is the original PIM-focused company, founded over a dozen years ago, spawning a highly competitive industry focused on delivering innovative tools to e-commerce product marketers and merchandisers. We have a bold mission to make our customers the very best in the world at marketing and selling their products, so that should take some time to turn into reality.
Which ecommerce experiences have impressed you?
Steve Gershik: I became a customer of Amazon 21 years ago (my first purchase was a book entitled “Teach Yourself Oracle 6 in 21 Days” – I’m still working on finishing it). They set a new standard for speed and convenience. I’m a big fan of modern brands like Allbirds and Dollar Shave Club. In Europe, I love H&M, both online and offline. I just ordered my first pair of bespoke dress shoes from Undandy – they had a great product experience on their web site and I’m waiting to see if the shoes are as great as I think they’ll be.
What advice would you give somebody who wants to work in ecommerce?
Steve Gershik: Don’t get into this industry if you want a static, slow moving industry. My dad was in merchandising for his entire career and I’ve witnessed more change in the past 10 years in the ecommerce world than he did in 45 years in the retail space. Make sure you have a balance of creative thinking and quantitative skills. And make sure when you pick a place to work, they give you the right tools to get the job done!