MarTech Interview with Jeb Ory, CEO, Phone2Action

Jeb Ory, CEO, Phone2Action

“In the next year, I think we’re going to see more chatbots on social media and personalized experiences that are hyper-targeted.”

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Tell us about your role and journey into advocacy.

I am the CEO and Co-Founder of Phone2Action. We created Phone2Action to empower people to engage on issues they cared about. Over the years, we have powered more than 40,000 campaigns, 11M people have engaged with our software, sending more than 37 million messages to lawmakers.

I spend my time meeting with customers, prospective customers, and thinking about how our company needs to evolve to stay competitive.

Tell us about the evolving state of the Social Media landscape.

Social media has eclipsed traditional media outlets in some ways, becoming the primary medium for communicating with others and getting information (like the news). In the next year, I think we’re going to see more chatbots on social media and personalized experiences that are hyper-targeted.

Why is social media becoming a key to advocacy and for being heard?

Social media is democratic by its nature — it gives anyone with a smartphone a platform to share their thoughts with the world. It also allows individuals to connect with others who share their viewpoints, as easily as it takes for a hashtag to start trending. Social media naturally lends itself toward building a grassroots advocacy movement because it amplifies the voice of many when they are joined under the same message at the same time.

How does Social Pulse exactly work?

Social Pulse is a social media broadcasting and monitoring suite built into Phone2Action. It can be used to share content on Twitter and Facebook — tracking engagement and conversions — and it also tracks all messages sent via Phone2Action’s Twitter applications in one place — so our clients can find them and engage with them from one place.

What is Grassroots advocacy? How can it best be leveraged?

Grassroots advocacy is simply popular engagement on an issue or cause. It catalyzes movements, takes down dictators, and swings votes. It can be best leveraged when technology tools amplify an existing movement.

Tell us about a recent example of live engagement.

Every month, our clients will use our live event engagement technology at dozens of events. One recent highlight was the online storage and collaboration company Box, which used our event technology at their annual conference. More than 1,000 attendees engaged, donating more than $30,000 in just a few minutes.

How much have the Marketing Operations changed since the arrival of Automation and BI/Analytics tools? How do you leverage these tools at Phone2Action?

We have a strong integration between Salesforce and our outbound Marketing Automation tools (Marketo, SalesLoft). We also use Phone2Action whenever possible to share content with our clients via text message, for example.

Which Marketing and Sales Automation tools and technologies does Phone2Action use at the moment?

Marketo, Salesforce, SalesLoft, and Phone2Action.

What startups in the technology industry are you watching keenly right now?

I am fascinated with startups disrupting retail. Later stage companies such as Warby Parker and Casper, and earlier stage companies such as Byte, in the Direct-to-Customer in the office space, and companies that will make a massive impact on our daily lives.

How do you prepare for an AI-centric world as a business leader?

Be smart. Look for opportunities to introduce and integrate AI into my technology, and while understanding that any answers I give online will be scrutinized and optimized to improve experiences for me in the future.

How do you inspire your people to work with technology?

At Phone2Action, we deal with sensitive issues every day, issues that by their very nature evoke strong feelings. Our platform helps make our democracy stronger by giving people the opportunity to share their feelings on issues of great importance.

One word that best describes how you work.


What apps/software/tools can’t you live without?

Google News, Lyft, Google Docs, my iPhone, Salesforce, and Phone2Action.

What are you currently reading?

“New Power” by Jeremy Heimans and Henry Timms.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?

  • “As a technology startup, from the day you start until your last breath, you will be in a furious race against time. No technology startup has a long shelf life. Even the best ideas become terrible ideas after a certain age.” — Ben Horowitz
  • “There is always a move. Play long enough and you might get lucky. In the technology game, tomorrow looks nothing like today. If you survive long enough to see tomorrow, it may bring you the answer that seems so impossible today.” ― Ben Horowitz, The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers Because in the end, nobody cares; just run your company.

Tag the one person in the industry whose answers to these questions you would love to read.

Megan Mokri

Thank you, Jeb! That was fun and hope to see you back on MarTech Series soon.

Jeb Ory is CEO and co-founder of Phone2Action. Prior to his career as an entrepreneur, Ory ran the Retail Solutions Group at DCI Marketing, a subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway, where he led the organization’s growth into the software-as-a-service field, addressing a multi-billion dollar market within Fortune 200 Retailers. Ory and his businesses have been featured in the New York Times, The Washington Post, the Chicago Tribune, Politico, Inc, The San Francisco Chronicle, and Forbes. He is a thought-leader in the emerging civic technology field, where he blends best practices in consumer marketing with digital advocacy. Outside of work, he serves on the selection board for Stanford University’s Social Impact Grants, funding the next wave of social entrepreneurs. Jeb’s work has spanned three countries, including Singapore and Shanghai.

Ory, who has a B.A. in International Relations from Stanford University and an MBA from Chicago Booth lives in Washington, DC.

Phone2Action is a comprehensive digital advocacy and communications platform for public affairs and grassroots advocacy.

[mnky_heading title=”MarTech Interview Series” link=”|||”]

The MTS Martech Interview Series is a fun Q&A style chat which we really enjoy doing with martech leaders. With inspiration from Lifehacker’s How I work interviews, the MarTech Series Interviews follows a two part format On Marketing Technology, and This Is How I Work. The format was chosen because when we decided to start an interview series with the biggest and brightest minds in martech – we wanted to get insight into two areas … one – their ideas on marketing tech and two – insights into the philosophy and methods that make these leaders tick.