Joining us today is Cambria Jacobs, Chief Marketing Officer of EGYM, a global fitness technology leader that uses smart gym equipment to support their members’ fitness journey by providing data-based guidance for motivation and measurable results. Have you wanted to live a healthier lifestyle but felt immediately intimidated by what to do when entering a gym? Maybe you’ve walked over to a big hunk of gym equipment and thought to yourself, “How do I adjust the speed?” or “Where does this pin go?” If you’ve ever felt this way, EGYM was created to strengthen people just like you.
Not only is Cambria is a rockstar at EGYM, she’s also had nothing short of a remarkable career path to get here. From the start of her career as a marketing assistant after college, Cambria has used her “scrappy” talents to take the companies she works for to amazing new heights. She stresses the importance of feeling that “Friday night lights” energy to fire up the passion she needs to get work done. Cambria reminds us that it’s not your performance that matters, its how you showed up, how hard you worked, and the lessons you learned along the way. With that said, what will you do with what you’ve learned today?
In this episode, you’ll learn…
- EGYM’s gamified equipment has lead them to become a global powerhouse at the intersection of exercise and health
- How Cambria’s childhood love of Connie Chung and Jane Pauley taught her about taking complex stories and packaging them in a digestible and meaningful way
- One of the biggest challenges for companies is how to communicate effectively to each other and their audiences
- Cambria reminisces on her youth in Newport Beach and how her development plan for the area at 15-years-old helped her realize her gift for communication
- When data is prevalent, look at trends and trust the experts. When the line is blurred, trust your gut
- Why video conferencing was exclusive to Fortune 500 companies in the age of suitcase cellphones
- Your first job, major in college, or your performance in either doesn’t really matter. It matters how you show up and where you decide to take what you absorb.
- The importance of being brave and taking the leap for your passions, even when you’re diving into a whole new world
- When in doubt, return to the customer
- When dealing with a scary situation, focus on where everyone can align to foster community and build strength
- Push hard, but don’t forget to pause and be proud as you climb each summit
[17:52] “Yes, we all communicate, but very few of us do it well, and so that really became my path of being so intrigued by the words and the styles and the channels that different leaders around the world had selected throughout periods of time.”
[21:13] “You don’t need to be so afraid to make sure you’re always choosing the (right) words. Sometimes getting out of your own way and…really speaking from the gut and trusting what you’ve learned, sometimes that’ll take you way farther.”
[29:36] “It doesn’t matter how you perform…but it’s all of the lessons along the way: that you showed up, that you worked hard, the friends that you made, the families that you’re having dinner with at the dinner table, how you’re talking about who you are, and what you’re seeing in the world is so impressionable.”
[42:50] “When I wake up in the morning, I want to be fired up. I want to be excited to do better for our customers, for my teammates. I want to know what’s next, I want to feel…that ‘Friday night light’ energy and when I don’t have it for me personally, I can’t be a great leader.”
[57:26] “There’s nothing I love more than taking all of the amazing insights and turning that into something fresh and letting (the employees) that have put their blood, sweat, and tears into something…really walk away and be incredibly proud.”
Cambria Jacobs 0:02
I was looking to how could I perhaps marry what I was becoming more, you know, I was a mother at this time I had been married and divorced and ready to really take that, you know, maturity and try to be bold and brave and break out of what I had always known, do something different. And that was when I really was looking into how can I get into health, wellness, more lifestyle, both business to business and business to consumer marketing because to me, I had much more personal passion in that field. But I was also I didn’t, that’s not where my connections were. That wasn’t where my network was. And so that was a bit of a brave, bold and scary time, but I decided to pursue it.
Marc Gutman 0:51
podcasting, Colorado, this is the baby got backstory podcast, we dive into the story behind the story of today’s money. Inspiring storytellers, creators and entrepreneurs. I like big back stories and I cannot lie. I am your host, Marc Gutman, Marc Gutman, and on today’s episode of Baby got backstory. How scrappy young girl from Orange County with dreams of being in the next Connie Chung found her way West and became a global Chief Marketing Officer for a leading fitness technology company. Hey, now here’s my regular ask. If you like and enjoy the show, please take a minute or two to rate and review us over at iTunes. Assuming you like the show. iTunes uses these as part of the algorithm that determines ratings on the apple charts. And ratings help us to build an audience which then helps us to continue to produce the show.
Alright, with that out of the way on today’s episode, we are talking to Cambria Jacobs, the global Chief Marketing Officer of EGYM This episode is a special one for me. I first met Cambria 20 years ago while we are working at a technology startup in Boulder, Colorado called rain dance, the hot tech of the time, audio and web conferencing. Go figure. anyone listening using that technology today? Well, when I met Cambria, this was New Tech. It was hot. And I can tell you, it didn’t always work. But the very first moment I met Cambria, I knew she had it. I didn’t know what it was then. And I really didn’t even know what professional marketers and a company did back then. But I knew she was smart, and she was pivotal and helping to shape the overall company’s strategy. And Cambria has had a remarkable career and marketing and she’s nowhere close to winding it down.
But today she’s the global Chief Marketing Officer of EGYM, which is a global fitness technology leader that provides fitness and health facilities with intelligent workout solutions. Built on connected gym equipment and software, EGYM empowers gym operators to deliver a comprehensive experience through its smart gym equipment and digital solutions to support their members fitness journey and provide data based guidance to help them stay motivated and achieve their goal of a healthier life. with improved physical and mental wellness, Cambria will give us some examples of what that is specifically in this episode, so you can get a sense of what EGYM does. Together with her team. They’ve reinvented the EGYM brand to represent what the fitness technology company has evolved into, a global player at the intersection of exercise and health. Cambria is so smart and I could talk to her for hours. After the interview we talked about doing a follow up interview diving deep on marketing and branding specific topics. So keep a lookout for that one. But in the meantime, put on your listening ears because Cambria Jacobs is sharing 20 years of marketing experience In this is her story
Cambria thanks thanks for joining us. We have a long history together, which I hope to discuss in this episode. But before we get to that, why don’t you go ahead and tell us your position and the company you work with and what you guys do. What is EGYM?
Cambria Jacobs 4:25
Awesome, thanks Marc. So my name is Cambria Jacobs, I’m the global Chief Marketing Officer at EGYM, EGYM I’m actually was founded right around 10 years ago. And our mission was to make the gym work for everyone, which I think right now in terms of the global pandemic is something that we all could feel safe and ready to work out into place that actually delivers that, but we really have grown from a from a small team into a multinational company. We’ve launched several generations of smart strength Equipment lines that really have expanded over time. And when you look at a gym, we’re a global fitness technology leader. We provide fitness and health facilities with really smart and intelligent workout systems across the globe. It’s designed really not about just showing up to the gym and getting your workout in, but how we can actually deliver results measurable results to the person who is working out as well as to the gym owner who’s making an investment in both their hardware, their software and their total system.
Marc Gutman 5:32
So command example like like where my I actually come into contact with with your technology.
Cambria Jacobs 5:38
Absolutely. So in North America in particular, the YMCA is we’re actually some of our early our early customers and it’s perfect, especially when you look at the mission of making the gym work for everyone and then aligning that with the YMCA mission where it truly is that that perfect mix of of America. Where everyone is welcome. The alignment was pretty clear. And what was really great to see with the YMCA is, is that they were looking for a solution that if you can imagine when you go into a gym, maybe you’re just coming back after having your second child. Maybe you’re older and you’re recovering from a stroke. And at the YMCA is that’s a place that you feel pretty safe. But when you walk over to do actual strength training, looking at that whole wall and trying to remember how do I adjust that speed, how much weight can I really lift? Where did I put that pin? A lot of times people like that, which we refer to as the health seekers.
So really the 80% of us here in North America, that’s super intimidating. And so the YMCA is in particular have been a great place where they looked at that and saw our equipment where you actually get on a machine, you take your RFID and it knows who you are, and it’ll actually do a strength test for you and it’s all like that. Played Pac Man, essentially, it’s all gamified. And so I’m chasing some, you know, dots on a screen while I’m pushing what I can and pulling what I can. And then it remembers it, it remembers where my seat was, was positioned, it remembers how how hard I was able to push, and then every six weeks, it will allow me to do another strength test. So essentially, when I come back, all I have to do is again, swipe my RFID. It knows exactly where I was last time I sit on and I get going. And I can go ahead and get my strength training workout accomplished in 30 minutes or less. And I instantly have all of my data about how effective I was, how much better I was, perhaps than last time how I’m progressing.
I can see all of that data in real time on all of my digital devices, if you know what if I’ve downloaded the app, all of it is integrated. So that part is just really exciting for where you can see that at least in North America, and that’s in the YMCA or the nonprofit sector. But additionally, we also are in Gold’s Gym in Southern California. We also are have boutique concepts. So those concepts that are a little bit different in, in Florida. So we’ve got folks in all different regions, but the YMCA would be the most prevalent here in North America.
Marc Gutman 8:19
And that’s incredible. I feel like you just described me I didn’t realize I was a health seeker but like one of my biggest one of my biggest like, issues with going to the gym or even like, like when you’re like in a cycling class or whatever is truly like, where where I was I set last time, like, how do I set this up, like, I always feel like and then I’m intimidated because I feel like a idiot in the gym. Like, I don’t know how to do anything and, and I don’t want to be you know, seen as that person that doesn’t know how to work the machine that I’m on. And so I just, I feel like that’s so amazing in a in a service and a technology in a solution that that everyone truly needs. So I’m really looking forward to, to seeing that deployed a little bit more widely into some of the other things I’m a lifetime fitness person. So if you can make that happen, that’d be cool.
Cambria Jacobs 9:03
Absolutely we are, we’re all there lifetime fitness, that would be just such an amazing opportunity to expand that net to help. Like we said, health seekers like us that again, we’re not alone. 80% of us here in North America would fall into that bucket. And we’re not going after the experts because we have the peloton and someone that really expert in equipment that is dialed in, and they know how to use it. So they don’t need necessarily as much guidance. So let’s not try to attack that market where they’re feeling like their needs are already being met. How about the rest of us that are trying to just get healthier and, and be fit for the life we want to live.
Marc Gutman 9:38
And so global cmo sounds really, really awesome. And in my world, that’s about as high as you go in the marketing realm. So you’ve done quite well, but like I have to ask, you know, when you were eight years old, was Cambria, a little Cambria? Was she dreaming of becoming a marketer? Like what was your childhood like and and would you want to be one When you’re little,
Cambria Jacobs 10:01
Ah, what a fun question. I would say when I was little I. So growing up in the, you know, born in the early 70s. And so being a small child in the late 70s and 80s, I would say Connie Chung and Jane Polly seemed to be a couple of my childhood heroes as strange as that sounds. So I actually always wanted to be on the Today Show or Good Morning America as a morning newscaster. And I wanted to be that since I was like six or seven years old. So no, I mean, I guess in a way communication was always something that I was drawn to I loved, complex stories that that that seemed way too complicated for the everyday person to really understand and then to see them show up, package it in a way that was digestible for I guess the rest of us always just seemed like something that was was fun and cool, and really helpful and meaningful, at least for our family. And it was also at time that I remember of just being together in the early mornings before the rest of the day ensued.
Marc Gutman 11:05
That’s weird. I mean, I’m, I’m a child of that era too. And you know, all my stories of bonding are over movies and things like that. I think this is part of the generation but you were growing up, I believe in Southern California. Is that right?
Cambria Jacobs 11:18
Yes, I was born and raised in Newport Beach, California before I headed to college at the University of Colorado Boulder. And where I have remained ever since.
Marc Gutman 11:30
Yeah, and what were your interests as you got a little older, maybe not even quite to college, but as you were in California, I mean, it was a pretty typical it was it this like kind of, you know, warm, sunset II kind of existence where you’re hanging out at the beach and it’s a little bit like Saved by the Bell or like, what was it like then?
Cambria Jacobs 11:48
Yeah, I would say that Orange County at that time you port beach in particular was definitely I wouldn’t call it a sleepy beach town because I think it had progressed from that by the time you know, the 80s and 90s. But but certainly much, much rougher around the edges than perhaps it has now where it certainly seems to be much more perfectly polished I would say. And I feel really lucky. I can’t speak for the other classes that they grew up in that time. But we had a really strong group of parents and I went to Corona Del Mar High School, we had great teachers and leaders, and we were very close.
My class was just a few hundred people. And so, yes, being down on the beach, tower five big Corona was the hangout and we had fun and didn’t ever take it too far. For the most part, again, depends on the group you were in, but it was a it was a good it was it was definitely not 90210 and we felt supported connected. It was about Friday Night Lights, just like all cities and towns. But yeah, we had the opportunity in the amazing luxury of then ending that day, or starting that day at the beach. driving down the street to see a sunset. Catalina in the background. But yeah, I mean, I would say it was pretty similar to a lot of towns a lot of growing up just, you know, with also a lot more privilege and opportunity. So feel felt very, very fortunate.
Marc Gutman 13:15
We’re interested at that time, both academically and non academic.
Cambria Jacobs 13:20
You know, I think for me, I mean, honestly, I was definitely that kid that, you know, socializing was was certainly a priority of mine. I didn’t necessarily put a lot of thought into what was going to be next. But I always knew that obviously, I would go to college, I wanted to go out of state, I wanted to really push beyond Orange County and see what was was out there and my parents really pushed me to not take the University of Southern California path and to get out and meet people that grew up in other places. And so for me, I really appreciated and loved and felt so lucky to grow up where I did, and it’s still remains one of my, my top places to go home as I still call it. But what I always knew is that I did want to travel, I did want to expand and I wanted to do something different, bigger and better. But what that looked like, especially in high school, I had absolutely no idea.
Marc Gutman 14:17
And I think that that’s typical, right? Like, I think most of us don’t don’t necessarily know what we want to do after and I think that’s a big part of, of being that age and figuring it out and exploring but so you decided to go to University of Colorado at Boulder, and like why they’re like, of all the places. Why? Why be above?
Cambria Jacobs 14:37
Yeah, exactly. Well, I think, you know, I would love to say that I searched it out. I did all the research, I really had grown in terms of my vision of knowing what was next for me and therefore very methodically made that decision. But truth be told, it definitely was, you know, in that time the era of Southern California’s Southern Californians invading Boulder, Colorado and I came out with a handful of kids from Corona Del Mar. My older brother also went to the University of Colorado was a Sigma Chi and was a gorgeous place.
So that certainly had a heavy weighting on that decision. And then of course, once I started the application process and interviewing, I really became I started to create my own vision of why Boulder, Colorado and that came from kids that I met that were from back east and from the Midwest. It came from seeing these mountains that were so crystal clear and so detailed that they almost didn’t even seem real to me, and then having the opportunity to start working in Boulder, Colorado through college, waitressing at one of the most famous dive restaurants in town Juanita has really expanded my colorful social network. It really started to defeat into what I was looking for which was just a little bit more of not the same of more experiences more backgrounds that I didn’t have even though boulder colorado I would not say is still the the mecca of diversity.
Marc Gutman 16:16
Not not quiet. It wasn’t. It’s not now but we’re working on it. So when you were in college, like what were your interests besides the social aspect? It sounds like you had that nail but were you studying marketing? Did you start to map out a vision for your, your, your life in your career after college?
Cambria Jacobs 16:36
I had a couple of really great professors at the University of Colorado, and the classes I was still taking were still pretty broad and yes, marketing, you know, as I as I entered and communication always still remained as not only something that I was drawn to but something that had been, you know, really communicated back to me that it seemed to come naturally to me and that perhaps up Something that you should lean into more. So I started to really double down in that area. And I did so in a way that I started looking really about better understanding rhetoric, the power of it.
And and then as I was able to secure an internship with a new and emerging tech startup here in Boulder, right around my junior year, I realized that much of what I had been taking for granted that you know, in terms of communication, in terms of how people are, are marketing in the different strategies, something that seemed a lot like common sense to me was actually something that this company in particular, and then I would learn many, if not all companies, it’s one of their biggest challenges is how do we communicate as a company with each other?
And how do we communicate with our customers or shareholders all of those key stakeholders and, and while Yes, we all communicate, but very few and few of us do it well, and so that really became my my path of being so intrigued by the words and the styles and the channels that different leaders around the world had selected throughout periods of time. And then the impact that has had on so many milestones again across our world, and that really began to draw me in. And then having my first internship in the marketing team really gave me a better understanding of how that then could be applied and use to actually tie it back into measurable results beyond just what what felt like it helped alleviate some challenges or friction actually resulted in company company and customer benefits. And that was a connection that had I not had that internship. I don’t know if I would have been able to make that connection at that time.
Marc Gutman 18:47
Yeah, it’s such a powerful connection. I mean, it’s one I still struggle with today. I mean, like, I get caught up in the things that that make me in the client feel good and sometimes forget about those measurement. results and actually having the business outcome. And I think a lot of people in this space struggle with that at times, especially when you slant a little bit more towards the creative. But when you were, you know, you mentioned this, this idea that you were there was reflected back upon you that, you know, you have this gift for communication. Do you remember any moment in particular, any professor or anyone that really connected with you on that and what they told you,
Cambria Jacobs 19:27
you know, I look back, actually, it would be even earlier than that, I look back at a project that we had to do in high school. And that sort of that triggered me into really thinking more about it, and it was at a time in Southern California. Irvine Company is one of the largest development firms it was at the time, Donald Bren, which is funny that you know, a child of 14 or 15, 15 would remember a developer you know, a company however, that was one of the main industries I would say in in Orange County, and looking at growth and the growth plans in Southern California at that time and our beaches and the open space. And we had a project to be able to say, you know, if you could partner with anyone, and be able to do a presentation, who would it be?
And what would it look like? And I took the opportunity to really do a, a slow growth development plan that would still appeal to to one of the biggest developers in Southern California and present it in a way that would be compelling for him to invest, even though the short term revenue would be less than desirable. And as I gave that presentation to a mix panel, the amount of engagement and accolades, so definitely a celebration of a talent, and then actually some creative thinking that came out of that. You know, some well esteemed professionals was really sort of that that juice that I needed to be able to continue pursuing that. And then fast forward, you know, maybe six years later in the internship presentation where I was really pushed that you don’t need to be so afraid to make sure you’re always choosing the wrong words, sometimes getting out of your own way. And just, you know, really speaking from the gut, and trusting what you’ve learned, sometimes that’ll take you way farther.
And that opportunity that I finally did that it was less prescriptive was the opportunity that I really got the best grade in that class and that confidence boost to to stop really always questioning everything you’re going to do and start trusting your gut as you’re building up your experience continued to be something that that I followed into my my early career,
Marc Gutman 21:48
and Is that how you continue to make decisions today are you typically a gut based decision maker,
Cambria Jacobs 21:53
you know, I would say in the in the early days, you know, having not a lot of experience less, less So and then I’m smart enough to know also that as data becomes much more prevalent, much more aware, really looking at trends, things of that nature. But I think that comes with with just experience and visibility into those data into that did those data sets so less about less about gut unless it’s a decision breaker, more about trusting the experts that are around you doing a lot of listening looking at trends, I think that is definitely much more a part of my decision making now and then gut when, when it’s not super clear, the the line is, is a little bit blurred. You go back on to what do you know and and also surrounding yourself with fantastic people that ideally have more expertise in areas that you do not.
Marc Gutman 22:50
Yeah, and I know that you have a daughter who is finishing high school and getting into college and so it’s such a kind of an exciting time and a parallel I’m thinking about you and in your college career and so when she or not when she when you left college when you left Boulder, did you know what you were going to do? Did you have a job lined up? Are you like, Hey, I’m ready to go or what did that look like for you?
Cambria Jacobs 23:16
So I always look back in that time and just feel so incredibly fortunate. I had the opportunity to connect with four amazing ex Air Force men who had created the startup link VTC, which at the time, which is in the mid 90s, was a very innovative video conferencing company and work really focused on fortune 500. So, Pfizer, Wells Fargo of the world, we’re really our biggest accounts and everyone at the company was definitely 30 or younger and was that that early tech startup vibe in Boulder and I was lucky enough through university of colorado to land a marketing internship within that company and as I graduated, I was able to interview and was offered a marketing assistant role at that company so I was able to do the the six week American backpack through Europe trip and then come back to a job working with really some of the best teammates I’ve ever had and continue actually being some of my very dear friends and and leaders that inspired me and continue to be some of the best leaders I’ve I’ve ever worked with.
Marc Gutman 24:33
It’s like the American College dream You know, like you go to college and get a job it’s not so common anymore.
Cambria Jacobs 24:40
I it was it was one of those things that but I knew at the time I definitely did not take that for granted. I knew at the time how very fortunate I was the way things played out.
Marc Gutman 24:51
Yeah, so take us back a little bit because you know, this interviews being recorded on zoom, you and I we came to our computers. We had very little issue. We just hit more button we’re talking to each other seeing each other our lips are synced. It was such an easy experience today and especially in the middle of this pandemic, I mean people are living on video and and it just all seems to work but what was it like back then like like, you know, why was it just for Fortune 500 companies
Cambria Jacobs 25:16
oh my gosh well back then I feel like a very old person right now back then kids It was a try to get an ISDN line installed to your your office let alone your home. So you had enough bandwidth to actually be able to have the you know, have video and audio and then they also had these incredibly complex and expensive systems that actually would have enough resolution to be able to actually capture a video that was worth anything, let alone the quality of these you know, fortune 500 companies. And then of course it would not be as simple as just clicking a button you know between the early network challenges the you know, hardware challenges software. challenges, etc.
I mean, it was it was an entirely different world back then. And like anything we can think of the cell phones back in the 80s, where people had to carry around a giant suitcase, I would say it’s probably similar to that experience and which now of course, it’s it’s a device that everyone has everyone uses, much like, how this pandemic has now, you know, allowed us to have zoom calls and hangouts with our grandparents. So really similar technology path of part of the early adopter phase where it was, you know, you need to invest hundreds of thousands of dollars in that equipment and then thousands and thousands every month for the support and then businesses like Lync BTC competex of the world that were outside of, you know, British Telecom that were also popping up so the very early telecom startups that were coming up in the in the 90s.
Marc Gutman 26:53
Yeah, and why was it x Air Force like what What was that all about? The leaders Yeah.
Cambria Jacobs 27:00
Yeah, I mean great question. I don’t know the actual drive as to why they landed in technology. But I do know that these were were four different gentlemen that all had really different areas of expertise but what they shared was exceptional leadership, very charismatic, incredibly intelligent and technology and communication was just a natural fit for them. And it actually they started in California before they decided to move to Colorado and together they had the ability to do a lot of you know building databases themselves with Paul Brabarian and an early now CEO of Spiro right of the Gemla Jeals of the world who have taken you know, companies public sense of, you know, being able to raise funds and help an early company be really financially responsible a Joel Daly who could train the most technical skills to fresh college graduates, while also inspiring them to, to really show up and give more than they ever thought possible and then followed by Art Zaly who was the epitome of a sales and marketing leader that that made his team feels that they could accomplish the world and rewarded them every step of the way. And almost like you know, your your favorite father where you wanted to make sure that that he was proud of you as the customer was so together, they just had a really special mix of talent, leadership and incredible intelligence.
Marc Gutman 28:37
Yeah, for those listening, if you go ahead and Google those names, you will see where they’ve all gone and they’ve gone on to amazing great things. It’s a bit like having the all star team or the Beatles at the beginning of your career and then you know where they went after. So it’s, it’s pretty cool that you were able to to start your career and really get your foundational worldview in business and skills from those from the Leaders I mean, I know and you know, the things that are really still with me today are from my, my first jobs and from what I’ve learned from my, my first mentors and bosses. And so it’s interesting how those, you know, sometimes people say your first job doesn’t matter and a lot of ways it doesn’t except for the fact that you’re gonna, you’re really impressionable, and you’re really learning and it really sets you know how you’re going to view and see the world going forward. So so for
Cambria Jacobs 29:26
childhood, right, I mean, it’s, you know, doesn’t really matter what you chose, you know, you were choosing to take in high school, the friends you made the sport she played, no, it doesn’t matter how you perform in that, but it’s all of the lessons along the way that you showed up that you worked hard, the friends that you need, the families that you’re having dinner with at the dinner table, how you’re talking about who you are, and what you’re seeing in the world is so impressionable. And that same thing happens I think, as you enter into college and whatever that experiences regardless of how you perform or what your major is, and that same in that first job.
About how you choose to show up and then what you’re observing around you and where you decide to take that. Whether you’re starting as you know, the you know, and you know, the very entry level or you’re getting a mid level position. It’s what do you do from that point? That I think is is the opportunity that you can make of yourself and how you want to be perceived by those that can really take you to whatever is next.
Marc Gutman 30:23
Yeah, for sure. Absolutely. I couldn’t agree more. This episode brought to you by wild story. Oh, wait, isn’t that your company? It is. And without the generous support of wild story, this show would not be possible. A brand isn’t a logo or a tagline or even your product. A brand is a person’s gut feeling about a product service or company. It’s what people say about you when you’re not in the room. Wild story helps progressive founders and savvy marketers build purpose.
And brands that connect their business goals with the customers they want to serve. So that both the business and the customer needs are met. This results in crazy, happy, loyal customers that purchase again and again. And this is great for business. If that sounds like something you and your team might want to learn more about, reach out @ www.wildstory.com. And we’d be happy to tell you more. Now back to our show.
So you’re at link VTC and what happens with that company and where do you go next?
Cambria Jacobs 31:36
So in my, you know, fond memories, I felt like I was there for you know, five years when in fact it was it was more like a couple of years. But I think we all know in startup time that that felt and really the experience was probably five plus. And you know, I was able in that that young marketing assistant position to you know, receive a promotion, start to experience In an acquisition, acquiring companies able to experience what a rebrand looked like, and not just experience it, but be part of the team that led it with, with leaders that were much more experienced than I was at that time. And being young and ambitious, you know, thinking I knew more than I absolutely did at that time, was was getting antsy for what was next. And those founders, you know, you when you’re part of a startup like that, it definitely feels like family and they to through these acquisitions, and, you know, we’re starting to move on to what, what was next for them? And I remember at that time, as you know, early on, when I heard that I couldn’t even imagine why would they break up the band? It was like your parents saying, you know, they were leaving.
And it was it was really, I remember it being really hard for the company. I mean, there definitely were tears involved. And when I look back on that to create a culture at work, that people felt that personally aligned and involved in wanting to, to deliver so much excellent that they personally just you know, devastated when there was that time to move forward was was pretty impressive. And then also it led me really separate and look back and understand that there is a lifecycle and a value. And now it’s time to take what you’ve learned and try to replicate the the best of the best into whatever was next. And luckily, one of those partners actually two of those partners split off, started a new company, along the same lines of technology and communication. But it was right around video streaming before video streaming was a thing and like broadcast.com and Vstream at the time and had invited me to take the marketing methodology philosophies, practices that we had built at link vtc. and apply them to their new startup and and so that that past started and they actually gave me the opportunity to start building my own team, even though I was about a few years out of school and and that was was what was next
Marc Gutman 34:01
And what you think about that? Were you ready to do that? I mean, I know in my career sometimes I’ve, you know, I’ve set my sights on a particular role, well above myself, and I’m like, I want that role. And I can cite examples where getting that role was really this great moment of growth. I can also say, a time where I was like, you know, what, I probably should have went, the more you know, the slower path and worked my way into that role, because I wasn’t ready, or I didn’t learn what I needed to learn. So how were you at that role when you took the reins of marketing for the first time and had to lead your own team?
Cambria Jacobs 34:37
Yeah. So I think I think a couple of things happen. Yeah, I agree with everything you just said. I will say that because the the partners that I was working for on that side of the house came from finance and tech. I think they the way they saw marketing was we need events and we need a trade show booth. And I know Cambria was really good at doing that in the early days that link so let’s have her do that. Then. So I think that they were looking at marketing at that time. As you know, we had a really limited budget, we were a scrappy startup, and she’s scrappy. And so I think based on that level of expectations, it was it was a good move for me. And then what what unfolded was, together we were able to really share what is marketing? How can it be bigger, I was allowed to surround myself with other professionals that had much more experience than I did as well as other partners and agencies that then allowed me to really learn on the job and be able to then hire a good team around that. So I would say it evolved slowly as funds became available as expertise became available.
And then from there, I mean, it wound up being, you know, a 15 year job through acquisitions going public, multiple rebrands. And so you know, working at a job 14, 15 years is sort of unheard of these days, but truly it was, it was like working for your six different companies, and product evolution and all of that. So I think the amount of on the job training in a startup, but having the opportunity to surround yourself by experts, and amazing agencies and organizations allows you to take maybe a less traditional path. But Wow, you can’t learn any more than than that. Unfortunately, you know, sometimes that can either your employer or your own detriment, because you’re not going to get it right out of the gate. And there’s a lot of trial and error.
Marc Gutman 36:31
Yeah. And so what was going on with streaming at that time that I take off? Was that an incredibly successful business?
Cambria Jacobs 36:38
Well, I would say if you if you asked our partners in the company, I think it absolutely was really successful business. I think there were some some missed opportunities on the the b2b space and you know, I think we all know the, you know, the broadcast.com story of, you know, one brand will win and I would say they came out ahead and sort of we were not the leader, but We sure put up a good fight.
And a lot of the again, early adopter technology and services that we created, we were then able to pivot into more of a continued online collaboration that was, again, less heavy lifting like was back in the video conferencing days with, you know, timely processes and heavy infrastructure and all of that. And I think we pivoted quickly at a time to allow us to really still target, you know, b2b marketplaces with virtual communication tools, but do it in a much lighter weight fashion when web conferencing like the WebEx is of the world. We’re all starting to come into play. And we were again ahead of the curve on that front also.
Marc Gutman 37:42
Yeah, and I think that’s where our stories first intertwined, I believe now we’re at the point where you’re talking about Evoke which soon came to be known as RainDance. And so we worked there that was it. That’s where we met and that’s where I first got, you know, my taste of Cambria and was just, you know, immediately impressed. And in new that you I don’t even really know what marketing was at that time, I was just kind of like, what is it? Who are these people that the smart people in the company, they’re doing all this cool stuff. And we worked there for a while. And like you said, again, like always on this like leading edge, it sounds like you’ve been like always on the tip of the spear always kind of first in and that’s super exciting. And I remember working there and now even looking back at where like all the people we worked with are today.
It’s just like this crazy, you know, network alumni of people who have gone on to start companies and do all these amazing things. So it was just this amazing time that I know for myself. I didn’t really appreciate at the time. You know, I was I was also scrappy, as you say and trying to do different things and trying to push on my career. And so working at that company having that opportunity. That’s where we met but then that comes to an end for all of us to you know, at time there was an acquisition InterCall owned by West Corp. bought that company. And you know the kind of I used to tell my friends like when I first started working at RainDance that if Homer Simpson got a job at a startup that’s what it would look like. Because it Paul Burbarian and on his like Razor scooter rushing around and there’s all this food and everyone’s just young and fun and crazy. And but it was interesting. It wasn’t total excess and waste or anything like that it was just this like it had a definite character to it and a definite profile. And then we were purchased by West and interCall. And that changed a little bit they they had a different different model a different culture. And so after that, and after working for West for a while, where’d you go after that?
Cambria Jacobs 39:39
Yeah, I mean, I think that gave me I think you summed that up perfectly. And I and I think going and starting at, at startups with that, that vibe, that culture and then getting the experience to then work for the big guys for West corporation with you know, thousands and thousands of employees all over the world. Getting that taste of what global marketing looked like how having teammates and teams now in other other continents, understanding really how those messages that we were coming up with were resonating with different types of customers. That all was really exciting and it helped me really grow and formalize my career on that stand front. Also working for a really seasoned chief marketing officer that had come from Motorola, Kathleen Senado. And really learning more business acumen understanding more about becoming a data driven marketer. That was a really good side to round out more of the branding and communication side that I had, had acquired.
But I also knew and was showing up not as, as someone that was, was passionate about building that brand, because the brand that we had evolved into, wasn’t necessarily something that that I was passionate about, nor was I becoming too great at. And it was really hard for me to take that look and say I’ve been in this, you know, tech communication field and startup field for so many years now. But I don’t think it’s doing it for me anymore. But I knew that I still really loved marketing and I was passionate about marketing, but my interests as, as a person and a professional had really grown and I was looking to how could I, perhaps, Mary, what I was becoming more, you know, I was I was a mother at this time I had been married and divorced and ready to really take the that, you know, maturity and, and try to be bold and brave and break out of what I had always known and do something different. And that was when I really was looking into how can I get into health, wellness, more lifestyle, both business to business and business to consumer marketing, because to me, I had much more personal passion in that field. But I was also I didn’t have that’s not where my connections were, that wasn’t where my network was. And so that was, that was a bit of a brave, bold And scary time, but I decided to pursue it.
Marc Gutman 42:03
Yeah. And so you mentioned that you had lost your passion for the brand. I mean, you’re showing up to work, but you weren’t necessarily feeling the brand. And that happens to all of us. But why is that important? Why is that? Why is that matter?
Cambria Jacobs 42:15
You know, I think it’s different for everyone. And I think it depends on the path that you’re on and what your, your career or your job is, is how you position that into how that reflects on your identity, how you show up in the world, and for some people showing up and getting a paycheck and getting back to all of the other demands that life is is putting on you. Sometimes that works.
And that’s, that’s good enough. And sometimes it’s good enough always for people. It just isn’t how I’m wired. And hitting the the cruise button is something that we all can do for a period of time. But when I wake up in the morning, I want to be fired up. I want to be excited to do better for our customers. For my teammates. I want to know what’s up Next, I want to feel, you know that Friday night light energy, and when I don’t have it for me personally, I can’t be a great leader, I can’t be good for our customers and deliver on what I was hired to do. And then that makes me not feel proud of myself. And then that means I’m not going to do my best work. And I think for any of us that have gone through those cycles in life outside of work, where within, that’s a time where, you know, if you don’t change, the same thing is gonna keep happening over and over again. And when you can’t break out of that it’s time to do something different.
Marc Gutman 43:30
For sure. And you know, if there’s one thing I know about you, or at least I think I know about you is that you’re passionate about food, you’re passionate about cooking and and creating a experience around the dinner table and using food as a way to bring family together and to really frame the moments that matter to you. And so, what I saw in your career was that you took this passion and you went out in you, as you just outlined, you went and you Found a role that really was was built all around food with a company called door to door organics and like, how did that work out? And I guess what I’m asking is, I think that a lot of people think, oh, if I only had a job built around my passion, it would be so awesome. It would be the best. Like if I just this thing that I love If I could just find a role around that thing, whether, you know, what am I into these days? You know, I’m into wake surfing, right? So like, if I found a job around wake surfing, I just be so much happier. Like, like, what’s your take on it now that you went and did it and had that experience?
Cambria Jacobs 44:37
I would say it was, it was everything and more that I was looking for, in terms of, I didn’t realize how much I needed to. For me, the comfort was, was not bringing out the best in what I had. And so making a shift in an industry whether it was what To what I was passionate about, or just a big shift, I think the same result would have happened, that it just sort of awakens all the senses. And those things that you had done really well or that made a difference in in one industry can be even more powerful in another. So from a business perspective, it was really rewarding to really take you know, the years of planning and rebrands and communication strategies and then applying that to a consumer industry or another emerging industry, but that was all around really natural and organic food that was married with technology and and I could not have ever envisioned that that path would have happened.
But again, you know, working your networks, talking to people really following and having those coffee meetings, things present themselves and I had the opportunity to be introduced to Chad Arnold, who was the chief executive officer at door-to-door Organics at that time. Start talking about those strategies that we were using at a conferencing company, our collaboration company, and how we were really enable enabled ourselves to sell into one decision maker and then engage the masses. And how could that then apply to online grocery? And how can we start to talk about building a brand that would really resonate with with smart, well educated, busy women trying to feed their families, how in the world could those those strategies and messages even be in the same ballpark? And what we found is that we are are more alike than different.
And so so to me, that was that was something that was incredibly inspiring and then being able to actually show up at at a warehouse especially in the early days of training, and being there for you know, a 5am delivery of a fresh produce from Southern California berries and artichokes and garlic and I couldn’t think of anything more inspiring to wake up to today. to essentially get the juices flowing, so it was, it was not anything I could have envisioned. But something that I just really put myself out there and I was willing like in the early days to do whatever it took just to get my toe into an industry that I felt I didn’t know that much about only to learn that the years of experience and strategies in certain areas would actually have more power and impact into an industry like online grocery that thanks to the pandemic is now of course you know, not not ahead of the curve. But definitely you know, the the mainstream adopters are already in there.
Marc Gutman 47:37
Yeah, so even with that when you were like you were on the tip of the spear again, you were like a little ahead of your time like people were having a hard time adopting and adapting to that model and it be it was just a tough model at the time given the market conditions and one can only think that you know, where you you know, was was was door to door around right now it would be crushing it right?
Cambria Jacobs 48:00
Exactly I mean, you said it perfectly and I think you are right as that with link BTC with V stream turned you know, rain dance or evoke then rain dance. All of that is just very early adopter marketing, and in setting it up for what’s next and and that same thing was true with with door to door but formalizing a strategy that really aligned to who is the early adopter, why is she that way?
And how can we find more of her became something that, you know, we were able to grow from when I joined up, you know, 8 million upwards of, you know, over 80 million and in just a few years. And so, seeing that kind of growth and traction, while it might not be the end game of you know, maybe getting acquired by Amazon or going public for an online brochure, and back in those days, that success that we celebrated and built together as a team, from our delivery drivers to our pickers Packers, to the logistics crew and the marketing team was There are a lot of celebrations, with, of course, lots of heartache along the way. But that passion and teamwork and brand that we created for our customers, as well as the employees was second to none.
Marc Gutman 49:13
Yeah, and it’s such an exciting time and a big part of your career was spent in this very like what I would what I would term Colorado centric companies like very Colorado cool tech, like door to door organics. I mean, just like very kind of wearing that Colorado badge. But now you’re at a company that’s global. And I believe it’s based in Germany, is that right?
Cambria Jacobs 49:34
Correct. Munich, Germany,
Marc Gutman 49:35
Munich, Germany. And so now completely shifting the the the the pattern that you have a new challenge for you, you’re working for this global company. I mean, like what’s hard or what’s What don’t we know about being a global cmo for a company like that?
Cambria Jacobs 49:54
So I would say so each and while we have been around for 10 years, and they’re very well known in in Germany for sure, or, you know, in the in the doc region, really I think what’s what’s so interesting and again, you know, with I think all of the topics that we’re experiencing as as a world right now is, again, we’re in a lot of areas where we’re more alike than different. But yeah, those nuances are really important to understand. And what works in one place does not necessarily replicate and others.
And so understanding and building a brand that again, was was big enough, like we make the gym work for everyone, and really identifying and nailing down what we all care about in life, which is becoming healthy and becoming Fit for Life. That’s something that whether you’re in the UK, or you’re in Boulder, Colorado or Munich, Germany, we can all rally around that concept. And to me, that’s the thing that makes all of the hard parts of the time changes the various languages the different things And nuances in the marketplace, if we can all rally on, what can we align on? And what can we agree on? That then makes it a lot less overwhelming and makes it a lot more clear to our market.
And really, it gets us out of our own way at a lot of times, and I think that’s, that’s been half the battle is, is just really aligning on what do we stand for as a company? Who are we as individual EGYMies as we refer to ourselves? And how together can we really bring the world together around finding those health seekers and making the gym work for them so they can be fit for the life that they choose to lead, and boost their immunity system and really become healthier and stronger as a world? And to me, that is what gets me out of bed every day and is the most inspiring, and I feel incredibly fortunate to be part of a movement that could not be more timely.
Marc Gutman 51:52
Yeah. And so, you know, it’s incredibly hard time for marketers during this pandemic in general, but I have to imagine And that for a company that’s working with physical gyms and gym, you know, technology equipment that goes into those locations has to be really difficult in what’s going on and I have some clients that are gym based like in the climbing climbing sector and stuff like that and it’s been tough right i mean it’s complete shutdown it’s it’s a really tough situation, how are you navigating that and what are you looking forward to in the future here.
Cambria Jacobs 52:24
So it is an incredibly difficult situation right now for for gyms across the world. And I think as for a gym, you know, we also were set to launch a brand new brand roll out our brand at some of our biggest trade shows that were set to take place in March in April. So right at the beginning of the pandemic, at our the, you know, the largest fitness event in the world phoebo and then here in the United States, Ursa and then only for both of those shows to be canceled. And then the world goes on lockdown. So how do you launch a brand during a pandemic, let alone then making sure that regardless of what Hm. And our brand was doing, that we were also then putting our customers at the forefront. And that, you know, was really, it was an interesting question for all of us. You know, once you get through the Panic of Okay, this is not happening the world as we know it is shifting and changing. So what do we need to do to make sure that we’re doing right by our companies, our shareholders, our employees, but also putting our customers first putting them at center stage, which is a core habit of ours at EGYM?
And that allowed, again, similar to where where can we align versus what are all the scary things held us really get grounded as a company and together, we worked really hard to understand what are the biggest challenges that our customers are facing right now? And what as what as they will be looking at us as maybe they’re their hardware provider, we’re not selling steel. So what can we do to really rally around them and what we narrowed in on is the things that those gym owners needed most At this time was to stay close to their members to make sure that their members felt that they were still connected to that community that they had. Even though they weren’t able to be in the four walls of the gym, they were still connected, that gym owner still cared about them, and they were able to still maintain their health through the scary time. So together, we worked on software packages, through our digital solutions that allowed those gym owners to then communicate through a mobile device to their members to build that kind of community to push out virtual workouts, to really for them to share competitions, even though they weren’t in that gym, followed by how can they then help to reopen their gym safely to understand the rules and restrictions to be able to manage their members signing up for time slot so there weren’t too many members in the gym at any one time to be able to manage there are times smartstrength circuit to be able to clean the equipment to move on to the next without being less than six feet from from someone else.
So all of those tools and applications and even a program where once before you might be building for strength or weight loss, how about boosting your immunity? What can sports and science come together to actually help you have measurable outcomes on how you actually can improve your immunity as you’re going back to the gym, being the health seeker that you are, so as a company, we really rallied around what can we do to help our customer through this time so when they’re ready to reopen, they’re better and stronger than ever before. And then prepared for you know, if and when the virus comes back and we have to shut down again so so from that time, it became all about the customer again, recommitting to the essence that we all know. It’s what they say they are not we say we are really has has served us and lead us through this time of uncertainty and we’re really excited to see as you know, all of German gyms are reopened.
The UK is set a time Spain has set a time and is reopening In, in those countries and the way they’ve been handling it are seeing their curve go significantly down. So, and now we can have those conversations with gym owners about what’s next. How can we not just keep doing what we did before. But now learning from all of these measurable outcomes we were able to see through this time, and actually double down and invest on that to be better and smarter in the future.
Marc Gutman 56:21
I love that. And I love like this, this idea of like, when in doubt, just returned to the customer, and how can we serve them? And how can we benefit them? It’s so powerful. I know. I know. We’re coming to the end of our time. I just have a couple more questions for you. You know, you mentioned the rebrand there’s probably nothing I love more than a good new brand or rebrand and then launching the brand so exciting, right? It’s kind of like new love. It’s like that you get to go out there and like it’s just like really, really exciting. I mean, what do you love about that process? I mean, what excites you and I could hear it in your voice you know it modulated in changed for the better when you started talking about that rebrand. Like, why do you love that? Like, what’s Why is that important to you?
Cambria Jacobs 57:03
There’s something really special about a rebrand because you take the best of what’s been created over, you know, almost a decade and give it a fresh, shiny Polish a new face, essentially. And I love it because and I found this in my career that I’m not necessarily the person that’s going to be in front of the camera all of the time. But there’s nothing I love more than taking all of the, all of the amazing insights and turning that into something fresh and letting those people that have put their blood, sweat and tears into something and letting them really walk away and be incredibly proud. And I think sometimes these young companies, especially Everyone’s so heads down, that you don’t really see all of the amazing work and results that have been happening along the way because they haven’t been packaged in a way that really makes sense to either the employees or to the industry. And so that’s the thing that has been missing. most rewarding when I first flew to Munich and stood in the social area with, you know, hundreds of EGYMies, asking them about the names of all of the different products and services and features.
And they came to me in multiple languages and multiple terms saying the same thing. And that confusion that was across the board for the employees was mirrored in our industries and customers. And so to be able to pull all of that together with with languages that are different, both in nationality and regions, but also in terms of just products and features, and pull them into one new economy language that was going to redefine the industry and the company as to who EGYM is what we stand for what we offer, and how we’re going to change the world for the better is something that I can’t imagine any marketer any person wouldn’t want to be involved with, let alone help lead.
So to me, that has been one of the the biggest and most exciting and the problem Moments is to give all of the economies and our customers something that they can look at and point to, and be really proud of, in addition to all of the measurable return on investment that we’re able to deliver through all of our our offerings,
Marc Gutman 59:15
and cameras, we come to a close here. You’ve accomplished so much, you’ve had such a quite career quite a career. Thank you for sharing that with us. If you’re 20 year old self that that college age Cambria, you know, ran into you today, what do you think she’d say?
Cambria Jacobs 59:32
I think she would say, You showed up. You were brave. Never settle, push harder. But be proud and happy with with where you are and make sure you take pause as you climb each of those summit’s and sometimes you also pushing hard sometimes it’s okay just to float for a little bit. So you can be stronger and ready for what’s ahead.
Marc Gutman 1:00:06
And that is Cambria Jacobs, global Chief Marketing Officer of a gym. I love how she referred to herself as scrappy. And I almost call this episode. She’s scrappy, but decided to go a bit more traditional in the end. I’m always intrigued to see where Cambria his career leads. EGYM is lucky to have her and I have no doubt that EGYM will go on to greater things with her leading the marketing team. Thank you again to Cambria and the crew at EGYM. Keep making the gym easy for health seekers like me. Well, that’s the show. Until next time, make sure to visit our website www.wildstory.com where you can subscribe to the show in iTunes, Stitcher or via RSS so you’ll never miss an episode. I like big stories and I cannot lie, you other storytellers can’t deny.