As the senior vice president of product and marketing at VerticalResponse, David Williams leads the marketing, design and product management teams for the self-service email and social media marketing platform.
Williams is responsible for understanding the needs of small businesses, and delivering innovative experiences to help VerticalResponse clients engage their customers and fans.
Prior to his current position, Williams held vice president roles in product and marketing for local search and advertising leader YP.com. While there, he drove audience growth to 60 million web and mobile monthly users, and more than $350 million in advertiser revenue. Williams also built the brand’s “mobile first” product team, focused on data-driven decision-making.
Before YP.com, Williams developed a mobile marketing platform for Mozes (now ePrize) used by entertainment companies and brands to engage consumers with text and voice promotions. With more than 16 years of product and marketing experience, he has held product roles at a number of leading brands including Palm, Apple and Lookout Mobile Security.
Williams earned his MBA from Stanford University, and received a Bachelor’s degree in aerospace engineering from Boston University. He began his career in the United States Navy as a submarine officer.
Senior VP of Product & Marketing @ VerticalResponse
- Age: 47
- HQ: San Francisco
- Apple or Android? Apple
- First Job: Telemarketer
- Favorite Show: Homeland
- First Car: ’74 Dodge Pick-up
What mobile device can you not live without?
Can we take a peek at your iPhone’s home screen?
Which apps do you use most often for work?
1Password — let’s me keep my log-ins straight for the dozens of Web and mobile apps I use every day.
What social media network or website do you frequent most when you’re not working?
Flipboard — great experience for catching up on Twitter and Facebook feeds, blogs I subscribe to, and content my friends are reading.
What’s the first thing you check on your phone in the morning?
Work email and analytics dashboards.
Take me through your typical workday.
7:00 Wake up and check email and app analytics dashboards.
8:00 Drop kids off at school and head to work.
9:00 -9:45 Email!
9:45 Daily standup with sales, support, marketing, product and engineering to discuss customer feedback and any issues.
10:00 Weekly sales/conversion meeting, to discuss e-commerce and sales programs and numbers.
11:00 Weekly product roadmap and design review, to discuss UI mockups of upcoming features.
12:00 Lunch and exercise.
1:00 Track down head of PR and promise to get Marketing Land piece done ;-)
2:00 1:1 with director of content marketing to discuss audience segmentation and editorial calendar.
3:00 Meet with CEO to set business goals for upcoming quarter.
5:00 1:1 with VP of product management.
6:15 Head home.
What has been the most exciting work development during the past year?
Redefining and relaunching VerticalResponse this past March. Technology and consumer habits have changed radically in the last ten years. I’m really excited to put cutting-edge technology into the hands of small businesses in an easy-to-use and affordable product!
How many miles have you traveled in the past year?
9,706 miles – scary that I know the exact number, huh? I use and love TripIt.
The most interesting place I visited was our parent company’s headquarters (Deluxe Corporation) in Shoreview, Minnesota. Luckily, it was in early November before the Polar Vortex wreaked havoc on Minneapolis.
What work challenge keeps you up at night?
Wondering what else we can do to delight our customers. What can we do to make our product easier to understand, easier to use, and give them better results with less effort? The product road map is in constant flux – balancing these needs with those of our business.
Tell me about the people who have been most influential in your career.
Jeff Hawkins, Donna Dubinsky, Ed Colligan — co-founders of Handspring and Palm Computing. A management team with very complementary skill sets and personalities, a shared maniacal focus on delighting the customer, and transparency in managing the business that built the best culture I’ve ever been a part of.
What traits does a person need to succeed in your position?
Customer empathy, intellectual curiosity, analytical thinking and a will to win!
Can you tell us something about yourself that your team would be surprised to know?
My career in technology began on a farm. I sold a calf I raised in order to buy my first computer — a Commodore 64.
Why did you go into marketing?
I love technology. But more importantly, I love seeing technology turned into products that customers truly love. Marketing lets me work on “product-market fit” and scaling the business by finding people who need the product and introducing it to them in words and images that they understand.
What other career would you like to try and why?
Architect. Researching and understanding customer needs, applying inspiring design to solving problems and creating an emotional reaction is what I love. I have to imagine the satisfaction of creating buildings and homes that have lasting impact and deep value every day would be incredibly satisfying.
What does your desk look like?
What is the last business book you read?
Don’t Make Me Think by Steve Krug. It’s a brief and insightful guide to designing websites, apps and products. Very practical and very brief — and inspiring to believe you can create better products if you follow some simple guidelines.
Outside of your company’s efforts, what campaign caught your eye recently?
The Utah Office of Tourism’s “Mighty 5″ TV ads feature magnificent cinematography and emotional images of families sharing once-in-a-lifetime experiences.
It’s unforgettable — it lets you imagine what it would be like to experience thrilling activities in these unique settings yourself.