JOE DAVIS

Lifecycle Marketing Manager
Chicago, IL
Joined: 2010

What’s your favorite view from the office?

What’s your favorite conference room in the office?

Creating online rabbit holes with Joe, a Groupon veteran who attributes his success here to the mantra “it’s easier to ask for forgiveness, not permission.”

There are a lot of amazing Groupon stories. What’s your biggest accomplishment?

My biggest accomplishment was several years in the making. I like to think that I played a roll in a significant organizational change. As Groupon matured there was a tipping point where internal processes created merchant friction to get re-featured on the site. From this, the hunter-farmer model was created. I was on the NYC team that first piloted the model. From there, a sales and account management hybrid team was created called “Titanium.” When I became a manager for the US southeast, I convinced my manager to let me pilot the model with my team. My team didn’t make any commission on their sales so I used to pay them in Target gift cards out of my own pocket to keep them motivated.

Today much of the Sales org is structured with this model. Looking back, what makes me the proudest is seeing how successful all the people that were part of that process are today. Many are still here. They are site directors, product managers, divisional sales managers, head of operations, trainers, the list goes on. We were all it together. To help push such huge organizational change was really amazing.

Tell us about your job! What do you do?

I am a Marketing Manager on the Lifecycle Marketing team. We know what attributes make a consumer more valuable. My job is to develop and manage marketing programs that increase the lifetime value of our consumers. In my mind, I visualize a robotic assembly line plucking out the right consumer, giving them the right offer or message at the right time to drive a specific behavior. In the past year, our Product and Data Science teams have done an awesome job giving the marketing channels the tools and visibility we need. We’ve barely scratched the surface of what’s possible. I’m extremely optimistic about Groupon’s future.

What’s been the most challenging thing you’ve worked on?

I’m currently working on a Promotional Efficiency Experiment. The goal is to reduce inefficient promotional spend and then reinvest the savings on consumers to increase lifetime value. That seems straightforward, but executing it is extremely challenging. It is by far the most important thing I’ve ever worked on.

How does your work impact Groupon’s mission of building the daily habit in local commerce?

Most of the marketing programs I work on have a formula. A consumer does X with Y and triggers Z. Z can range from cross-selling to a new business vertical, driving purchase frequency, or mobile app downloads. All of these transitions ultimately make the consumer’s relationship with Groupon stickier and drive the daily habit.

Have you won any awards in your time here?

In mid-2013, my wife and I honeymooned in Punta Cana. A couple months after we got back, I found out I had won President’s Club, and the destination for winners was…Punta Cana. Had I known I was going to win I would have picked somewhere different to have my honeymoon!

What’s your favorite local business?

Michael’s Original Pizzeria & Tavern. It’s a great local pizza joint in my neighborhood. The ‘za is delicious and has a great vibe. It’s a great place to catch a game or just sit outside on the patio and drink local beer with my pug.

Your role probably exists at other companies aside from Groupon…so what makes your role at Groupon unique?

I’ve been fortunate to have been given a lot of autonomy and trust which is a testament to the management here. When I was a manager in the Sales org I asked to run a pilot team. My manager believed in me and helped make it happen. When I worked in email marketing I figured out a way to automate a large portion of my job. My manager didn’t just delegate more work, he let me decide how I would use my time to drive more innovation. I was encouraging a team member of mine to “ask for forgiveness, not permission” on an idea he had. The very next day Rich (Groupon’s CEO) said that line verbatim in all-hands meeting in front of the entire company. That moment exemplified the culture and management that makes Groupon a great place to work.

Can you write a Groupon haiku?

Build Local Habit — Nothing is impossible — Roll up your shirt sleeves

What’s your favorite Groupon memory?

There was one time that New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg came to speak at a Groupon town hall. When you hear most people tell this story they talk about the miniature horse hanging out in the elevator. While that’s certainly random, that wasn’t my favorite part of that day. Someone asked mayor Bloomberg what made him successful. He said that when he was first starting out he knew he wasn’t smarter than the person next to him or more talented, but he knew he could work harder than that person. He knew that he could come in earlier and stay later than that person. His value on work ethic really resonated with me.

Who or what inspires you?

My wife inspires me. While I was working at Groupon, I earned my MBA by taking night classes while my wife was also working on her Master’s degree. We both suffered through it together. For three years we spent almost every weekend at the Groupon office studying, which is a great place to study because of its huge conference rooms and fast internet. I couldn’t have gone through all of that without my wife.

Ready for your next challenge?

If you could do any other job for a day, what would it be and why?

I’d like do Merchant Marketing for a day. I’m at a point now where half my career at Groupon has been on the consumer marketing side and the other half has been on the sales and merchant side. Groupon is a two-sided marketplace, consumers, and merchants. I’m uniquely positioned where I have equal experience with both worlds. I’d like a day to merge everything I’ve learned into one Merchant Marketing culmination.

What do your parents think you do?

Not too long ago my dad forwarded me an article about tech companies having a “Bring Your Parents to Work Day.” Groupon doesn’t participate, but I told my parents to come anyway. I gave them a mini tour and treated them to lunch in the employee cafeteria. I started to explain what I do and how I do it and my mom said something like “you create the rabbit hole when I’m online shopping.” That’s actually pretty close.

Tell us about your involvement with Groupon Volunteers!

I do a lot of volunteering in my neighborhood. I set a goal for myself this year to do a better job tracking it all in VolunteerMatch. I just logged some work I did with Ginkgo Organic Gardens, a community garden that donates 100% of the food grown to Vital Bridges, a center that helps people with HIV/AIDS in Chicago. I also recently became a Block Captain for Buena Park Neighbors, a neighborhood association whose mission is to improve the quality of life for residents through business development, green projects and much more. I think it’s important to give back and serve the community.

You probably have a life outside Groupon; what are you up to when you’re not at work?

I try to do at least two half marathons a year. When I race, I like to wear my Groupon running shirt from the Chase Corporate Challenge. I’m a marketer at heart, so I always try to calculate the number of free impressions I’m getting by wearing it. I’d like to think the person running behind me goes home and downloads the app. I also have a pug. Pug people are super into their pugs. I’m no exception.

Tell us something that might surprise us about you.

My first car was a monster truck. Specifically an 84 Blazer with a lift kit and 38-inch tires. A 16-year-old has no business driving that kind of a car. I loved it.