Carolyn Dorant – Email Marketing Manager

Carolyn Dorant – Email Marketing Manager

CAROLYN DORANT

Email Marketing Manager
Chicago, IL
Joined: 2010

What was Groupon like in 2010? What does an email marketer on the Coupons team do? Does Groupon Goods sell rockets? Carolyn answers all of the tough questions today on the blog.

What was your first impression of Groupon in 2010?

When I came in for my interview, there was a good-but-hectic energy in the air. The team was outgrowing the office on the 6th floor and the recruiters I talked to were picking up the pace of hiring––the editorial department was hiring a handful of people each week. It was clear from the beginning that I was about to become a part of a special, energetic community of talented people who were very dedicated to this weird new idea.

What’s your favorite Groupon memory?

A few years ago a group of us stayed in the office well past midnight building a toy rocket we bought on Groupon Goods. We took a video of the launch a few days later and I still have a printed gif of it on my desk.

Who inspires you?

People who solve complex problems with creativity and empathy.

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

I write and produce an email that reaches customers six times a week; we’re helping communicate that Groupon is so much more than just a “daily deal”–my team, Groupon Coupons, helps connect customers with discounts to major online retailers they’re already shopping. Think Amazon, Kohl’s, Home Depot, and basically any brick-and-mortar retail chain you’ve ever set foot in.

So what’d you do before Groupon and how’d you get here?

When I interviewed, I was fresh out of grad school and juggling a few freelance writing gigs. It suited my schedule when I was in school, but I really wanted to be part of a bigger team. When the opportunity to work in Groupon’s editorial department presented itself, I jumped at it. I accepted the job on a Friday morning and started the following Monday.

What’s your biggest Groupon accomplishment?

I tend to be really efficiency-focused, so I’m really proud of scaling our email cadence from once per week to six times per week without having to hire any new people. I do it all myself with the help of a tool I created with a product manager (and his engineering team.)

I also feel really good about the work I did for Women@Groupon; I served two terms as the Communications Chair and was able to formalize a bimonthly newsletter. W@G does a lot of work at Groupon to provide networking and philanthropic events for all employees, but people have to know it’s happening!

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

It would be so fun to do Will Shortz’s job editing crosswords for the New York Times.

Tell us something that might surprise us about you.

I’ve eaten exactly 1 peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwich in my life and it was in 2016 on top of a mountain.

What does your dad think you do?

It’s actually pretty accurate, sadly, but my dad does think it’s necessary to tell me about every single thing he buys on Groupon. He’s a loyal customer!

Why do you participate in Women@Groupon?

Joining Women@Groupon helped me feel like a more engaged member of the community–it’s easy to forget that there are so many amazing people working here when you keep yourself confined to your team or department.

What’s your favorite local business?

Unabridged Bookstore in Lakeview. I’ve been buying books there since I was a little kid, and I am so relieved and happy that independent bookstores can still thrive in a community the way that Unabridged does.

Women@Groupon

Groupon World Headquarters

Jeremy Stephison – Content & Community Manager, Coupons

Jeremy Stephison – Content & Community Manager, Coupons

JEREMY STEPHISON

Content & Community Manager – Groupon Coupons
Chicago, IL
Joined: 2011

Jeremy takes us on his unique Groupon journey, from his early days as a writer sitting next to the founder of Cards Against Humanity to today where he’s maximizing revenue on the Coupons team.

What’s your biggest Groupon accomplishment?

I manage the Target coupons page. Through a mix of unorthodox content strategies, DIY market research, and navigation of an arcane commission rate structure, I was able to boost Click Through Rate and Commission leading up to Black Friday. I’m super proud of the results: year-over-year CTR jumped to 84% (a 6.71% increase) and commission jumped by 101% on Black Friday.

This one’s a little less data driven but…you know those wacky signs in the engineering department? They say, like, “Warning: Doppelgängers Active In This Area” or “Cloning In Progress.” I wrote those!

I also worked on the Mother’s Day deal for a 3D Printed You and wrote up the Groupon Cat Reader deal. Some of my jokes were actually quoted in USA Today and The New York Times!

Where were you before Groupon?

I taught rhetoric at a few community colleges and a university before I got the job at Groupon. Teaching rhetorical strategies was a pretty great training for actually using those tricks and techniques here at Groupon.

Where can we find you outside of work? What keeps you busy?

So, there’s this guy named Edward Bernays who’s basically the most influential person of the 20th Century that nobody’s ever heard of. He was Freud’s nephew and he studied psychology and sociology to invent PR (he actually coined the phrase “Public Relations”). He’s also the reason Americans eat bacon for breakfast, use disposable cups, or think of Calvin Coolidge as a fun-loving fan of Vaudeville (that last one didn’t really stick). I love reading his books along with consuming as much information on buying habits and consumer behavior as possible. It helps with my job, but it also really paints a picture of who we are as people and why we do what we do. … That’s a hobby, right?

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

This makes me sound like an 8-year-old, but that’s o.k. I’d love to be a stunt pilot. I’ve never flown a plane before, so it’d be a literal disaster, but what a job that’d be!

What’s your favorite local business?

Milton & Margie’s Soy Wax Candles. They’re made in Chicago out of hand-painted tin cans and vintage glassware. Also, they smell amazing. But what I love is that the company creates literally zero waste. The wax is sustainable soy, the wicks are sustainable cotton, and the containers are used soup cans. It’s ingenious and original, and I just really love the brand.

“[In 2011] There were a lot of spirited debates and questions like, “Is it funnier if the orangutan is riding a Harley or piloting a hot air balloon?” I even shared a cubicle with one of the founders of Cards Against Humanity.”

Tell us about what you do all day. What do you love about your job?

I manage about 30 Groupon Coupon pages. Basically, the job requires me to think on my feet, try out new content strategies, and use every marketing trick I can think of to engage customers to help them feel comfortable shopping with Groupon. I honestly love the job: there are new challenges every day and I work with an amazing team that’s eager to share their knowledge and resources. And thanks to incredible data-tracking tools, I’m able to react on-the-fly to any issues that might come up before they turn into raging dumpster fires. It’s deeply satisfying!

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

As content managers, we always want to balance our methods and strategies with the brand identity of high-profile merchants (such as Target, Bed Bath & Beyond, Microsoft, etc). Sometimes those conflict with each other and there’s no easy solution. In those cases, I feel lucky that I’m empowered to collect performance data and jump on a call with the marketing managers of these companies. It’s not always smooth sailing, but at the end of the day, we always work it out in a way that benefits everyone. Finding a compromise that makes the merchant happy while prioritizing customer experience can definitely be a challenge, but the results are always worth it.

Who or what inspires you?

This is going to sound pretty corny I guess, but my manager and team inspire me. I’ve never been part of a group that cares so much about their work. A big part of what we do requires constant innovation, and everyone’s eager to share what they’ve learned. Individual successes feel like team successes, and vice-versa, and that’s inspiring to me.

What’s your favorite space in the office?

What was your first impression of Groupon as a workplace?

The whole thing felt pretty surreal, like somebody threw Saved By The Bell and The Onion into a blender, and then built an office out of it. I started as a writer back when publications like The New York Times and 60 Minutes were talking about our wacky brand voice. We’d all put in 10 hour days, and our biggest challenge back then was figuring out the best version of a joke for a nail salon or barbecue restaurant. There were a lot of spirited debates and questions like, “Is it funnier if the orangutan is riding a Harley or piloting a hot air balloon?” I even shared a cubicle with one of the founders of Cards Against Humanity. It was a goofy blast!

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

Traditional Groupons let people save money on the things they do every day. Groupon Coupons gives them a way to save money on the things they buy every day. Our inventory of promo codes and exclusive deals for major brands fits seamlessly into online buying habits. My job is to make sure that when customers arrive at a coupons page, they’re having the best / most frictionless experience possible, and that they want to keep coming back.

Can you write a Groupon haiku?

There is a weird cat / sitting in a green spaceship / Please, Check Groupon First.

What’s your favorite Groupon memory?

Oh, man… I’m not even sure where to begin. One time, a silver-haired fella came into the office and gave us fatherly advice while pretending to be our high-school football coach (it probably makes as much sense to you reading this as it did to us experiencing it).

A few weeks ago, a guy dressed up as that giant Abominable Snowman from Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer and gave everyone around the office hugs.

The time Salesforce gave us a bunch of giant stability balls, and someone turned one of the narrow hallways into an enormous ball pit and we got this email: “Hey everyone, If you have a Salesforce ball sitting in Knockturn Alley, please remove it. Right now that hallway is a horrific (albeit comical) fire hazard. thanks.”

 

Groupon World Headquarters

Ron Klein – Senior Product Marketing Manager, Groupon+

Ron Klein – Senior Product Marketing Manager, Groupon+

RON KLEIN

Senior Marketing Product Manager, Groupon+
Chicago, IL
Joined: 2015

It’s only been a few years, and Ron has already moved up from Financial Analyst to the Go-To-Market Lead for Groupon’s hottest new product launch: Groupon+. On the side, he’s imagining himself as the GM of the Detroit Pistons.

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

With Groupon+ we are redefining the way users redeem discounts: completely voucher-less. If we are successful in our ability to scale, users will be able to find local restaurants on our platform easily and be able to get discounted food at all of their favorite places. Meanwhile, merchants will gain new customers and improve the frequency of current customers, with no more printouts and no more handing over your phone to the waiter!

Where were you before Groupon?

Before Groupon, I worked in Finance at Procter & Gamble in Cincinnati. My last role involved cost analysis for hair care and color…not exactly my niche area. When Brent from Groupon Recruiting reached out to me, I was ready to make a move and I always knew I’d end up in Chicago (and in Tech) at some point.

What do your parents think you do?

My parents still think I work in Finance “with money” even though I’ve told them I’ve taken on a new role. In fairness to them, Groupon+ isn’t in Detroit yet.

What’s your favorite spot in the Chicago office?

 

What’s your biggest accomplishment here (so far)?

I am most proud of the early success I have had in taking Groupon+ to market (and ultimately doing that while transitioning out of Finance to Marketing during a 2 month period). We’ve added a ton of new enrollees to the program and have launched multiple large-scale brands on to the Groupon+ platform (e.g. Starbucks and Dunkin’ Donuts).

Have you won any awards while you’ve been here?

Last Place, 2016 Groupon Finance Fantasy Football League

What’s your favorite conference room?

Tell us something about you that’d surprise us!

A few months ago I transitioned from Finance to Marketing as the Groupon+ Go-To-Market Lead. I had been working on Marketing Finance for over a year and a half and I was ready for a new challenge. I heard about the Go-To-Market position from a few people on the team and so I met with some Marketing folks to talk about the role and eventually applied. Working in Marketing Finance meant that I knew everyone in the Marketing organization already and I had built up a really great relationship with those teams, so I knew everyone who was in my interview loop. It was just a great fit and on a product (Groupon+) that I am still extremely excited about.

Transitioning to the Marketing organization has allowed me to develop more Marketing skills, including project management. I’ve also had the benefit of working with a ton of people in different areas of the company (Sales, Merchandising, Product, Marketing, Finance, Legal, Operations, etc). That’s another thing that’s so great about Groupon: you can really create your own career path and gather skills along the way.

“I am just four and a half years out of college and my early successes at Groupon now have me taking a brand new product (Groupon+) to market as the Marketing lead. You don’t get that kind of opportunity elsewhere.”

What makes Groupon different from other companies you’ve worked at?

Working in Tech (and specifically at Groupon) is such a tremendously different atmosphere than more corporate jobs. Since Groupon has not been around for that long, there is: a) a ton opportunity to make an impact in every area, and b) almost no bureaucracy or hoops you have to jump through to get things done.

If you’re hardworking and committed to the company you’re working for, there’s really no better place with more opportunities than Groupon. And I’m not just trying to sell you! Take my story: I am just four and a half years out of college and my early successes at Groupon now have me taking a brand new product (Groupon+) to market as the Marketing lead. You don’t get that kind of opportunity elsewhere.

Who or what inspires you? 

Working on a project or team that has a ton of growth potential and opportunity is what really inspires me. It’s what drew me to Groupon+. The product is on a complete upscale. We’ve gone from 2,000 merchants to almost 3,000 in just a month. We’re doing more and more transactions every month and our Tipster technology is the perfect way to let more and more people know about the product. It’s exciting to get behind a product that all consumers should inherently want: cash back at restaurants they are already going to.

What’s your favorite local business?

Chicago Pizza & Oven Grinder Co. PIZZA. POT. PIE.

 What was your first impression of Groupon?

When I visited for my interview, I was probably more blown away by the culture than anything else. The 4th floor of Groupon is honestly just a fun space to walk through with products everywhere and the culture of the the sales staff spread all around. It was fun, quirky, and clearly a place I wanted to work.

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

I would take Stan Van Gundy’s job as General Manager of the Detroit Pistons. I’d proceed to trade Reggie Jackson and build a dynasty in just under 24 hours.

Can you write a Groupon haiku?

Great deals are needed –

for a discount company –

that wants to succeed

 

Groupon World Headquarters