After a two-month hiatus, the Vertical Measures Employee Interview Series is back for a chat with Pel Abbott. Pel tells us about the sales process at VM, her singing career, the origins of her name and what her first book will be about.
Michael Schwartz: What do you do here at Vertical Measures?
Pel Abbott: I’m in “sales,” although I like to think we bring the full realm of marketing strategy to the picture when we develop custom proposals for clients. In other words, I think effective “sales” is making sure you provide what is truly of value and worth the money. In our case, content development, search engine optimization and social media, in just the right mix for each client’s unique situation.
Michael: Tell us a little bit about the sales process at VM.
Pel: We derive 100 percent of our leads inbound from SEO, which I think speaks highly of our abilities in Internet marketing. Recently the management here at VM has allowed me to approach some local businesses, but I usually don’t have the time to do so.
Michael: How does your experience as a former small business owner, advertising agency executive, and marketing manager at a major newspaper help you at VM?
Pel: I have helped companies large and small in the past by never forgetting business basics. You have to provide something of value, first and foremost. And chances are, you have something unique about your company (your unique selling proposition) that you may not quite see or be promoting effectively to your target audience/s.
In my experience, the majority of companies haven’t identified their target audience or their unique selling proposition(s). And if they have, they can always find new and more creative ways to get the message out. The Internet is a constantly changing new medium that is fast becoming the most important medium to marketers worldwide.
When I was a business owner, I had a limited budget, but I knew enough about marketing to take my own advice. I bit the bullet and went with some expensive full-page, four-color ads in the right publication for my industry (after analyzing circulation audit data) to drive people to my website, which I filled with original articles (I wrote them) and a lot of photos and testimonials to back up what we were selling. I knew what our unique selling proposition was, and I spoke to our target audience with information they needed. I had most of my clients tell me they had read the website thoroughly.
If I was still running that business today, I would spend even more (if not all) of my money online, because everyone is using search to find what they need; the marketing data overwhelmingly supports it.
Michael: Your passion is singing. What kind of experience do you have in this realm?
Pel: I have been part of two duos, one trio and with a bluegrass band. I am just now starting to sing and play with a new partner, and we have two gigs coming up. We both play rhythm guitar and will both be performing originals (she is also a songwriter) and doing some covers of artists like the Indigo Girls and Patty Griffin.
Michael: What’s the most fun gig you have ever sung, and where do you hope singing takes you in the future?
Pel: The most fun I have singing is barefoot in my own home, late at night, with lots of friends who are all singing at the tops of their lungs along with me. Peak experience really and I hope to do even more of it in the future.
Michael:What’s the origin of your name, Pel?
Pel: Long story. I like to say it’s short for Penelope.
Michael: Tell us something that people would be surprised to learn about you.
Pel: My great, great, great, great, great uncle was Davy Crockett.
Michael: You’re a proud graduate of the University of Kansas. What did you like most about being a Jayhawk?
Pel: As a graduate of their William Allen White School of Journalism, Advertising, I can truly say that I use and have used the knowledge I gained there daily throughout my entire career. I don’t think many people can say that about their degrees. KU is an excellent school with a beautiful campus, and I like going back and just walking there and remembering all of the wonderful professors I had, soaking in the scenery, huge trees and vine-covered old stone buildings. The campus has one of the nation’s only campaniles, which makes a beautiful sound that fills the campus and spills out over the town of Lawrence, Kansas each hour.
Michael: You are always jetting off to Cocopah Middle School in the middle of the day to pick up your son. Tell us about your special relationship with him.
Pel: What can I say? He’s 13, just hitting his teen years, amazing, cute, smart… my number one priority in life.
Michael: In your Facebook profile you say that some day you will finish the book you’ve been writing. What’s the topic of the book?
Pel: It’s about relationships, specifically romantic relationships. I’ve researched more than 20 books written by PhDs who work with thousands of couples. But I still have a lot to say based on my own unique experiences and those of my friends, clients and acquaintances.
Michael: Finally, what do you like about working at VM?
Pel: The people are brilliant. That’s my favorite thing.