Let's face it, trying to look for a parking space can be stressing. Parkmobile provides a green solution by limiting the amount of time wasted in idle and driving in circles waiting for parking. The easy-to-use app helps people find and reserve parking from afar and allows the user to refill the meter without having to leave the store. We had a chance to interview Jeff, the CMO of Parkmobile and asked about their story, how their business started and the future of Parkmobile.
Tell us your story. Why did you start your business
I started my career in the advertising industry doing TV spots for blue-chip companies like P&G, General Mills, GlaxoSmithKline and Volvo. Over time, I realized that I was much more interested in the businesses I was working on than just doing TV ads. So, I made the move to the client-side, joining AutoTrader. That started an 11-year run where I went from a mid-level marketer to a CMO. Throughout that journey, I’ve learned that I’m much more passionate about “building” than just “managing”. That has led me to search out opportunities where I can make a significant impact on the business. I’m extremely hands-on in my approach to the work and I’m never afraid to get down into the weeds. In my current role as CMO of ParkMobile, I’m extremely focused on growing our base of users and keeping them engaged so they continue using the app and share with their friends.
How did you come up with your business name?
When our founder first started the business, it was really all about paying for parking on your mobile phone rather than a meter, thus the name ‘Parkmobile’. It’s very clear to the consumer who we are and what we do. Today, the name ParkMobile really stands for “smart mobility” which means we help people get where to they need to go while reducing friction in that process. It’s about finding parking, navigating to the parking spot, paying for parking, charging your electric car while you’re parked and much more.
Tell us about your products and services. How do you help clients?
ParkMobile is a leader in smart parking and mobility solutions in North America. Every day we help hundreds of thousands of people find and pay for parking on their mobile device. Our technology is used in over 3000 locations across the country, including 7 of the top 10 cities as well as college campuses, airports and stadiums. People can use ParkMobile solutions to quickly pay for on- and off-street parking without having to use a meter or kiosk. Additionally, we offer parking reservations for concerts and sporting events at major venues like Madison Square Garden, Fenway Park, Soldier Field, T-Mobile Arena, Charlotte Motor Speedway and many more. Reservations are also available in metro area parking garages, allowing people to drive into the city without having to worry about finding a spot. Our most recent innovation is the Parking Availability feature that lets you see a map view of where on-street parking is available. So, you can drive directly to the areas where there is plenty of parking and avoid the areas where there is no parking.
What makes you unique? What is your unique selling proposition (USP)?
We are the only company that allows people to do on/off-street parking, reserved parking and event parking all within one single app. There is no another business that helps more people park in more places than ParkMobile.
Where do you see your business in the next 3-5 years?
The next five years will be very exciting for our company. Earlier this year, it was announced that we will be part of a new mobility joint venture between Daimler and BMW that consists of five primary functions, each contributing to the overall mobility ecosystem: On-demand and multi-modal transportation, ride hailing, EV car charging and parking. We are incredibly excited about the opportunity this joint venture presents for Parkmobile and the acceleration of next generation smart mobility. Each of the companies in this new entity brings a unique expertise in the mobility ecosystem to the table and together we will work to create the future of smart mobility. The combination of these complementary pieces, along with sponsorship by two leading global automotive companies provide us with the scale, resources and expertise to get there faster.
Any advice you would give to entrepreneurs and business owners?
You can do anything, but you can’t do everything. When you are starting a company and have limited resources, you must be very smart about where you spend your time and money. Focus on the key areas that will grow your business. Everything else is just a distraction.
What is your favorite business quote and why?
My favorite business quote is from Walt Disney – “The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing.”
I’ve always believed that you just have to get shit done. A common trap that I see people fall into is that they see so many areas for improvement and then try to take on all of them at once. That's what I call a “boil the ocean strategy.” The results usually aren't very good. You end up spending too little time on too many things. The outcome is that nothing actually gets done.
I prefer a “quick-win strategy.” Find one thing that you can do that won't take months to complete and just go after it. Do it really well and show the results. Then go on to the next quick win and repeat the process all over again.
After a while, you'll start to show some real progress as a bunch of small quick wins start to add up. You'll also start to get a reputation as someone who gets stuff done. And in any organization, being perceived as “effective” can really help your career. The next time a big project comes up, you just might get tapped to run it based on your track record. Also, building up the street cred with your quick wins will eventually help you when you're ready to take on some of the bigger, longer-term and more ambitious projects. Your management and peers will have more faith that you can get it done and it won't be one of those never-ending projects.
Just like in baseball, the teams that consistently put runs on the board usually beat the teams that live and die by the home run.
What have been some of your achievements that you are most proud of? Why?
I joined a startup called QASymphony back in 2015. At the time, the company had about $1 million in revenue and no marketing function. Over three years, I built out the marketing team, setup our lead gen program, started a user conference and got us to page #1 on Google for virtually every strategic key term in the category. During that time, we grew to $10 million in revenue and ended up raising a $40 million Series C from a big NYC private equity firm. It was an amazing run that I am incredibly proud to be a part of.
Anything else additional you want to tell our readers?
Always remember to take care of your health. As busy professionals, it can be very easy to get lost in the work and spend all your time at the office. You have to make time for working out. I usually exercise 4-5 days each week. After a workout, I come into the office-wide awake and ready to go. I get a fast start and I get more done. On days that I don’t exercise, I just don’t feel as good and I find myself getting tired in the late afternoon. I’d estimate that exercise gives me an extra hour of productivity each day. Over the course of the year, that can add up to 260 hours or about 11 days.
Exercise can also help with stress management. According to the Mayo Clinic, exercise pumps up your endorphins which are the brain’s “feel-good neurotransmitters”. A few years ago, during a particularly stressful time at work, daily exercise helped me keep it together. If I didn’t workout in a given day, I would get home at night so exhausted by the stress that I’d have to go right to bed. It was an awful feeling. So, during stressful times, I always make sure to get a workout in. It just keeps me sane.