This is an installment of Ocra’s “Parking Origin Stories” series that shares the personal stories of passionate parking professionals about their experiences starting with, and continuing to grow in, the parking industry.
Today’s Story: Jordan Weiss, VP of Marketing @ Umojo
The most successful marketing leaders in parking are the ones who act on opportunities to educate, connect, and delight in an industry where widespread recognition plays a larger-than-usual role in securing new opportunities.
These marketers are strategic, resourceful, creative, and well-versed in building effective programming from the ground up.
Ultimately, they’re “people-to-people” people who facilitate authentic connections that lead to positive outcomes for all involved.
We’re profiling one such marketer in this month’s installment of “Parking Origin Stories”: Jordan Weiss, VP of Marketing at Umojo.
A Multifaceted Career Path
Jordan’s multi-decade marketing career has spanned a variety of companies in the technology sector, including non-profit association management, construction, and IT management.
Each stepping stone had its own challenges and nuances, which gave Jordan ample opportunity to refine his skill-set and learn how to tailor his approach for different audiences and customer journeys.
He observed that in B2B (“business to business”) marketing, he could be more creative in how he approached the customer, and also that a certain level of savviness is required.
According to Jordan, “I’ve found that the audience in the B2B sphere is often more critical and discerning. They’re a bit more cynical, in some respects. They can see through the B.S. because they deal with it on a daily basis. Authenticity in marketing is paramount, and you’ve got to be adaptable, too.”
Adaptability and authenticity became the cornerstone of his marketing career, which proved to serve him well once he entered the dynamic parking landscape.
From Marketer to “Parketer”
Jordan believes that marketing is universal in that no matter whether you’re marketing to consumers or to businesses, you’re marketing to people.
Because of the parking industry’s emphasis on relationships and transparency, he finds that what he’s doing today aligns with his core belief that good marketing is “true human-to-human communication”.
According to Jordan:
“At first I was asking myself, ‘Parking, is that really exciting for me?’ But the customer base is so great and the industry is so interesting. What drew me into it, and what keeps me here, is its capacity for transformation.”
Jordan had zero preconceived notions of parking when he applied for a marketing leadership role at FLASH in early 2017.
He got the job and signed on to drive messaging, demand generation, go-to-market strategy, and partner engagement while continuing to grow the department.
At that time, both the industry and his company were at a critical inflection point.
FLASH had a long history on the valet side and was about a year into rolling about its PARCS when he came on board.
“It was something that felt so brand new for revenue and access control,” Jordan says, “and I got to be a key part of building awareness and creating education in the market for this new type of technology. It was exciting.”
He was energized about rewiring how the industry had historically thought about revenue and access control.
Cloud-based technology was still new then; the market was skeptical, and education was required.
Keeping One Foot in the Door of Parking
Over the next three years at FLASH, Jordan worked with the executives, beefed up the team, and helped grow the company.
As his next step, he accepted a role at a start-up in the sales enablement and competitive intelligence space to build their team and strategy from scratch.
“Ultimately what I love is working with smaller companies to create the marketing engine and the GTM strategy”, Jordan says. “Then you can start executing at a really high level to grow their customer base.”
During this time, Jordan kept one foot in the door in parking by doing some consulting as well as assisting on an RFP project for a major operator.
Consulting helped him stay abreast of what is going on in the industry and the transformations occurring, and it kept him involved with his parking friends, too.
When he decided to make his next career move, he reached out to a number of his parking contacts and was referred to a terrific opportunity at Umojo.
On being asked why he joined Umojo, Jordan says:
“I’ve known the founder, Rick, for a number of years, and he’s done an incredible job building up customer experience platforms, analytics, and command centers to help owners and operators provide a better experience to their parkers and be more efficient in their jobs. I accepted their offer because I was impressed by their vision and excited about their portfolio.”
Jordan is also invigorated by how Umojo is expanding from not only technology that helps parking operators serve their off-street customers, but into the on-street curb management experience, as well.
“The tech that the platform is built on is second to one,” says Jordan. “Using that off-street expertise to help manage curbs in the urban core is a natural extension, and it presents exciting challenges on the marketing front.”
The Importance of Marketing in Parking
Jordan believes that while marketing has always been important to the industry, it’s become critical in recent years due to a large, rapid shift to create more digital interactions.
“Five years ago, marketing was used sparingly in the industry. Parking is very relationship-driven and somewhat unique in that regard. But over that period we’ve seen a shift in how people interact. Face-to-face meetings were put on hold for some time which forced us to re-evaluate what ‘connection’ means.”
Jordan also observes we no longer live in a realm where a mere handful of companies that are really well known can continue to command market awareness.
“Dozens and dozens of new technologies emerging is forcing us all to figure out how to rise above the noise. It’s becoming harder in parking to find and communicate differentiation,” Jordan says.
“Sometimes you’ll hear leaders say, oh, we don’t need to run a campaign or invest in ads or publish content because everyone already knows who we are. But marketing is what helps you penetrate new markets and keep growing in the way you need to in order to be a thriving business. You can’t not do it.”
The Future of Parking: Partnerships & Data-Sharing
Regarding predictions for the future, one of the things that Jordan envisions moving forward is the migration to a “partnership ecosystem” approach for the overall management of tech stacks and operations.
“It’s a way to mitigate risk,” Jordan says, “and I think data-sharing along with partnerships is becoming a priority for operators as well as municipalities. It’s all about sharing that data and making the best decisions with it.”
He refers to this as a sort of “app store” approach to managing parking – a movement away from the recently ubiquitous “one-stop shop” vendor mentality.
Jordan also sees curb management emerging as an even bigger piece of the urban mobility puzzle, and the role of parking in this becoming increasingly important.
There are a number of entities competing for curb space at all times, which creates safety and efficiency issues that city managers are prioritizing finding solutions for.
“Better managing the curb is key to creating a safer, more efficient, and more prosperous urban core,” says Jordan. “It excites me that Umojo is taking that step, and I look forward to what the future holds for me here.”
Want to learn more about Jordan’s parking journey? Connect with him on LinkedIn and send him a message! And if you have a parking story of your own to tell, contact Sarah Becherer, VP of Marketing at Ocra, at email@example.com.