by Courtney Ryan
October 9, 2019

At the heart of Signal’s strategy to connect brands with their customers via real-time marketing is empathy. The goal isn’t just to enable clients to sell products and services more quickly — though that’s often the result — but to actually help brands understand their customers’ perspectives and see their companies through fresh eyes. 

Leading the charge is Lisa Weinstein, a seasoned veteran of the advertising and marketing industry with over two decades of experience running high-performing teams across agencies and publishers. A four-time president and CEO who pioneered the use of both first- and third-party data-driven marketing for some of the world’s biggest brands, Lisa is bringing new energy and focus to the Signal team. 

We caught up with Lisa to learn how she’s helping Signal seize this moment to grow the identity resolution market using data and, of course, empathy. 

 

Shelves displaying awards in lobby of Signal's office
photography by Jason Brown
Large, open space in Signal's office with plants, tables, and sofas
photography by Jason Brown
SIgnal logo displayed on a glass window
photography by Jason Brown

 

FOUNDED: 2010

EMPLOYEES: 70

WHAT THEY DO: Signal’s platform enables marketers to enhance their customer experience by providing contextual relevance at all points of engagement, regardless of place or time.

WHERE THEY DO IT: Chicago

NOTABLE PERKS: Unlimited vacation days, a stocked kitchen and social benefits, such as recreational clubs, company outings and happy hours. 

 

Lisa Weinstein sits at a table, laughing with coworkers

Portrait of Lisa Weinstein
 

Lisa Weinstein, CEO

As Signal’s new CEO, Lisa spent her first 90 days understanding and further shaping the company’s value proposition and how its reflected in the culture. Now, she’s building out a team to focus on winning the market. 

 

Walk us through your background. What road did you take to arrive at Signal?

I spent nearly 20 years at media agencies in Chicago. I started in media planning and buying and went on to run client accounts, global accounts and operating units within the business. While at Publicis, I got the opportunity to work on mergers and acquisitions and growth-stage investing, which exposed me to earlier-stage businesses and ultimately led me to Signal. I love to solve problems and build, and Signal requires doing a lot of both.

 

You must have learned quite a bit about growing companies in your previous roles. What have you found especially useful as you’ve led growth at Signal?

Growing companies has one common denominator: talent. At the end of the day, it really is all about the people. And while I’ve spent most of my career on the services side of the business, I’ve learned that this is no different at product-based companies. 

After you have the right people, it comes down to leadership. It’s one thing to assemble a great team, but success is defined not by the best ideas but by how well a team can execute on ideas, which is where leadership is critical. Empowering a trusted team with a clear focus is how you build a business and this is no different at Signal — and it’s good to have a little fun, too!
 

It’s one thing to assemble a great team, but success is defined not by the best ideas but by how well a team can execute on ideas, which is where leadership is critical.”


How does serving as CEO at Signal exercise different leadership muscles than what you used in your previous roles?

Leading early-stage or venture-backed companies is a bit different than enterprise businesses where I spent much of my career. I have been told that I’m a tough but fair leader, which I think is true. I expect a lot and I have a point of view, but I listen and can change my mind. I have gotten better at this over time. 

The biggest difference at a company like Signal is that the highs and lows can feel so much stronger since the decisions made here versus at larger enterprise companies are felt immediately. When it’s a good decision, you will know fairly quickly. And when it’s a bad decision, the need to course correct is also apparent right away. 

 

Signal staff sit on a sofa in Signal's large, open space

 

Are there untapped opportunities in the identity resolution market? If so, how is Signal addressing or embracing these opportunities?

The identity resolution market is still defined broadly and there is definitely an opportunity to create value for brands that are looking to better understand their customers with their own first-party data. Ultimately, we help our customers create a better experience for their buyers, shoppers and prospects. We help them understand the consumer journey and deliver more relevant and meaningful messages and experiences. We empower our customers to ensure that once a prospect converts, we don’t keep bombarding them with annoying messages to buy. 

Having the ability to do this means brands can have empathy for consumers on their journey. We want to make the intersection between brands and consumers more human by enabling true understanding — and there is a lot of white space to work with here.
 

We want to make the intersection between brands and consumers more human by enabling true understanding — and there is a lot of white space to work with here.”


Looking ahead, what’s in store for Signal’s future?

Signal is in an interesting position as a business that is at the intersection of real-time data collection and identity intelligence. The company created a category that made the internet faster and the experience better for all consumers. We continue on that journey today even while we have connected our legacy to a new opportunity for brands to be empowered by their own customer data. Signal makes it possible to explore different opportunities.

We don’t lock our customers into our identity platform like many of the walled-garden solutions. We create greater intelligence from their data and give it back to them for many different uses. In the near term, we will continue to focus on customers and talent development and really crystallize our value proposition.

 

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