Inside View: Vonage
One of the first big names in VoIP, Vonage, is still going strong and looking for MBAs with analytic insights to keep the firm competitive in a crowded marketplace!
Telecoms firm Vonage was one of the first household names in VoIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol, or phoning via the internet!), and it's looking for analytically-minded MBAs to continue to grow the company in this competitive market!
In an age of Skype and Google Talk, Vonage has carved out a niche for itself, selling calling plans to consumers and small businesses, and currently has 2.4 million subscribers.
The company was founded in Holmdel, New Jersey in 2000 by Jeffrey Citron, a former CEO at Datek Online, and Carlos Bhola, an investment banker. The company began offering subscription services in North America in 2004, then expanded to the United Kingdom in 2005, and had its initial public offering in 2006.
Leesa Eichberger is VP of Marketing for Vonage, based in Orange County, California. She has a long record in marketing and communications, having served as Senior Marketing Director at Helio, Executive Director of National Marketing at Cingular, and as an Advertising Account Executive at Ogily & Mather.
We asked her to give us an inside look at the VoIP business and to discuss the prospects for MBAs at Vonage.
How did you first get involved with Vonage?
I began working at Vonage in May 2009, in what started as a temporary assignment. After a couple of months, I was impressed with the organization and excited about the company’s future, and I accepted the permanent position of Vice President of Marketing and Advertising.
My responsibilities include the development of our marketing plans for all products and services; all activities related to internal or external communications; and the stewardship of the brand’s overall image.
Prior to Vonage, I was the Executive Director of National Marketing at Cingular Wireless (now AT&T Mobility), and a Senior Marketing Director at Helio, a wireless startup. I started my career at Ogilvy & Mather.
What would you say makes Vonage distinct from its competitors?
Vonage gives our customers the ability to communicate how, when, and where they want. By harnessing the power of the Internet, we’re able to provide our customers with affordable calling solutions.
We disrupted the home phone category with the launch of VoIP over 10 years ago, and continue to provide disruptive products and services that serve our customers’ needs, such as Vonage World, Extensions® and the Vonage Mobile® App.
Are you mainly targeting consumers or businesses with your VoIP service?
Our main customers are consumers and small businesses. We are extremely passionate about keeping people connected, both locally and internationally, and helping them maintain long-distance relationships.
What are the greatest challenges currently facing Vonage in its market?
Consumers are faced with many options that can meet their communications needs. However, Vonage continues to separate itself from the pack by offering a broad range of international communication products to suit almost any need.
Whether it is through Vonage World, our unlimited international calling plan; our Extensions® feature that lets our customers access their calling plans from their mobile phones; our new Digital Calling Cards (DCC) that provide low-cost per-minute calling; or the rapidly evolving Vonage Mobile® app that provides free calling and texting worldwide, we’re meeting consumer demand for flexible, cost-effective solutions.
What’s the best perk you get from working at Vonage?
Of course I use Vonage at home, and love the Vonage Mobile app for texting and calling friends when I travel internationally. But, the best part of my job is that at Vonage, everyone’s contribution is valued. I’m able to make a difference that impacts the business every day.
I am directly involved with helping our customers maintain closeness with their loved ones across the globe affordably – which is rewarding.
What’s the most challenging aspect of your average workday at Vonage?
We’re at an exciting point in our business where we have a broad range of products and services to help our customers communicate. Balancing a wide range of projects, all with disparate targets and goals, provides me with daily challenges that ensure each day is different. The fast pace of the industry is invigorating and keeps me on my toes!
How would you rate the value of a MBA for the team at Vonage?
The combination of a good education and work experience is extremely important for success at Vonage. We particularly value analytics and insights, and the ability to complete an MBA provides some confidence that a potential employee has skills in these areas.
What should a prospective candidate do to stand out while applying to Vonage?
Candidates who stand out are those who understand how their work impacts a company’s success. Resumes showing measurable accomplishments are more likely to get noticed than those with lists of tactics or job duties. And impeccable spelling and grammar never hurt!
You can read other 'Inside View' interviews with tech and telecoms companies such as Samsung and Optus Telecoms. Remember to join BusinessBecause for a weekly email link to our latest Inside View interviews and hottest MBA job opportunities!