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Trynka Shineman: Senior Vice President of North American Marketing for VistaPrint

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The old adage goes, "The apple doesn't fall far from the tree." And in Trynka Shineman's case, it was true.

"My father was in marketing his whole career, and he would tell me stories about advertising and focus groups...he would bring things home and talk about them, so I think I just have always been interested in marketing from the dinner table at home growing up," she said.

Although Shineman did not receive her undergraduate degree in a business-related field, per se, she feels her psychology degree from Cornell University is just as relevant as a business degree to her present position as Senior Vice President of North American Marketing for VistaPrint.

Shineman explained that this allowed her to focus on consumer behavior—in particular, what types of things can be done to prompt desired behavior and what can be done to change behavior. As she stated simply, "I think that's what marketing is all about."

However, she was not able to stay away from the business field for long; she subsequently went to Columbia University and graduated with an M.B.A.

Shineman started working for VistaPrint three years ago in the retention marketing department. She now manages the company's North American marketing team, whose goal is to acquire customers and grow subsequent lifetime value, which increases purchase frequency.

VistaPrint was founded by Robert Keane, a small-business veteran who was intimately familiar with the troubles and costs associated with purchasing graphically designed printed materials on a small scale. Therefore, he decided to bring high-quality, low-cost printed products to small businesses and consumers. From its initial launch, the company was unique—it started out by offering consumers 250 free printed business cards each.

Actions like this have allowed the company to position itself as an unmatched competitor in the market. Since its inception, VistaPrint has serviced more than 8 million customers in more than 120 countries. Its success is directly dependent upon its ability to fulfill its marketing strategy, which was evident in the company's first promotion.

"We want to introduce jaw-dropping customer value...a value proposition that is so strong the customers can't get the product and the attributes of the product for the price anywhere else," Shineman said.

The company is not only unique to the consumers it serves; it is also unique in the eyes of its employees. According to Shineman, VistaPrint is like no other company because of "the amount of data that we have and our ability to use data effectively to make decisions."

Moreover, this concentration on data has enabled the company to lucratively employ the Pareto principle, which means it focuses on the 20% of its customers who deliver 80% of the value. In the next five years, VistaPrint hopes to further elevate this partnership with its customers—and that 20% in particular—by moving beyond transactional matters and building true relationships.

A major factor in developing this mutually beneficial relationship is utilizing email. Shineman, a strong proponent of marketing via email, believes it will remain a vital feature of the company's marketing strategy in the coming years. She feels that email will always be important in terms of customers coming in as well as the company being able to communicate with them. In fact, it is a form of communication that consumers tend to prefer and, therefore, has the ability to be more effective than other forms of mass communication.

Q. What do you like to do in your free time?
A. I have a 16-month-old son. I spend a lot of my spare time with him. I think that it redefined my definition of "spare time."
Q. What CD is in your CD player right now?
A. I actually have this child CD that my father gave me for Christmas. It's actually funny. It's personalized music, and it has my son's name in the songs. It's been in my CD player since Christmas, I think.
Q. What is your favorite TV show?
A. Boston Legal. I like the legal shows.
Q. What was the last magazine you read?
A. Wired magazine. My husband gets that.
Q. Who is your role model?
A. Janet Holian (VistaPrint's executive vice president and chief marketing officer). She's who I want to be. I think she's an incredible leader, and she's someone I just think highly of.

It is important to note, though, that the use of email must be calculated and take into consideration several factors. For instance, emails must be personalized, relevant, and targeted; employ trigger-based programs tied to when people visit the company's website and what they do while on the site; and offer value. As Shineman explained in an article on, "It's a perfect way to deliver value and relevant messages to the customers you've already worked so hard to secure."

Above all else, everything is tied to value. As stated previously, VistaPrint strives to provide something to customers that they are unable to get anywhere else and hopes that customers will be "blown away by what they deliver head and shoulders above the competition," Shineman said.

This is merely one of the reasons Shineman considers VistaPrint "a great company to work for." She believes it is such a great company, in fact, that she hopes others will be able to find jobs and companies they love and are as happy with as she is with hers. That, she stated, is the underlying factor in one's ability to succeed.

Shineman elaborated, "Do what you love. I'm passionate about data. I love business cards; I really do. I think if people have a focus and desire to get into an area, [they should be] relentless about finding a company whose culture matches and an environment that will enable you to succeed. I think that culture is very important, and I think that finding a job that you love or doing a job that has attributes that you're passionate about is going to lead to success."
On the net:VistaPrint

"Fundamentals of Marketing via Transactional E-mails" by Trynka Shineman

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Popular tags:

 consumer behavior  consumers  M.B.A.  small businesses  Janet Holian  materials  customers  behaviors  North American  success

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