4 Local Tech Leaders Weigh in on What Makes Marketing Effective

March 23, 2021
Skupos
Skupos

Marketing isn’t just about penning funny phrases and capturing eye-catching images. 

In truth, marketing is a multi-dimensional strategy that spans a wide range of ever-increasing communication channels. And for brands, the real challenge is to make that strategy effective. 

At some companies, digital conferences and private, invite-only events offer the best way to engage with target audiences. On the other hand, some believe that pure calculated strategy and creativity are the keys to marketing success. 

For Skupos President of Marketing Christine Shriver, campaigns alone are not the indicator of effective marketing. Rather, the true testaments of a campaign’s effectiveness are the results that come later and the spirit of the team behind it. 

“Launching a campaign is exciting, but real success happens later,” Shriver said. “Watching it drive the pipeline and rally the team to optimize it is where the magic kicks in.”

Built In Colorado checked in with Shriver and three other local tech leaders to learn how their teams tackle effective marketing. 

 

Kevin Zentmeyer
Director of Product Marketing

What they do: Ibotta wants to help shoppers get the most out of their everyday purchases. The company partners with brands like Kellogg and Walmart to give users cash back on groceries and more.  

 

What does effective marketing look like for your team?

Product marketing is a bit unique in that it’s more of a support function for a combination of marketing, product management and sales, so it can be hard to pick out our impacts on the final product. That said, I know we’re doing a great job when there’s an absence of confusion about new products and features that are launching within the relevant teams.

The most important element that my team consistently contributes is messaging — and good messaging is always simple. Simple messaging is understandable and memorable. When I see that the messaging is still simple when it’s distributed through all of our marketing channels, I know that we not only did the job of boiling the feature down to its value in a concise manner but also communicated it clearly to our stakeholders and collaborators.

 

What is the key to making your marketing efforts more effective?

The key to making our marketing efforts more effective is the successful integration of the product management and marketing teams’ efforts. In an app-centric or consumer technology company, the departments are highly interdependent for success. Users don’t care or understand that your marketing touchpoints are run by a different team than app onboarding screens. To them, it’s one Ibotta experience that’s either compelling and intuitive or unrewarding and disjointed. Beyond the multichannel UX, the integration is crucial because the user acquisition and adoption funnel flow from marketing to product. The onboarding experience has to be contextually relevant, and the product itself needs to deliver on the promise of our marketing campaigns. Otherwise, our efforts to grow the user base are all for naught.
 

The most important element that my team consistently contributes is messaging — and good messaging is always simple.”


Tell us about a recent campaign or marketing initiative that was particularly successful. 

Ibotta’s launch of cash back on online grocery purchases was hugely successful. Due to the pandemic, digital sales of groceries quintupled, as a share of the overall grocery market jumped from 2 percent to 10 percent. We were fortunate to have most of the technical components already in place to serve users for this suddenly sharp consumer need. In less than a month, we launched. After discovering that our MVP (minimally viable product) was not performing well enough for our users, we relaunched the product to our user base. For most of our users, this new product required them to interact with the app in a completely different way, which made a crossover and educational marketing tactics incredibly important. 

I think this was largely successful due to the tight partnership between our product marketing and lifecycle marketing teams, which enabled them to launch such a large initiative quickly and iterate upon it as we changed the product and learned along the way. As we scaled the initiative from an early adopter audience, we collaborated closely with our in-house market research team to keep our messaging as relevant as possible to our users who navigated the pandemic and continuously adjusted their grocery shopping behavior.

 

Josh Allen
Vice President of Marketing

What they do: Location3 is dedicated to helping global franchises develop multichannel digital marketing strategies. The agency offers a broad range of services, from paid search and SEO to web analytics and franchise development.

 

What does effective marketing look like for your team?

Effective marketing for Location3 involves a cross-channel, B2B strategy designed to engage our target audiences at each stage of the decision-making process as they seek out new partners for their organizations to assist in growing bottom-line revenue. 

A broad example of this may include targeted media buying and public relations campaigns to help drive increased awareness among our prospective customer base, supported by focused content marketing tactics that reinforce Location3’s value proposition as a leading digital marketing partner. We also do a fair amount of event-based marketing throughout the calendar year, which can include tradeshows, digital marketing conferences or private, invite-only events that we host in conjunction with partners like Google and Facebook. When it comes to determining whether or not a campaign or initiative was effective, we use a number of tools to evaluate our data sets and KPIs for overall performance, qualified lead volume, business development opportunities, revenue and more.

 

What is the key to making your marketing efforts more effective?

Aside from having really smart people on your team that are experienced in cross-channel strategy, I think it’s important to have good data that you can rely on to evaluate past performance and optimize your current campaigns and programs. In addition to quality, quantitative data, our event-based programs have also produced a wealth of qualitative information that has informed our strategic thinking and has been valuable to us in terms of how we position Location3 in the marketplace.
 

I think it’s important to have good data that you can rely on to evaluate past performance and optimize your current campaigns and programs.”


Tell us about a recent campaign or marketing initiative that was particularly successful. 

Early in 2020, as tradeshows and conferences were shifting to an all-virtual format due to the pandemic, we realized that a portion of our target market was completely underserved in terms of opportunities for them to gather together either virtually or otherwise and learn about digital marketing strategy, tactics and best practices. So, we decided to put together a virtual conference with an agenda created specifically to address their needs. The end result was the inaugural Franchise Activation Conference, a unique two-day virtual event attended by more than 400 franchisees and local business owners across the United States. The event was such a success that we’ve since seen subsequent increases in marketing budget and local advertising spend among our own client partners and are planning the 2021 version for later this year.

 

Taylor Soldner
Senior Consumer Strategist

What they do: Healthgrades aims to forge more meaningful connections between patients and healthcare providers. Consumers can use the company’s platform to find and schedule appointments with their provider of choice, therefore improving patient access while building customer loyalty. 

 

What does effective marketing look like for your team?

Marketing is all about sending a clear message to your consumer. Sending a clear message requires understanding your audience and choosing the right marketing channels to reach them, whether that be search engine ads, social media ads, emails or even physical mail. For us, the audience really depends on our health system client and the goal of the campaign, but we excel at finding the consumers and patients who are at the highest risk and need immediate care. When higher-risk patients get the care they need, the health system client sees a return on their marketing investment and the patient population is healthier overall. 

Currently, lots of health systems are making sure patients feel safe coming into their clinics for routine care, such as cancer screenings and cardiology checkups. When those patients come into the hospital for preventive appointments, it means our marketing campaigns have been successful, which is a win-win for all.

 

What is the key to making your marketing efforts more effective?

A truly successful marketing campaign means staying focused on the client’s end goal. Their goal might be connecting heart patients with a cardiology specialist or soon-to-be-moms with an OB/GYN. A lot of marketing seems to focus solely on KPIs such as click-through rate, leads or website visits. These metrics are important to gauge the effectiveness of the chosen channels and message and help us make ongoing optimizations to the campaign. However, the real end goal is to help patients feel comfortable coming into a hospital to get care when they need it. When we can attribute new and existing patients coming in for care to our campaign, we see true effectiveness and success.
 

A truly successful marketing campaign means staying focused on the client’s end goal.”


Tell us about a recent campaign or marketing initiative that was particularly successful. 

Let’s take that example of OB/GYN appointments. Marketing messages to generate new OB/GYN appointments are focused on the most sought-after audience across the marketing industry: women aged 25 to 45 who are likely the household decision-maker for healthcare and major purchases. We built a campaign with an end goal of having more women choose to deliver their babies at our client’s hospitals. 

By looking at consumer trends and listening to our health system clients, we identified women who are most likely to become pregnant in the next 12 months and located the marketing channels where these women are most active. We then customized calls to action depending on the marketing channel. For example, paid search ads promoted booking an appointment, whereas social media ads focused on meeting the OB/GYNs through video interviews and learning about the birth center with a virtual tour. By meeting women where they were in their journeys, we informed their decisions as they chose an obstetrician, and we accomplished our goal of more moms delivering their babies at those hospitals.

 

Christine Shriver
Vice President of Marketing

What they do: Skupos connects independent stores, brands, and distributors all on a single platform, enabling them to unlock revenue, run promotions and more. 

 

What does effective marketing look like for your team?

Effective marketing means driving the pipeline and having fun doing it. Marketing is an interesting field because it has shifted over time to become a function that equally values creativity and data and analytics. This creates a diverse and awesome team dynamic. You have creative thinkers with big picture ideas that transform innovative, outside-the-box ideas into campaigns, combined with analytical experts that measure and optimize every click, touch and conversion. When those things work well together, you see the results in the numbers.

Launching a campaign is exciting, but real success happens later. Watching it drive the pipeline and rally the team to optimize it is where the magic kicks in. Revenue is the ultimate, tangible validation of an effective team. Fun is the side effect.

 

What is the key to making your marketing efforts more effective?

This comes down to the two key themes I mentioned above: creativity and data.

Find a killer message and run a marathon with it. Take your time finding your value proposition and make sure you vet it outside your team. It’s easy to get lost in your products and forget that your end users lack context. Marketers are also guilty of pivoting across themes and content too quickly. We are one out of thousands of messages an end user receives in a day. Hit them with the same thing longer than you think makes sense and they’ll start to remember you.

Never stop looking at the numbers. Launch a broad set of channels at a smaller scale to figure out what works and what doesn’t. Tweak, refine and measure again. Cut the waste and reinvest in what works. Go big on the platforms that earn it. We have the most insane data at our fingertips, and it is our responsibility to use that data and make every dollar spent count.
 

Find a killer message and run a marathon with it.”


Tell us about a recent campaign or marketing initiative that was particularly successful. 

When I started at Skupos, we were building a marketing engine from the ground up. However, I didn’t want to wait to build the enterprise pipeline until we had a new website, collateral suite, systems in place and teams built. We sat down as a team and prioritized what parts of the core marketing engine needed to exist, lined those up and, in tandem, launched our first enterprise campaign within months of my start date. While the campaign ran, we built the rest of the core.

By end of year one, we were contributing seven figures to the pipeline, which was 25 percent of the company total and had closed a Fortune 500 logo. It was extremely scrappy, and the success is owed to incredible creativity, project management and data-minded individuals on my team.

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