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How I Grew This
32 minutes | Jun 10, 2021
Head of User Acquisition @ Hopper: Makoto Rheault-Kihara- Strategic Paid Search Marketing, Massive Growth & The Culture That Empowers It
Head of User Acquisition @ Hopper: Makoto Rheault-Kihara- Strategic Paid Search Marketing, Massive Growth & The Culture That Empowers It EPISODE SUMMARY: Makoto Rheault-Kihara leads user acquisition at Hopper, one of the fastest-growing travel apps with over 60 million in sales to date. Makoto was previously the Director of Marketing at Cruisehub, an OTA aiming to modernize the cruise industry and lead search engine marketing at Busbud, a bus travel booking platform in 80 countries. Hopper differentiates its paid marketing strategy by focusing on user acquisition AND long-term trust through investing in paid social and other mobile ad channels. They use Facebook as the primary focus of their paid social ads with TikTok as a growing secondary channel. Paid search marketing is becoming a lot more abstract and therefore more creative. Makoto believes paid TikTok ads must be kept fresh, platform-focused, and generated at a higher frequency. The pandemic did affect the travel industry but Hopper still achieved a 110% YoY growth last year and is on track to do over $1B of business this year. They did this by following a diversification strategy based on customer needs and expanded into hotels and car rentals. Hopper’s customer-obsessed culture and self-contained, autonomous teams have helped them grow multiple product arms simultaneously. A weekly catch-up call and an executive team focused on cross-team communication help these siloed teams at Hopper learn from each other’s challenges and successes. Sometimes ads that marketers like don’t appeal to actual customers and may end up performing worse than some simple customer-oriented ads. Over time, Hopper moved to these customer-centric ad creatives which helped them reduce expensive failures and triple their RPM (revenue per 1000 impressions). At Hopper, Makoto focuses on maximizing the overall contribution margin of a cohort and on-target rate to check their ability to drive revenue from specific target purchases or user actions. Because Hopper diversified across three generic categories (hotels, flights, car rentals), their ad targeting still focuses on great creatives and has not changed much since IDFA deprecation in iOS 14.5.
40 minutes | May 27, 2021
CEO @ Yummly: Brian Witlin- Retaining Customers, Personal Growth & Pokemon Go
Today we’re joined by Brian Witlin, CEO of Yummly. Brian’s life has been dedicated to building and scaling consumer-focused startups and commercially successful teams over several years. In this episode, Brian shares his experiences of building and scaling Yummly and other companies along with his core message of living a well-rounded life, which is especially useful for founders in the early stages of their career. Yummly is a recipe discovery platform with a mission of helping people become the best version of themselves whilst achieving their goals in the kitchen. In the episode, Brian talks about how Yummly moved from conception to its current state by empowering its consumers and taking risks. In the episode, Brian describes how cooking went from being a way of sustenance to a form of healthy living throughout the pandemic. Brian also talks about the importance of relevant lifecycle messaging and how Yummly leveraged this to shift from an acquisition-focused to a retention-oriented growth strategy. In the episode, Brian shares how user-centered design and design thinking sparked his curiosity and has helped him start several new businesses. He also talks about his passion for helping set other entrepreneurs up for success. Brian also explores why recipe and food hardware startups struggle to attract investors and wind up early. Finally, Brian also shares his advice for startup founders on separating their identity from their work and avoiding burnout.
38 minutes | May 20, 2021
Senior Director, Mobile Marketing and Growth @ Electronic Arts: Jayne Peressini- The Power of Campaign Iteration
Jayne Peressini is the Senior Director, Mobile Marketing and Growth @ Electronic Arts (EA). Her team manages user acquisition, retargeting, and user retention across the multiple genres of games that EA produces. Jayne’s interest in gaming dates all the way back to the pre-iPhone era when her Dad purchased her a console on which she hooked to playing games. Jayne believes that mobile gaming helps people gain a sense of community and can sometimes act as a welcome distraction... which is why mobile gaming metrics have been going through the roof during the pandemic. Jayne believes in taking a difficult campaign and iterating through in order to make it work. She fondly recalls a campaign where she challenged assumptions about women playing sports and eventually succeeded after multiple iterations. Furthermore, Jayne firmly believes in the idea of “you only fail when you quit” and also emphasizes the importance of working together through failure in order to achieve success as a team. Jayne thinks that, especially after IDFA deprecation in iOS 14.5, gaming companies should focus on overall user lifecycle metrics. She is in favor of choosing the right time to transition them across the lifecycle instead of using interruption marketing. Jayne’s team management philosophy revolves around giving due credit and providing genuine encouragement on a regular basis. Jayne advises younger folks in gaming to reach out to mentors with whom they identify on a personal level and ask them for specific advice whilst also encouraging senior mentors in the industry to freely share their knowledge.
38 minutes | May 13, 2021
Head of Lifecycle Marketing @ Calm: Sue Cho - Generating Power Users with Data & Email
Today we’re joined by Sue Cho, who has been the Head of Lifecycle Marketing at Calm for three years. For over a decade, Sue has focused on all their engagement, retention, and conversion. In this episode, Sue talks about everything from career advice, her current work at Calm, her vision for the team, and her badass dog Lizzy. Sue starts by telling us about her radical decision to move to the mountains, how the lockdown period was great for Calm’s business and how it suited her personality. Next, she shares her accidental journey into the world of email marketing and how she found her community in this job. Sue advocates embracing a data-driven approach, especially when it comes to matters of subjective opinion. At Calm, Sue emphasizes finding the right metrics that move the needle on business goals and giving Calm’s users a consistent experience regardless of their platform. She also highlights an exciting challenge that she’s working on that, if executed well, would help them avoid Apple and Google conversion taxes. She talks about her team and provides insightful advice for email marketers to improve email open rates, and even shares a cool exercise for this. Sue describes her process for activating new users and converting them into power users through gentle yet personalized reminders. Sue also shares how she developed authority in her field with a combination of her Asian-American values of hard work and perseverance, her opinionated nature, and a data-driven approach to her work. Her entrepreneurial attitude shines through as she talks about why she started the San Francisco chapter of the Email Geek’s club. In the rapid-fire round, Sue shares the one app she would never delete from her phone, an animal she would love to talk to, her badass dog Lizzy, and the most unlikely app on her phone.
28 minutes | May 6, 2021
Head of Growth @ Licious: Prathamesh Dembla - Compound Interest, Lockdown Growth & Why Marketers Should Also Teach
16 minutes | Apr 29, 2021
Head Of Marketing @ MediBuddy: Ashish Bajaj- Balancing Growth & Values
Ashish Bajaj is the Head of Marketing at MediBuddy, which joined forces with DocsApp in 2020 to become India’s largest digital healthcare platform. Previously, he held roles as the Head of Media and Brand Alliance at Ola and as a Channel Marketing Manager with Microsoft. In this episode, Ashish fondly shares warm anecdotes from his current and past work experience to highlight the positive impact those projects have had on the lives of their customers. Ashish believes that the impact their campaigns leave and the value they contribute to their customers’ lives provide a much greater high for marketers. Ashish opens up about his outdoor sales experience working for his family in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh and how that contributed to his growth story. Finally, Ashish also shares potent advice for new startups who often get distracted by the hypergrowth of other startups in a race to achieve “unicorn” status.
33 minutes | Apr 22, 2021
Director of Marketing @ VSCO: Noa Gutterman- Influencers, Re-engagement & Compounding Growth Loops
Noa Gutterman is the Director of Marketing at VSCO. Before this VSCO, she spent six years in the digital marketing game in various roles. Noa runs VSCO’s marketing function and in the ten months since joining she has hired four team members, built up the entire lifecycle and product marketing functions and refreshed VSCO’s paid acquisition strategy. Noa shares details of an upcoming influencer marketing campaign, targeting the Gen Z generation that she is very excited to see the results of. She breaks down the strategies that can be used to find influencers, the difference between a normal and micro-influencer and what your first step should be if you are also aiming to kick off an influencer marketing campaign. Noa also breaks down VSCO’s approach to re-engaging users. She shares a step-by-step approach from discovering what users like most about the app and what behavior patterns most commonly lead to these revenue generating actions to then how to encourage those behaviors through owned and paid channels. Hear Noa’s advice for her younger self, why she has marketing in her blood, why the VSCO growth team sits within the product function, the one animal that Noa would most like to talk to, and more on this episode of How I Grew This.
31 minutes | Apr 15, 2021
Head of Digital Marketing Europe @ Banco Santander: Frank Hulsebosch- Mobile Banking Trends, Cross-Industry Wisdom & Doing More
Frank Hulsebosch is the Head of Digital Marketing Europe at Banco Santander. Before this role, he spent two years as a digital marketing manager in the Benelux region of Europe, also at Banco Santander. Frank was responsible for driving for Banco Santander’s Benelux region’s digital transformation, launching a new mobile home banking app, new digital onboarding journeys, and CRO programs to optimize online channels. He then moved on to lead the digital marketing strategy and performance of Santander’s Consumer Finance unit in Europe. Frank shares an honest account of his transition from a media agency to leading the Santander Benelux region’s digital transformation. He mentions that he oversold himself during the hiring process, which did enable him to get the role but led to a lot more stress further down the road as he struggled with a lack of experience in the world of mobile banking. Frank provides career advice for aspiring growth leaders: “do more.” Frank found himself completing his assigned tasks during his first internship and then always searching for more work to do. This approach significantly increased his rate of learning over that of his peers, accelerating his career. Hear more career advice along with why you should never give up when starting something new, the reason why other people don’t want you to succeed, the impact of COVID-19 on the mobile banking industry, and more on this episode of How I Grew This.
36 minutes | Apr 8, 2021
[Repost] Head of Analytics & Mobile Marketing @ MakeMyTrip: Sachin Singla - Redefining Marketing & Growth for Travel Brands
Today's guest, Sachin Singla, is someone who didn't stick to one career or path but found his way to marketing via other paths like finance and consulting (not unlike our host Mada). Sachin talks about how marketing has adapted and how marketing teams have needed to pivot and become more agile in the age of COVID-19. Mainly looking at your customer segments, Sachin explains how the lockdown rules vary wildly in India and how brands need to make their messaging reflect their target market's current state.
33 minutes | Apr 1, 2021
[Repost] CPO @ Eventbrite: Casey Winters - Connecting Users to the Value of Your Product
Master at building community on the internet, Casey took his passion for user-generated content and built a career on creating sustainable growth strategies for companies like Pinterest, Grubhub, and Airbnb. At Pinterest, he drove an increase in sign-ups from Google by 50%, a tactic today that's still copied by Instagram and LinkedIn. Casey talks how companies can react to coronavirus, the mindset around building growth teams, and shares practical advice on decisions that build fulfilling careers. Hear all this and more on this episode of How I Grew this. Listen now on Apple Podcasts Spotify, Google Podcasts, Stitcher, and more.
29 minutes | Mar 25, 2021
Head of Subscription Growth @ Verizon Media: Ian Moore- Supercharging Subscription Growth
Ian Moore is the Head of Subscription Growth at Verizon Media. Before joining Verizon Media in August 2020, he spent five years at The New York Times, where he was the Growth Media Strategy Director. As the son of a first-generation American, Ian’s educational path pointed towards medicine, but that wasn’t where he found his career passion. An Economics professor turned things around. His professor taught him about the power of persuasion. From there, Ian felt inspired to predict human behavior through incentive programs. Ian dives into the concept of codeswitching early in his career and how his mentality has changed as he’s become more confident in his abilities. He reminds us to let the work do the talking. Quality work is going to do the talking. A turning point for Ian’s career is when the CEO of the New York times shared with him some advice he'd never forget (you're going to have to tune in to hear what she said). This interaction and his experience of pioneering subscriptions at the New York Times positioned Ian as an expert in subscription growth. Hear this and how his tenure at the New York Times shaped his view on how to drive subscription growth, how he’s investing in an online company replacing physical optometry appointments, what it’s like to build consumer relationships with legacy products, and more on this episode of How I Grew This.
27 minutes | Mar 18, 2021
Co-Founder + Product @ Lenskart.com: Ramneek Khurana- Growing Physical Through Digital
Growth and product are a completely different beast when you sell physical products and not software. Despite those challenges, our next guest Ramneek Khurana has grown Lenskart to help India’s vision problem. Ramneek went to Georgia Tech and expected to go to a major consulting firm, but he took some advice that led him into physical products as he started his career at Michelin Tires. Since Michelin was the top tire brand, Ramneek made very marginal improvements and eventually got bored and wanted to solve a bigger problem. That led him to co-found Lenskart, an optical eyewear chain that produces over 300,000 glasses a month. They saw the large gap in the Indian market for a convenient, stylish eyeglass brand that also helped tackle the millions of Indians who weren’t able to get glasses. Unlike almost every other eyeglass manufacturer, Lenskart focused on mobile and digital from the very beginning, making it easier for customers and allowed them to scale quickly. Some of their best growth campaigns came out of COVID. They received tons of videos from customers to showcase they could still help people get eyeglasses even during lockdown and turned it into a massively successful TV campaign. Hear stories like this, how they won the award for Best Mobile Innovation at Branch’s 1010 Mobile Growth Awards, how Ramneek manages his time as the company grows and changes, and more on this episode of How I Grew This.
27 minutes | Mar 11, 2021
VP, Digital & Loyalty @ Tim Hortons: Matthew Moore- Building Brand Loyalty Through Mobile
Our next guest Matthew Moore started his career at GE but decided to go back to school for management consulting to grow as a leader, among other things, and he realized that growth working for Boston Consulting. Matt's journey into driving mobile growth kicked off when he became the first Chief Customer Officer of Yum! Brands where he oversaw Pizza Hut for Europe and UK, and he also launched Pizza Hut Digital Ventures. During his time at YUM Brands, he pivoted the culture towards building digital in-house as most of Pizza Hut's business was online already. After that, he returned to his motherland, Canada, to lead digital for the iconic Canadian brand, Tim Hortons. Under Matthew’s leadership, they have shifted heavily to mobile through various strategies, including mobile ordering, loyalty programs, guest personalization, and more. Loyalty programs have arguably been one of their biggest wins during Matt's time at Tim Hortons. Tim Horton's initially achieved a 30% adoption rate and eventually 50% once the program was fully launched. Hear this and how Matt used to travel 300 days out of the year, his philosophy on why you need to find purpose in your work, and his experience working all over the world on this episode of How I Grew This.
26 minutes | Mar 4, 2021
Director, Growth Product @ The Athletic: Caitlin Roman- Rewards of the Unknown
Caitlin Roman brings her collective experiences in consulting at McKinsey, Product at Linkedin & Medium, to the World of sports news at The Athletic. Having come up in these subscription powerhouses, Caitlin has a potent combination of high level business strategy experience alongside the tactical ability to work side by side with her teams to execute. All of which were crucial for a subscription business like the Athletic during a tumultuous 2020 in sports. Caitlin and her team released a number of strategies during this time including different content formats like short form, twitter in the app, breaking news, and pricing strategies to keep users tuning in even when sports weren’t in play. If there’s a word we would use to describe Caitlin it would be resilient! Far before she was leading her team through the bumps of the pandemic, she had two keystone experiences that she shared on the show that we felt shaped her. The first is her passion for media at a young age. Working as a newspaper editor in both high school and college, Caitlin sought out the challenge of the daily deadline for her daily newspaper. She talks about those late nights and stress of it but attributes this as the reason why she loves working in the trenches with her teams today, drawing lines to the similarities in product management. Before Caitlin found her way to Linkedin, she lived and worked in Ethiopia as a part of a Gates Foundation. During a solo climbing trip in a local gorge, she fell and broke her back and had to self-rescue. After this grueling experience she recovered, but Caitlin didn’t only not fly home but continued her work at the time providing microfinance to farmers in need. To hear more about Caitlin’s amazing story around how she found her way into product in subscription powerhouses, how she thinks about leading her teams, and her epic in the wilderness of Ethiopia, take a listen to this episode of How I Grew This.
28 minutes | Feb 18, 2021
Senior Mobile Delivery Manager @ Belk: Matt Hudson - How to Win in the Changing World of Retail
Today we talk with someone who has seen the very beginnings of mobile and has helped some of the world’s biggest brands learn how to adapt and innovate by going mobile. Our guest is Matt Hudson. From the early days of mobile at just twenty-one, he helped Rock Fish build their mobile app and strategy, and he’s gone on to the same for Sam’s Club, Charles Schwab, and now Belk. Matt shares several campaigns that drove an incredible amount of growth, like the “App Attack” campaign. To drive downloads to the app, they had stores compete to see who could drive the most downloads, and they ended up driving 1.5 million total downloads through that campaign. Hear this and how Matt was featured in the Washington Post by proposing to his wife via Words With Friends, how he got started in mobile, and why he believes there’s still so much opportunity for growth and more all on this episode of How I Grew This.
37 minutes | Jan 28, 2021
Former Global CMO @ Potbelly: Brandon Rhoten- Speaking in the Voice of Your Customer
As marketers, we all hope that our efforts will transform a brand and have it become the talk of the town. Our next guest, Brandon Rhoten, has been able to do just this at several of the brands he has transformed. Brandon has worked at Wendys, Papa Johns and Potbelly and although his approach has differed with each challenge the results have been the same: transformational change. We learn that a company looking to adapt and evolve doesn’t need to hop on the hottest trend; it needs to isolate its market problem and find a solution that aligns with its brand’s positioning. In the case of Papa Johns, it was moving their advertising to digital channels from traditional ones. For Wendys, it was reasserting its voice with clever and funny ads on social platforms like Twitter to engage with a younger audience. In this episode, Brandon shares exactly how he approached evolving the marketing strategies at each of these companies to adapt to the times and ultimately get incredible results. Hear this and how they hired comedians for Wendy's Twitter account, whyPotBelly hired former professional football player Peyton Manning and why Brandon studies the financial news as much as anything else, all on this episode of How I Grew This.
25 minutes | Jan 21, 2021
VP of Marketing @ Junglee Games: Bharat Bhatia- Growing Despite Saturation
The days of unsaturated channels and growth hacking, as we used to know it is over. Our guest today, Bharat Bhatia, dives deep into new strategies and the understanding of the product that has helped him achieve continued growth. Bharat comes from the gaming industry, an industry that he explains has one of the tightest bonds between product and marketing. He shares how he and his team approach that integration through in-app growth channels. In addition, with today’s growth channels like Facebook and Google ads more saturated and restricted, he breaks down how he has approached growth, especially when reaching the tipping point of scaling beyond existing audiences. Hear more about how Junglee Games grew through COVID, how he has managed to take better care of his physical health, and the most important and unexpected lesson he learned at business school, all on this episode of How I grew this.
35 minutes | Jan 14, 2021
VP Digital @ El Pollo Loco: Andy Rebhun - Beanie Babies, McNuggets, and OH MY! How A Childhood Hustle Evolved into A Winning Mentality in Digital
Andy Rebhun is someone you just get excited to talk to. He’s an extrovert with opinions and vision. He is an accomplished Marketing Executive, who has delivered first-to-market products and profitable growth for billion-dollar brands across Fortune 50 companies like the McDonalds Corporation and Ford Motor Company. He is currently Vice President of Digital at El Pollo Loco, where he is responsible for CRM, E-Commerce, off premise delivery, loyalty program, and social media. Andy holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Wisconsin Madison and an MBA from Kellogg School of Management. In this episode, Andy dives into (1) how he got tapped to manage marketing for an 800+ restaurant market before 30 yrs old, (2) how he took the McDonald’s app from 0 to 5M users, (3) how he navigated COVID to triple digital sales at El Pollo Loco, (4) along the lessons he learned along the way.
35 minutes | Jan 7, 2021
Growth Advisor & Former Global Head of Digital Marketing @ Slack: Holly Chen- How An Inner Rebelliousness Led to A Career in Growth
Holly Chen is an award-winning marketing and growth advisor who credits her inner rebelliousness and overall questioning of conventional thinking for leading her into a career in Growth. And she’s been a standout from the beginning. In Beijing, Holly was one of the few Chinese nationals majoring in Italian in the entire country. After taking on her first role at the United Nations, she felt the need to move to something where she could better measure the impact of her work and joined an early stage startup in New York City. Her entry into Product Management and Marketing teams at that start up eventually led to her becoming the Head of Growth at the Google Store, in charge of distinguishing the various Google Store and hardware brands. She then went on to build Slack’s Digital Marketing and Performance Marketing function globally driving user acquisition, retention, and monetization across SMB and Enterprise customers. Amidst her current work as a growth advisor, Holly is a co-founder of Ceilingbreakers.us, a coaching platform that is rethinking the way tech leadership looks by creating a direct line to top executive coaches for leaders from diverse backgrounds: specifically women, immigrants, LGBTQ+, and other underrepresented groups. Hear more about where Holly believes growth sits within a company, advice to those building their own multi touch attribution systems, and her advice for her younger self on this episode of How I Grew This. App she can’t live without: Apple Podcast App Animal she would talk to if she could: Cats App she uses that others wouldn’t expect: Chinese apps
33 minutes | Dec 10, 2020
Chief Marketing Officer @ White Castle: Lynn Blashford- A Century Old Company With A Growth Mindset
Lynn Blashford, CMO of White Castle, has risen the ranks during her 10 years at the company. White Castle, known for pioneering the fast food industry, turns 100 years old in 2021 and operates with a long term vision which runs counter to today’s hypergrowth and short-term gains environment. Maybe unsurprisingly, this mindset has allowed them to weather the storm of 2020 both by taking care of their employees as well as how they’ve strategically diversified the business. White Castle was one of the first non-pizza companies to roll out online ordering and was the first fast food chain to adopt the vegan Impossible Slyder in the nation. Beyond just the bottom line, Lynn spoke about how the private nature of the company allows them to take care of their people and the communities they serve. One of the beautiful stories she shares is how healthcare workers could eat for free when the pandemic lockdowns began. Hear more about how White Castle has adapted to the many challenges of 2020, Lynn’s advice for her younger self, and of course, Lynn’s behind-the-scenes story of how the film “Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle” came to be, all on this episode of How I grew this.
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