Billion Dollar Marketing Strategies from a Unicorn
Today we’re going to take some lessons from a unicorn.
Nah, we’re not talking about the mythical creature—we’re talking about startup unicorns. You know, the companies that have insane growth and come out of seemingly nowhere to dominate a market. Think of Uber, Airbnb, Snapchat, etc.
You might use one of those unicorns every day at work – Slack. It’s a communication platform for teams, and is one of the fastest growing B2B software companies ever.
Today’s Listen is an interview with Slack’s former CMO Bill Macaitis. Bill shares what happened behind the scenes at Slack to make their growth explode. You’re gonna wanna tune in ‘cause Bill is a marketing guru who does more than just spit out inspirational marketing quotes.
You can skip right to 6:19 for the start of the good stuff.
- (7:58) In his first 100 days, Bill focused on building a high-performance marketing ops team. He also started in-depth brand monitoring to get a baseline idea of where they were in the industry.
- (9:19) Bill started working on messaging by asking every single employee, “How do you describe Slack?”
- (10:17) Becoming a unicorn isn’t just about organic growth. They knew advertising was going to be essential to their growth so they went through an RFP process to find the right agency.
- (16:10) Word of mouth marketing comes from being a customer-centric company. And if you’re truly a customer-centric company, then every experience your customers and prospects have with your company needs to be exceptional – everything from marketing to sales, to onboarding, to customer support.
- (19:17) Being a completely customer-centric company will just about guarantee that people will be talking about you and referring you to their friends.
- (24:26) Some of Slack’s most successful brand campaigns and how they measured success. Here’s one of their most successful brand ads.
- (29:00) If you’re a small company with a limited budget, you can still run a brand campaign.
- (33:41) Podcasting was one of the most cost-effective content marketing strategies for Slack. Ads they were running for their podcasts were costing $0.07 per listen. Compared with $1-$2 per view for a video ad.
The Most Powerful Writing Voice for 21st-Century Content
Yesterday, our Listen starred Sarah Rhea Werner, host of the Write Now podcast. We won’t give you the whole spiel again, but, despite it being a podcast about podcasting, it got us thinking a lot about the written word. (Well, we’re always thinking about writing, that’s what we do.)
Then, we came across today’s Read from Copyblogger. Even if writing isn’t What You Do everyday, per se, Sonia Simone’s post will prep you to be a better writer, communicator, and marketer.
We hear a lot about how writing as an authority grants us more marketing success. But, we’re missing another crucial element: vulnerability.
It’s the combination of authority and vulnerability that has become the most effective voice on the Internet. This is called empowered vulnerability and, once you tap into it, you can create a potent voice that works tremendously in the content environment today.
“It doesn’t shy away from authority. It understands that people will always look for informed, confident voices. But. It also doesn’t shy away from revealing the personal, the fractured, and the imperfect.” Ugh, we just love that.
Here’s a “table of contents,” if you will, about some highlights you’ll find in this thoughtful blog post:
- Why good copywriters and good marketers can handle multiple tones of voice
- How to write informally without devolving into unicorn vomit
- The Power Paradox: How We Gain and Lose Influence
- Why, when people gain power, their social intelligence can begin to suffer
- The important difference between powerlessness and vulnerability
- Finding the right balance between authority and vulnerability
- Different kinds of vulnerability
We’d regurgitate this whole blog post if we could, but, if you’re really looking to understand the 21st-Century’s “most powerful writing voice,” we suggest reading this one for yourself. It’s worth it.
We’re Rooting for You, Kevin!
Get it?? ‘Cause carrots are a root vegetable??
Anyway… Remember Kevin the Carrot from Aldi’s 2016 holiday ad? He became a vitamin-A-list star (ba-dum-ching), beating out several other carrots for the part. Yeah…Aldi really ran with their new mascot, and for good reason. They nailed the branded, vegetable personification, earning Kevin a spot in a few “top ads of 2016” lists.
Well, Aldi brought the carrot cutie back and we are delighted. Now, we see him falling head over leaf for another tabled, fabled carrot, rescuing her like any good-natured vegetable would. The spot also references several movies, like “Titanic” and “The Bodyguard.”
Will Kevin win the heart of his carrot counterpart?
“Real authority doesn’t come from perfection or hyped-up confidence. It comes from your ability to help.”