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I first met Kevin in 2014 at our first conference with Searchmetrics, because he is a partner of Alpha Brand Media, the publisher of SEJ. Kevin is a great guy and I am really excited he will be speaking at our SEJ Summit marketing conference in Santa Monica on April 13, 2016.
Kevin’s SEJ Summit topic is Steal from the Startups: Entrepreneur Style Growth Tactics for Big Brands, in which he will discuss “examples and how-tos on startup techniques that he’s deployed successfully with enterprise level marketing teams.”
If you’d like to learn from Kevin and our other great speakers, you can purchase your tickets today and get big discounts.
1. What is the biggest opportunity you’ve seen for digital marketers regarding growth hacking in large companies?
From what I’ve seen, larger enterprise company strategies don’t have the tracking in place to make good ROI-based decisions. Larger budgets many times are not properly deployed due to lack of end-to-end tracking and communication from marketing to engineering. Smaller companies have an easier time as things can generally move more quickly.
2. Your company, Acompli, was acquired by Microsoft in 2014. What has been the biggest adjustment in moving from a startup to a large company like Microsoft?
As a tiny startup you fight every day for users and to get your name out there. Microsoft has such a strong brand, it has made a huge difference on our growth and user acquisition. At the same time, working to keep our rapid and agile pace in a larger organization took a good bit of work. That said, it’s really satisfying to be able to reach so many new users now that we have re-branded as Outlook on iOS and Android.
3. You also have talked about agile marketing in the past, and I personally have heard a lot more discussions on the topic in the past year or two. What does it really mean?
I think about agile marketing much the same way I think about agile product development. It really boils down to admitting you can’t plan for everything and helping long-term project plans have a better chance of success. The market is moving really fast and being able to adjust on the fly in days/weeks allows a marketing team to react to new trends or new opportunities without waiting for what traditionally was a quarterly or yearly planning cycles.
In agile marketing, you have to admit you don’t know everything and plan and act on the next set of actions or tactics based on the best information you have. Regular retrospectives allow you to adjust course and correct or add to your strategy as you go.
4. What are the biggest benefits of agile marketing for enterprise level businesses?
In my experience, the biggest benefit is the increased impact and effectiveness you have by being able to adapt. It also removes the need to try to get the strategy perfect upfront. With an agile approach you run smaller initial tests or campaigns and then scale up or add focus to the areas that work best.
5. Switching gears a bit, as a lover of all things tech, what is your current favorite tech tool?
My daughter and I really love flying our Syma X5C drone. It’s [about] $50 on Amazon and for the price is super fun to fly and take video in nearby parks. We got it as a starter drone, but so far it’s pretty indestructible due to poor piloting.
6. You have been involved in tech since 1999. Who in tech has been the most influential in your career development?
I’d say Tim Ferriss. His first book the Four Hour Work Week has changed the way I approach most things. While I don’t work four hours a week, the ideas about outsourcing and simplifying projects has been invaluable both in my personal life and the companies I’ve been involved with. High-level ideas about thinking about what your time is worth as you approach projects and realizing that most longer tasks can be split into smaller tasks I think are the two key concepts that resonated with me the most.
Thanks so much Kevin! It’s awesome to know how enterprise companies can learn so much from start-ups and the tech industry as a whole.
Don’t forget, you can buy your ticket for our SEJ Summit Santa Monica conference, taking place on April 13th at Loews Santa Monica Beach Hotel.