What's the best way to market to marketers (who already know all your tricks)? No better person to ask than our guest Adam Lovallo, founder of Grow.co and the Mobile Apps Unlocked conference.

Tune into the podcast to hear more about Adam’s out of the box marketing strategies, or read the edited highlights below. 

So, what is a growth marketer? 

4:32 Melissa - “How are growth marketers different and when you say growth do you mean, specifically, mobile?”

4:40 Adam - “No, I definitely don’t mean specifically mobile, although that’s a big part of it. I’m talking about web, which these days is largely mobile web, native apps, and, to a lesser extent, other platforms. To me, it’s a cross-functional skillset. Growth teams are likely to be working on paid UA, but also have a hand in user onboarding, and the underlying product itself. Some growth teams are in charge of monetization and retention via channels like SMS, email, and push notifications. Growth teams might be more likely to have dedicated engineering both front-end and back-end, designers, UX, etc. Not to mention data scientists doing predictive LTV analysis. I really see it as a cross-functional skill set, in some respects, pseudo-technical.”

Let’s talk conferences

6:23 Adam - “We started to focus on the MAU event, which is our mobile apps event, because it was the most successful and was resonating the best. Minus coronavirus, that event has grown every year, and we continue to attract more people internationally and more people from other verticals. The event started off with die hard mobile folks, Zynga, Uber, etc. But now we’ve got all kinds of companies coming out of the woodwork that are interested in, fundamentally, networking but also have an app that’s consequential, which is really the prerequisite.

The plan is to keep going. I think it’s a useful event for the ecosystem and the industry, and our intention is to keep it going. When I take a step back, it’s hard for me to imagine that that event won’t continue to grow over time because the mobile app space is growing tremendously. It’s not just about a couple of big Silicon Valley companies and gaming, which is what it was five years ago, but really about every business.”

8:04 Melissa - “Do you see an opposite trajectory for MAU where you’ll go from a very successful conference to branching out into other forms of content or other vehicles for delivering content?” 

8:18 Adam - “We’ve thought about, particularly in light of the coronavirus, whether we should have a podcast, original written content, etc. I think there’s something about in person events that you can’t easily recreate. 

For an event organizer, you can sell tickets and sponsorships. As a business, the economics can really work and you can invest in it. Even if you write the absolute best blog post, it’s still a very targeted subject matter. You might only drive a couple 100 or 1,000 readers and media in that form is often sold in CPM terms. I could write a killer blog post and sell it at $100 CPM for a sponsorship that surrounds it and generate $100. That’s part of the challenge of B2B publications.”

Just keep trending 

10:30 Adam - “Years ago, the ecosystem was so new that discovery itself was part of the value. For example, ‘I have never heard of solution provider X, I should learn what they do.’ That’s no longer the case … Our industry is relatively well understood and the major players are clear on the solution provider side and the media sources side. The discovery element has diminished, that’s a trend.

Number two, paid UA is a big driver in the mobile space because, as everybody knows, the app stores are great, because there’s an incredible number of apps in there. Discoverability is a challenge because you’re not usually going to push an app in the app store today without some paid promotion around it, and then end up being successful. I think everybody recognizes that running campaigns with the right partners, Facebook, Google, ironSource, is insufficient to be competitive.

Creative, how effective the app is in retaining people from a product standpoint, and how effective the app is in retaining people from a CRM standpoint are huge drivers. There’s not that much leverage, in my opinion, in the pure media mix. It’s relatively well understood, if you know what you’re doing, where you should be spending money. You have to compete on making your dollars more efficient so that you’re inherently more competitive in these auctions. That’s where I think a lot more content and interest falls.”

Gaming impacts everything 

15:44 Melissa - “Game companies have perfected that approach of widening the relevance or sphere of responsibility. Do you think the gaming industry has an impact on the wider mobile industry and will it continue to do so? 

16:03 Adam - “That’s a given. In the mobile space, gaming advertisers are probably, pound for pound, the most sophisticated because they’re in the most competitive market not only domestically but internationally. 

Everybody in the mobile space looks to gaming as the bellwether for the industry. You even see a lot of people coming out of the gaming world and moving into non-gaming categories to try and infuse that kind of DNA.”

17:05 Melissa - “Originally, it was just the store, and then it was diversifying your media mix, and then it became creatives, products, CRMs, etc. I think all of those successive thresholds of competition were breached inside the gaming industry first.” 

Challenge with marketing to marketers 

18:18 Adam - “I think it’s creating content that’s useful. 99% of the research reports and blog posts are written by people who don’t do this, so they're bad. There are really sophisticated companies that employ tons of really smart marketing people, and they’ll write a blog post titled, ‘5 tips to scaling UA during the holiday season.’ I’m like, are you kidding me? This is a joke. I think authenticity and quality is a really big challenge. One thing I’ve found that user acquisition people do respond to is actual, real examples of things. It’s no surprise that, probably, the most effective and useful B2B content in the mobile ecosystem are index reports from the mobile measurement providers, for example.” 

20:23 Melissa - “The more insistent you are on delivering real value with your content, the longer it’s going to take you to do it. But, if you get in the habit of creating valuable content, that gets easier over time.”

Corona and conferences 

21:10 Adam - “I think in-person events have a ton of utility that cannot be replaced by online stuff. Maybe there are people out there that disagree with that statement but I feel quite confident of that. We’re operating on the assumption that we can add safety precautions that can help mitigate things. I’m not sure how long it will take the macro event ecosystem to return to normal. I think there’s a lot of value in the face-to-face networking aspect of it. As it stands, we have dates on the calendar and postponed our event from May to September and I think that’s very likely to change.

I don’t think the peer-to-peer or vendor-to-marketer dynamic is replaced by anything other than in-person events in the long term.”

Out of the Box marketing 

25:26 Adam - “We were targeting small business owners and we wanted them to work with us so it was more an SMB campaign. We sent them a custom letter, case studies that were specific to their category, for example, if they were a bakery, restaurant, skydiving place, etc., we made publisher clearing house style checks that are pretty much fake checks, we would hand sign them, and then the key was that we sent it to them, via Fedex, requiring a signature. When you get a package that requires signature, especially if you’re a small business, it’s pretty serious. They worked like a charm.”

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