What is it like to be a marketer in a startup?
Working in marketing is a blend of strategy, implementation, and analytics. Ultimately, you’re dealing with all three of these aspects, although, depending on the company or your role, you may need to focus on one area more than the others.
For me, it’s still a mix of these three activities. If I happen to be the only marketing person on the team or if we have a small, 2–3-person marketing team, I have to deal with all three aspects at once. In that case, things can get pretty busy!
Are things generally clear in marketing, so you know what’s going on and just have to put a plan into action? Or is it more about discovering and inventing?
There is a bit of both! There are some things that I already know, having worked in marketing for ten years. I discuss them with the team, I put together a strategy, then we implement it and analyse the results. Since there are always new things to discover, I have to learn and find new methods for marketing from time to time. I like finding new ways to improve our marketing.
What are the biggest challenges? How do you handle them?
For me, the main challenges right now involve:
- Generating qualified leads, i.e. potential customers
- Proving marketing ROI, i.e. the return on the marketing investment
- Finding the best technologies.
Let’s go over them one at a time:
Generating well-qualified leads
Generating traffic and leads through marketing is one thing. Generating qualified leads, however, is a whole other ballgame. It’s quite a challenge because Xolo’s customers are a fairly specific target group. Given the abundance of different channels and the demographics of our customers, it is a constant challenge for us, because we conduct marketing everywhere.
At Xolo, we handle this through continuous research, reviewing our strategy, improving the way it is implemented, and analysing our current channels and marketing activities. We also like to ask the customer directly where they found us, how they found us, and what made them respond to our messages.
Proving marketing ROI
I sincerely believe that certain returns on marketing costs cannot always simply be proven by data, sales, or money. They just reveal themselves.
- Giving away merch branded with the company’s logo does not instantly increase sales, but it can engage people on social media and make customers happier.
- It is important that customers have a strong, clear understanding of the company. But how can you calculate the strength of this understanding other than through surveys?
Even if you have the data, marketing ROI is still hard to prove with complete confidence, sales channels are different and it can be difficult to point out particular marketing activity.
In addition to constant research, we also work closely with our business analysis team, particularly when we need to find the best attribution models. We also look for other ways to monitor the ROI. Of course, we try to be more open to certain things, like attractive company merch. Who wouldn't want a Xolo hoodie?
Finding the best technologies.
There are over 6,000 marketing software applications in the world. Which ones do we use? Or which ones should we use? That is the third challenge I find myself faced with. At Xolo, some of the tools we use include LeadPages, Canva, and MailChimp, and we are always looking at what else we could use for marketing.
It is important to consider your strategy, think about what you need and what problems you want to solve. So we research the software solutions being offered, look at what best suits us, and try it out.
Photographer: Stina Kase