We spoke to Martin Aguinis, Head of Global Marketing for Flutter, at Google, about scaling campaigns and reaching the all-important 99%.
Q: How do you balance the goal of reaching the 99% while bearing in mind you can't be all things to all people?
As marketers, we trained to build personas, segment audiences, personalize messages, then execute. I like the larger aspirations, but wondering how you navigate that.
A: The 99% comes at the execution/scale level. I agree with you that narrowing focus is key at first. Rather than scaling up to 99% from day 1, it’s important to still segment, beta test, and keep a focus early in the product life cycle.
A different way to think about this is that many times it is YOUR 99% rather than the 99%. During various points of the product life cycle, your 99% audience may differ in size and scale. Early on, it may include just your beta testers or one persona; later on, it can evolve to be ‘all US students’.
Q: In the spirit of "reaching the 99%" in a slightly different context:
I host a podcast that interviews alumni from my university to unpack their career journeys in a way that's tangible for students and other alumni.
I've got good traction (nearing 1,000 downloads), and while segmented, have aspirations to reach my theoretical 99% (the goal is 10,000 downloads).
This is on a smaller scale, but how would you apply your recipe for scaling campaigns to content production?
Especially curious during the market conditions with COVID-19 as content consumption is increasing because there's not a whole lot else people can do.
A: I’d start by revisiting the segment. Is the 10k based on the market share of your university alumni group? Would you involve more universities or students from other institutions?
Then possibly look at what the ‘secret sauce’ of your podcast is. Why are people tuning in? This can be something you do quant or qual research on.
Finally, once you figure that out you can do some fundamental marketing like ads, email, and social blasts using the ‘secret sauce’ as a lever. This could be snippets from the best interviews and what students can get out of listening to more, for example.
Q: How does COVID-19 impact your recipe for scaling campaigns? Is this an opportunity for innovation?
A: Absolutely. We are living in unprecedented times. This has impacted industries and frankly people’s priorities. I think it’s important to shift towards a ‘helpfulness’ tone in all marketing comms and efforts. Of course, companies like Zoom and Netflix are going to do significantly better with these circumstances… but if your campaigns don’t involve CTAs that can be achieved while at home, I’d suggest quickly pivoting to that.
One example is this course my team at Google just launched today which gives free lifetime access to learning development.
We’d normally be focused on going to physical events but given COVID19, we shifted to provide resources for anyone to access given the limitations to travel or even leave the home.
Q: What are your go-to channels/platforms when reaching people worldwide? Also, how do you go about accommodating different time zones? I.e. If you were to hold a virtual event, would you hold separate ones for, say, people in Australia, Europe, and Eastern US?
A: In answer to your first question, this depends on your audience. For example, if you are targeting a typical B2C customer: Instagram, Search, Facebook, TikTok, Twitter. If your business sells to developers: Reddit, Stack Overflow, GitHub, Twitter. Sometimes running ads on Google’s ad network does the trick. You should certainly determine your target market and figure out their behavioral patterns; that will save you lots of marketing $$$.
There are many ways to accommodate different time zones. If your goal is for folks to tune in live, then you can host 3-4 of the same or similar segments that are timezone friendly to different regions of the world and target each region for one of the segments. This would allow them to ask questions during the event.
You should consider if the virtual event has to be live, however. If pure eyeballs on the announcements is your goal then you may be better off picking a time zone that accommodates most of your global users and making sure the recordings, blogs, summaries after are well circulated.
Q: When you're creating large-scale campaigns, do you throw everyone into the same bucket and try to target a global audience with one big campaign that has lots of welly behind it, or do you segment it and target different regions with different campaigns that are more localized to them? This ties into another question, do you find that different regions have vastly different preferences in terms of which types of campaigns do and don't perform?
A: This depends on your campaign goals and budget. If you are looking for pure brand awareness or website visitors, targeting a broader ‘bucket filled’ audience at first may be your best move. In this case, you can start broad and once you get data back on your CTR or traffic then shift to focusing on the most successful reach regions or customer demographics.
If you have a clear idea of your audience and they are spread out geographically, then find other filters to maximize the reach (e.g. 24-40 years, female, etc.) rather than location.
Various regions do have different preferences. In China, WeChat is used heavily, and promoting things on that super app platform can result in high ROI. Outside of the US, non-Apple products are much more over-indexed. Some social media platforms and services are universal regardless of region/country.
Q: What kind of campaigns and events do you typically run? And how do you go about proving the impact of those campaigns? It'd be great to hear some examples of typical OKRs you have against these kinds of things.
A: In my current role at Google, I run large-scale campaigns for developers. This can span from contests like Flutter Create and Flutter Clock to House Ads to promoting educational videos.
As we navigate through the current global health crisis together, we know a lot of people are looking to develop new skills. We want to help, so hours ago we announced and launched a partnership with the App Brewery to give away this new introductory course to learn how to build apps for iOS, Android, and the web (you should try it out!).
OKRs are usually things like reach, new users, brand sentiment. For campaigns like our contests, it also can include how many unique submissions we get, the social # impact/reach, how many of the contestants are new to the platform (e.g. how many new users we drew).
Q: My product marketing budget is relatively small, I'm just wondering what the most cost-effective methods are in your experience to reach that 99%, for people with slim budgets? I think over time these budgets could be increased, but I'd need to demonstrate the value with low investment campaigns/events first.
A: You almost answered your question in the last part of your post! The key is to show ROI at a narrow scale first so you can identify the value each dollar is bringing to your business.
Stay focused on a smaller scale, use your low-hanging-fruit like organic reach and word of mouth and email marketing to grow as much as you can without $. Then start slowly injecting $ in ensuring you are getting data back on the ROI each dollar is giving you so that you can use the budget wisely is key.
It helps to be backed by VCs or a big company, but once you prove out your business model and the budget you have is well spent and proves value it can become easier to raise more money.
Q: We have several big launches throughout the year and I'm not sure we'd have the bandwidth, budget, or resource to amplify each on a global scale, so I was wondering how do you decide which campaigns/events to go hard on? Do you have some sort of priority hierarchy?
A: Absolutely. “Think with the end in mind” is one of my favorite habits from 7 habits of highly effective people. So taking a step back and asking yourself: What is the best-case scenario? Do I want to get X amount of users for my platform? Do I want to secure a series? A funding round?
Once you identify your end-goal it is easier to backtrack and determine which of your campaigns or events will help you reach that goal the fastest.
Maybe the answer is even none of those and you come up with a new formula or campaign that reaches that north star faster and with less money!
Q: How would you apply the "reaching to 99%" approach from a market research standpoint? How do you ensure when uncovering challenges from your market that these challenges pertain to the 99% and you are building something that the 99% would benefit from and not just the 1% you've interviewed or done extensive research on?
A: This is something we think about a lot at Google since many of our employees are in the Bay Area which represents <1% of the global users of our products.
When it comes to your research, the key is to get enough of a varied sample size and number of participants that make the results statistically significant and varied. It does not take that many to be able to abstract insights that apply to the 99% rather than the 1%, but your sample must be varied across the entire addressable market of your product rather than 10 people who all studied Finance and grew up and live in the same city (unless your product is a finance tool that only targets Chicago).
Usually doing quantitative research like surveys is easier to scale to more people than qualitative research like in-depth interviews or focus groups… so if your goal is to get a better sense of the 99% quickly then I’d suggest starting with qualitative research.
Q: What role does Developer Relations play in your overall strategy? Do you see DevRel as a part of your efforts, or as a partner to work with alongside marketing's discreet goals?
A: Developer Relations is often KEY to the success of products; especially technical ones.
In our case, DevRel is fundamental to the success of Flutter. I work with DevRel every day and sometimes feel 'grandfathered' into their org.
Regarding goals, Both orgs should be aiming towards the same 'north star' but it is important to clearly state the different ways each will reach them. Or else you can find unhealthy overlap.
When we work on big events, for example, many times our DevRel team will focus on the content and talks while I'll be working more on setting up the website, promoting the event, and creating case studies.
At the end of the day, it also depends on how large your marketing and devrel orgs are. Oftentimes you can determine work needing to be done based on the size and specializations of each person/org.
Q: I'm trying to break into product marketing and I'm trying to learn as much as I can about the role.
From what I understand, product marketing is a data-driven role where there is an emphasis on understanding the customer to create an amazing customer experience. Would you say this is accurate/how would you define it?
Next, what distinguishes a good product marketer from a mediocre product marketer and what advice would you have for someone like me who is looking to break into product marketing? Are there skills that you'd recommend I focus on developing?
A: Awesome to hear that you are looking into becoming a PMM. The first step is to find out more and learn about the role which from this question it seems like you are doing :)
I like how Google defines product marketing: "Know the User, Know the Magic, Connect the two." Similar to what you say, it is about truly understanding the users (via research) and the product (via connections to PM, Eng, etc) and providing that link. At different stages in a product life cycle, you may end up focusing more on the research or product development or general awareness.
Distinguishing factors: the ability to see the big picture, dealing well with ambiguity, deriving actionable plans from broader GTM or research findings, showing ROI from the campaigns and $ you spend... proving out the value PMM brings to a product to x-func stakeholders.
Useful skills include storytelling!, SQL, Photoshop, Tech fundamentals, Ad Networks, SEO.
There are also many free resources out there. For example, Harvard has this class called CS50 which is a free way to fully understand the technology space and programming fundamentals which is always useful. We also launched our coding class today at Google.
This Product Marketing Alliance is very impressive... such great PMMs through all sorts of companies so definitely continue being involved and take advantage of the resources it provides.
Josie, Richard, Bryony, and the rest of the team are also just great people! If you become a member that gives you access to all of the talks as well. During the SF PMM Summit Keynote, I spoke about going from zero to one at Google. That may help too.