Leave a comment
Get the GH Bookmarklet

AMAs

Aaron Dun drives marketing and strategy for SnapApp, an interactive content creation platform that helps marketers better engage with their audiences. He is a staunch supporter of the the Oxford comma and an avid opponent of lead-gated PDFs.

Prior to SnapApp, Aaron served as the CMO for Intronis through its acquisition by Barracuda Networks. He has played a leadership role in the marketing success behind Percussion Software, Ness Technologies, Lionbridge Technologies, and Softscape.

He tweets periodically from @ajdun, sometimes it’s even interesting.

He will be live on November 30 starting at 930 AM PT for one and a half hours during which he will answer as many questions as possible.

  • D.

    DanTri .

    8 months ago #

    Hi Aaron, thank you for doing an AMA with us. What advice would you give to a recent graduate who wants to become an elite growth marketer in 5 years?

    • AD

      Aaron Dun

      8 months ago #

      Second thing I would say is don’t be afraid to break some shit. Just because we have always done it a certain way that doesn’t mean that is what we should be doing. If you can't see a way to scale what you are doing, don’t hesitate to tear it down and start over to find the thing that will scale. You will find that many many successful companies had an idea and a set of “knowns” that had gotten them to a viable business with good growth. But when they asked the tough questions about if they could really achieve scale, they tore it down and rebuilt their go-to-market model and become massive scale successes. SquareSpace is a good example here. They had a nice business, but when they re-architected how they were spending their PPC budget, and the use case they were solving for, they absolutely blew up into the powerhouse they are today.

      Good luck with your journey, I look forward to participating in YOUR AMA in 5 years!

      7 Share
    • AD

      Aaron Dun

      8 months ago #

      Hi Dan, thanks so much for the question! The best advice I could give you is to “think big.” I talk with my team all the time about trying to find 10x type changes that will deliver real scale. Too often as marketers we spend a ton of effort on programs or activities that will only ever deliver a small outcome even if we knock it out of the park. It’s not that those programs are inherently bad, it's that if we don’t force ourselves to push the boundaries of what is possible, we will only achieve that incremental growth, and it will be incredibly expensive and inefficient. Sometimes you run small tests to find those big outcomes, but make sure you have an idea on how it could go big if you get it right. At a prior company we started with a small direct mailer of 50 people as a test group, and when we realized it was a winner we blew it out to delivering thousands at an incredibly high rate of return.

      6 Share
  • AL

    Arsene Lavaux

    8 months ago #

    Bonjour Ron,

    Thank you for doing this AMA.

    I've been discovering SnapApp today by taking the tour on your website.

    I was curious if among the many different types of interactive content you offer on your platform, there generally is one that performs better than others in terms of engagement?

    Second question, in your marketing experience, does stronger initial target customer engagement translate into stronger retention and higher customer lifetime value?

    • AD

      Aaron Dun

      8 months ago #

      Bonjour Arsene! Glad you’re exploring our site!

      In terms of which type of content performs best, it really depends on multiple factors and it’s hard to compare apples to apples – how aggressively content is promoted, in what channels, etc. all influence engagement.

      However, we do find that assessments are our most popular content type with our customers. This is because they follow a pretty simple concept and they can provide a custom response based on how an individual answers the question. "How ready are you for xyz?" type of apps tend to perform well. Here is a pretty good example of an assessment from one of our customers: https://app.snapapp.com/campaign-creators-ecosystem-example

    • AD

      Aaron Dun

      8 months ago #

      As for your second question, it super depends. If you can really paint the vision for what your product can do, and get people excited for that, carry that momentum through the sales process, and then on-boarding etc (whether that is a short or long process) then I think you have a good shot. But product still has to deliver on that value otherwise it won’t matter. Now if you have a standout experience in your product, DEFINITELY showcase that early and often, it will help shape how people view your offering.

      • AL

        Arsene Lavaux

        8 months ago #

        This is very close to the core "speed to value" and "aha moment" concepts... Thanks also for sharing, appreciate the learning.

  • AD

    Aaron Dun

    8 months ago #

    Ok folks, this was super fun to do, but now I am exhausted! Thanks for listening in and I look forward to our paths crossing in the future. Best - Aaron

    • AA

      Anuj Adhiya

      8 months ago #

      Appreciate you spending this time with us, Aaron - you left a lot of gold for the community!🙌

  • JP

    John Phamvan

    8 months ago #

    Hi Aaron,

    What tools are you using at SnapApp for experimentation & analytics right now ?
    Where does your data live (ie what is the "source of truth")?
    What collaboration tools does the team use?

    Thanks!
    John

    • AD

      Aaron Dun

      8 months ago #

      Thanks for the question John! We use many different tools for experimentation today at SnapApp – two that come to mind are Optimizely and Marketo. For analytics, we dig deep into Marketo and Google Analytics. Most of our experimentation lives more in the campaigns and programs we run. We are open to trying new things because we have the underlying tools to assess what is working and contributing to our successes, and what is not.

      3 Share
      • AD

        Aaron Dun

        8 months ago #

        Sure thing John, well we just added two. One was Siftrock (@siftrockapp) that helps us mine the out of office replies we get when we send emails. We send a lot of emails (!) so being able to figure out if people have left, or who new people are to connect with is super valuable. The other was Sprout Social to manage our social media-from activity through engagement through measurement. It's been fascinating to see what is really happening in social!

      • JP

        John Phamvan

        8 months ago #

        Thanks.
        A quick follow-up: What was the last tool you added to your stack? Why?

    • AD

      Aaron Dun

      8 months ago #

      Our data lives in Marketo and Salesforce, but our “single source of truth” so to speak is ultimately Salesforce. We provide access to SF across the entire organization, so from Prospect to Customer to Advocate, we can see a complete picture of that customer journey.

    • AD

      Aaron Dun

      8 months ago #

      For collaboration, we use Trello to organize our project sprints across our team (which we review daily during a quick daily standup meeting). For file sharing, Google Drive is our go-to; for communication, we love Slack.

  • GH

    Glen Harper

    8 months ago #

    Thank you for joining us today, Aaron.
    What would you consider to be your biggest growth challenge today?
    How are you (thinking of) addressing this?

    • AD

      Aaron Dun

      8 months ago #

      S.C.A.L.E!

    • AD

      Aaron Dun

      8 months ago #

      Ok, let me expand on that :) As a small/growing company, we have to continue to push the envelop to find new ways to create 10x growth. I have been giving talks around the country at lunches that we host and I tell everyone that 10x change is hard. If you could simply 10x your top of the funnel, you would have already done it. So all of us are hunting through different ideas/concepts/strategies to figure which ones can really blow out and be big things. So one of the big things we are working on is how to think about creating audiences vs just creating "leads." Audiences (like the one here that Growth Hackers has built) are a long game, but when you get it right you have people who are aligned with your message, your reason for being, with shared goals. They may not be using your product, but they could become prospects.

      2 Share
  • TN

    Tri Nguyen

    8 months ago #

    Hey Aaron,
    What lessons did you learn from your time as CMO at Intronis that have translated well into your role at SnapApp?
    On the flip side, what hasn't translated (or as well as you expected it to)?

    • AD

      Aaron Dun

      8 months ago #

      Thanks for the question Tri. One of my big takeaways from my time at Intronis is that you really need to focus on doing big things, and be willing to disrupt yourself. Just because the playbook worked before, it doesn’t mean it will work for you again in the new situation. You really need to tailor your strategy to the dynamics of the org and the market. As a leadership team there we took a number of big risks to remake our go-to-market, tested a number of different concepts, broke a few things that didn’t work, but kept working at it until we got it right (ish). And even though we had created massive growth (for us), right when we got acquired we were in the process of blowing up the model again because we knew we had to in order to sustain that growth curve.

      2 Share
    • AD

      Aaron Dun

      8 months ago #

      One thing that didn't translate as well as how we approached Data. I think our approach to Data at Intronis was pretty unique and while we did a version of it here at SnapApp, it wasn’t going to translate. At Intronis we had a team of junior data analysts who were scrubbing and augmenting data in the database, validating new lists, confirming information etc. That team got to be as big as 8 at one point and were a critical piece of the leads-to-sales model we built. We could afford to do it because it was so critical. If we sent across bad data to sales, their whole engine would grind to a halt. Our data challenges at SnapApp are different so we had two people playing a similar role, but then worked to transition it to an offshore partner where the unit economics were more favorable.

  • DH

    Dani Hart

    8 months ago #

    So excited to have you on, Aaron!

    a. What characteristics does a qualified lead for SnapApp have?
    b. What is your process (and tools) for qualifying these leads?
    c. What acquisition channel(s) is/are working best for acquiring such leads currently?

    • AD

      Aaron Dun

      8 months ago #

      Great Question Dani! We actually made some pretty significant changes to the way we qualify leads and the types of leads we deliver to sales at SnapApp. We recently shifted to delivering *only* people who have taken a clear “hand-raising action," obvious things like requesting a demo or having meaningful event conversations, that we’ve seen correlate with actual buying intent. So we stopped gating our whitepapers and counting those as leads to sales. We stopped sending over people who attended a webinar.. We stopped sending over people who crossed a magic scoring threshold. Those rarely (if ever) correlate to buying intent, it just means they like your content!

      3 Share
    • AD

      Aaron Dun

      8 months ago #

      For b: We focus on getting our leads to take the next action, so instead of gating our content and sending everyone who downloads a white paper to our sales team to cold call, we track what content prospects interact with using Marketo and Salesforce. We create experiences around our content to encourage prospects to continue to engage with and learn about interactive content. Once a lead takes one of those hand raising actions, we further assess based on the qualifying criteria agreed upon with sales, and only then do we send it to sales. Its been pretty revolutionary for us.

      3 Share
    • AD

      Aaron Dun

      8 months ago #

      And for C: We have really doubled down on events. There is something about that face to face interaction with other marketers that just seems to work for us. We can share our somewhat quirky vibe (we try to do a Mimosa bar at every major conference we exhibit at) and have a good conversation about how you can use Interactive content to transform your business. We focus on going big at a few shows rather than doing all of the shows in a small way. But we also are hosting our own lunches across the country (we have done 13 so far) and have a few other things cooking for next year.

  • DO

    Danielle Olivas

    8 months ago #

    Hi Aaron,

    How do you optimize for and accelerate leads you have in the middle of the funnel?

    • AD

      Aaron Dun

      8 months ago #

      Hi Danielle!

      Our number one priority in any content we create is getting prospects to take a next action, which is whatever the next logical step (reading a blog post, taking a quiz, watching a video, signing up for a demo, etc.) could be in their journey. However, since every prospect can go through a completely different path than another, we always make sure to provide multiple options and avenues for engaging with us further.

      One specific thing we do for the folks in the middle of the funnel is we put them into what we call our “conversion stream.” This is an email nurture stream that kicks off after someone engages with us in certain ways. Each email in the stream includes a specific piece of content or experience that is intended to drive prospects to additional experiences, so that there are more opportunities for them to engage with us. Because we offer so many different ways to interact with our content in this stream, we find that more often than not, people will raise their hands for more information long before the actual nurture process is over.

      3 Share
  • JD

    James Dunn

    8 months ago #

    Hey Aaron
    Can you share an experiment that was a really big win or led to some breakthrough insights?

    • AD

      Aaron Dun

      8 months ago #

      Hi James. Great last name :)
      This past summer, we undertook a massive experiment across our marketing team – what if we broke our lead gen model and rethought everything we held sacred about qualifying leads? What if we ungated all of our content and let people actually engage with all of it, unfettered? What if the only “qualified” leads we shared with sales were those that TOLD US they were interested in learning more?
      We spent the summer doing just that, “breaking things.” It was all hands on deck, and required getting some serious buy-in across the organization (imagine telling your VP of Sales that you’re planning to deliver a fourth of the lead volume we had done previously).
      We started only sending the truly engaged, qualified leads to our sales team. These are the folks that do things we have determined to be “hot” actions that indicate buying intent (think requesting a demo). This is in contrast to what we did before – scoring leads based on activity, and assuming when our prospects wanted sales outreach (think the old download a white paper, get a BDR call immediately model).
      It’s still early in our journey, but the results have been outstanding – while our volume of MQLs predictably went down, the quality has gone up dramatically. In fact, we’re seeing our conversion rate into the sales funnel has gone up 5x over what we were doing before. So even though we slashed the number of leads we send across, because the quality is so much better, and they can be more efficient with those leads, we are basically delivering the same output and are set up to rapidly accelerate next year.

  • JA

    Justin Adelson

    8 months ago #

    Hello, Aaron - thank you for taking time to participate in this AMA.

    Forget SnapApp for a moment - what campaigns have OTHER start-ups done that you admire? Did you adopt that strategy/tactic for your own company?

    • AD

      Aaron Dun

      8 months ago #

      Thanks for your question! I was a big fan of our friends at MarketingProfs campaign they ran during their recent conference. The campaign centered around an interactive assessment that challenged participants to find out their marketing spirit animal! I loved it because it was multifaceted, featuring online, offline, and social amplification. They used the quiz to drive traffic at their event booth where respondents could don spirit animal costumes, and then hosted individual webinars for each of the animal results. The quiz was also super shareable and earned them a lot of social buzz (because who doesn’t want to share their marketing spirit animal with the internet!). Spoiler alert: I was a Lead-Gen Giraffe
      (link if you want it: https://app.snapapp.com/marketing-spirit-animal)
      We definitely took notes on the shareability and personalization of MarketingProfs’ campaign!

      3 Share
  • DB

    Daniel Bruce

    8 months ago #

    Hi Aaron,

    As a CTO of a startup that has multiple well performing predictable paid acquisition channels what would you suggest as a first step towards hacking some extra growth? Should I focus on those channels or look somewhere unexpected?

    Thanks
    Dan.

    • AD

      Aaron Dun

      8 months ago #

      Hi Dan! Great question! That’s awesome to have such reliable channels you can depend on – that’s a great place to be as a startup. I am sure you keep focused on those metrics to make sure that they don't degrade over time and can still deliver that predictable return. It's is also a material risk however if that channel craters suddenly.

      A good approach would be to test and optimize for your existing channels to see what additional lift you can get, to see if you can make some improvements while at the same time taking a bucket of resources to devote to some out-of-the-box experimentation. Try something completely out there – if you rely heavily on PPC, why not do something completely offline, like hosting your own event? In this example, you could even use the data you’ve collected around paid to help you target the best location for an event! At Intronis we did a pretty out there direct mail campaign that was incredibly successful because it was so different. We had folks come up to us at conferences and say things like: "wow, you guys have been emailing me for years and I have ignored you, but then you sent me that mail piece and I realized, I HAVE to talk to you now." So that was fun.

      3 Share
  • MD

    Mark Anthony de Jesus

    8 months ago #

    Hi Aaron,
    Clearly SnapApp is not a cheap product.
    I'm curious as to what experiments you've done with pricing so far?
    Any tests that stick out as being especially memorable for some reason?

    • AD

      Aaron Dun

      8 months ago #

      Thanks for asking Mark. I would clarify first and say that cheap is all relative :)

      Certainly there are tools in our space that are free, and then of course custom built solutions delivered by an agency can run in the 6 figures. We approach pricing in a number of ways that I really can’t get into publicly unfortunately, but let me say that we are constantly testing the right pricing strategy.

      When we first launched we were actually a very inexpensive, buy with a credit card tool, but as we advanced into delivering a true platform we believe that our pricing today reflects the value that you receive as a customer. That said we recently just wrapped up an experiment with an even more transactional product/price point and are reviewing the results from that and are working that into our 2018 product and GTM strategy discussions.
      Stay tuned for more!

  • JF

    Javier Feldman

    8 months ago #

    Hola, Aaron.
    What is SnapApp's "aha moment"?
    What actions/steps have you optimized for to get trialers/demo takers to this moment as quickly as possible?

    • AD

      Aaron Dun

      8 months ago #

      Hola Javier, como esta usted? SnapApp’s aha moment usually comes when people realize that they can take the answer data from interactive experiences and move that into their marketing automation system. That data can then be utilized to create different, personalized streams and nurture based on that. And they can also give a ton of insights to the sales teams based on those question responses.

    • AD

      Aaron Dun

      8 months ago #

      As for the second question, we actually don’t heavily focus on making that moment happen as quickly as possible, but try to make it happen at the BEST moment possible. But if you were to go through our product tour we showcase that moment, and then we actually take a pause to ask you what platform YOU use. Have a look: http://info.snapapp.com/SA-product-tour.html

  • MT

    Manny Tafoya

    8 months ago #

    Hi Aaron! I have to ask, I would love to know your take on ABM? and How would you set it up? What measurements helps to drive the ABM model? I appreciate it!

    • AD

      Aaron Dun

      8 months ago #

      Hi Manny, yep, ABM is all the rage isn't it? It seems like everyone in marketing has something to say about ABM. But I wonder if it’s really a revolutionary new idea. I think it’s a really interesting concept, but I read it as just simply “marketing.” It’s taking our existing best practices, thinking very carefully about the target buyer, and then designing focused strategies to engage those target buyers. So if you can reasonably define the 1, 2, or 3000 companies that you must sell too, and you can build the kind of scale you need just from those companies, then I think it makes a ton of sense. For many companies however, that will just be "one strategy in the toolbox" rather than their entire strategy.

  • SK

    S Kodial

    8 months ago #

    Hey Aaron.
    Does SnapApp have a dedicated growth team?
    If yes, where does it belong organizationally?
    If not, why not?

    • AD

      Aaron Dun

      8 months ago #

      Thanks for the question. While we don’t have a designated “growth team” per se, I’d argue that by the very nature of being a startup, every single member of the organization has a growth mindset. Our company culture is such that we’re constantly pushing ourselves and challenging preconceived ideas about how things could or should work. I think if I polled my marketing team, they would say that they are all a part of the growth marketing team. We work closely with product, sales, customer success etc to be sure we are aligned and attacking the right part of the market.

  • PD

    Porus Daruvala

    8 months ago #

    Hey Aaron
    1. I'll be honest, I'd never heard of SnapApp until this AMA.
    So I'm curious as to how you'll are building awareness for the product?
    Is there something unique you feel you are doing to achieve this goal or is it a reasonably proven playbook you're following?

    2. At the other end, what are the biggest causes of churn for SnapApp? What strategies have worked best for you to mitigate churn so far?

    • AD

      Aaron Dun

      8 months ago #

      Hi Porus! Glad you’re getting to know us through this AMA!
      We’re using a variety of different marketing strategies and tactic to drive awareness for SnapApp and interactive content in general. One thing we’re learning is that we’re in a relatively new space – interactive content isn’t necessarily something every marketer has thought about or experimented with, so often our work is educating on the value of interactive marketing as a whole.

      While we use some of the channels you might expect to drive awareness, we’ve found good success anytime we can drive one-to-one interactions. This can be through in-person discussions at events, or through a series of questions and answers someone can interact with as part of a quiz or assessment. We also have turned away from the “traditional” B2B playbook of creating a white paper, gating it, and sending our sales team to call anyone who downloads it. Instead, we focus primarily on creating more engaging content (read: interactive) that provides real value and not imposing a gate to consume it.

  • PS

    Pedro Sostre

    8 months ago #

    Hi Aaron, you made a comment about SquareSpace, "They had a nice business, but when they re-architected how they were spending their PPC budget, and the use case they were solving for, they absolutely blew up into the powerhouse they are today." Do you have any more info or perhaps a link to a case study about that?

  • DB

    Daniel Bruce

    8 months ago #

    Brilliant, thank you! :)

Join over 70,000 growth pros from companies like Uber, Pinterest & Twitter

Get Weekly Top Posts
High five! You’re in.
SHARE
40
40