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Alyssa is the Director of Marketing at an event technology startup called EverThere out of San Francisco and Tel Aviv. She has spent the last six years working at tech startups and creative agencies, helping clients understand, reach, and grow their audiences. She also teaches and mentors both Marketing and User Experience with General Assembly.

With a passion for human-centered design, she always fights for research in order to create empathetic solutions for the buyer as well as the user. Though research and growth hacking hardly go together, a balance is possible even in the startup world and it can be the difference between success and failure. 

You can follow her here: @alyrosea 

She will be live on Feb 21 starting at 930 AM PT for one and a half hours during which time she will answer as many questions as possible

  • JP

    John Phamvan

    about 2 years ago #

    Hi Alyssa,

    Who would you say are the top 3 companies you have come across that meet the bar of having created "empathetic solutions for the buyer as well as the user."
    Can you point to specifics of what exactly it is they've done to have been able to accomplish this?

    • AA

      Alyssa Ackerman

      about 2 years ago #

      John - this is a great question. One company I was struck by is called Shyp. I used their service once and they exceeded expectations on every level. They clearly and deeply understood the user flow and anticipated the questions and concerns that could arise along the way. If you're not familiar, it's an app that allows you to ship anything without going to the post office (win!). You pay a small fee, you photograph the object, a bike messenger picks it up from you, packages it, and gets it sent off. You have tracking and confirmations along the way. That's one great example. I'll come back to provide the others shortly!

      4 Share
  • PT

    Pedro Talaia

    about 2 years ago #

    Hey Alyssa,

    Two questions for you :)

    A) IMO I think that offline events are getting less and less audience in these last years. At least the ones that I've participated in. Do you still believe that with Everthere, any business can extend their reach on the ground to convert more attendees?

    B) Can you tell us two tips of what worked for you when growing an audience to a tech startup like Everthere?

    Thank you,

    Best,

    Pedro Talaia

    • AA

      Alyssa Ackerman

      about 2 years ago #

      Hey Pedro. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and questions!

      1. I've spoken with many event companies who have all reported growing business and competition, though I haven't dug into the stats. I do believe (and seeing the results we get at EverThere, I'm convinced) that there is a level of focused attention and intent from individuals attending events that I don't see on other channels. These attendees are paying to be at the event, they're interested in the topics, in meeting other professionals in the space, and they're open to solutions. That being said, I'm not sure if fewer attendees are attending. I haven't noticed it myself but will definitely be doing some follow-up research on the topic. I'll get back to you on what I find.

      What I do find interesting, however, is when I speak to marketers who are involved with sponsoring events, they often say that events are one of the first things that get cut when budgets slim. This is a major problem EverThere helps solve.

      2. Tip 1: Engage in discussions. Growthhackers is a great group and I also use Quora. This allows us to be helpful, answer questions, engage with folks without the time needed to develop long guides, kits, infographics, etc. Tip 2: Research. Involve your customers and prospects in research you're running. It helps build relationships, teaches you a ton about their pain points, journeys, the current work arounds, and it generates content for you to share with them and others at the end.

      Hope this helps! Let me know if you have other questions.

  • GH

    Glen Harper

    about 2 years ago #

    Hi Alyssa, thanks for being on the AMA. In your role as an instructor and a mentor, did you develop a "best practices" list that you dispersed to your mentees? We would be very interested in your take on the top ideas you have to help build brand strength. Thanks!

    • AA

      Alyssa Ackerman

      about 2 years ago #

      Glen, I have a rough list that I'm happy to share once I add some more detail to. I'll get back to you on this. Great question.

      One idea is to start engaging in communities that are relevant to you. Quora is a great way to do that as well as groups on LInkedIn or Facebook.

      I'll have more to share with you on this!

    • AA

      Alyssa Ackerman

      about 2 years ago #

      Glen, I have not forgotten this great question. I'm putting together a list to share! Thanks again for coming to the AMA.

  • EB

    Eleanor Bennett

    about 2 years ago #

    What have you found to be the most difficult sector to perform research for? What research methodologies do you think are the most underrated?

    • AA

      Alyssa Ackerman

      about 2 years ago #

      My absolute and all time favorite type of research is 1:1 interviews. These casual conversations allow honesty, candor, and most importantly specifics. Often your customers will say they want "a quality product", but how do you know what "quality" actually means to your customers? 1:1 interviews are an amazing way to find out!

      Regarding hardest sectors, I find B2B SaaS difficult but fascinating because you have to unwind the influences and dependencies of the buyer and the user. You have to really understand the workflow, dependencies, and influences that are involved with the purchasing decision.

      3 Share
  • AA

    Anuj Adhiya

    about 2 years ago #

    Hey Alyssa - great to have you on!
    In your bio you said "research and growth hacking hardly go together" - can you talk more about what you mean and why you feel this way?

    • AA

      Alyssa Ackerman

      about 2 years ago #

      Anuj, it's true! Many startups have a focus on growth hacking :) thus foundational work can be set aside and deprioritized. It can be very difficult to prove value of research especially when time and money are short. The beauty with research, however, is you can be very scrappy and learn a lot very quickly. For example, running usability tests with 3-5 users can uncover up to 80% of usability issues (and you can often run these in 10 minutes and for free).

      Great question! Let me know if you have more on this.

  • LK

    Larry Kim

    about 2 years ago #

    it says your company is based out of both San Francisco and Tel Aviv.
    what are the challenges and benefits of having 2 offices like this? are the roles split up by location (eg: product and engineering in one place, etc.)

    • AA

      Alyssa Ackerman

      about 2 years ago #

      Larry, great question. The majority of our team is based in Tel Aviv, so the teams are not too split up. Modern technology takes care of our distance, however, and we use Slack, Skype, and Gmail to communicate. Our Co-founders really care about connecting face-to-face (and I agree), so video calls are most common.

      Honestly, it's pretty educational (and fun) to work cross culturally. I'm learning a lot about Israeli politics, work ethic, communication styles, holidays, and I'm even picking up a few Hebrew words (very few).

      Lastly, the team cares a lot about what we're building, is committed to communication, and is very willing to overlook anything that resembles "a normal workday".

      2 Share
  • AL

    Arsene Lavaux

    about 2 years ago #

    Bonjour Alyssa,

    Thanks for doing this AMA.

    The hero messaging on your homepage says "Better ROI than" most social networks or other paid channels.
    Can you give us more colors as to how you achieve this?

    Merci!

    • AA

      Alyssa Ackerman

      about 2 years ago #

      Hi Arsene. Great question.

      A quick breakdown: EverThere connects Brands with audiences at targeted industry events using a digital gift bag. This means that marketers can engage with attendees of relevant events around the world without leaving their office. (As a Digital Marketer who has felt exhausted by the saturation of certain channels, this is very exciting to me).

      Speaking to the ROI that we see - The average cost per click for a B2B company on Google Adwords is around $1.64 (though it can be as high as $40 in some cases). The average conversion from a click to a lead (action) on the website is 2.58%. This means the lead price is somewhere around $63.57.

      This cost is more than 3x more than the cost per lead with Everthere. We’ve seen similar numbers on Twitter and Facebook. With LinkedIn, EverThere’s ROI can get close to 8x the return.

      I'm happy to go further into this if you have more questions!

      4 Share
  • AM

    Ana Maria Dârstaru

    about 2 years ago #

    Hi Alyssa,
    From your experience, what's the best way to keep track and collaborate with team members when working on marketing campaigns? Are there any tools you use? Also, I find that establishing KPIs is always a struggle, at least for me. How do you make this step easy?
    Thanks!

    • AA

      Alyssa Ackerman

      about 2 years ago #

      Hi Ana, great questions. I'm so happy you're touching on these topics!

      Collaboration: We use Slack and we jump on calls all the time for increased clarity. We sync at least weekly and use GANT charts (which are amazing if you can get the team to adhere to them) as needed. We shoot for transparency, and invite most team members to our slack channels even if they're not directly related. This way we can see what's going on across departments. We all make an effort to articulate any blockers we see coming up. Google docs is another great tool we use constantly. This allows us to work together, share, comment, and edit our work-in-progress.

      KPI's: It's so important to make sure every person on every team is aligned with the company's goals. Ideally, this comes from regular full team meetings where departments all align on the greater goals of the company.

      As for KPI-setting, I agree this can be difficult and often marketers feel they have no basis for the targets they set. I'd suggest you lookat your specific team and company for answers here. Decide what your team has to do in order to provide value for the company and determine your KPI's that way. If you have no idea what kinds of targets are reasonable, you'll learn by starting to set some. Things vary from company to company and industry to industry so starting to test for yourself is key. Let me know if you have more questions on this!

      • AM

        Ana Maria Dârstaru

        about 2 years ago #

        Thanks so much for your in-depth answer! We use GANT charts as well - they're incredibly helpful for long-term projects.

  • SK

    S Kodial

    about 2 years ago #

    Hi Alyssa
    From your experience teaching at GA, what are the most common UX issues you get asked about and how do you advise people think about addressing them?

    • AA

      Alyssa Ackerman

      about 2 years ago #

      Great question. Something that happens all the time is that someone has a great idea that turns into a startup even though it doesn't actually solve a real problem. It's something that could be used or cool, but there's no existing gap or need for it. That's one major thing I see.

      Another major thing is that people who don't have "UX" in their title don't always feel it's their responsibility to know who the end user is. It is the responsibility of everyone on the team to have an aligned vision of who they are working for. Even if you don't have a UX team, go out in the world with the intent to learn about these people. Observe and engage with them, ask questions, and learn everything you can. Share what you learn with your greater team as you go.

      2 Share
  • KA

    karim Abd El Kader

    about 2 years ago #

    Hello Alyssa,

    Thanks for conducting this AMA!!

    I am very interested to more about "EverThere". Please share:

    - How does the product works?

    - How does it have better conversion rates than Adwords & Facebook.

    - What are the available monetization solutions that you offer for events?

    - Do you have any clients or partners in the Middle east?

    Thanks again for this amazing AMA.
    Karim.

    • AA

      Alyssa Ackerman

      about 2 years ago #

      Hey Karim, I'm going to come back to this with more detail but I'll share a few notes in the meantime:

      - We partner with Event Organizers to create a custom digital gift bag full of offers from event sponsors and outside advertisers. Every event attendee receives this gift bag during the event and redeems appealing offers. When an offer is redeemed, sponsors or outside marketer receive a qualified, verified, permission-based lead for future follow-up.

      - We work with clients all around the world so yes to the Middle East!

      - As for Event Organizers, we partner with them to offer innovative sponsorship opportunities AND to increase event revenue.

      - I explained how we see such high ROI a few questions.

      Let me know if you have any more questions or want more detail. Thanks for the questions!

  • JD

    James Dunn

    about 2 years ago #

    Hi Alyssa

    Can you talk about strategies you are currently employing to get EverThere to grow? What's working right now? What opportunities are you considering for the coming year that show potential?

    • AA

      Alyssa Ackerman

      about 2 years ago #

      James, I'm glad you asked.

      1. Limit the options. This is something we've learned recently by reducing the number of decisions that a customer has to make up front. Though it's important to maintain customizability, we've seen impressive results by creating a more succinct and defined offering.

      2. Content. We all know the importance of content and how time consuming it can be to create. We are currently focused on creating relevant and helpful content for our networks and to relevant communities. We are also working with guest bloggers.

      3. Retargeting, SEO, and secondary SEO are also a focus for us.

      Something I'm very curious about is the future of Chat Bots. There is awesome potential here for events and event sponsors as well as for marketers. I'm interested in the B2B applications and I look forward to seeing how empathetic and creative humans can make these robots!

      I'd love to hear about any key learnings you've experienced recently and what you're looking forward to in the coming year.

  • TS

    Terence Strong

    about 2 years ago #

    Is there a framework for being 10x better than an incumbent on a certain product dimension? How do you get there in a methodical way and how do you know when it has been achieved?

    • AA

      Alyssa Ackerman

      about 2 years ago #

      Hey Terence,

      I know of no such framework but I'd recommend starting with a very narrowly defined problem statement. This should include only one problem and no solutions. Isolating the problem can help you and your team broaden your brainstorm for solutions.

      From here you can start testing your questions and assumptions. Make sure to have analytics in place, a target KPI (so that you know when you've failed or succeeded) and a clear hypothesis.

      Run tests, ask questions, talk to your target audience, and explore the current competition and work arounds. How are people solving this problem without your solution today? What's terrible/great about this work around?

      Keeping your focus very narrow will help you succeed at doing one thing better than everyone else.

      At EverThere, we're very data-driven. We're constantly testing and looking at the analytics to see what patterns exist and whether our efforts have failed or succeeded. We can celebrate failure because we can learn from it and this encourages creativity.

      Hope this helps!
      Alyssa

  • CC

    Carolyn Cesario

    about 2 years ago #

    Hi Alyssa! What informs your decision-making? What research tactics or methodologies do you recommend (especially for smaller brands with limited budget!)? Thanks!

    • AA

      Alyssa Ackerman

      about 2 years ago #

      Carolyn, great questions.

      Decision-making comes from having a clear understanding of the company's overall direction. I always think of a sports team... Everyone on the soccer field, regardless of position, knows they have to get the ball in the net. Similarly, every department and individual in the company needs to know what they're trying to do outside of department KPI's. With this transparency and communication, it's easy to feel confident in the decisions you're making assuming they align.

      As for research, I always recommend 1:1 interviews. You can dig into specifics here, learn the language of your audience, and explore what alternatives are being used. This can be free (though incentives can help).

      I'd also consider running usability tests on 3-5 users if you have an web or mobile interface. This free and quick form of testing can uncover major usability issues and help inform your Conversion Rate Optimization.

      I would also recommend setting up a google alert for Quora.com and google searches. This way you get notified whenever these terms are found. From here, you can engage with content, authors, and community members that are engaged on the topic.

      I hope this helps!

  • DO

    Danielle Olivas

    about 2 years ago #

    Hi Alyssa,

    Thank you for joining us today.

    For those that aspire to be instructors at GA, how would you advise on the best approach (in terms of the level of expertise they should have), outreach, and anything else that could be helpful?

    I look forward to your response!

    • AA

      Alyssa Ackerman

      about 2 years ago #

      Hi Danielle,

      GA is such an incredible school because their Mentor's, TA's and Professors all work in the field. This anchors the education in application.

      It's great if you specialize in one space (branding, influencer marketing, UX, etc.) because often you'll be working with a well-rounded team of other professionals. If you're in a city where they have an on-campus site, I'd definitely attend some courses. You can also apply online and/or inquire about running a 3 hour workshop.

      Let me know how it goes and feel free to connect via email: alyssa.ackerman@gmail.com

  • SM

    Samuel Marte

    about 2 years ago #

    What do you think are the most effective scripts/ word usage to approach the people on a target centered campaign, when it concerns to be B2B marketing?

    Could you provide examples of` it?

  • GG

    Gail Gardner

    about 2 years ago #

    Hi Alyssa,

    Just a quick comment. Calling EverThere an "event technology startup" gives us no indication of what it actually does or why we would use it. Busy people will pay more attention if you can come up with a catch phrase that indicates what EverThere does for them. Without knowing how they will benefit, many will just bounce.

    While I also was not able to determine this when I first went to their site, scrolling down I found the answer, "Seamlessly Convert Offline Audiences To Online Customers".

    • AA

      Alyssa Ackerman

      about 2 years ago #

      Gail, you're absolutely right. We are in the midst of running tests and research to help us articulate the customer benefit more clearly.

      One thing I've learned is that I often have to start something before I have "enough" information. I always want to run more research, yet time rarely affords this. By starting with something (a guess of what the value prop might be), we stop being blocked, and start learning. Even if our guess is wrong, even if the test fails, we've learned something and this is essential to our growth.

      Thanks for your comment!

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