Leave a comment
Get the GH Bookmarklet

AMAs

Dan has a passion for leveraging data to improve user experience and marketing outcomes. Having successfully led teams through high-growth periods and implementing strategies, he now applies these skills to his role as CMO and Head of Product at Pingup. Before joining Pingup, Dan help senior leadership roles in product and marketing at BlueConic, PayPal, WHERE, and Sprint. Dan is an active angel investor and advisor to many Boston-area startups. Outside of work, he likes to spend time with his wife and two kids, fish, golf and cook.

Dan will be live on June 28 starting at 930 AM PT for one and a half hours during which he will answer as many questions as possible.

  • AL

    Arsene Lavaux

    over 1 year ago #

    Bonjour Dan,

    Thanks for doing this AMA.

    Here are a few questions for you.

    1) I see that you worked at a well-known wireless carrier at a time when text messages and geolocation were not much leveraged by marketers and not really used by consumers (at least much less than in Europe at that time). Things have changed a lot since then. What other wireless dimensions in current phone networks or future wearable networks do you believe hold a lot of value in the future of growth marketing?

    2) It looks like you worked on MarTech solutions that looked to unify the increasingly scattered growth data, from user experience to channel performance data, it sounds like the number of data sources to unify can only grow from there and even more when we think that even the in-store retail journeys are going to add more and more data into this growth data set. Which opportunities do you foresee in MarTech to help marketers acquired a more unified, more actionable 360-view of the customer experience?

    3) What's your take on the next generation crypto currencies with smart contracts and the likes? What kind of impact, if any, could these have on e-commerce and new models of marketplaces?

    Merci beaucoup Dan!

    • DG

      Dan Gilmartin

      over 1 year ago #

      Bonjour Arsene,

      Thanks for the questions.

      1. Actually, I would argue that when I was at Sprint (and Nextel before that), we were at the forefront of leveraging geolocation for consumer applications. We launched voice guided turn-by-turn directions, family finder services, geotagged photos apps, fitness trackers and more. However, you are right about the leveraged by marketers comment. We talked alot in the early days about leveraging location in ads. It took a while for the market to catch up. Yes, a lot has changed, specifically with the introduction of the App Store.

      I think that one of the biggest things to happen in wireless with respect to growth marketing happened very recently: AT&Ts purchase of AppNexus. Yeah, this may be geeky Mar-tech stuff, but I think that if properly leveraged (with proper consumer protections in place) the value of data on the network can help organizations that partner with AT&T/Nexus achieve growth that might have take a lot more effort to do so otherwise. The vertical integrations that AT&T has pulled together give it massive reach and a platform against which they can help their brand partners grow.

      2. I was and still am a big fan of what the team at BlueConic are doing in the CDP space. (Disclosure: I am an investor in BlueConic). I think that there is tremendous value in building individual user profiles against which you can deliver an individualized experience.

      I see solutions that are doing an effective job at bridging profiles across screens (desktop, mobile, CTV and POS). But, the unified profile is not the endgame. You need to be able to leverage the data that you are capturing to deliver the experience your customer desires. I see this as the huge opportunity. We have tools to capture/collect data. We have tools to deliver unique experiences. I see opportunities in those companies that want to help companies collect and use the data. I think that brands that don’t adapt will have a hard time competing in the future.

      3. I am an interested party when it comes to crypto, but not deep enough to give your question the response it deserves. I would say that there are some interesting discussions on the intersection of blockchain and advertising that I think deserve some more attention. If marketers can realize more efficient spends(eliminating click fraud) and can drive down CAC, it may open other opportunities.

      Thanks again for the questions Arsense. Great to connect with you.

      2 Share
  • JF

    Javier Feldman

    over 1 year ago #

    Hi Dan, it's great to have you here today!

    What is Pingup's marketing/analytics stack. Why did you pick those tools over existing alternatives?

    Thanks in advance,

    Javier

    • DG

      Dan Gilmartin

      over 1 year ago #

      Hi Javier - thanks for joining.

      We use Google Adwords (I guess we have ot say Google Ads now), Unbounce, Campaign Monitor, MailChimp, Wordpress, WordStream, Facebook Ads, and FullStory. There are a few other tools here and there, but these are the primary tools. We do lots of analysis in Sheets on the back end as we pull data out of our CRM/Sales tools and customer databases.

      Some of the decision criteria is pretty straight forward. Google and FB provide the reach.

      Others are based on the capabilities. I would not do much these days without Full Story.,,if you have not used it, I highly recommend giving it a go.

      We love Unbounce to quickly set up and test new landing pages. We have hundreds of LPs and the tool makes it easy. I also like the way they measure and optimize for you.

      Lastly, I forgot to mention Zapier. Pretty invaluable to make sure data is properly passed from one system to the other.

      In my opinion proper instrumentation is critical. I've said in the past to my team, if you can measure, you can act. If you can't act, you are not doing your job.

      Apologies to other tools that I may have passed over here...just trying to move fast and on to other questions.

      Cheers.

      1 Share
  • SE

    Sean Ellis

    over 1 year ago #

    Hi Dan, excited to have you on for an AMA. I’m curious what factored into your decision to work at a smaller company vs some of the larger companies you’ve worked at in the past. Also, how do you divide your time between marketing and product responsibilities?

    • DG

      Dan Gilmartin

      over 1 year ago #

      Hi Sean,
      Great to be here...thanks.

      I love to build stuff. I love the challenges in identifying an opportunity in the market and building product against that opportunity. I think that with one exception, I've started with companies that have gone on to get acquired by larger organizations. Creating value in a product and company is pretty motivating.

      That's not to say that the same can't happen in larger companies. I guess I like the underdog challenge and the sense of freedom you get in building something as a startup/smaller company.

      I have a relatively small team and work hard to make sure that the groups are aligned. I've hit on that thread on a few other questions. The balance for me is driven by the market conditions. If product is in a good place and I can apply for time and cycles to marketing, I will. If marketing is humming along and product starts to lag, I move in that direction. It's pretty fluid, and I enjoy sitting in a seat where I can see each side move and apply the needed support on each side to drive things forward.

      Thanks again Sean!

      2 Share
  • DH

    Dani Hart

    over 1 year ago #

    Hi Dan,

    Great to have you here! A few questions for you...

    1. What are the attributes of successful leaders during high-growth periods?
    2. How do you keep teams aligned on providing value to customers in high growth times?
    3. How did you end up running marketing and product and marketing at Pingup? What are the advantages and disadvantages of leading both of these functions?

    Looking forward to learning from you!

    Best,
    Dani

    • DG

      Dan Gilmartin

      over 1 year ago #

      Hi Dani,

      My pleasure...thanks for including me.

      I am going to hit your questions one at a time, however there is some overlap between 1&2.

      1. In a few words, I think that the attributes for successful leaders during high-growth periods are: maniacal focus and great communication. Let me break them down with a little explanation.

      a. Focus. At a macro level, a leader must have a clear focus on their objectives. What is it that you are trying to accomplish with a project, during a time period, with a budget, etc. You must be focused on the customer, understand what they want, what they don’t want. Know your product. Why did you build it. What customer problem is it solving. Have you achieved product market fit. You have to constantly challenge yourself (and your team) to ensure you are focused on these types of questions.

      Focus, however is not a strategic planning exercise. It doesn’t just happen when you start building a product, launch a new feature, expand into new markets...it is a constant and unwavering attention to making sure that there is product market alignment between your organization and the customer. It’s a commitment to proper instrumentation, collection and analysis of data.

      Focus on the needs of the customer, make sure the product fulfills those needs and use the data as proof. As important, but often left out of the equation is diverting focus on what is not important. Avoid the shiny objects. Focus...constantly.

      b. Communication. There are two pieces to this puzzle, internal (team) communication and external (customer) communication.

      Within a team, communication of goals, expectations, status and results are critical. Over the past year I’ve adopted the OKR approach. A good primer on OKRs (definition and examples) can be found here.

      I have found that this framework serves as a pragmatic approach to ensure that the teams are aligned on goals and that there is proper and consistent communication on status and results.

      Externally, I have always believed that if you communicate with and most importantly, listen to your customers they will tell you exactly what they need. Customer communication is not just audible...as someone once said to me, keystrokes don’t lie.

      2. As you can see with my answer on attributes, I believe that you have to have clear focus and communicate with the team.

      I ran a project many years ago and pulled aside a few developers and a finance guy. I made sure that we were clear on our objectives then did a Mon/Wed cycle. We’d review data on Monday and decide what we were going to tweak in an onboarding flow. On Wed, we’d release an update. On Monday we’d review the data again. We all knew what we were trying to achieve and we were all clear on the data. We made team decisions that made the work easier. We had focus and were all on the same page. We figured out how to deliver value to the user in a way that drove growth.

      3. I am going to skip the first part - it’s not very exciting, but would like to focus on leading product and marketing. I am going to assume that you mean leading them at the same time.

      I’d say that in an early stage company, the role is one in the same. It’s your job to build a product that people want to buy/use. I think of the marketing role in an early stage business as a function of getting the product to the intended audience and creating feedback loops to gather data and insights from customers to feed back to product. I guess that I see marketing in the earlier stages as more a product marketing role.

      Personally, I have always enjoyed building product as much as I like building the business through marketing. I think that if you can function in those capacities and build teams on each side, it’s a benefit to the organization. Eliminating product/marketing friction helps accelerate growth.

      I can’t really speak to disadvantages. It’s worked for me in the past.

      Hope this is all helpful.

      2 Share
  • NK

    Nadya Khoja

    over 1 year ago #

    1. What skills do you think are absolutely necessary of good product manager (referring specifically to soft skills)?
    2. Can you speak a bit about your process for "leveraging data to improve user experience"? Ie. Do you mostly rely on qualitative research where you conduct user interviews, or primarily refer to behavioural data and analyse that on a larget scope in order to get insights for improving the experience?

    • DG

      Dan Gilmartin

      over 1 year ago #

      Hello Nadya.

      Thanks for the questions.

      1. As stated earlier, I am a fan of focus and communication. While the question above from Dani was focused on leadership, I think theses skills apply equally to a PM role. PMs are leaders when it comes to the product. They have to make sure the team is focused. They have to also act as a filter for the rest of the organization as well as outside influences on the direction of the product. I think a good soft skill for a PM is the ability to say no.

      A good PM also has to think about the customer constantly. I’ve challenged PMs on my teams when they present a roadmap proposal to answer a simple question about different delivers: "why does the customer care?" If that question can not be answered, then the initiative should probably not be on a roadmap. Now, this is not universal, and largely depends on stage of the product or organization, but they should have an unrelenting focus on the value to the customer.

      2. It’s not either or, it’s both. However, the importance of one over the other varies by product stage and objective. For example, a number of years ago I was the GM for a suite of SMB services (owned product and marketing) and was working on optimization of a checkout/onboarding flow. I built a series of flows that presented the user with different options at different points in the flows. The quantitative evidence suggests one flow would outperform the others in a meaningful way. When I spoke to a few users about the experience I learned the emotional connection they made to the product at a certain stage. When that stage was moved to the front of the flow, they were less likely to abandon.

      Thanks again for the questions.

      1 Share
  • AA

    Anuj Adhiya

    over 1 year ago #

    Hey Dan - very cool to have you on.

    Your title is the first one that Ive seen that has CMO and Head of Product under one person.
    What are the advantages and disadvantages of this approach?
    Under what circumstances could/should companies consider keeping the role under one person vs splitting it up?

    • DG

      Dan Gilmartin

      over 1 year ago #

      It’s a pleasure to be here Anuj, thanks for including me.

      1. Dani asked a similar question about advantages and disadvantages of product and marketing under one role. In the interest of time, I will refer to that answer.

      2. The circumstances under which a company should consider keeping the functions together and splitting up I think are based on stage and maturation of product.
      In early stage operations, I think it is vital to keep product and market in lock step. As an organization seeks to prove product market fit, the teams should be aligned on feature/functionality as much as they are on go-to-market. Product can learn alot about the market from the marketing team as well as have valuable input on approach. I think that as the product matures and the organization shifts into an operationally based growth phase, it makes more sense to split the functions. At this point, Product will drive the organization and you must make sure that marketing and sales are in alignment to drive growth. When split, active and engaged communication between the teams is critical.

      Thanks for the questions.

      2 Share
  • JP

    John Phamvan

    over 1 year ago #

    Hi Dan,

    Thanks for being here today!

    1. How does your team track customer engagement? Curious to hear what tools are part of that process.

    2. When you're hiring, what are the attributes or skills you're looking for in a team member?

    Looking forward to learning from you.

    Best,
    John

    • DG

      Dan Gilmartin

      over 1 year ago #

      Hi John.

      Great to hear from you...thanks for the questions.

      1. When I think about engagement, I think about initial touch points all the way through recommendation - full lifecycle. We do a lot of content creation as well as paid media. In each case, we are tracking, as best we can, where the user came from, depth of engagement (page views, time on page, etc.). I've been thinking alot about the notion of TAD (total active days) when it comes to mobile apps. Good article here For web, on the consumer front, I look to D1, D7, D30 metics to gauge engagement. SMB is a little different and highly dependent on the nature of the application.

      But, I think it is as important to track lack of engagement (specifically as it relates to customer acquisition). What content is not getting engaged, what ads are not getting clicked, which keywords do not drive a return.

      On the acquisition front in particular, I have always measured on a CPX basis - X being the value you seek to achieve through the product. Is X a transaction? Is X a view? Is X a signup? Make sure you are clear on X and measure against it.

      2. Hiring...great topic. Really depends on the role, but in general I look for people that have a diverse background of experience. I always want people that are data orientated, otherwise if will be difficult for us to relate. It they are not data orientated , are they willing to learn?

      I hired a creative person a while ago - awesome skills, but pushed them to apply data to what they are doing. I think that they have grown as a designer and broadened the scope of the role because they were willing to dig in on areas they were not familiar with. They learned how to apply quantitate data to a somewhat subjective exercise,

      Thanks again for the questions John.

      1 Share
  • DO

    Danielle Olivas

    over 1 year ago #

    Hi Dan,

    You've held senior leadership roles in product and marketing at BlueConic, PayPal, WHERE, and Sprint. How was this different at smaller organizations vs large ones? Did you have any common challenges across the companies?

    Thanks!
    Danielle

    • DG

      Dan Gilmartin

      over 1 year ago #

      Hi Danielle.

      Thanks for the questions.

      1. I think that the biggest difference between small and large company operations is stakeholder buy-in. In larger organizations, there tend to be more stakeholders whom you need to convince to do something or approve something. There is typically some turf protection happening as well.
      In smaller companies, there are fewer stakeholder and less roadblocks. Stakes are higher, but I've always felt that I could move faster in smaller companies. However, the impact you can have in a larger organization can be pretty impactful.

      2. As noted above, buy-in can be a common challenge regardless of the size of the company. While the stakes may be higher in a smaller company when it comes to big decisions, I think you can get to consensus faster than in a large company. Budget has always seemed to be a common challenge, but for different reasons. Budget in a smaller company is a big bet, but I've found budget in larger companies is mostly a political exercise.

      Thanks again Danielle, hope that helps.

  • MD

    Mark Anthony de Jesus

    over 1 year ago #

    Hi Dan!

    1) Do you have any recommendations for someone that wants to break into leadership?
    2) How do you grow your team from a professional standpoint?
    3) Where are your favorite areas to fish?

    Cheers!
    Mark

    • DG

      Dan Gilmartin

      over 1 year ago #

      Hi Mark.

      1. I would say that like trust, leadership is earned, not given. I am not sure that it is a break into scenario as it is an evolution. I think that one needs to look at the skills of effective leaders and employ them in any role you have at any level in an organization. I've been attracted to the philosophy of Servant Leadership and try to practice that in my own leadership. I think that if you can employ skills and build attributes such as these, leadership will come to you.

      2. I love this question. It is perhaps the one of the areas that I think is most important about leadership. Two quick items here:
      a. Communication of expectations. Make sure that your team is clear on your expectations and you are clear on theirs. Misalignment does not foster growth.
      b. I made a commitment to myself (and by default, my teams) to help them grow their networks. I try to find people in my network that can help folks on my team grow. Often times, I look for people with different backgrounds and career experience and make the connection. I've heard from folks that they learn a lot from those that are not in the business or in their area of expertise.

      3. Quick answer - where ever the fish are biting :-) I live in Boston and try to get out on the Harbor and beyond whenever I can.

      Thanks Mark.

      1 Share
  • SS

    Sangram Sabat

    over 1 year ago #

    Hi Dan!

    Thanks for the AMA. You are awesome!

    - We have a Multilingual Voice Assistant that is to be launched over the next month to Alpha Users. Our level of traction is low as of now. We are trying to control growth over the next year to understand the customer segments (preferences, problems, requirements, etc.) we have identified, before going bullish on growth. Is it a good strategy?

    - Could you suggest some tactics if you think the above is a good strategy?

    - What's your marketing stack for Mar-Automation?

    Thanks & Cheers,
    Sangram Sabat
    www.saarthi.ai

    • DG

      Dan Gilmartin

      over 1 year ago #

      Hi Sangram.

      Thanks for the questions.

      1. I think that is a good strategy. I've seen products launch with lots of activity that overshot their market and had a very difficult time retrenching and rebuilding to the desired market. If you deliver to an audience that is not in your crosshairs, the data you get back will be misleading. Make sure that you are solving a/the right problem for your intended audience and get the feedback that proves or disproves you theories. Once you see the product market fit, hit the accelerator hard!

      2. For tactics, I'd need to know more about the solution, who you are targeting, platforms supported, etc before offering suggestions.

      3. Check the reply to Javier above for my mar-tech stack.

      Thanks again Sangram and good luck on the launch!

  • DG

    Dan Gilmartin

    over 1 year ago #

    Hi Everyone.
    Thanks so much for the time and the great questions. I really enjoyed it, but my fingers need a bit of a rest. I will check back in again this afternoon for any additional questions and follow ups. Thanks to the team at GrowthHackers for inviting me.
    Best,
    Dan

  • AP

    Alex Patriquin

    over 1 year ago #

    Hey Dan, long time! Given your background in data-driven marketing, I was wondering if you have any thoughts on event marketing and how to make better uses of data?

    • DG

      Dan Gilmartin

      over 1 year ago #

      Hi Alex,

      Great to hear from you. Sorry for the delayed response.

      I have not done a lot of event marketing, but here is how I would approach it (this is purely B2B).

      Spend a little money on a sponsorship that gives you pre-show access to the attendee list with contact into. Identify all attendees that you want to connect with and begin to reach out to try to set up some time during the show (lunches and dinners are always good - people need to eat).

      Years ago, I set up an invite only dinner with those attendees on the list that I wanted to spend some time with. We had about 25 people at the dinner and were able to arrange seating so that certain prospects sat with certain folks on the team. It was very much choreographed, but came off pretty casual. The cost per MQL/SQL was pretty low by the end of the evening as we were able to truly qualify the right buyers.

      I think that without the attendee list, lots of sponsorships are just branding exercises. Not a bad thing, just depends on the objectives.

      Hope all is well.

      Dan

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

Get Weekly Top Posts
High five! You’re in.
SHARE
27
27