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AMAs

Hannah leads Marketing Operations at ZOZI, the online booking software that powers the world’s experiences.  ZOZI is a unique platform offering an amazing selection of marketplace activities in almost every city across the United States as well as an online booking solution for tour and activity business owners. 

Hannah sets the strategic vision for ZOZI’s marketing technology roadmap and delivers on operational improvements and monitoring.  She partners with the B2B and B2C teams at ZOZI to enable operational excellence and scale.  Her main focuses in the last year have been demand generation, business intelligence data management & implementation, campaign execution & analytics, and process management across teams within ZOZI. 

Since starting at ZOZI Hannah has implemented new email marketing technology, managed SEO, launched new demand generation technology, launched Google Tag Manager for cross-domain analytics, created new processes across several platforms & teams, run A/B tests – one e-commerce test leading to 30% increase in conversions, and overseen several new product builds, implementation & launch.  She’s super passionate about mountain biking, surfing & gettin’ things done.

You can follow Hannah on Twitter: @MktgInSF

She will be live on October 11 starting at 930 AM PT for one and a half hours during which she will answer as many questions as possible.

  • AA

    Aldin A

    10 months ago #

    Hi Hannah,

    Thanks for being here!

    1) How do you go about figuring out the optimal transaction rate for a marketplace? Start too low, and if you try to increase it everybody will be up in arms. Start too high and you can't attract sellers. Any advice on how to figure out your take rate and strike the right balance?

    2)How did you initially source and get the supply side on to the network when zozi was started, and didn't yet have the demand necessary to naturally attract the supply side? How did you build credibility with them and get them to give you a shot?

    Can you break down the process you went through to find companies you wanted to work with, find people to champion you in those companies, and what was your value proposition that convinced them to take you seriously (and give you a shot) even though you were just starting out?

    3)How did you go about acquiring the supply side at scale? What was the process for identifying the kinds of vendors you want on the platform to finally getting them on the platform? How did you scale this process?

    4)What are some of the challenges of scaling the marketplace and how did you overcome them?

    Thanks

    • HO

      Hannah Oldknow

      9 months ago #

      Hi Aldin. Thanks for your questions.

      1 - We have CC fees and commission that our sales team works out based on each of our partners and their specific activities. I would encourage you to look @ your competition and then find something that gives you a competitive edge. Often times that’s something completely different and surprising. We try to keep consumers @ front of mind.

      2 - When ZOZI started we were a daily deals website. We have always had a great sales team that works hard to find activities that align with our values and brand and then work on connecting w/ those business types. We built credibility through making sure every activity aligns with our values and then launched our acquisition based on marketing to those verticals.

      3 - When we were starting out we really focused on a diverse marketplace with wonderful activities where consumers could come and find what they wanted in any major city (though now we have much more than just the major markets!) We relied heavily on acquisition and sales and then scaled later to optimize other channels.

      4 - Our process has always been organic + paid + partnerships (with a dose of email marketing). Those ebb and flow with each year, but we consistently optimize our ads utilizing new keywords and channels monthly as well as seo build out with consistent projects. We also utilize business development partnerships. We scale this each year by expanding into new markets. I would diversify this process no matter how small your team.

      Top challenges: Expanding into new markets and learning the landscape for a very diverse set of activities in order to optimize our product, marketing & retention. The way we are overcoming this is by understanding our consumers and business owners, creating valuable feedback loops & then utilizing that data to scale the drivers of business.

      • AA

        Anuj Adhiya

        9 months ago #

        re: we consistently optimize our ads utilizing new keywords and channels monthly.
        Can you talk elaborate more on how this process works?

      • HO

        Hannah Oldknow

        9 months ago #

        Hi Anuj,

        Yes, we have a team that does research on keywords every month covering our vast landscape of verticals. The SEO team informs our advertising team of what new keywords are showing up or what new organic keywords are bringing users to our landing pages and where we can optimize that we aren't already. It's a tug and pull process between SEO & Advertising. New channels are really based on volume and conversion rates. Every business has seasonality and with that comes downtime on certain channels. If you track your conversion rates daily / weekly and see a consistent dip for a certain month, then we may put more towards another channel that is working or look into a new channel we aren't currently live on like Bing Advertising, etc.

  • SA

    Shaker A

    9 months ago #

    Hey Hannah,

    Thanks for doing this AMA.

    1)How do you retain your users, if your user only need to use your app occasionally by nature (ex they only book activities once in while)? If your app isn't used frequently building up the habit is hard, which makes it even harder to retain the user. How do you go about trying to stay top of mind so when the user wants to plan an activity, they think of you?

    2) What are the key metrics for the zozi marketplace, and other marketplaces in general? What metrics are most important when measuring the health of the buyers side? What metrics are most important measuring health of seller side?

    3)As an commerce platform the core activity is very transactional. You click on the activity to book it. How do you make
    the whole experience about more than just booking an activity?What is your user engagement strategy?

    Thanks

    • HO

      Hannah Oldknow

      9 months ago #

      Hi Shaker,

      Thanks for joining.

      We retain users with targeted email campaigns based on user profiles. We build this out over time based on purchases, visits to landing pages, etc. We utilize display advertising and email marketing including transaction emails and welcome flows if a user has yet to purchase. Having a good taxonomy is key for data segmentation.

      Our key metrics really depend on the department, but in marketing we focus on conversion rate, LTV, AOV, GTV, landing page conversion rates, and specific metrics for diff. marketing channels like: CPA, RPM for email and of course, all of our spend. Health of buyers is definitely AOV and conversion rate. Important for the seller are # of tickets and AOV.

      We are working on making our platform an entire experience every day. That being said, we provide additional things to do around your location that you are visiting, so if you are kayaking in half moon bay, we might send you an email suggesting another local activity that weekend.

  • LS

    Logan Stoneman

    9 months ago #

    Hey Hannah,

    I'd love to hear more about these A/B tests which increased conversion by 30%! What kind of a/b tests were these and how is a conversion defined at Zozi?

    Can't help but also ask - since you're out in SF and self-declare as a lover of coffee - where's your morning stop?

    Thanks!

    • HO

      Hannah Oldknow

      9 months ago #

      Hi Logan,

      Thanks for joining. Ah, A/B tests - my first love. We run a lot of tests. One of our major winners was on our final checkout page last year where we tested the placement of our coupon code box and the colors of that box. This lead to a 30% increase in conversions by making the checkout less confusing and optimizing for the purchase that the user came to our landing page to make. VWO.com has some wonderful case studies around this area. I've used them for several ideas.

      Coffee, my second love. :) One of my favorite stops in the morning is Blue Bottle at the Ferry Building. Lots of hustle and bustle and the best almond milk latte ever. Their espresso is wonderful for a quick few minute stop as well. I also frequent Philz Coffee in Sausalito. The Station is another fave right off of Columbus in SF.

      • AA

        Anuj Adhiya

        9 months ago #

        re: the final checkout page test.
        Where was the coupon box originally places vs where it landed up?
        Also, why do you believe one color worked vs another?

  • RB

    Ry B

    9 months ago #

    Hey Hannah,

    Great to have you here at GH!

    1) Given that you deal with so much long tail and unique inventory in the zozi marketplace, what type of unique things have you been able to do when it comes to seo and ppc advertising which are only possible because you have this long tail inventory available?

    2) What are the most important lessons you've learned about marketplaces over your career? What are the biggest lesson's you've learned about growth?

    3)How do you look at hiring? Can you talk about some of the mistakes you've made hiring (and also seen others make)? What have you learned about hiring A+ talents?

    4)What do you think are the top skills/traits that a manager needs to have to bring out the best in their employees?How do you go about empowering employees and what does that look at zozi?

    5)In your opinion what are things early stage startups have to do to not only survive, but thrive? Conversely what do you see startups messing that they can't afford to, and how do they fix them?

    Thanks

    • HO

      Hannah Oldknow

      9 months ago #

      Hi Ry,

      our PCC & SEO teams work hand in hand and I think that has been the most valuable for our team. We optimize location + activity specific ads which is unique to our marketplace.

      Important lessons... the largest I have learned is around optimizing those pages with the highest amount of traffic and not focusing on getting more out the door. Seems simple, but large teams that scale quickly can focus on a lot and trimming that down to where users are and what they need is vital to success. A wide net is not always the most converting one. This is true for growth as well -- 80/20 is true in almost every part of marketing.

      I love hiring. I've been a part of the ZOZI hiring team for 4 years. Mistakes are probably hiring too quickly because of a need. I have learned that finding top talent takes time and a diverse team of interviewers. If you have intuition about an interviewee's willingness to learn and expand their knowledge, don't turn them away. Hire them because that will is hard to find.

      • HO

        Hannah Oldknow

        9 months ago #

        Empowering employees: give them space to grow and fail while supporting them along their entire path. Encourage off the wall ideas.

        Top skills a manager needs: Communication + an open forum and transparency for their entire team.

        For early startups to thrive I think they have to assess what is absolutely vital for growth at each stage. Often times you can do a lot with a very driven team that's excited to grow and learn together. Don't over complicate the process. Happy customers must always first.

        Hiccups for startups is probably expanding too quickly in any direction. This is true for departments too. Stick to a few key metrics and optimize. I also think startups can lose sight of what they started off focusing on: your key value. Keep that top of mind every day.

  • JM

    Jason Meresman

    9 months ago #

    Hi Hannah - thanks for today's AMA!

    Have you experienced a period where growth stalled from a specific channel or overall? If yes, how did you overcome this?

    • HO

      Hannah Oldknow

      9 months ago #

      Hi Jason,

      Yes. The best way to overcome this is to focus on letting your team generate new and interesting ideas - maybe it's a partnership or instagram takeover, etc. Fundamentally if you are speaking channels like Adwords, I would look into different channels like Gmail inApp advertising, etc. Look @ your subscribers, where do most of them reside, or what pages are they visiting most frequently, etc., then take action. Eat, breathe and live for research and you will expand.

  • AL

    Arsene Lavaux

    10 months ago #

    Bonjour Hannah,

    Thank you for doing this AMA in this inspiring GH community.

    A few questions for you:

    1) What was the simplest growth hack that had the biggest impact you have ever experienced?

    2) What is the one thing you need to do right to impact growth with SEO?

    3) From an e-commerce conversion rate impact standpoint, would you share more color on the e-commerce test mentioned in your bio that led to a 30% increase in conversions?

    Merci!

    • HO

      Hannah Oldknow

      9 months ago #

      Hi Arsene,

      1 - Easily A/B testing on our website and via email. Test one item and focus on conversions as your key measurement.

      2 - SEO is tricky as you know. I think the one thing everyone should focus on is landing page load time. Hands down, the largest impact.

      3 - Answered this question above, but overview here - we optimized the final checkout page and placement of the line items on that page. Pages can get too busy when you are focusing on all the things consumers need to know. Start over, design from scratch with the very minimum and see what happens in an A/B test.

      • HO

        Hannah Oldknow

        9 months ago #

        Hi Anuj,

        An interesting big win that I can think of was an image test on a landing page that was optimized for demand generation. We changed the header image from people walking on the beach to people kayaking and the conversion rate on our forms went up 10%. This test helped us to understand (once again) that simple changes can = big wins, but also that seasonality has a lot to do with how users are feeling and taking action.

      • AA

        Anuj Adhiya

        9 months ago #

        Was there one specific A/B test on the site or email that you can recall being a big win?

  • TN

    Tri Nguyen

    9 months ago #

    Other than the one test you mentioned in your bio - is there any other test you can talk about that was either a big win or provided great insight/learning?

  • DH

    Dani Hart

    9 months ago #

    Hi Hannah,

    Great to have you here today.

    It looks like you have a lot of experience with implementing change. Do you have any advice for team leaders when it comes to implementing and adopting new platforms or process? What do you do to ensure your team is in the know and adopting them successfully?

    Can't wait to hear what you have to say.

    Thanks!
    Dani

    • HO

      Hannah Oldknow

      9 months ago #

      Hi Dani,

      This is a topic I'm passionate about. When we were implementing new Demand Gen. software last year we had the software team meet with our marketing members to do training, but also to customize the platform for our business needs. We then went through some processes that the team would be utilizing with our own data like campaign building, etc. It's important to include everyone who is affected by that software in this process: email, advertising, demand gen., even sales & of course operations.

      We documented the operational and workflow processes and now can serve this up when a new member joins our marketing team. If they are interested in demand gen. they can view the documentation and ask questions, or build.

      Successful adoption really depends on 2 things: Good process documentation & enthusiasm. If you have that, you'll easily adopt new software.

      Cheers-

  • AA

    Anuj Adhiya

    9 months ago #

    Hey Hannah - stoked to have you on!

    I have a couple of questions for you - which I'll ask separately.

    Its no secret that with a travel business, user acquisition is paramount.
    What channel(s) have you found to be most effective so far? Are you seeing that change? If not, are you evaluating other channels (and which ones) to test?

    • HO

      Hannah Oldknow

      9 months ago #

      Hi Anuj,

      Advertising is key for us. That does change, but you have to optimize for new markets or topics around your business and that will help you expand. New channels that we continue to test include social & inApp ads.

      • AA

        Anuj Adhiya

        9 months ago #

        This may be a stupid question but when you say inApp ads - is that within your own app or other apps?

        Within social - is there a particular platform that's emerging as more interesting to you?

  • AA

    Anuj Adhiya

    9 months ago #

    How do you stand out from the competition?
    I know of at least 5-10 others sites that (appear to) have a platform featuring providers offering a curated list of travel activities/experiences.

    I'll speak to what I've seen - most people (that I know) aren't willing to dig deep and do the research to find the best travel site for XYZ. for one reason or another (no time, no inclination, information overload etc).

    So what could someone with a lot of similar (or similar sounding) competition do to differentiate themselves?
    What's worked best for ZOZI?

    • HO

      Hannah Oldknow

      9 months ago #

      Thanks for your questions, Anuj.

      We stand out from the competition by optimizing our marketplace platform every day. We continue to listen to consumer feedback and implement based on their needs. We are also continuously expanding our sales reach so we have unique offerings. You can only differentiate by knowing what your competition is up to, so continual research is key. It changes almost daily.

  • JF

    Javier Feldman

    9 months ago #

    Hi Hannah! Thanks for being here today!

    Here's my question for you:

    How do you measure retention - for buyers and sellers? Which one is more difficult to retain and why?

    Cheers!

    • HO

      Hannah Oldknow

      9 months ago #

      Hi Javier,

      We measure retention by repeat purchases for consumers and business owners time length on our platform for B2B. From my perspective, consumers are harder to retain because an ultimate retention would be a purchase monthly or even weekly that never ends. ;) Having data points that you can consistently tap into across a diverse set of interests is key.

      • HO

        Hannah Oldknow

        9 months ago #

        Hi Anuj. We consider a user retained on our marketplace when they come back and purchase. We then measure LTV and have cohorts based on created and transactional dates. That helps you see the entire lifetime of the user and their size / # of purchases along the way. For B2B its more long-term. We have annual contracts and we measure that retention based on length of time on our platform. We also look at GTV for businesses on our platform. If a business renews, they are retained. We also measure NPS closely in line with our businesses to keep them happy and engaged.

      • AA

        Anuj Adhiya

        9 months ago #

        No question the frequency of purchase makes measuring retention tough.
        So when do you consider a user retained vs not? What signals do you see in the data that tell you what the case may be one way or another?

  • ES

    Edward Stephens

    9 months ago #

    Hi Hannah,

    Amazing to have you on! My questions are:

    1) What have been the challenges of growing a two sides marketplace and when have you hit critical inflection points?

    2) What have been the keys to the new email marketing tech you've implemented and what crucial pieces of advice could you give to anyone embarking on SEO?

    Can't wait to hear your responses.

    • HO

      Hannah Oldknow

      9 months ago #

      Hi Edward,

      Great questions. The challenges are super interesting. We have built our platform over quite a few inflection points. I think the main focus has always been to offer a great product for B2B and B2C. That in itself is a large task. The main path forward is recognition and accepting a new challenge whenever it arises even if that fundamentally changes your offerings. An example would be when we went from a daily deals website to having revolving activities on our market place. That was a unique and necessary shift.

      Key to email marketing is a well thought out taxonomy on your website to identify what users are interested in and follow up emails after users have purchased. The more you can understand your visitors / purchasers, the more valuable your email campaigns.

      If you are starting out on SEO I would read the @MOZ guide to SEO. I would also focus on landing page load time, long tail keywords, and simple on-page SEO. Also make sure your sitemap is dynamically updating daily.

      • HO

        Hannah Oldknow

        9 months ago #

        Hi Anuj,

        Exactly. Daily deals was very early in our business strategy and over time we decided it was best to have revolving activities.

      • AA

        Anuj Adhiya

        9 months ago #

        re: the shift from daily deals - was that primarily due to what was happening across the board with daily deal sites or was it something else?

  • MD

    Mark Anthony de Jesus

    9 months ago #

    What lessons have you learned about user onboarding and as part of that, what do you believe is ZOZI's "aha moment" for your users? Also interested in any stories about how you'll identified that XYZ was the "aha moment"

    • HO

      Hannah Oldknow

      9 months ago #

      Hi Mark,

      I've learned that user feedback should be a very early and important data point for marketing, sales & executives, and then having a monthly meeting where you serve up the feedback is truly key. If you keep a pulse, then you will optimize for the users which is vital to happiness, retention, and should inform product build.

      I would say an "Aha" moment for us was really building out user profiles and then utilizing that data for email marketing. So many companies ask for email and location and then send away, never taking moments to just send simple emails (with no other conversion points) that ask questions like, "Did you like your experience on ZOZI.com?" "What else are you interested in?" "What are your favorite outdoor activities?" etc. This seems simple, but you have to strike a balance with data points vs. bounces. That's a valuable lesson for any team and it varies by business type. My suggestion would be to send a monthly or bi-monthly email with 3 - 9 questions that users can answer. You can do this inApp on your website as well with great tools like Hotjar.

      • HO

        Hannah Oldknow

        9 months ago #

        Hey Anuj,

        Yes, we ask users to create an account and then we optimize for interests based on a number of factors: purchases, types of page visits, cart details (abandon), etc. The more involved a user (more active) the more data we have and the more tailored their experience. You can also then use this data to optimize your website for web personalization.

        The thing that helps users recognize our value is the diversity of offerings in their location or their visiting location. They will then create an account based on useful info. available for them / "tailored experience."

      • AA

        Anuj Adhiya

        9 months ago #

        Love this.
        So just to clarify then, it appears that one of the things you try to optimize for is to have all visitors create an account as soon as possible so that they can then build out their user profile which allows for all the personalized marketing that comes their way.

        If that assumption is correct, then what have you found about what makes a new visitor recognize the value of ZOZI's offering as soon as possible, that then motivates them to create an account?

  • JM

    Jessica Morgan

    9 months ago #

    Hi Hannah,

    Thanks for being here

    I started SEO before 3 months .Soi am new in this field please help me for improving my skills .

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