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AMAs

Michelle is currently the CMO at Simple where she is waist-deep in the newfangled world of fintech. She started her career by focusing on data-driven loyalty marketing programs at large Fortune 500 companies like Continental Airlines, and Gap Inc. She then made the leap to the exciting world of startups as an early employee at Yelp and Uber where she helped scale their marketing footprint from a few cities to a true nation-wide presence.

Michelle earned a Bachelor’s Degree in business with a focus on marketing and computer science, and has continued her education in executive leadership at Stanford and behavioral economics at Yale.

When not leading the Marketing Team at Simple, Michelle can be found traveling the globe in search of installation art exhibits, obscure mammals, and regional snacks.

You can follow her on Twitter: @MichelleBee 

She will be during which she will answer as many questions as possible.

  • BS

    Bhaskar Sarma

    about 1 month ago #

    Ohhh, behavioral economics *rubs hands gleefully*!

    Saving and budgeting has traditionally ranked up there with skin infections and visits to dentists in terms of consumer interest.

    People know that saving and budgeting is good, but the actual process is icky for the vast majority.

    So how do you use behavioral economics and cognitive biases in your onboarding, inside the app and in your marketing to overcome these primal, visceral objections, and change habits (which is really tough)?

    • MB

      Michelle Broderick

      24 days ago #

      First things first, the insights you gain from the field of behavioral economics can only be useful to your business --long-term-- when you have the customer’s best interest at heart. It’s not a dark art spell to be deployed to help hit a quarterly target.

      With that in mind, the way to ensure that you are setup to help your users hit their behavior change goals is to do the hard work to allow the person to see the *benefits* of that goal. The user needs to be able to go beyond just the “I should do it” benefit of the goal. The user needs to continue into the rich world of the mind to imagine how much better their life would be if they reached the goal. They need to understand what it means to be a person to reach that goal. They need to be able to fully feel, with all of their senses, the benefit of slogging through the hard parts of the goal to reach what they truly desire.

      Do I desire to be on a treadmill? No.

      Do I desire to eat this bowl of kale? No.

      Do I desire to give up a frivolous purchase? No.

      Do I desire to go through the pain of not smoking a cigarette when my body is literally addicted to cigarettes? No.

      Those are all the things I have to do to achieve my goal. No amount of trying to get them to sound fun is going to work. Instead I need to keep my eye on the eventual goal.

      Do I want to run up a flight of stairs without getting winded? Yes.

      Do I want to go on a hike to see amazing views with people that I care about? Yes.

      Do I want to save enough money to join my friends on a trek to Machu Picchu where I can experience one of the seven wonders of the modern world? Yes. Yes. Yes.

      If my goal is to get into financial and physical shape to take a once in a lifetime trip to Machu Picchu then staying focused on that goal is priority #1. With that larger goal in mind all of the painful small steps will seem worth it.

      Help your users see their dreams.

      6 Share
  • DH

    Dani Hart

    about 1 month ago #

    Hi Michelle,

    Having spent a couple of years working in fintech and being a customer of Simple, I've always been a fan of the fun marketing your team has produced. It's rare I look forward to banking emails, but you're the one brand that made a privacy policy update a joy to read (Rabble, rabble, rabble...).

    I'd love to learn more about how you've overcome the painstaking and drawn out compliance process while maintaining speed in delivery of your marketing efforts. Basically, how do you move fast with all of the existing processes working against you? I'd also love to learn if and how Simple works across the typical company silos to impact the full customer journey.

    I could ask SO MANY more questions, but I'll start with those. :)

    Cheers!
    Dani

    • MB

      Michelle Broderick

      24 days ago #

      Dani - You are known for asking the most insightful questions aren’t you? Let’s break ‘em down.

      • MB

        Michelle Broderick

        24 days ago #

        Q: I'd love to learn more about how you've overcome the painstaking and drawn out compliance process while maintaining speed in delivery of your marketing efforts. Basically, how do you move fast with all of the existing processes working against you?

        A: This is where the hiring process comes in so handy. If you have hired people who are specifically there to create painstaking and drawn out compliance processes, then you’re not committed to your customer, or to growth.

        You want to make sure you are hiring people who will think, “OK, someone created this regulation with the spirit that it will be better for the customer, how can we adopt this regulation in the same spirit?” When you are all asking how you can do something a little bit better for the customer that’s where the magic happens.

        6 Share
      • MB

        Michelle Broderick

        24 days ago #

        Q: I'd also love to learn if and how Simple works across the typical company silos to impact the full customer journey.

        A: There should be only one silo in any business and that’s the customer silo.

        5 Share
  • RZ

    Rihab Zaidi

    about 1 month ago #

    Hi Michelle,

    What are your biggest challenges as CMO at Simple? And how do you perceive emerging technologies like AR and VR, do you believe the marketing field can make use of it to and use it as an innovative digital tool?
    Thanks :))

    • MB

      Michelle Broderick

      24 days ago #

      Rihab - You’re asking the big questions. Ok, here goes.

      • MB

        Michelle Broderick

        24 days ago #

        Q: What are your biggest challenges as CMO at Simple?

        A: Any CMO’s biggest challenge is balance. Balancing when to dive into the details and when to get out of the way of your team. Balancing short-term wins with long-term strategy. Balancing growing talent on your team with letting people go. Balancing when to double down on a proven marketing channel with constantly testing new things. Balancing when to deploy precious marketing dollars to move the business forward with when to get scrappy and leapfrog the status quo.

        Balance is hard to do alone. When you’re in the thick of it your judgement can get hazy. That’s why it’s so important to surround yourself with great people who can provide outside advice. A trusted network is everything.

        5 Share
      • MB

        Michelle Broderick

        24 days ago #

        Q: How do you perceive emerging technologies like AR and VR, do you believe the marketing field can make use of it to and use it as an innovative digital tool?

        A: Marketers can make use of just about anything if they respect the technology’s original intent. I’ve been fortunate enough to meet with some of the most talented people in VR at FoST (Future of Storytelling) in New York. The common theme of all of the creators is connection and storytelling. If your brand has a compelling story that gets woven into a plot [call an Uber, or lookup a restaurant on Yelp] then it’s a natural fit for the technology. If you want to interrupt someone while they are in a beautiful flow state of an epic quest to sell them SAAS software, you probably won’t have much luck.

        5 Share
  • RA

    Roma Amarnani

    about 1 month ago #

    How important is Social Media Marketing? And why? And what are the most effective ways or effective actions that should be taken to scale it?

  • DO

    Danielle Olivas

    24 days ago #

    Hey Michelle!
    What was the biggest adjustment for you moving from Fortune 500 companies to startups?
    What advice would you have for others that might want to make such a move?

    • MB

      Michelle Broderick

      24 days ago #

      The biggest difference is FREEDOM! You are in charge of more than you could ever imagine when you make the leap to work at a Startup. No one is going to stand over you and tell you what to do and how to do it. If you see a problem that needs solving you get to solve it.

      My advice for you if you want to make the move. Keep doing what you’re doing: Showing an amazing amount of curiosity by getting in here and asking the questions. Try to meetup with other people who work at startups. You were able to break into the big companies, you will have no problem breaking into a startup.

  • AL

    Alla Leksukova

    about 1 month ago #

    Hi Michelle,
    How big your marketing division at Simple? Do you divide managers on strategists and operations? Do you have a road map for your activity?
    Thanks in advance!

  • AL

    Arsene Lavaux

    26 days ago #

    Hi Michelle,

    Merci for doing this AMA.
    Here are a few questions for you.

    1) What's your favorite regional snack?
    2) Why Simple as a brand?
    3) Do you see growth opportunities with cryptocurrencies for Simple? If so, how?

  • JP

    John Phamvan

    24 days ago #

    Hi Michelle
    What tools are you using at Simple for experimentation & analytics right now? Where does your data live?
    Also, has/have been the most recent one(s) you'll have added to your toolset - and why?

  • JF

    Javier Feldman

    24 days ago #

    Hola Michelle,
    Can you share a growth experiment that was a big win for you or led to some big insights?

  • MB

    Michelle Broderick

    24 days ago #

    Wow, what an amazing 90 minute with y'all! Thanks you all for your questions, I'm sad I couldn't answer all of them. Perhaps next time :)

  • AA

    Anuj Adhiya

    24 days ago #

    Hey Michelle - so cool to finally have you on!

    I'd love to understand more about your learnings about scaling Yelp/Uber from city to city.
    How did you know what processes/aspects of the business absolutely needed to be "franchised" as it were.
    What support/logistics needed to be in place to ensure that the foundation would be in place for the next city to be as successful?
    What, if anything was different about growing city by city between Yelp and Uber?

    • MB

      Michelle Broderick

      24 days ago #

      Thanks for having me on the show, Anuj! Rapid multi-city rollouts are one of my favorite activities. So thanks for letting me dive into the question.

      • MB

        Michelle Broderick

        24 days ago #

        Q) How did you know what processes/aspects of the business absolutely needed to be "franchised" as it were.

        A) This answer will be different depending on how many cities you have rolled out. But the one thing will remain constant: Document everything in playbooks.

        First City: This is your time to go into full lean startup mode. You are throwing lots of ideas on the wall in the hopes that you will find a bit of traction with a few of your ideas and use those as your playbook for all other cities. This is the time to do the untested, do the unscalable, do the thing that calls out to you in the middle of the night as an idea so crazy it just might work.

        Cities 2-5: Now you have a laboratory of cities! And you have a playbook from your first city launch. Share that play book with your new city managers, ask each city manager to slightly tweak the playbook to make it unique to their city. Each city manager try something completely new in their city to add to your playbook. If their idea fails, no problem, it was just one city. But if it succeeds you can double down into scaling that out to your next cities!

        Cities 5-12: By now you have a pretty good sense of what works in which kinds of metropolitan areas so you can rapidly hire city managers and have them efficiently execute the playbook. By this time you are in the long tail of US cities and it’s time to go International.

        International Cities: Let them rewrite the playbooks in their own language.

        This amazing article from the New Yorker shares what the lauded world of Medicine can learn from humble operations of The Cheesecake Factory, but I think it applies to all of us: http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2012/08/13/big-med

        5 Share
      • MB

        Michelle Broderick

        24 days ago #

        Q) What support/logistics needed to be in place to ensure that the foundation would be in place for the next city to be as successful?

        A) The playbooks are the most important. This way each new city manager doesn't have recreate the wheel each and every time.

        The next most important discipline is that your hiring process needs to be nailed down. This way you can quickly bring in the right talent to hit the ground running, execute the playbooks, and tweak the plays to hit the goals in their cities.

        Finally, any physical or digital marketing materials should be created at a central location so you can enjoy economies of scale, but you should allow for personalization for each city through some form of scaleable brand architecture. A good designer will be your best friend in crafting the architecture and allowing your city managers to easily customize their assets.

      • MB

        Michelle Broderick

        24 days ago #

        Q) What, if anything was different about growing city by city between Yelp and Uber?

        A) Regulations.

  • GH

    Glen Harper

    24 days ago #

    Thank you for being here, Michelle

    Im interested in hearing more about the loyalty programs you worked on.
    Can you talk about what makes a good one (does Simple have one?) and when a company should start thinking of one?
    Also, how does (or should) such a program fit in with other short & long term campaigns you may have running at the same time?

  • TN

    Tri Nguyen

    24 days ago #

    Hey Michelle,
    I'll be honest, I'd never heard of Simple before seeing your AMA page.
    Can you talk more about how playbook for building brand awareness?

  • MD

    Mark Anthony de Jesus

    24 days ago #

    It's interesting to me that you don't charge users for using the app - because of which they are clearly getting a benefit
    Why not charge even a nominal amount? After all there are financial advisors/apps that take a monthly fee of some sort for helping manage your money in one way or another.

  • LC

    Lingling Chen

    24 days ago #

    Hi Michelle, as a marketer who has very good consumer understanding and consumer insights, how do you deal with different ideas with engineering team & product team? How do you convince them about the product priorities when they have a different agenda? Thank you!

    Lingling

  • FA

    Faisal Abu

    24 days ago #

    Hey Michelle, how did you know when (it's the right time) to continue your education, like you have?

  • LC

    Lingling Chen

    24 days ago #

    Hi Michelle, 2 more questions (hope you can still see them):

    1. What are the marketing lessons you learned in traditional industries (Gap) that can be applied in today's startup world?
    2. For aspiring marketers, should we strive to be a marketing generalist or specialist (social, email, growth, product) in the first 5 years of career?

  • ES

    Erik Sandberg

    24 days ago #

    ...With brevity in mind. Exponentially speaking, which/what growth hack gave you the biggest kick and what drove its success?

  • DM

    Dave Morse

    24 days ago #

    How do you do planning? A more traditional yearly plan ... or more of an agile approach?

  • SK

    S Kodial

    24 days ago #

    Related to another question above on scaling Yelp/Uber to multiple cities, what do you think are the top 3 toughest aspects of scaling a 2-sided/marketplace type business?

  • JD

    James Dunn

    24 days ago #

    Hi Michelle

    What user acquisition channels have worked best for you so far?
    Are there any you haven't tried yet that you're excited to test in the next 3-6 months?

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