Stay Curious, Keep It Agile, and Know What to Ask: Marketing Secrets from busuu

busuu’s head of marketing on the skills, tools, and mindset that power effective marketing

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Editor’s Note: This installment of Relate’s “Marketer Spotlight” series features Lea Hartkopf, head of marketing at language education brand busuu. Read on to learn Lea’s personal marketing mantra, how she spends her day, and what tools and tactics busuu uses to drive their marketing.

Can you tell us about your typical day at the office?

We start with daily standup, part of our agile process, and update the team on what we focused on yesterday as well as what will come today. As the head of marketing, I spend time checking in with the different team leads to see where we are on our various projects. We discuss results so far, tweaks we might want to make to campaigns, and new ideas.

I also spend quite some time looking at performance and strategy for the team, as well as aligning with the CEO and management team.

What is your biggest challenge with lifecycle marketing (and how are you addressing it)?

For us, managing the complexity of 15+ markets and 12 language courses across three platforms is quite challenging.

We know that our customers don’t just go through an email lifecycle anymore—they are much more mobile and want personalised information. We’ve made a lot of progress understanding user behaviour in our core markets and adapting our CRM to it. We’re also sending personalised messages like, “Do you remember what xxx means?” as a push help to motivate our customers, and we have recently doubled down on A/B testing to fuel growth in core markets.

What skills are most important if you want to succeed in today’s marketing landscape?

It’s important to stay curious and adaptable to ever-changing technologies.

Consumer behaviour and marketing practices are changing so rapidly that it’s almost impossible to keep up. Great marketers are the ones who get the customer and constantly explore new products and services. And, of course, the ones who are analytical, data-driven, T-shaped, creative, and dare to try something new even if it fails.

What’s unique about your approach to marketing (and how does mobile fit into that)?

For us, mobile is not a separate department. We simply are mobile. busuu is available on web and mobile, and in our marketing we are platform-agnostic and focused on where we see the best ROI.

What tools and technologies do you rely on to do your job?

Tracking results and attributing them to the right marketing channel are our bread and butter. Core tools for us are our CRM tool (Appboy), acquisition tools like Google AdWords and Facebook, testing tools, our customer service tool, and our CMS.

Which teams within and outside marketing do you work the most with?

We interact with all teams in the company—being collaborative is part of our culture. Especially for CRM, a strong alignment with product and education is vital to create a motivating customer experience. We also work closely with tech and finance when we put together promotions.

What’s your marketing mantra?

“What is it? What does it do? How much does it cost?”

If you keep answering these questions in a relevant way, consumers will engage with your offering.

Aside from your own, what brand’s marketing campaigns or message do you love the most?

Airbnb. They’ve done an amazing job on their rebranding.

What are the most important drivers for the campaigns you make?

Customer events, purchase behavior, and seasonal promotions.

What gut checks do you go through when designing a campaign?

Is it a big lever? Is the time spent wisely? Would I respond to it?

What’s a big pain point for your marketing?

Hiring great talent. It’s very important to get the right people for the team—but that often takes time.
If you’d like to be featured in our “Marketer Spotlight,” email us at relate@appboy.com.

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