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Friday August 22, 2014

NY Convergence ORIGINAL

SMASH Summit Part I: How Meetup and Twilio Acquired Hundreds of Thousands of Customers #smashNYC

By Lauren Keyson

Danielle Morrill of Twilio quoted Mad Men, "We are not artists; we are problem solvers." (credit: Lauren Keyson)

The SMASH Summit, produced by 500 Startups, was held on Friday in Microsoft’s NY headquarters.  It was all about online marketing, customer acquisition, social and mobile networking.  The audience was made up of people doing marketing, startups and enterprise. Tech companies Meetup, AppStores, DailyWorth and Gilt Groupe talked about how they use different online channels for customer retention and conversation.  “This Summit is about understanding more how to do search, social and mobile marketing and customer acquisition,” said Dave McClure, CEO and Overlord of 500 Startups.  “There are tremendous opportunities because there are so many different ways to reach customers these days. It’s also more challenging trying to keep up with all the different channels and technology going across those channels.”

Andres Glusman, the VP of Strategy & Community for Meetup,  related how the company acquired its first 100,000 users by virtue of creating something valuable on top of existing networks.  One hundred percent of the marketing spending goes into investing in customers and making them more effective.  “So we spend that money to community development, instead of spending dollars to keep people coming into the front door.”

“The first users came to Meetup because we declared 500 + holidays for their communities in which people would get together and have monthly Meetup days,” he added. “That was interesting because it   inspired people who were already part of online networks to come together and form their own local Meetups.”  Currently, there are hundreds of thousands of Meetups that happen every month – one starts every 13 seconds somewhere the world.

Director of marketing, Danielle Morrill, talked about how Twilio markets to developers who are the company’s main audience. She quoted lines from Mad Men to explain her philosophy that marketers are not artists; their role is to solve problems.  “This is honest — we think we are artists and that we have to have everything be our idea, but the reality is there are good ideas in our teams and everywhere.  We should focus on testing and try everything and not be limiting ourselves.

“ It’s a maturity thing – ultimately you want to get to the point where you are taking great ideas from everywhere and testing them all the time, and are not tied to one particular campaign. You are ruthless — you can kill the bad campaigns and move on to stuff that’s working.”