While many community teams struggle to find the value of community in their greater organizations, Branch has not only discovered a game changing mobile technology, but also built a game changing community. It’s co-founder and marketing manager discuss how community has gone from a pet project, to a massive new revenue driver. Mada walked attendees through how executives and marketing teams can work together to get buy-in, build something uniquely positioned to win, and drive millions in new revenue from their program.
Mada leads strategy and market development as a co-founder of Branch, the mobile growth platform powering mobile linking and growth for over 50,000 apps and 2 billion monthly users around the world. Born and raised in Romania, Mada came to the US to study Electrical and Computer Engineering at Cornell University and then earned her Masters of Engineering and MBA from Stanford.
Notes and Quotes:
Brands typically build community around their brands. What Branch did was different. They built a community called “Mobile Growth” and then started Branch.
Community lead to Branch (Community > Branch.io)
They tried to launch a different app and realized there were no resources on how to do Mobile Growth. So they did a Meetup to try and bring people together to learn how to do Mobile Growth.
They decided to scale the Meetups.
But they ran into a problem…..
The CEO said “I don’t see value necessarily. Are they worth it?” [basically the same thing every community manager has heard from the companies they work for at some point because there is a base level misunderstanding about the end result of the content].
They tried “Branch” branded meetup groups and it really flopped. They had maybe 14 people attend.
Pivoting from Mobile Growth meetups to Branch meetups was BAD.
If we measure the impact of Mobile Growth meetups better we might be able to prove the value to Branch as a company.
They needed to be better at capturing information about attendees
- Started with Marketo Landing pages then Eventbrite landing page, was good but not enough
- Then they started using Bevy to solidify all events into one landing page and have one spot to collect information about their attendees.
They centralized all their events into one page (Mobilegrowth.org) which showed their community members they were part of a larger community.
They used enriching data to understand who their community was.
- Clearbit was used to enrich the data both on the company side as well as titles (wasn’t a required field) and then they could put people into personas.
- This helped understand how many project managers, marketing professionals, and developers are attending, which in turn helped them build out content for future meetups.
- Tweets, social activity, and general excitement from attendees at the events
- Branch was positioned as the sponsor of the events.
- They chose quality over quantity when it came to the number of cities
- They actually decreased on a smaller number of cities to improve the quality over quantity.
- 5M in sourced/influenced ARR in the past 12 months – they know this because of the enriched data and data collection processes they have. They aren’t a 100M business, so this is a significant portion of revenue for them.
- 10X – the ratio between how much we spend and how much we influence with our communities. This is a measure of people salary + spend on venue.
- Don’t compromise on the experience you give your community.
- Don’t let people come in and sell products.
- They think about the quality of the content to make the panel diverse and it’s more important than business needs.
- Set up measurement early
- Would have been able to prove value and scale earlier.
- Evaluate sponsorship opportunities closely
- The things the sponsors wanted were related to being on panels and changing topics which compromised the value of the events.
- They cut down on sponsorships because they were able to measure the impact of the meetups to their business.