Ep. 24: Aggregating Marketing Data with Hailey Friedman of Improvado
SaaS Marketing Insights Episode 24: Hailey Friedman, Improvado
From starting out as an English Teacher in the Bronx with no experience in marketing, Hailey Friedman progressed through a series of marketing roles before landing at Improvado?and helping to solve an all too common marketing problem: aggregating all marketing data from multiple channels into a single platform.
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Episode 24 Transcript
Paul: On today’s show, I have an interview with Haley Friedman, Head of Marketing at in Improvado. Hope you enjoy it.
Hayley Friedman from Improvado and Growth Marketing Pro, which I believe is your blog. And I don’t know if you pronounce it BAMF… but is it badass marketers and founders?
Hailey: That’s it.
Paul: So you’ve got a lot of things going on there? You haven’t always been a marketer Have you?
Hailey: I haven’t no.
Paul: So why don’t you tell us how you got started in marketing?
Hailey: For sure. Um, I did not come from a traditional marketing background, I didn’t wake up one day thinking I’m going to be a marketer when I grow up. I actually started out after college, I was a teacher, an eighth grade English teacher in the Bronx, in New York, for Teach for America. So I did that for two years. And while I was teaching, I had an idea for a mobile app startup, that I put together a team of people from across the country. And we built this mobile app together and launched on the App Store, which was really exciting for me at that time. And we won a student startup competition, and were invited down to South by Southwest. And so I pitched this startup idea in front of hundreds of people. And that was kind of the first time I ever saw this tech startup world in person. So all these kids are there with their logos on their t shirts, and they’re all excited. And I was like, wow, this energy is incredible. And this is fun. And I want to do this forever.
So I left teaching to venture into the tech startup world. And so ultimately, my startup idea didn’t pan out as I had planned, because my two engineers were recruited by Facebook and Microsoft, and they no longer cared about my little side project. But it was a great stepping stone for me. And I say, the biggest learning that I got from the experience was that you can have a really cool product, and you can have an incredible team. But if you don’t know how to get customers, you don’t have anything that’s worth very much. So that’s kind of what got me fascinated with, you know, this whole idea of what does it take to get someone to buy something or to sign up for something, this was this kind of like grey box that I didn’t understand, marketing. Um, and so I really wanted to learn about what it what it takes to get customers. And so I decided that I wanted to join a startup at the ground floor and kind of watch other successful founders grow company from the ground up and learn what it takes to really run a business. And so I joined a startup in New York and as their second employee, and I learned a tonne, and learned a tonne, but I still didn’t get that… I didn’t scratch the itch that I was really looking for, that consumer marketing itch.
Paul: Did you get paid as well?
Hailey: Yeah got a job, you know, I think when you can show initiative, you know, even though my startup didn’t become anything, if you can show that you’re going to take an idea and take initiative to build it. It’s really good for the resume for sure. So I think that that really was what got me from teaching, and allowed me to get my foot in the door in startup world because people were willing to trust that I was going to have that kind of like entrepreneurial, do whatever it takes attitude, because I tried something before.
Paul: So going back to the app, how long ago was it? And what was the app called? And what did it do? I’m curious.
Hailey: Yeah, it was called Thursday. And it was a tool, it was kind of like a social event planning tool. And so it was before Facebook had a very sophisticated event feature on it. And so I found that after college, I moved into Manhattan, and I… everyone I had grown up with back in New York also moved into Manhattan. And when it came to the weekend, we didn’t really know what to do where to go in such a big city. Even though I knew a lot of people there, it was, it was hard to know what to do. And so the idea was this app Thursday was that people would use it as their Social Planning calendar so that when it came to the weekend, you’d be able to check. You know, it’s Friday night, what are the top 10 venues that people I know are going to how many people are going where type of thing, there is still not really a great solution like that out there. But Facebook’s gotten a little more sophisticated with their events. They added the little interested button on event so that people can show interest without completely committing, I’ve learned that people are very non committal.
Paul: Oh yes, haha.
Hailey: They don’t like to, you know, put a fork in it in advance that they’re going go
Paul: Everything is a maybe. So what was the New York startup? Can you can you tell us more about that? what you were doing there?
Hailey: It was a mobile advertising startup. And so it was being founded by these guys who started a big digital ad agency in New York. And they were leaving to start this mobile ad agency, because at the time mobile ad, advertising was brand new and really hot. And how it was going to be done? Well, it was being done really poorly with fuzzy banner ads that were, they were taking it from desktop and putting on mobile and it wasn’t mobile first. And so they created this. It’s called, it was called zap 360. Actually, they are still a company that’s running. And it was a mobile banner ad, that would be scrolling text at the bottom of your screen, kind of like a stock market ticker or like a breaking news alert. So it’s just text. So it’s really, really easy to implement. You need a designer to create the ad.
Paul: Cool. And so you were doing marketing there. So you so chanced upon or learned about marketing, because of the Thursday app, which is something you bootstrapped yourself. You got a taste for it at south by southwest, entered the crazy world of marketing, work for New York startup helping those guys getting started. And then what happened?
Hailey: And then, so that that mobile advertising company became more of like a B2B tool. So we had a sales team, and I was doing kind of more account management. And so it wasn’t really learning what I wanted to learn, which was, you know, business to consumer marketing, how do you get Joe Schmo to sign up for something. And so I decided that I wanted to pick up and move to San Francisco. So I left all my family, friends, and even my boyfriend at the time, and I got on a plane and moved out San Francisco. And before I left, I had like 45 phone and Skype interviews from people that I connected with on angellist. So if you’re looking for a job in marketing in San Francisco angellist is a really great tool. And, turns out the very first phone interview that I had ended up being the first offer that I got, and also the one that I ended up taking.
So it was a company called RealtyShares, which was, which is a real estate crowdfunding platform. So that means you can invest in real estate online for as little as like $5,000. And so I was hired by their director of marketing, as I was the second marketing higher on the team, there was only 15 people at the time. And the guy who hired me was named Mark Spera. And he kind of took me under his wing and taught me a tonne about consumer marketing. And I was having a blast learning about it and became really fascinated and kind of took it upon myself to educate myself on it to go to events, talk to other marketers to read other bloggers like Neil Patel puts out a lot of really great content. And I just became really fascinated and excited about the marketing world. And Mark and I had so much fun talking about marketing, and we’ve said start a marketing blog together. So now, we are still working on it. And it’s really growing. And it’s been a blast to work on and learn more about SEO and blogs. And that’s been an adventure, but it’s called growthmarketingpro.com. And, yeah, so
Paul: Nice plug, haha, do you want to say it again? But yeah it’s good good. It’s a great blog, I read it.
Hailey: Thank you. Yeah, it’s really fun. We try and put out good stuff. Just really sharing our learnings based on like, what’s worked for us? Yeah, so anyway, I was at RealtyShares for two and a half years and it grew from 15 people to 120 people. And yeah…
Paul: Wow, you must have been doing something right.
Hailey: Exactly. So I was in charge of investor acquisition. So a consumer facing role and I managed every channel at one point or another until we hired and grew the team out. But it was a fun role, because I got to test out every channel. And then once we master that, we hired some managers and I try the next one. So it was cool to get get my hands on all the different channels and platforms and what allowed me to create so much content for Growth Marketing Pro, because it’s kind of like, got my hands on so many different pieces of the marketing.
Paul: Yeah, you learnt alot in a short space of time.
Hailey: Yeah, and so then a couple months ago, I decided to leave RealtyShares and look for a new opportunity. And what I realised is, I wanted to work for a tool that I love. And I realised that I really love marketing. You know, I had my blog. And I also run this community here in San Francisco of marketers, and founders, where I’m hosting events all the time, like fireside chats where I interview founders and tell their growth story and so it would be awesome if I could leverage You know, this community and my blog, or my daytime job, it would be cool about doing marketing to marketers, my life would be.
So um, so a friend told me about this company called and Improvado that was looking for a head of marketing, and I went over to meet them. And when I learned about their tool I was like, blown away, because this was exactly… it was a tool that was solving like the biggest problem that I had ever faced as a marketer. And that was aggregating my marketing data. So when I joined RealtyShares, Mark put me in charge of, you know, all of our reporting, all of our budgeting, all of our forecasting and made me responsible for presenting out our marketing performance every week, in the meeting to our CEO. And here I was, I was an English teacher before this.
Paul: Haha, how good is your Excel pivot table skills?
Hailey: I had to Google everything about Excel, it was really hard for me, I’m not a math person, like it does not come naturally to me, numbers at all. So it was really brutal. And he knew that, like, he knew it’s hard for me, and that I was slower at it than other people. But I appreciate that he pushed me because you really, it’s very difficult to be a great marketer, if you don’t have a handle on the analytic side and the numbers, you’re going to be spending a company’s money, you better be able to justify that it’s being spent efficiently, and that you’re making more money for the company rather than wasting money.
So I’m grateful for the push to learn it. Now I’ve got it under my belt, but even after I figured out what to do and how to use Excel, it still took me probably like 10 to 20 hours every week, just to aggregate all the data for these weekly reports, right. So like, I had to log into… my data is all over the place. It’s in Google Analytics, website visitor data, to see what I spent on Facebook, or how my Facebook campaigns are doing I have to log into Facebook as well as logging into AdWords and log into LinkedIn and log into all the different places where we’re spending money and have to export the data from there, then I have to import it into some Google spreadsheet or Excel Doc, where I’m creating some kind of dashboard and organise the data, it’s like, a freaking nightmare.
And I had to do it every single week, it took me two days of every week to do that. It took me two days just to prepare the data for these meetings. And I realised that I’m probably not the only marketing person who’s dealing with this. And ultimately, Mark and I decided that this wasn’t the best way for me to be spending my time. So we hired a data analyst to manage it. But still, he was doing it, you know, like someone in every company.
Paul: It’s madness.
Hailey: It’s actually madness. So flash forward to me interviewing at Improvado and learning what a Improvado was. And essentially, it is a tool that automates the entire marketing data aggregation process. So essentially, it’s a tool that was built by marketers, so actually, the company was originally a marketing agency. And they were helping all their clients. And they built this tool for their clients that would collect all their marketing data into one dashboard. And the client said, like, started telling them, you know, we would pay for this tool on its own.
Paul: Forget the agency services.
Hailey: Yeah, and so actually, they pivoted, and they became Improvado. And so now, full time, this marketing team that used to be marketing agency is working on this product, that is a tool that lets marketers collect all their data in minutes in one place. So it’ll sink into Facebook, and LinkedIn, Snapchat, and Instagram, all the different places, you’re sending money, and MailChimp and you know, like your CRM and things like that. And, it’ll slurp all the data into this one place so that you can see how much you spent across every single channel in one place. And you can see, you can click in and get really granular because as marketers you know, we want to see it by campaign, we want to see it by ad group, we want to see it by keyword, and by ad. So you can do all that without leaving this one dashboard. So it’s all in one place. So you never ever have to do that work ever again, anytime you want to see your data there in real time. So I was like, oh my God, this is exactly what I’ve been looking for. And so I was really excited to be able to join a company that was solving, like the biggest pain point I’d ever felt, or I’d ever seen anyone facing as a marketer. Um, and yeah, so I became their head of marketing, like four or five months ago.
Paul: Wow. So you’re only few months into this role, how’s it shaping out, how’s you’re reporting?
Hailey: Okay, so I’m the first and only marketer at this company that’s focusing on marketing. And so I had to come in here and organise the data, you know, even though that’s what this company does, they didn’t have a marketer before. So we didn’t have the marketing data organised, right. So I came in and organised marketing data in the way that I know how, which is to create a manual dashboard on Google Sheets, you know, with various tabs, like a daily view, a monthly view, yearly view, you know, mid month pacing view, all these different tabs, and I put the data together, and it took me like a whole weekend to get it organised. And then I came in on my first day and showed it to the Cofounders. This is what I’m… you know, I’ve spent all weekend working on this. And she’s like, in five minutes and a couple of clicks, she showed me… she basically automated in five minutes, what I had spent all weekend.
Paul: Haha, so that was a lesson learned.
Hailey: I was both angry and relieved. Ever though I had wasted all that time. Not only that, but literally hundreds and thousands of hours of my marketing career. Aggregating data in that way. But I was also obviously relieved that I would never ever have to do it again.
Paul: Great, and now you want to pass these benefits on to all the other marketers and help save our lives as well.
Hailey: Hundred percent. Yes. And, I mean, I don’t know that everyone knows there’s a solution to this problem. So I just want to let everyone know that they’re…
Paul: Everyone knows about the problem definitely. So tell me this. I mean, so you started out as teacher, created an app, brilliant. And then you went into a start up? And now you’re in your third or fourth company and you’ve got the Growth Marketing Pro blog. And you’ve got badass marketers and founders. And you’re the head of marketing for in Improvado? How the hell do you juggle it all? Do you ever sleep?
Hailey: For a while I was not sleeping. I will tell you that. Ummm now I do. Now I sleep.
Paul: It’s all because reporting, haha.
Hailey: Automating data really helped, I’ll tell you that. Um, but yeah, It is hard to manage. But um, a couple of things I did. I’m pretty interested in the efficiency time management space. So I deleted recently all my social media apps off my phone.
Paul: That’s a crime surely, no wonder Facebook shares are down.
Hailey: I know. I thought that right after I deleted Facebook, so maybe I just downloaded it back again.
Yeah, I first downloaded an app called in moments. And it tracks how many hours and minutes you spend on your social media apps.
Paul: That sounds horrible.
Hailey: For an hour a day Like…
Paul: That’s probably not much compared to a lot of people.
Hailey: Yeah, I’m sure it’s worse than that. But if you think about it, even that, right, that’s like seven hours a week that I’m spending just doing nonsense. So um, yeah, I deleted them all. And for it’s my third week, so you know…
Paul: Oh, wow. On your social diet?
Hailey: It might be a little simpler.
Paul: Yeah. Does your head feel a less confused place, do you feel you can focus and concentrate better?
Hailey: Definitely. Yeah, I’m a pretty easily distracted person. So it helps to kind of like…
Paul: I think most marketers are, by their very nature. So that’s a great productivity hack, remove all social media from your phone. What else have you really learned in terms of, you know, marketing insights, because you know, you’ve had a hell of a career progression in a relatively short space of time. You must be somebody who learns very quickly. Have you got any particular trick you can share with us? Or is it just hard work and not sleeping?
Hailey: Yeah. No, I definitely believe in working smart, not hard. And so when it comes to marketing, obviously, there’s so many different things you can do. There’s so many different channels and tactics. And I think for a lot of people, the hardest thing is figuring out where to start. And what’s gonna be the lowest hanging fruit. So I think… so Mark and I work together on our blog, and we’re always talking about, we actually offer a service, we will help businesses by building them a custom growth playbook. We surveyed our readers, and that’s what they asked for, they asked for like, customised health. And so there’s a lot of people that don’t know where to start, they don’t know what’s going to be the most impactful. So you have to think about, and this is what Mark and I do and we help these companies think about what’s going to be the most impactful, thinking about impact, thinking about ease of implementation and speed of implementation. The intent of like… user intent? How can you build a better look, start by getting people that are the further down the funnel? So like people that are already searching for keywords that are really relevant to what you’re doing, or referral marketing, taking your customers and turning them into advocates or taking influencers and building an affiliate programme and turning those influencers into advocates for your company? Um, but yeah, I think just thinking about impact ease, speed of implementation, intent and just prioritise.
Paul: That’s good advice. So that’s fantastic. I mean, hats off to you. I don’t know how you’ve juggle so many things. But your new job Improvado, the blog, and Bamf if we can call it that. It’s been a real pleasure to speak to you Hailey and find out so much about what you’re doing. And good luck with it all. Sounds like you’re doing great.
Hailey: Thanks so much for having me. And I wanted to just share one one little gift for your listeners. If you guys want to see what my marketing dashboard, my Google manual, my Google Sheet manuel marketing dashboard, I actually saved a blank version just for you guys. So if you go to improvado.io/podcast, you can head over there and download your own spreadsheet, blank template version. So you can see if your marketing, looking at your marketing data, maybe it’ll give you ideas of ways that you want to slice and dice your data.
Paul: That’s great. Thank you very much. Appreciate it. Thanks a lot for your time Hailey.
Hailey: Thank you. Thanks for having me.
Paul: I hope you enjoyed my conversation with Hailey. For more info on in Improvado, please visit Improvado.io. For more info about this show. And to get our links to iTunes, Google Play SoundCloud, Stitcher and YouTube, check out www.pwlms.com. And if you have any SaaS marketing insights that you’d like to share on the show, please get in touch. Until next time.
Transcribed by https://otter.ai