On Feb. 16, Bizible CEO Aaron Bird sat down for a fireside chat with Peter Hamilton, CEO of TUNE, a mobile marketing analytics platform, during this month’s Pipeline Marketing Playbooks event.
The CEOs discussed everything from the rise of TUNE and Hamilton’s development into CEO, to demand gen hacks and the future of mobile. Read through the key marketing management strategies below, and watch a video recording of the event on the Pipeline Marketing site.
Carve Your Own Path
It seems unlikely that a west Texas native with a degree in opera performance would be running one of the top 500 fastest growing private companies in America with offices in 5 different countries. But, that’s exactly the case for Peter Hamilton.
Hamilton began as TUNE’s first marketer in 2009, helping to launch HasOffers with a team of 12. In 2011, the company launched Mobile App Tracking and in 2012, Hamilton was appointed to CEO. He attributes his success to a lot of hard work, taking risks, and having people believe in him enough to provide the platform for those risks.
The heartbeat of the company comes from twins and founders Lucas and Lee Brown, who live and breathe the lean startup model. Hamilton says he was lucky to lasso onto that and have a hand in the creation of HasOffers.
The SaaS product was originally put out for free, had over 3,000 sign ups in one summer and the team spent the next year iterating and closing out around 10,000 individual red line tickets.
“If you were to talk to anyone who knows anything about building businesses they would have said that’s so dumb the way you did it,” says Hamilton. “For us at the time, the high velocity of lots and lots of conversations was really vital.”
Five years later the company rebranded as TUNE and employs around 350 people.
Pack a Bigger Punch
From a revenue to employee efficiency rate, TUNE runs about 3x to other publicly traded companies like Salesforce and Hubspot. Hamilton attributes this to a company mindset of packing a bigger punch and taking fewer of them.
It’s easy to look at competitors and try to match every new feature they add, but that’s not a good focusing strategy. Why try to meet in the middle and split customers, when you could create something bigger and better that’s all your own?
At TUNE, the plan is to avoid doing anything that competitors are doing. To really focus on how things can be done in a different way.
Focus on making the moves that matter. “We really believe that one great piece of content can drive your leads for the whole year,” says Hamilton.
TUNE doesn’t focus on pushing out multiple pieces of content each week, all that does is exhaust resources. It’s about taking your time, getting creative, and creating something truly meaningful.
“It creates a lot of busy work when you could focus on a really, really strong piece that’s going to make everyone wake up and get excited about it, especially if there’s anything evergreen about it you can just use it, and use it.”
Hamilton says at TUNE they really emphasize efficiency and not trying to solve every problem with a head count. They’d rather be a 500 employee company that drives as much revenue as a 5,000 person organization.
Find People Who Support You
According to Hamilton, having people who believe in you is one of the most important parts of creating a successful career. For him, it was Lucas and Lee. Whenever he had a new idea, he received support from the brothers. “It was that faith that they had in me and allowed me to step out further and further on the branch and really come up with interesting things…” says Hamilton.
That open lane for creativity allows new ideas to be born. Maybe they’ll be too crazy and not amount to anything, or maybe they’ll be the next great product for your business. But either way, fostering an atmosphere of creativity is a necessary part of business.
“The advice I would give is to be really creative. You can learn measurement and you should do that every day, but what will make you stand out from every other marketer is the great ideas that you come up with.”
The same goes for building a business.
In the early days, it’s important to find key influencers and build relationships with them. They are the ones who have a voice that others trust and respect, getting them on your side will boost all of your initial marketing work.
It’s also necessary to immerse yourself within the industry. Stay close to customers and get tight with the community. This is the best way to discover why people love you and what sets you apart from the rest of the competition, which is invaluable when it comes to product marketing.
Hamilton says TUNE spent time and effort in SEO and PPC, but the company’s best leads never came from there, they always came from an engagement or connection through relationships.
If someone does a search and comes across your company name at the top of the list, it’s pretty unlikely that they’ll purchase your product if they’ve never heard of you before.
“But, if you can do something that makes them remember you in some way, something that makes them relate to you, especially something that’s funny and they can tell to a coworker and it spreads, that stuff is really, really valuable,” says Hamilton.
Looking Toward the Future
The future is bright for TUNE and B2B mobile marketing. Right now, a majority of B2B browsing takes place in the workplace and on desktop, but more and more companies are investing in being able to use their software on mobile.
“I think even a year from now it’s going to be a demand,” says Hamilton. It’ll be ‘I can’t work with a provider who doesn’t have a real on-the-go service experience for me to check in and do some work.’”
For now, TUNE is focusing on staying as lean as possible and continuing to provide a platform for creativity. As the company grows and moves beyond the startup mindset, it can be harder to develop new ideas and stick to the lean model.
It’s a tightrope walk between the lean startup model and growing a large business. Hamilton says the company is always looking to break the model to develop an idea that will make all previous ideas worthless.
“It’s about isolating and making sure you’re keeping priorities straight… keeping everybody on the same vision and trying to have fun with it along the way.”