February 13th, 2013 Growth Hacker Meetup with AppBoy's Cezary Pietrzak


OLC attended Grow/Hack's February Meetup featuring Cezary Pietrzak from Appboy. Cezary Pietrzak is an entrepreneur, marketer and strategist who currently runs marketing for Appboy. Appboy is a customer engagement platform for mobile apps. Pietrzak co-founded Wanderfly, which was acquired by TripAdvisor in 2012. He then started a digital marketing consultancy at QLabs.


Cezary Pietrzak, Director of Marketing at Appboy talked about customer growth in the web, B2B and mobile at Grow/Hack's event at NYU Stern. "I believe that successful marketing is qualitative, quantitative and hustle. It's using creativity to articulate unique perspectives to approach marketing," Pietrzak said.

Pietrzak explored web marketing. "Get your fundamentals in order," he said. "Build your brand. I know it sounds silly, but it's how you behave, how you define yourself to the world. Understand your customers too. It feels inhuman to say 'customers' and there's a way to create frameworks about people. Next, know your competition. Understand where you fit in the bigger picture. Develop a unique message. Know what you're about."

To Pietrzak, one of the things he does is blog about his startup. He called it "message architecture."

"Build a relationship with customers," Pietrzak said. "You send personal notes to your first customers to make them feel like they're part of a community. Reward the most loyal customers. Feature them, give them something in return. Ask for feedback and suggestions. It's about getting people involved in building your business. If you're happy, ask them to promote you. It's a huge help. You can't market by yourself," he said. "Marketing-wise, be sure that the customers love the product first. Then you can send a simple email asking them to promote the product—just add a simple code to Tweet about your product. Its a good way to track who is referring."

Pietrzak said to master the pitch. "Do some research about the person, he said. "Get at least a little bit of context that you'd like to discuss with them. Keep the message short too—people's attention is short, so keep your message short. Make them smile with your creativity. A creative email gets people's attention. Also, use Boomerang and Rapportive plugins for Gmail."

To save time, Pietrzak automates low-value tasks. "Hire Fancy Hands or interns," he said. "Fancy Hands is a personal assistant tool, which creates a very inexpensive database with extreme convenience. Find a way to offload tasks that will suck up your time." He also said to create automated CRM emails and use canned messages in Gmail. "Make communication faster and easier," Pietrzak said.

"Distribute your product to new channels. Add a mobile component—it can be iOS or Android," Pietrzak said. "Put your app in the Google Chrome store. It takes 15 minutes to develop and it's free traffic. Integrate new platform features and integrate with various app directories. Take a look at Hootsuite. It takes a little bit of work and it opens up new customers."

Pietrzak said, "Promote your work all the time and everywhere." He suggested that people distribute news across all social sites. "Lean on your team to increase exposure," he said. "Make sure your entire team Tweets and contributes to exposing your company media-wise." He also said to use external networks like StumbleUpon. This can significantly lower acquisition cost. Think about getting your word out to different communities that will be interested in what you are doing. Also, ask your investors, clients, users, for help."

Pietrzak moved to talk about B2B marketing. "Enterprise is a sexy word now," he said. "It's buzzing! But people don't realize B2B marketing has the same fundamentals as other market to market structures."

He suggested that people "break the rules. Defy category conventions. Break the B2B mold. Create a unique personality. Don't make B2B boring," he said. "Use non-traditional marketing channels like social media and video. Also compete on your own terms."

"Become a thought leader," Pietrzak said. "Write high quality content around your expertise and distribute knowledge on Slideshare, blogs, webinars and so on. Take ownership of providing value to consumers. This helps to solidify your understanding of the industry and answers questions that people might have. Also, be provocative of your thoughts. Even bad PR is good PR."

"Use every opportunity to capture leads," Pietrzak said. "Establish the value of your content and don't be afraid to ask for emails. Test landing pages to optimize signups—test to see what kind of copy works best. You should integrate with other platforms too," he said. "Understand the broader ecosystem, determine where to add value, what to replace. Build on top of other platforms to open up your own. Finally, master conferences," Pietrzak said. "Plan at least eight to 12 months in advance. Attend for free via speaking engagements and always ask for startup discounts."

Pietrzak talked about mobile marketing, where he gave a quick diagram of a mobile funnel: "Build product, then acquire users and then engage and monetize."

"Acquire users efficiently," he said. "Remove barrier to entry through freemium. Lower that $1.38 cost per install via paid platforms and build momentum to get featured in app stores. Focus on retention and engagement. Create an incentive to come back. Plan engagement strategy before launch and balance acquisition with relationship building. Address the 65 percent who leave after one month."

"Create personalized messages as well," Pietrzak said. "Understand your customers and create customer segments. Write content that adds value to the experience. Use timely reminders, breaking news, relevant offers, location aware, achievements—all to incentivize others to come back."

To end the discussion, Pietrzak suggested diversifying marketing channels like push notification, in-app messages, email, social, content and customer support. "People don't think of customer support as part of mobile, but it's a big feature," he said. "If people have problems with the app, who are they going to contact?"