Building a Powerhouse Brand: Our Director of Marketing Shares How to Create a Brand from the Ground Up
We’re back with another CrossInstall people feature where the folks behind the ads steal the spotlight for just a moment.
And hiding behind the CrossInstall brand is our Director of Marketing (or maybe I should be writing this in the first person for once).
During my time here, I’ve had the great pleasure of building CrossInstall’s brand from ground zero. Yes, I mean truly starting from nearly nothing - zero images to post on social media, zero whitepapers, guides or one sheeters, and a website programmed in 20 minutes by our talented CEO.
If you are a smaller business (SMB) or even if you aspire to improve on a specific component of your marketing plan in a time crunch, read on to see how we’ve defined CrossInstall’s brand, built a website, established a social media presence, gained brand advocates, and created compelling content - all in just over a year.
CI: What’s your best advice for someone looking to get into marketing or grow his or her career?
Alyssa: Start early. Intern. Take any opportunity you can get. I say I was born from the cradle as a marketer after completing a number of internships. I learned from intelligent game changers that were experts in not just creating process and procedure, but unique and relevant content. They challenged me, encouraged me, and sometimes even yelled at me. It is to your advantage to form and grow your network early because it will benefit you in the long run. Some of my earliest managers are now superb mentors and friends.
Even if you are the youngest person in the room, least experienced, or have the least knowledge of the industry, this doesn’t exclude you from having a good idea. You can learn a lot from those around you. Learn quickly when to speak up and when to just sit back and listen. If you are only listening, opportunities will pass you by.
CI: What is a key marketing tenet that applies no matter the industry?
Alyssa: All your marketing efforts should be integrated. Don’t just create a blog post or a social media post. Your blog post should be tied to your product, social media effort, paid marketing, podcasts, email campaign, sales efforts and beyond. Reach people on a number of channels. Take risks in putting out original and creative content varying length, platform, and format to find what works for your audience. It’s like a grand orchestra -- everything should be seamless and in sync.
CI: What is your best advice for someone looking to create unique marketing material.
Alyssa: Don’t be boring. Simply that. Any content you put out has to be interesting to your audience. You shouldn’t just be cloning what you have done in the past or what has made your competitors successful. While you should stay tuned into the marketing your competitors are putting out, original ideas will help you stand out from the pack. I ensure our content is original with items like our “Tales Of” mobile cartoons, our phone character who visually represents our brand, and our Ad of the Month Awards.
CI: How do you create marketing content that is relatable and relevant for your audience?
Alyssa: Put yourself in the mind and shoes of your audience. Understand what topics are important to them, what’s trending, what factors impact their success. Shorter pieces generally more quickly capture the interest of audiences, but if you are going to produce something over 1,000 words, each word should be meaningful. Avoid the fluff! As ad tech is an industry that is fast changing, your content should reflect that. Other industries that can be more dense (like IT) should take this into consideration in the types of content and ways they present it.
Know when to use a soft sell vs. hard sell approach with your calls to action (CTAs). You should never put out a piece of content for which you are uncertain about its purpose or one that is missing a CTA. These can be based on your type of product and specific audience. You should always anticipate how your audience will feel and react before putting out any marketing content.
CI: Having worked in a number of diverse industries, what makes ad tech so interesting for you?
Alyssa: Ad tech is something that is ever-changing, which makes it a marketer’s Candy Land. There is always a new product or aspect of the industry to explore which means marketing content is nearly limitless. This is also true in regards to building the CrossInstall brand and our ongoing introduction of updated products, partnerships, and opportunities. In ad tech, a company must remain on the cutting edge by evolving and reacting quickly. This is an environment where I tend to thrive. I enjoy wearing a number of hats and researching, reacting to, and experiencing the latest trends as our market and environment continue to develop.
CI: What makes the CrossInstall brand unique?
Alyssa: Everything we do at CrossInstall is personalized. This applies to our interactions with one another and our clients, our custom-built ads, and the fact that we don’t use stock images in our marketing material. We are willing to go the extra mile for a personal touch.
In the past year, we’ve really developed our brand by updating our logo, brand voice, and visual design, but it is always an ongoing process to be uniquely CrossInstall. It’s a small, close-knit team behind a large brand. In fact, some of the same designers that make our award-winning playables also create our marketing content -- which is pretty unique. Our brand voice is one that is lighthearted and a bit quirky. We are in a business setting, but that doesn’t mean our brand can’t be enjoyable and interesting. The same is true for just about any industry or brand.
CI: What is your proudest accomplishment during your time at CrossInstall?
Alyssa: Our new website going live has been one of my greatest accomplishments here, among many. A little know fact is that our CEO, Jeff, programmed our old website in 15 minutes (showcases his many talents) using a template so it was far overdue for an overhaul. We made changes that reflect our new brand and increased the quality of our content and the general usability of the site. Also, our few person marketing team doing so much in a short amount of time is outstanding! These are both instances that showcase our team’s agility.
CI: CrossInstall in one word.