Allison Sparrow

Tech Marketing

Author: allisonsparrow

The ClassPass One Dollar Launch Campaign: A Mini Case Study

ClassPass, a new gym alternative, found a clever twist on traditional marketing tactics to effectively increase signups, while filling a relevant need in the fitness market. As someone who represents their target market, here’s why I’m impressed with their launch campaign, and their product offering.

ClassPass is a gym membership that allows you to attend various studio classes for 99 dollars a month. Fitness is expensive in this town, if you are looking for a quality experience. As a spoiled tech fitness nerd, in order to get convenience and quality, I’m either paying 170 dollars a month all-inclusive for a gym, like Equinox, that provides a variety of classes and gym equipment, or paying around $100-$130 a month for unlimited classes to one type of fitness like yoga, Bar Method or Pilates.

While I love Equinox, it is just too expensive. Committing to only one studio with less classes leaves me feeling like I put all of my gym $$ into one basket, without leaving any room for other type of fitness training.

Historically, studios offer an incredible discount for new users, with the hopes that you will be hooked, and continue paying the elevated price. This is traditional marketing: promote a discount for new members, to prove how confident you are in the product, while letting doubtful folks the chance to try it out.

Unfortunately, these studios’ demographic are young, ambitious, busy people who like trying out new trends and “mix it up” to keep their fitness routine fresh and exciting. More than once I have heard of friends who sign up for the “new member” package, only to drop it 30 days later to join the new studio offer down the street.

Basically, the reason why people like Tinder, is the same reason why people like a new studio: something fresh and shiny, with all the hopes for success set in the future, and no real commitment is necessary.

ClassPass appeals to the partner studios by providing a way to attract committed members, and appeals to the consumer needs, allowing them the flexibility of choice and commitment, while making the price a lot more reasonable.

So, the demand is there, but it’s foolish to think that having a good product is enough to make it in this city. While diligently filling out the Signup form fields (gotta support my fellow marketers) and selecting “Friend” when asked how I heard of ClassPass, I couldn’t help but think: what did they do differently to make their message shine out of the 500 other gym options I’m marketed to?

A common struggle for new B2C companies is the need to rely heavily on “word of mouth,” in order to gain traction within the first year. More often than not, it seems as if the only option is to spend way too much ad spend money up front, before determining whether the product is even viable or not.

Where ClassPass really crushed it was how they marketed their product. For a limited time, they allowed people to try it for 30 days, for 1 dollar. They then incentivized studio partners to promote the same offer, for a limited time determined by the studio.

Why was this so smart? Everyone has seen discounts before, and at this point we have all seen the 50% discount offered to new members for 30 days. ClassPass ensured there would be no doubt this deal would be talked about. Essentially, in creating this bold, 1 dollar campaign, they are able to attribute campaign ROI for any new customer referral coming from “Word of Mouth.” Everyone loves a good deal, and everyone loves to talk about a good deal they snagged. If it’s 1 dollar, you bet people are going to talk about it.

In a saturated market of discounts, deals and ads, ClassPass took a bold marketing campaign to stand out and get their message heard. It also helps that their product is addressing an actual gap in the market.

Would love to hear people’s thoughts on this!

Btw, all of this is strictly from consumer speculation and experience, I didn’t interview anyone at ClassPass, nor is this a stealth marketing ploy from the company to reach all of my 10s of fans. 😉

Lessons Learned from Optimizely’s email A/B tests in 2014

I blogged about our email A/B tests in 2014. Check it out.

How the Optimizely Marketing Automation team uses Asana

Marketing Automation at Optimizely is a team of two, and we work with every department to create email blasts, triggered email programs and nurture campaigns to communicate with our different users.

The MA team uses Asana to manage inbound requests and workload.

What I like about Asana

It works like a word document
You can copy/paste directly into your Task View, and drag tasks in between Sections.

Tasks can live in multiple Projects
You can link Tasks to multiple Projects, so they can live in more than one person’s “view”. This allows different departments to work off of the same Task, and still organize their work the way they want.

Screen Shot 2015-01-04 at 1.56.53 PM

Google Doc Integration
You can attach google docs to the task, for easy reference.

google drive
Calendar view function
For any Task that will be published (email blast, ebook, webinar, etc) we Tag it with “Marketing Calendar”. This allows us to view all of our public facing campaigns in one view.

Flexible searches
You can search for any task assigned to you in the past 7 days, tagged with “Marketing Calendar”. Then you can favorite that search. It’s awesome!

advanced search
Support docs are great
I particularly love their demo presented by an Asana employee.

How we use Asana

The MA team works within a Project called MA Request Prioritization, that lives under the Marketing Team in Asana.

Within the project, we create a Section for each week.

Depending on when the request happens, either a member of the MA team creates the task, or the reporter creates the task. The MA team tends to stay away from Subtasks, to ensure easy visibility on the project level.

Because we only have a two person team, we assign the task to the reporter.

We then have a weekly MA Prioritization meeting, where people can come and put in their requests for Marketing Automation. This acts as an Office Hours of sorts, which allows the reporter and MA rep to discuss a best plan of action for launching a campaign. This also facilitates unnecessary lengthy meetings.

Then, every week, we simply have to search for Recently Completed Tasks in past 7 days, and we are able to write up our Weekly Updates via email.

We also have been using Toggl to track where our time goes. Toggl integrates with Asana as well as Google Drive, and is an amazing tool! It provides weekly reports and pretty charts. Really nice.

Using data-driven marketing tactics for the arts (and why it’s a load of shite).

In November 2014, I went to see Capital Cities perform at the Fox. It was horrible.

My friend had an extra ticket, and he told me I was one of the only people who would go to a show on a whim (I still am, please continue to offer me tickets to concerts, I won’t always rant about them on the internet).

Capital Cities are a new electro pop group, famous for their song Safe And Sound. I had heard amazing things about their performance at OL 2014, and I was stoked to check out some dance-y tunes.

We walked in, and I grabbed a beer. The crowd consisted of all white people, mostly couples in kakis and easter egg halter tops. Everyone was pretty hammered, and already entering each other’s personal space.

There was a fairly small white screen placed front-center of the stage. The lights went down, and a video started, featuring the two dudes from Capital Cities, racing around in some animated car. This video went on for like, 5 minutes. At the end, a preposterously cheesy ad voice came on and announced, “This performance is sponsored by Forza.”

Are we for real? Was I just presented a wonky ad to “view this concert” after I paid (ok I didn’t pay this time) good money to be away from my computer screen for the night? Am I actually on Youtube right now? Oh wait, no. I’m at the Fox, trying to watch a concert.

Essentially, Forza replicated their tech conference booth sponsorship experience by paying for an overpriced projector screen to display their brand in a high traffic area, and pass out “swag” to random people in hopes to make some “impressions.”

The sheer laziness of this marketing campaign was shocking. This gaming company didn’t even try to be clever exposing their brand to me. They instead chose to present the ad through a method through which they were familiar, and attempt to hypnotize me into spending money that way.

After that nauseating experience, I began to question Capital Cities’ entire authenticity as a band: what kind of group would sign up for that type of nonsense, and agree to let a screen be placed in front of their fans before a performance?

This band played 3 cover songs: Stayin’ Alive (Bee Gees), Nothing Compares to You (Sinead O’Connor) and Holiday (Madonna). They played Safe & Sound twice, along with a song that mentions Michael Jackson’s Thriller and Farrah Fawcett hair.

During the Farrah Fawcett song, I watched this dude sing “like Michael Jackson’s Thriller” about 7 times, each time reenacting the signature Thriller claw move. Every single time.

Even the original songs were utilizing nostalgia tactics designed for a specific target demographic with disposable income to attend this concert. Is this millennial marketing at its worst?

The whole performance was staged. From the horribly choreographed throwback moves, to the trumpet player jumping on an amp at a light change, highlighting his silhouette for a photo opp.

I had gone to the Fox to celebrate the arts. Instead I was given a commercial followed by some derivative, data-driven marketing ploy to generate $$ under the guise of music.

I felt this same sense of betrayal after watching one of Aziz Ansari’s stand-ups. His jokes strangely felt unoriginal and inauthentic. It all seemed too constructed, like things I would hear at a house party. Not to say that’s a bad thing, but more that it appeared extremely accessible and safe, without pushing any sort of boundaries.

He uses words like “face” and “nachos”, and he references emojis and Snapchat. He also used “punched him in the neck” to get the crowd laughing, which I swear I have heard in more than one movie or sitcom. When I brought up this speculation in conversation, someone pointed me to the article that shows that he is actually using analytics to gauge who his audience is, and how to cater his jokes to that audience.

Unfortunately, the cost of applying data-driven tactics to the arts will result in uninspiring, “race to the bottom” content, leaving the audience with a subpar experience, and something we have seen before.

Intellectually, I can follow why Capital Cities would want to control the predictability of the bands’ revenue by creating songs that appeal to millennials. I comprehend why Forza would apply an ad campaign designed for a tech conference to a new channel (same demographic, right?). I mean, they are just reading the same VentureBeat sponsored articles we are. I can also understand why Ansari would use data-driven metrics to ensure he generates as much profit per show as possible.

And don’t get me wrong, he is hilarious in Parks & Rec.

I guess my point is that creativity cannot be measured in the same capacity as web site visits, nor should it be directly correlated to profit, because it ruins the whole experience. It’s one thing for a random gaming company to come in and try out a new “ad channel”, but if we are starting to create fake bands and fake songs for revenue, and comedians are resorting to analytics for business success, there is something seriously flawed with our priorities.

True artistic genius spreads in a completely organic way, and is what makes it so beautiful. When we try to force these things, we make it that much more difficult for real artists to reveal themselves, and we forget what we are really looking for in live performances.

Art is a lie that leads to truth – Picasso

Training for a Triathlon: Diet

Since coming back to SF in 2011, I’ve experimented a lot with the 4 Hour Body Diet and the Paleo Diet, while maintaining the pesca-vegan restrictions .*

Since it’s pretty hard to abide by the Paleo or 4HB diet without eating meat, I’m going to use a blend of both diets to allow myself for more food options. For the next few months, I’ll be logging my food intake, and adhere to the following guidelines:

  • No grains, wheat, bread (no pasta, no bread, no quinoa, no beer)
  • No candy, sugars, processed junk food (delineating from Paleo allowing myself packaged foods like salmon jerky and canned foods)
  • Eat fruits, veggies and natural oils (delineating from 4HB eating fruit)
  • Eat legumes (delineating from Paleo)
  • Eat tofu/soy products (delineating from Paleo, and a bit from 4HB)
  • Allow for three cheat meals OR one cheat day per week (choose between 4BH or Paleo phase I method)

I hope to learn some new recipes and ideas for quick food intake, and some tips to share!

*check out my diet history below for my diet evolution

My Diet History

When I moved to Barcelona at 22 years old, I landed a job at a small startup, where I would work for the next 2 years. The transition ended up being a lot harder than I expected, and my physical health suffered from it. 

I was working extremely long hours (read: 9am to 2am during three week sprints), had only my roommates for friends, and was eating frozen pizza and greasy sandwiches daily, out of sheer convenience.

I went back home in December for Christmas, and my mom must have noticed my extra “luggage” I was bringing home with me, and bought me a book on what she thought was a “working girls’ guide to cooking healthy.”

It actually was a book advocating veganism, and while the title is a little crass, it served as a real wake up call.

Coming back to Barcelona, I went vegan cold turkey (pun intended), and quit coffee and alcohol for three months.

I was a vegan for three years (!), until about a year ago I began integrating fish into my diet again. Now I like to call myself a pesca-vegan, a word my friend has coined: fish yes, dairy no, eggs no, meat no.

Needless to say, diet is a big part of my life, and something I think about a lot. That being said, I’m not someone who has time to drain my own almond milk, and gram all of my amazing quinoa recipes with a million hash tags. Convenience is pretty important to me, I’m pretty picky, and I don’t mind eating the same thing every day. This all correlates to being a pretty bad dinner date.

My only goal is to avoid getting cancer, through the vast amount hormones found in our meat and dairy. Doing that helps me sleep at night. My restrictions also keep me from gravitating towards the chips and donuts, and opting for something a little better for me.

Training for a Triathlon: Intro

Hey yall,

I’ve decided to sign up for my first Olympic Triathlon! While I have experience with competitive swimming (albeit during 3rd and 4th grade), I have been deathly afraid of any exercise that requires chlorine and a one piece speedo.

To keep things interesting, I’m going to document and record my progress, challenges and tips throughout my training.

I’m using the training as a means to get healthy and getting disciplined in a strict regimen.

During college, I trained for three hours a day, six days a week. Knowing how much energy and confidence you can have by pushing the limits with your body, I’d like to find a way to balance work, hobbies, social duties and physical fitness in a sustainable manner.

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