While it still is dedicated to serving small businesses (over 13 million of them), GoDaddy is not the same company today as it was a few short years ago. They offer a variety of services going way beyond the domain registration and Web hosting services they are best known for. They have customers spread out all over the world. And they have an increasing amount of data on who exactly their small business customers are, what stage in the business lifecycle they’re in, and what tools and services they’ll need to keep their business moving forward.
Phil Bienert, GoDaddy’s chief marketing officer, shares with us how their approach to marketing today is focused on understanding and communicating with specific customer segments individually –using a mix channels to do so — in order to better serve them throughout their business journey.
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Small Business Trends: Maybe you can give us a little bit of your personal background?
Phil Bienert: I joined GoDaddy about two and a half years ago. Prior to that I was managing AT&T’s digital business – did that for a few years – so managing the digital customer experience, digital media, digital marketing, all those activities. Prior to that spent some time in financial services at CitiGroup, also in a customer experience, digital experience role in North America.
Small Business Trends: Your experience has run the gamut from a lot of different perspectives. You talked about customer experience. Does that mean something different today than it did five, ten years ago?
Phil Bienert: Fundamentally no, because at the end of the day the customer experience is really the summation of all those different contacts that a customer has with your brand and your offering. And that contact can be everything from a TV ad to a conversation with an agent in a store. An experience on a website.
The number and variety of touches we our able to customize for those contacts has changed – and changed for the better if you’re somebody who’s managing customer experiences or digital marketing.
Small Business Trends: Recently GoDaddy has transformed to appeal to a fast growing population within the small business community, women owned businesses. How did the voice of the customer factor in to your approach to engaging them?
Phil Bienert: We’re focused on very small businesses even as our offering has grown, as our product set has grown, as the number of markets we operate in has grown. And clearly when you look at the profile of that customer, the data showed particularly in our domestic market, that 58 percent of small businesses are run by women.
We were there serving customers, all of our customers, including the 58 percent of female small business owners, but our marketing didn’t really reflect what we were doing day to day. And what you see right now is us evolving our messaging to reflect what I refer to is our customer passion. Customer focus; that love of customers we have internally. Having that reflected in our mass marketing messaging.
Our approach to going to market is changing; not just in the messaging but in the channels we use, in the tools we use. Because we now have new technology in place, new capabilities in place for us to really refine the message we’re giving to any particular audience.
Small Business Trends: GoDaddy has extended the kind of services you provide. You have email marketing services. Search engine marketing and optimization; a host of things you bought in order to provide very small business with the meat and potatoes needed to be successful in today’s business environment. But still a lot of companies know you for domains and Web hosting.
How are you spreading the word to your current customers as well as prospective customers that GoDaddy is more than domains? You can run your small business on our platform.
Phil Bienert: We’ve been making big investments in big data, first and foremost, to help our customers. But the obvious extra benefit is, that same capability we’re building for our customers to serve their customers in a more personalized way, we’re able to apply to our own go to market activities. So when we think about social, we really think about social, or programmatic TV, or long and short form digital video. Or re-targeting. Or all these other different tools in the marketing toolbox as part of a continuum of messaging that we’re giving to customers.
When we think about how we get that message out there about the full breadth of our offering, it’s not so much a, ‘hey everybody! We now have an email marketing solution’. It’s much more refined than that.
It’s being able to go into our own database and say okay, amongst our 13 million customers, we now know there’s certain customers based on the customer type, based on what they own, based on where we can tell they are in their business, to say, ‘It’s time for you Mr. or Ms. Customer to have something called email marketing because we can tell right now based on the traffic to your website that it’s time for you to generate more customers. It’s time for you to email your customers with professional looking email’.
When we’re considering a new product that we build; or products we have acquired or in other cases where we’ve partnered to bring to market, it’s all based on that customer data to determine what products we bring to market. And when we’re bringing them to market. Who you’re marketing to has to be relevant.
We’ll message it in social media, we try to do that in as targeted a way as possible which is hard to do with things like a Facebook broadcast post. But what’s important is when somebody then comes to GoDaddy.com; the front page of the site is versioning itself based on knowing this person first of all has been a target and should be a target to purchase email marketing because they need to be growing their business. They’ve been messaged with that before; they’ve seen that message either in Facebook or with a display ad on a third party site. Or they’ve interacted with us on our blog platform, so we can continue that dialogue.
So, the days of us bringing a product to market and saying ‘hey everybody, hey entire world, here’s this new product’, we really don’t need to do that anymore because we have the ability to be so much more focused and targeted with delivering that product message to the right customer at the right time in their customer life cycle.
Small Business Trends: What are the most effective channels from the more traditional social standpoint you guys are using. Is it YouTube, is it Instagram, is it Facebook? What is it and how do you guys measure the effectiveness of those channels?
Phil Bienert: The way we look at channel effectiveness is we start with customer segments. We don’t look at the marketplace as one big group of customers, we may touch on small business owners who wants a digital identity. The Web professional who wants to serve their customers. We also have other examples like the domain investors who buy these portfolio of domains.
What are the channel combinations that are most effective for this customer segment. And then one layer deeper, the different points in the customer life cycle that segment is within.
For example, YouTube videos can be very effective for a small business owner who has a couple of products (a domain and a website) and is ready to go the next step and grow their business. It’s an area of opportunity for us to spend a bit more time explaining to them it’s time to grow; you want to get more traffic and more customers.
For a different customer segment at a different stage in their lifecycle, retargeted display advertising can be more effective because it’s much more trigger based. We know this customer is at a point in their life cycle. They’ve already done research. Maybe they’ve already seen the YouTube videos a couple of months ago. And really it’s about reinforcing that message where there is a retargeted trigger message to display advertising.
So when we look at it, we’re looking at all of those different components informing what we do next. It’s not one funnel. We talk about the term micro funnels where we’re looking at building out hundreds of funnels at a time that we’re managing with different channels. They all include social, they all include digital video. They all include display, search, everything else. Where we’re dialing up and dialing down the messaging really depends on that profile that we’re tracking on the customer and what is the next best touch to have with them.
This is part of the One-on-One Interview series with thought leaders. The transcript has been edited for publication. If it's an audio or video interview, click on the embedded player above, or subscribe via iTunes or via Stitcher.