A lot of marketers define buyer personas; few end up recruiting them to join their teams. But that happens to be exactly what we just did at Scoop.it.
When we raised our last round of funding and brought on board Andrew as our VP Monetization, we had a clear goal to turn what had been a clear usage success for a free product into a sustainable business. Free-only products only live as long as their VC funding lasts and when they die, everybody loses. On our end, we’ve always seen our free version as the stepping stone to more advanced premium offers. An essential part of our strategy, the Scoop.it free version is not just our #1 distribution method: it also leads our users to upgrade to unlock more advanced features and builds the funnel of our enterprise versions.
Steve Blank said that “a startup is a temporary organization designed to search for a repeatable and scalable business model”. Over the past 18 months, we kept improving our free version – and are committed to keep doing so – but we’ve also been doing a lot of work to build our premium and enterprise versions into a solid product range. Ever since we launched, we’ve been in constant discussion with our users and customers and learned a lot. Business owners and content marketers all pretty much told us the same thing: yes, content marketing is a huge opportunity… but it’s too time-consuming. We discovered that the nascent content marketing workflow could use, not only the advanced content curation technology that was the starting point of Scoop.it, but also much tighter integration between the various planning, scheduling, publishing and analytics tools. That’s what led to the launch of Scoop.it Content Director a couple of months ago as a way to optimize and streamline this workflow and integrate it into a single product.
To accompany this evolution of the company from a free product to the development of a business model, we started to expand the team.
We first developed our business team around Andrew: Gina joined the Scoop.it team from Oracle close to a year ago and started to handle inbound inquiries for our enterprise version as well as onboarding customers and ensuring their success. More recently, Benoit, an entrepreneur with solid experience, came onboard to cover our EMEA business. Our ur distribution model through our free version gave us the benefit of being an international company from day 1, with customers all around the world. Under Andrew’s lead, Gina and Benoit have accomplished a lot already: as we turned 3 recently, we were honored to be trusted by already more than 3,000 customers. And with the recent launch of Scoop.it Content Director, we’re seeing accelerating revenue growth as more and more companies invest in software solutions to scale their content marketing operations.
Today, I’m pleased to also announce the arrival of Julie as our Content Marketing Director. Joining us from a B2B software company, Julie was a Scoop.it Enteprise customer and a Scoop.it free user long before we thought about recruiting her. But as we were looking for a new head for our content marketing, we wanted someone who understood our target customers. Julie doesn’t just do that: she is our customer.
We’re in a special position at Scoop.it: we’re building content marketing software and we’re marketing our product through content marketing. I know: a bit meta, right? But it means that content for us is not just a sound marketing strategy that we use as any company should: it’s also part of our mission. You can say the number one way we help marketers is through our products. And that’s true. But another important way we’ve been helping marketers is through our content. Over the past 2 years, we revamped our blog editorial line to focus on content marketing, built a more and more comprehensive resource center and developed our knowledge base with content that helps our customers’ success.
Julie brings a lot of B2B marketing experience with her as she not only ran marketing programs generating $25 million in new business but also kick started content marketing at her former company. When we started talking about how Scoop.it could help her develop and scale her content strategy, I was impressed: she had a great vision on how to combine inbound and content marketing which was very aligned with our observation that more and more content marketing was going to be driven by ROI and measured by lead generation. Before we were even considering expanding the Scoop.it team, we already thought of Julie as our buyer persona. While all marketers are obviously different, we thought she was a perfect representation of the essential goal our SMB customers have: getting concrete results with content marketing through limited resources. Though unbeknownst to her, she became famous within our small team: as we worked on scoop.it Content Director, our product team was wondering how Julie would use such and such feature and we started to develop content for our launch with Julie in mind as well.
So with Julie coming onboard, we’re not just bringing any marketer to the team, we’re bringing someone who knows the pain points and the needs of our customers.
Please join me welcoming these new members to the Scoop.it family!
Image by Karen Roe