I would like to inspire professionals to utilize the power of data to their advantage.
As a part of their Marketing Strategy Series, Authority Magazine spoke with Rainfactory CEO Janielle Denier to give entrepreneurs and marketers an inside look at proven strategies you might also be able to leverage to grow your business or career.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dig in, our readers would love to learn a bit more about you. Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
I have always been good at math, and that is why I pursued a Bachelor’s degree in Mathematics and Economics at the University of California — San Diego. Through my work experience, I was able to discover that my strength was in sales and managing people. Digital Marketing was emerging during that time, and this was something I was fascinated by and enjoyed doing, so I decided to specialize in this.
Can you share a story about the funniest marketing mistake you made when you were first starting and what lesson you learned from that?
Mistakes are essential to growth, and when I was starting out, I was very conscious about not having any typos on ads and assets, but this is an inevitable part of the creation process. I have had my fair share of little mistakes that made me the detail-oriented person I am today, so lesson learned: always cross-check your output, and it is helpful to do this with a team. Another memorable marketing blooper would be the time I turned to Google for advice regarding a display ad, I went on and followed the advice I saw online, it resulted in a 90% decrease in traffic, and I ended up re-creating the entire campaign. This mishap definitely taught me the importance of testing and backing strategies up with the current data at hand.
Are you able to identify a “tipping point” in your career when you started to see success? Did you start doing anything different? Are there takeaways or lessons that others can learn from that?
The “tipping point” in my career would be the time my team lead left the company I was working for previously, and this left me with more responsibilities on my plate. I was very grateful for this experience as I was left to manage other junior team members. This ended up being very crucial for my professional progression, as this taught me valuable lessons in leadership. Being placed in a leadership position, I was focused on creating new systems on how to do things more efficiently. When evaluating your current processes, look into removing unnecessary steps. A key learning I would highlight is that even though you are on top, you can always learn from other people, so push that ego aside. Also, testing is an excellent way to perform conflict resolution.
What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?
At Rainfactory, we’re proud to bring enterprise strategy and testing down to the startup level, and we back up our decisions and strategies with data. Our most successful campaigns have been carefully curated through the data we collected, knowing what your audience wants to see or hear is key to having a high conversion rate, ending in a successful campaign.
Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?
Rainfactory recently got the opportunity to work with Phylagen on their COVID-19 Indoor Test Kit. It’s exciting as this technology is very new and has the potential to reduce the spread of the COVID-19 disease. They developed this innovative testing kit, which is basically a swab test for the environment.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are?
A partner in Rainfactory, who is also one of my dear friends is Kaitlyn Witman, is currently working as the Chief Operating Officer. She is incredible at building efficient processes and automating the little things. She is a big reason why Rainfactory is very scalable, she is a seasoned expert in understanding how to best cut costs without ever giving up quality. Having someone to tackle new challenges is very motivating and keeps you in check.
We had the pleasure of meeting when I was still working for a startup specializing in web development. The company I worked for had a sister company and that is where Kaitlyn worked, there was an after-hours get together over drinks and that was our initial touchpoint. We had such an amazing discussion and this led to the birth of Rainfactory Inc., we immediately got our first client Jibo, which ended up in a successful crowdfunding campaign.
Is there someone you consider to be your hero?
My grandparents were my heroes. They always encouraged me and never failed to remind me that I could do anything I wanted to. I felt like they were always by my side, growing up nudging me to the right path. I am a firm believer that having a strong support system is crucial to success and that’s what they gave me ever since I was born.
Wonderful. Let’s now shift to the main part of our discussion. What advice would you give to other marketers to thrive and avoid burnout?
I have seen many individuals burnout in this industry relatively quickly, and I’d like to leave two simple tips on avoiding this from happening to anyone. One would be to make sure to take breaks throughout the day. This is essential to keep you on top of your creative process. The second would be to maintain a regular exercise routine. You need to keep your body in sync with your mental progression.
Great advice! There are hundreds of memorable marketing campaigns that have become part of the lexicon of our culture. What is your favorite marketing or branding campaign from history?
The earliest marketing campaign I could remember was Wendy’s “Where’s the Beef?” Commercial. I thought this was hilarious as this featured three elder ladies looking at a competitor burger, and they were just criticizing this in such a subtle but impactful way. It was lighthearted, and viewers would easily understand the point they tried to convey.
If you could break down a very successful campaign into a “blueprint”, what would that blueprint look like? Please share some stories or examples of your ideas.
Definitely start with Marketing Research and look to identify the unique selling point of your product or service that differentiates you from your competition. This would be followed by locking in your Product Positioning and then running surveys to find out what features are important to your target audience, with this data you will now be able to build out a strong landing page, but it doesn’t end there, make sure to test your campaigns to identify what works best in terms of attracting people’s clicks and gaining conversions.
An example would be the work we did for Lynq, a location tracker that does need a cellular signal. It was a simple product that effectively served its purpose. We identified the unique selling point of this product through the feedback we gained in the advertising process.
Companies like Google and Facebook have totally disrupted how companies market over the past 15 years. At the same time, consumers have become more jaded and resistant to anything “salesy”. In your industry, where do you see the future of marketing going?
In the fields of crowdfunding and e-commerce, we’re seeing how video ads are becoming more and more impactful in terms of conversion as this explains things to a consumer in a fast and convenient way. In this day and age, Influencers are being more nuanced as this is how consumers look for third party reviews. The social media landscape is drastically evolving and I believe there will be cross-platform integrations in the near future.
What 5 things do you wish someone told you before you started?
- The Internet never sleeps. Campaigns will go on. Make sure to cross-check your campaigns before publishing them so you can have a good night’s sleep.
- Not everything can be solved with math. You need to develop an intuition towards things.
- It’s okay to make mistakes as long as you learn from them.
- You could never truly master online marketing because the tools will constantly change.
- Take a break when you need to. Rest is crucial for optimum performance.
Can you share a few examples of marketing tools or marketing technology that you think can dramatically empower small business owners to become more effective marketers?
The internet is a revolutionary tool to gain knowledge. Anyone can learn the foundations of marketing effectively, and I recommend going into the Google Ads Learning Center. In terms of design, I would recommend using an Ad Builder tool to create eye-catching designs. I love the platform Shakr as well. This creates slick-looking video ads at a minimal cost.
What books, podcasts, documentaries or other resources do you use to sharpen your marketing skills?
I always make sure to keep up with the latest marketing trends through Search Engine Land, SEM Rush, and Social Media Examiner. I do not particularly have a go-to from these three as I think it is important to always use different resources to gain a wider perspective. Take the best practices, solutions, strategies, and case studies from each.
One more before we go: If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be?
I am an advocate of doing your own research and standing by what you believe in. To integrate this with the industry I am currently in, I would like to inspire professionals to utilize the power of data to their advantage.
Thank you for sharing so many fantastic insights with us!
This Interview originally appeared in Authority Magazine on Dec 23, 2020.