Q&A with Annica
Annica was first featured as a Mobile Hero in 2017. At the time, she was focused on lowering CACs as a Senior Acquisition Manager at Stash. She later moved to PolicyGenius as Associate Director, growing paid acquisition. Throughout the years, Annica learned the in and outs of app engagement and retention to improve the LTV of customers. Annica is now Director of Performance Marketing and CRM at Thimble, the first and only leading on-demand insurance service provider. We caught up with Annica to see what she has been working on these past few months.
What have you been up to since you were first featured as a Mobile Hero? How has your career progressed?
I can’t believe it’s already been 3 years since I was featured as a Mobile Hero! At the time, I was a Senior Acquisition Manager at Stash. A year later, I was at Policygenius as Associate Director of Paid Acquisition Innovation. I found a love for mobile marketing in the finance category which ultimately led me to my current role in leading Performance Marketing and CRM at Thimble.
Overall, my career has progressed in two trajectories – going wide and going deep.
Go Wide: Learn every aspect of business growth including acquisition, activation, engagement and retention, monetization and product.
Go Deep: Get deeper learning by doing. Without doing the real work, it is really hard to understand what to focus on when you lead independent contributors.
By going wide and going deep, I have evolved into a well-rounded growth professional that can contribute to almost every aspect of growth.
The app marketing industry has evolved in many ways since you first entered it. Taking a step back, what is something you find interesting or notable about the industry?
When I first entered the industry, I spent a lot of time setting up very complex campaigns with different segments and different ways of targeting. I would spend a lot of time optimizing for each platform.
Now, all the big players like Google and Facebook are big on machine learning and AI. These industry players deter away from over-optimization and prefer simple campaigns that use data and ML to optimize performance. The attraction here is that it is simple enough that a small team can do it all, which is why many advertisers decide to move performance marketing inhouse. This way, the team can focus more on strategy and creatives instead of spending excessive time on optimization.
If you could go back in time and give yourself 1 piece of advice when you first started working in mobile, what would you tell yourself?
Always try to think from different perspectives. For example, the various components of a business: UX, product, customer service, CRM, data science, or even engagement with different teams. You should be looking beyond a singular point of view. This is called perspective-taking and it is an essential skill in almost all aspects of a business. From sales and marketing to negotiations and employee management, perspective-taking is a key component for success.
COVID-19 has had an uneven impact on the mobile industry, with many companies benefitting from the increased time at home. How has the pandemic impacted your business? And what changes did you make to your marketing strategy as a result?
We have two types of users: white-collar professionals (ie, photographers and DJs) and blue-collar (ie, handyman and contractors).
Before the pandemic, more than 50% of our customers were “white-collar”. While the CPA for these users was lower, the LTV was less. In comparison, our “blue-collar” customers had much higher LTV but expensive CPAs.
During the pandemic, we noticed that we acquired a lot more blue-collar clients at relatively lower CPAs. In response, we began shifting our creative strategy towards the blue-collar client base and allocating more of our budget to this segment.
With WFH the new norm, and all live events and in-person meetings going virtual, what are you doing to stay connected and in touch?
Our company has organized many virtual events like farm and museum tours or games to help us connect.
In order to stay in touch and maintain a positive work environment, I also usually set up an open-minded chat with my peers. A friendly tip: don’t start the meeting with just the business stuff. Remember to inquire about how people are feeling and their weekend activities. It is important to encourage others to practice both self-care and self-love.
Let’s talk ad creative. Even during a pandemic, testing ad creative is essential to performance. Can you offer an insight or two you’ve gained from conducting your own creative tests?
We do not emphasize too much on pandemic-themed creatives. Instead, we focus on highlighting our value propositions. Rather than choose a traditional year-long business insurance model, we educate our prospects on the value and unique characteristics of our on-demand insurance service. During these uncertain times, this has resonated well with our potential clients.