Q&A with Thomas
Two years ago Thomas Hopkins was first featured as a Mobile Hero. At the time, he was deep into marketing social casino apps at Penn Interactive Ventures. Since then he has started a Performance Marketing Consultancy and led the passenger acquisition strategy at Lyft. Thomas is now in charge of performance and lifecycle marketing at the ever-popular MasterClass. We caught up recently with Thomas to hear what he’s focusing on these days.
What have you been up to since you were first featured as a Mobile Hero? How has your career progressed?
I was first featured as a Mobile Hero over 2 years ago, back in February 2018. During that period, I was heading the marketing department at Penn Interactive Ventures. Shortly after my Hero feature, I moved to Lyft where I led their passenger acquisition strategy. I also started a Performance Marketing Agency – Growthops – where I advise companies on their growth strategy and operations. Currently, I head up performance and lifecycle marketing at MasterClass.
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?
The app economy has reached a relatively mature state, however, there is still a big gap between the number of professionals who truly understand how to grow and retain a company’s user-base and the number of companies that achieved a product-market fit and need help scaling their customer base effectively. So, for people just entering the workplace or others thinking about a career pivot, or if you appreciate a fast-paced environment where you wear multiple hats and have a massive impact on the growth of a company, performance marketing should be in the consideration bucket. From creative to product to brand marketing to finance to analytics, Performance Marketing is a great option that should definitely be considered because there is still tons of career growth opportunity.
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?
I am going to steal a line from Steve Jobs, “Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish.” Marketing is always changing, so be willing to challenge the norm and break the best marketing practices to push the industry forward.
COVID-19 has had an uneven impact on the mobile industry, with many companies benefiting 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?
MasterClass’s mission is to unlock human potential by inspiring a learning lifestyle in everyone. We approached COVID-19 through the lens of “how can we help our members and prospective customers move further towards that mission?” As a result, we launched two initiatives: “+1” and a “Buy one Share one” offer. For +1, all current members were given the opportunity to gift one person an annual membership to MasterClass. The Buy one Share one offer allowed all new members the ability to share the gift of learning with one person of their choosing.
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?
I am volunteering for guest appearances on marketing podcasts and I am hosting a weekly Mobile Heroes Lunch Club with 15 other performance marketing professionals organized by Liftoff. If anyone hasn’t signed up for one of Liftoff’s lunch forums, I highly recommend it as it is one of the best ways to accelerate your skillset and knowhow.
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?
When building a brand, both quantity and quality matters. Many marketers lose sight of the importance of quality when doing creative iteration for the sake of driving maximal sales towards their efficiency targets. Creative velocity is important but not if it causes you to slip outside the look and feel of the brand.