IMG_6761Namely, a leading HR, payroll, and benefits platform providing modern solutions for growing companies, recently made news for raising two funding rounds in 90 days: a reflection, in this case, of its fast growth in serving HR departments in the mid-market space.

Amy Rosenberg, Marketing Manager at Namely, has been working with AdRoll since Namely’s early days. I sat down with her recently to get some insights on how fast-growing tech start-ups like Namely are thinking about marketing.

J: HR seems like a crowded space. How does Namely approach the market?

A: Namely provides end-to-end software for growing to mid-size companies. We want to help companies enhance their HR and grow their workforce. Namely is the first modern HR software that looks and feels like social media, which makes it easy and intuitive for the millennial generation to navigate. It feels natural to them, so there is no hesitation to log in on a daily basis. Also, it’s practically self-service for HR departments, but we also partner that with the best customer service in the industry. We want to help our clients improve their HR processes and not just be the piece of software that they use.

J: I first spoke with you Q3 2014 about getting some campaigns up and running. When we started, it was just you on the marketing side…

A: I was employee #11 when I started almost two years ago. For the first 1.5 years, I was a 1-person marketing team. I think I treated you, James, like you were a part of my team. That was the reason I stuck with AdRoll: the account management has been so on-top of the campaigns, helped us grow, and answered all of the questions I had. Retargeting is new to me and you’ve made it so easy and intuitive to use and easy to explain it to my marketing director when he came on board.

J: I’m amazed that a 4-person marketing team could pump out as much content and activity as you’ve been doing. How does your team prioritize its efforts?

A: We’ve built a strong culture around testing and optimizing. We test and we analyze; we’ve been doing it since Day 1. If it works, we do it again with bigger budgets and keep looking for ways to improve. If it doesn’t work, we find out why. Is there something we can fix to do it again, better, or is it just not the right thing for our business and audience?

We’ve also engrained in our sales team to ask our prospects how they heard about us. This is easy to track for digital ads, but since we do a lot of events and out of home advertising, this is the best way to measure a campaign’s success. We make sure we get this information, because that’s the only way we’re going to know what works and what doesn’t, so we can properly attribute and prioritize future activities.

J: As a start-up, I’m sure you have to be smart about where you spend money. How do you manage or think about your marketing budget?

A: When we first started out, our existing clients were our number one priority. Getting referrals and finding out what customers liked or didn’t like, what emails they opened and replied to. It was very important to understand our clients and what they were looking for. When you have a small budget, your existing clients are your biggest advocates and feedback loop.

J:  How does retargeting fit into your overall marketing stack?

A: It is so crucial for a SaaS company like us, or any startup for that matter. Our sales cycle is sometimes around 90 days or longer. It’s not an instant purchase so we need to stay top of mind. They might have downloaded one content piece but the timing wasn’t right. Or maybe they’re browsing and looking at other competitors; we then want to display some new features and updates as our product grows.

We want to stay top of mind and retargeting helps us market 24/7 without being able to pay attention to every lead 24/7. It makes so much sense to have a retargeting platform when you have a longer sales cycle. Especially when you’re a small team like us. Not only is the return on ad spend incredible but it’s one less thing you have to constantly worry about. Knowing I don’t have to manually track every contact day and night makes it incredible.

J: What was the “Aha!” moment when you understood how to resonate with HR folks (product marketing fit)?

E30A7701A: I had an opportunity to interview a lot of customers while producing customer testimonial videos and that was my “Aha!” moment. Hearing them explain how they used our software, what HR professionals have to go through and what their daily routines were. I don’t come from a HR background so this was such an eye-opener for me. It gave me a deeper appreciation for what we’re doing here and it’s influenced my messaging ever since. Now I know what they need and what they want and why they picked us.

J: If you had to provide one piece of advice for someone in your role at another aspiring start-up, what would it be?

A: Keep learning. So cliché, I know. But marketing is changing so fast! There’s always something new to learn! Be proactive.


For more best practices on prioritizing B2B marketing initiatives, check out our free webinar on-demand: B2B Marketing Success: Aligning marketing and sales to build a demand gen machine