In-App Messages

The Marketer’s Perspective: Shaping the Narrative with Grindr’s Maggie Breeden

Maggie Breeden By Maggie Breeden Jun 7, 2019

Great customer engagement doesn’t just happen. Behind every thoughtful email or perfectly-timed push notification, there are people who do the work that makes them possible. To highlight efforts, insights, and strategies from these key players in customer engagement, we’re sitting down and interviewing notable individuals from marketing, growth, and engagement-related teams. In this edition of The Marketer’s Perspective, we’ll be talking to Maggie Breeden, product manager at gay, bisexual, queer, and trans dating platform Grindr.

What first got you into marketing?

I’m currently a product manager, but I started out in Marketing at Grindr. Originally, I have a background in nonprofit fundraising and a masters in public administration, and nonprofit fundraising and marketing go hand in hand. At a lot of small nonprofits, you don’t have a separate marketing team and, in order to raise money, you have to figure out how to market yourself.

What does your typical day at the office look like?

Every morning, I lead our stand-up with the developers and designers, and we discuss yesterday’s progress, today’s work, and any upcoming things they may have questions on. Usually I’ll work with designers on new UI or UX features or experiences. I’ll also answer questions for developers when they’re working on new features—the coding part. And then I’ll work with the product marketing team on go-to-market plans and releases and analytics, things like that.

What messaging channels are you currently using to reach and engage your customers?

We use in-app messages—all of the different kinds—and a lot of custom HTML. We really like the Braze templates for those. We also use News Feed Cards, but we use them a little bit differently than a lot of people do. Instead of having a card be the whole ad, we connect the card to an in-app message, so it shows up in the user’s inbox; and when they click on that, the in-app messaging campaign appears so we can send inbox messages.

How does your team work to optimize the messages and brand experiences you provide to your customers?

We test everything. It can't go out unless it has some kind of A/B test plan, sometimes even testing four variants or more. We're starting to use more Canvases to test variants such as a push to a full screen in-app message or a push to a slide up in-app message as opposed to one campaign with multiple creative concepts.

What metrics or KPIs matter the most for your business?

We look at click rates to see if users are engaging. It also helps us to determine what kinds of messages we use, in terms of whether it’s a GIF or a slide-up [in-app message] or whatever. We used to only send full-screen in-app messages, but now we’ve been able to see from click-throughs that the slide-ups work so much better—and that’s been good for the Growth team who focuses on purchase conversions. Those purchases are obviously the biggest [metric] for them, since if people are buying, then that kind of messaging is working.

What gut checks do you go through when designing a marketing campaign?

I always make sure it’s providing user value and also hitting business goals. Is it valuable to the user? Is it too intrusive? And then looking at who the audience is and if it’s a global campaign. Can the copy be localized in a way that makes sense in other languages? (Because if it’s English slang, it’s hard to translate into Thai, for instance.)

What’s your biggest marketing challenge right now—and how are you addressing it?

Grindr existed as an app for eight years before they had a Marketing department, because the app marketed itself—there was a need, and it was filling that need, and it was all about word of mouth. But now, we have the opportunity to direct and shape the brand narrative in ways that hadn’t been done in previous years. It’s both challenging and exciting, because we’ve been able to do a ton of really cool campaigns—like KINDR, for instance, which focuses on discrimination in the app and highlights our new community guidelines. On the other hand, that kind of thing would have been cool to do from the very beginning.

What skills are most important if you want to succeed in today’s marketing landscape?

Flexibility is probably the biggest one for me. You have to be ready to iterate on a moment’s notice if something isn’t performing well—even if you originally thought it was the best approach. If it doesn’t test well or resonate with your users and audience, it’s not going to do well, and you have to be willing to make a change.

When and how did you first start using Braze?

We’re coming up on a year. When we switched over to Braze, it was to provide an improved solution for in-app messages over previous tools we’d used. We especially needed the ability to quickly test messages to ourselves, and that was a huge selling point on Braze over any other platform.

How would you describe Braze to a peer who’s never used it before?

I think of it as a tool. I don’t even want to categorize it as a CRM tool or a messaging tool, because ultimately you decide how you want to use it. There’s a standard way to send messages and collect information, but there are a lot of cool ways to hack things to achieve other purposes. I’d tell people that you could use Braze to send messages to users, but you can also use it to test new ideas without having to get developers involved. At first glance, Braze was a good messaging option, but now we use it for so many things.

What’s your favorite thing about Braze?

The custom HTML messaging functions. I’m not a developer, but the way we use them, I can create messages and then add in javascript bridges to create two-slide messages where it turns to the next screen when you click the button, thanks to the custom event trigger. It gives me control over putting things in the app without having to take developer time, and allows me the flexibility to test things without having to ask for resources and build a whole code.

One of the product designers and I have been trying to validate this new featured and needed to see if users were even interested in it. So instead of talking to the developers and saying, “Will you please built this native thing we can track clicks on?” we were able to create an in-app message with multiple buttons and use the javascript bridge to turn them into custom events that, when clicked, would lead into a second screen. And we were able to collect enough data that way to change the original feature set of this big proposal in way that we believe is the best version to build. We were able to do all that through Braze by ourselves.

Thanks, Maggie! To learn more about how other Braze clients are using the Braze platform to support brilliant customer experiences, check out our client stories page.

Maggie Breeden

Maggie Breeden

Maggie Breeden is a Product Manager at Grindr with a Masters in Public Administration from USC. She is proud that her work allows her to combine her passion for social justice and love of the mobile space to build the best product for its users. She’s biked from SF to LA with AIDS/Lifecycle twice.

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