Community//

Marketing Strategies From The Top: “You need to understand your customer stage” With Bonjoro’s Casey Hill

I think a very successful campaign has to do a handful of things. #1 You need to understand your customer stage. Is this an awareness campaign? A conversion campaign? Each stage requires a different approach. #2 The campaign needs to offer up something of unique value, either in standing for something powerful or physically delivering […]

The Thrive Global Community welcomes voices from many spheres on our open platform. We publish pieces as written by outside contributors with a wide range of opinions, which don’t necessarily reflect our own. Community stories are not commissioned by our editorial team and must meet our guidelines prior to being published.

I think a very successful campaign has to do a handful of things. #1 You need to understand your customer stage. Is this an awareness campaign? A conversion campaign? Each stage requires a different approach. #2 The campaign needs to offer up something of unique value, either in standing for something powerful or physically delivering a useful asset that draws people in. #3 A successful campaign needs to listen and adapt to the market. Customers will give you feedback and if you see trends, make sure you adjust course to stay in line with your base.


Asa part of our series about “Marketing Strategies From The Top” I had the pleasure of interviewing Casey Hill.

Casey is a growth hacker and marketing strategist for Bonjoro, a personalized video messaging platform based out of Australia. He is a published contributor to Forbes, Inc., Associated Press and a top 10 writer on Quora in SaaS Marketing and SaaS Sales. Casey is deeply passionate about video as a medium that is revolutionizing communications and is poised for tremendous growth over the next decade.


Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dig in, or 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 had a passion for software and subscription model businesses. I loved the way it allows people to connect at scale and the impact I saw these businesses could have in reshaping whole industries. Facebook changed how we communicate. Netflix changed how we watch TV. Amazon changed how we order products. So I think that was the draw to software. Then for marketing, I loved that it was about storytelling and building a brand name that meant something. At Bonjoro, where I currently work, there is such a strong ethos around human connection and personalization, and I love that about this niche I am in. I literally see businesses being transformed by this new mode of communication every day and its exciting to work with a team that is making a splash like that.

Can you share a story about the funniest marketing mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

I haven’t made any crazy blunders yet at Bonjoro, but with my personal company (a tabletop gaming business), the first review channel that picked us up, I sent them a copy of the game but didn’t seal the envelope. Instead of a prototype they got a blank, unsealed envelope and were very confused. I felt like a complete dunce but we all laughed about it later on.

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?

I think for me the biggest tipping point was when I got comfortable with experimenting. Before I was so tied to results I was scared to go outside the lines. The reality is, if you stay inside the lines, it is highly unlikely you will be an exceptional marketer. So the biggest break for me was taking chances, trying growth hacks and experimenting and being okay when things didn’t work out.

What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?

I think what really hit me was when we worked with the University of BedfordShire. They were trying to recruit more people to their University, and conventional emailing and calling was falling short. They tried Bonjoro and sent out 672 personalized email videos. At about 30–60 seconds a piece, it took them about 5–10 hours. From those videos they raised 2.5 million euros in new tuition. I just sat and stared at that article they wrote about the experience for a good 5 minutes.

That is literally hundreds of thousands of euros in sales per hour. I think that was the point where I realized personal video wasn’t just some gimmick or “nice to have” fluff for a business. This was a tool that was geared to help businesses take things to a whole new level.

Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?

Yeah we are actually. So in marketing there are two broad categories I see. There is first the “why”. In our case that resonates around “Why do people care about video emails? Why is it important?”. Then, if you get people to see the “why” you need to move to the “how”. These are busy business owners and you need to make the process crazy simple if you want them to try any new technology. So we are building out at expansive template infrastructure and niche specific onboarding funnels to make this all turnkey. I think if you can reduce the barrier of entry to technology, you can make a huge impact in delivering results for them.

What advice would you give to other marketers to thrive and avoid burnout?

Start by mixing it up, try to tap into your creative side and test new experiments. You got into marketing because you loved storytelling and helping build an image around a business. If you get in a mundane routine it’s easy to feel burned out. So take a step back, reserve some time to get creative and it will pay dividends.

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? Can you share a story about that?

My dad was a huge mentor in helping on my career path. He ran a business himself, like his father before him, and he taught me so many things, but one truly salient point across all the other insights was: “Overdeliver for customers”. It seems simply but by truly embracing that, not just in a cliche way but actually going out of your way to help deliver value and insights outside of my job descriptions, it has transformed my career trajectory and opened up so many doors.

Ok super. Let’s now shift to the main part of our discussion. 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? Can you explain why you like that so much?

I loved the campaign that Bonjoro did around the Video Funnel Playbook. They basically said, “look, we know a lot of people are interested in video but don’t know exactly how to get results with it” and then delivered a document that told people exactly how to get results with it. It cut through the fluff and delivered a tangible value that allowed even the totally non-techy among us to succeed with the video medium. To me, marketing that is truly success delivers value and stands for something and I loved that that campaign echoed our values of “automate processes, not relationships”.

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.

I think a very successful campaign has to do a handful of things. #1 You need to understand your customer stage. Is this an awareness campaign? A conversion campaign? Each stage requires a different approach. #2 The campaign needs to offer up something of unique value, either in standing for something powerful or physically delivering a useful asset that draws people in. #3 A successful campaign needs to listen and adapt to the market. Customers will give you feedback and if you see trends, make sure you adjust course to stay in line with your base.

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 2019, according to research from DemandMetric, 78% of CMOs claimed they saw customization and personalization of content as the future of marketing. It doesn’t surprise me in the slightest. People can sell marketing pitches a mile away. When you talk at people, throw pitches and offers and don’t give any real context, you are going to lose. You will get swept away with the zillion other marketers and sales people doing the same thing. The spam and promotions folder. If instead you personalize the marketing, you make community a focus, you reward loyalty and build brand evangelism, then you will huge success.

Can you please tell us the 5 things you wish someone told you before you started? Can you please share a story or example for each.

  1. Results take time. I think often times as marketers we get discouraged. Our brilliant idea didn’t work! The reality is everything is marketing is about learning, using data and adjusting. So thing of each failure as an investment in growth.
  2. Marketing can be intangible. When you trying to get your name out there in as many places as possible, it can become tricky to track. You might walk in to talk to your executives and people want more “hard proof” that your efforts are working. Use data, track the best you can with quality systems but also remember marketing is more of an art than a science. There will always be intangibles at play.
  3. You can change around your role in marketing at any time. If you start in PPC ad buy you can shift to copywriting if that is your real passion. Don’t get stuck!
  4. Always track your tests. So many rookies waste immense amounts of money by not isolating variables. If you are running a facebook ad, isolate Copy, Image and Targeting and iterate until you have the best of all three.
  5. Most of the “standard” books and blogs are marketing are bland. They will give you bland results. There are good ones out there, but remember to stay unique and off the beaten path. That is where the biggest wins lay.

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?

Absolutely. Here are tools that everyone should be using:

  • An ESP or CRM system like Active Campaign or Ontraport to help organize your contacts and email to people under one roof.
  • A personal video messaging tool like Bonjoro to keep your connections personal and human
  • A social posting tool like Buffer or Hootsuite to organize and schedule out your posts.

What books, podcasts, documentaries or other resources do you use to sharpen your marketing skils?

There are so many good ones! I recommend anything on Neil Patel’s blog, Seth Godin’s blog and SaaStr as a starting off point.

Who is your hero? Can you explain or share a story about why that person resonates with you?

My wife. Hands down. This woman works 90 hours a week in residency and still comes home with a smile on her face and positive disposition. Anything who thinks they work long hours hasn’t met a resident. This people are super human and my wife inspires me every day with her work ethic and dedication to make a difference.

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger.

Just to encourage people to focus on gratitude. It’s transformative. Every one of us has good and bad in life and we have to choose consciously each day where to focus.

How can our readers follow you online?

I would love to have people follow my blog here, or my personal Quora handle.

Thank you so much for joining us. This was very inspirational.

    Share your comments below. Please read our commenting guidelines before posting. If you have a concern about a comment, report it here.

    You might also like...

    Community//

    Avalara’s Jay Lee: “To avoid burnout, make sure that you love what you do ” with Avalara’s Jay Lee

    by Christina D. Warner, MBA
    Community//

    A conversation with Anna Belous of Competera

    by Christina D. Warner, MBA
    Community//

    “To avoid burnout, take a break and structure your schedule” with Carmine Mastropierro of Mastro Commerce

    by Christina D. Warner, MBA

    Sign up for the Thrive Global newsletter

    Will be used in accordance with our privacy policy.

    Thrive Global
    People look for retreats for themselves, in the country, by the coast, or in the hills . . . There is nowhere that a person can find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his own mind. . . . So constantly give yourself this retreat, and renew yourself.

    - MARCUS AURELIUS

    We use cookies on our site to give you the best experience possible. By continuing to browse the site, you agree to this use. For more information on how we use cookies, see our Privacy Policy.