Episode 3: Daan Goossens, VP of Growth, Mysa

In our final instalment of the Mysa growth series, we talk to Daan Goossens, the company’s Vice President of Marketing. Mysa is one of the fastest-growing companies in Atlantic Canada and has taken the world by storm with its line of smart thermostats. In this episode, we dig deeper into how Mysa’s marketing has evolved over time and the various marketing tactics it has employed to grow the business.



  • Joe: How are you going about identifying market needs, and enough so that you’re ready to develop a new product for it?


    Daan: We listen to our existing customers. So for example, one out of four of our existing customers have a need for a product like this. So then that’s great. We already have X many customers ready to sell a product to. But then we also look at traditional secondary research. How many of these systems are out there? How many air conditioners are out there? We assess the competition. We buy all their products, we tear them apart. We use their app. We determine can we compete with us or not?

  • Vaishal: All right. So what’s your philosophy on growth when it comes to growing Mysa or similar companies?


    Daan: Good question. I usually reduce it down to the bare bones, trying to keep it very simple because as we’ve grown things get very complex. We have more products, more markets, more marketing channels. And so it’s really trying to keep things as simple as possible and focusing on one thing at a time and one new thing at a time. So all throughout we’ve focused on one marketing channel at a time and try to do really well and either fail fast in that channel and fail hard, or succeed, and then succeed kind of create a playbook around it. Make sure that we know how to execute and then move to the next one. And so I look at it as layering a bunch of curves on top of each other like the typical S-curve. Initially, you don’t get many results then quickly you’ll figure out how to get results and you get a lot quickly. But then you see diminishing returns. And so that’s at a micro-level in each of the channels or tactics, but then if you’re able to stack a bunch of those curves on top of each other, you can see overall growth continue to accelerate.

  • Vaishal: Well, that’s really an interesting point you say about simplifying and focusing on one existing thing at a time and one new thing at a time. So if you have to narrow down into a bit more specifics, like especially related to Mysa, what would be those tactics or channels or ideas that you would categorize into that strategy of ‘existing’ and ‘new’, and how you refined it as you went?  


    Daan: Yeah. So on the philosophy, everything really starts with understanding the business really well. So for Mysa we sell smart thermostats to people who have HVAC systems that are more niche, I would say. it’s not… The majority of people in North America are not even going to be able to purchase one of our products. And so knowing that actually rules out a lot of strategies right off the bat because, for example, any mass market tactics are immediately less effective because we have so many people that won’t be able to use our product. So that in itself informs which channels are more viable than others. And so for us we started off with Google Ads. And that’s because it’s such a very specific solution to people with a specific problem.


    They will be searching for it because there was nobody out there. So that’s where we first started. Then Google Ads, you immediately start thinking about SEO and organic search, which is the free version of Google Ads I call it. So we vested there. And the next layer we added was Facebook ads. And then we added Amazon. And nowadays for example, we’ve really scaled up our Facebook group. Spending close to, or last year we spent over half a million dollars in Facebook. Or we’re exploring Pinterest for example. Or Reddit ads, we’ve tried multiple times over the last couple of years. And that’s another thing we… We try things and sometimes they fail, but if they fail that doesn’t mean we roll them out forever. We try again in a year’s time because maybe we’ve matured to a point where it makes sense or the platform matured to where it makes sense.

  • Vaishal: And so was this a trial and error approach based on your market knowledge or were there customer interviews or any focus groups involved to trying to figure that step-by-step process?


    Daan: Lots of unintentional customer interviews in the early days. And so what I mean by that is we were all… We had live chat on our website. Even before we actually shipped any product we were taking pre-orders and we had a live chat widget on our website and I was on it all the time talking to customers, other people from the team were talking to customers all the time. And when you do that, you’re inadvertently doing customer interviews because you’re not selling the product yet but they’re showing interest and you know what questions they ask. But then even when we did launch the product, I spent a couple of weeks where I did about 40 hours worth of customer phone calls. Just initially out of fear from hopefully they like the product. But then as I was talking to people I actually learned more about them, who they were, what matters to them, how they find products and things like that. So in the early days talking to customers, I would say the single most effective strategy.


    Joe: I agree completely there. I found the same just in clients that we’ve had really successful campaigns like Anthony Insurance for example, literally picking up a phone book talking to 30 people, all of which… Everybody has insurance. So it’s an easy way to find people. And the data starts repeating after 20 conversations. And then you’ve got some insights you can rest on. So it’s… An academic viewpoint would say that that’s not a big enough sample size, but it is amazing how you can find really hardcore insights in such a short amount of time when you’re doing what you were doing.


    Daan: Yeah. And it’s funny you mentioned 20 people and I found the same thing, like anywhere between 10 and 20, any time I’ve done any talking to customers that’s when it starts to repeat. Because all you need to really… You’re not trying to do minute optimizations, you’re trying to uncover the larger patterns at play. So 10 to 20 is enough to start to see those I find, usually.

  • Vaishal: So what would be the difference between at that day on your inclination of talking with customers and let’s say today, what would be the change from there?


    Daan: The changes that any… It’s a lot harder to test rapidly and test without consequences, I guess. So where we are now on multi-channels in two countries, multiple products. We have over a hundred thousand people using our products. We can’t just try stuff and put it out there because now we also have a brand established and things need to be more consistent. So there’s a lot more ripple effects of things that we do that have an impact on operations or an impact on our customer support team or where we used to take a lot of liberties with our messaging and things like that, all of that has to be much more in control now. And they’re more… We are now a team of 85 people at Mysa. So there’s a lot more even internal change management to deal with. So we’re definitely less nimble, but we’re trying to still have an experimentation mindset and really what it takes is just being intentional about it and not hope that it happens.

  • Joe: So these days are you more guided by say campaign results, sales results? Is that more where you take in your insights or are you doing ongoing qualitative research?


    Daan: I hadn’t done any qualitative research for the longest time. So earlier this year actually what we did do was establish a customer VIP panel. So we used our email list and we got about a thousand people to sign up for that. And so we’ve sent them monthly surveys. They can be very small or a bit more in depth and we’ve seen great response rates, but then I’ve also… I was feeling more and more disconnected from our users. So it started this year. I just sent out an email, “Hey, I’d love to chat with you.” And again, I had about 20 people that I had a 30 to 45 minute conversation with, and it was great to just reconfirm some of the things I was thinking, but also uncover some new things. So I’m very happy I did that and I encourage anybody in my team to try and do the same thing and talk to people. Yeah. So it’s a mix of both but campaign results definitely play a factor and that’s getting a bit harder with all of the attribution changes lately with iOS privacy. So yeah, we’re back to basics in a lot of ways as well.

  • Joe: And in terms of how are you identifying… I know your latest product- is it the air conditioning, right? Is sort of the latest… So how are you going about identifying market needs, and enough so that you’re ready to develop a new product for it?


    Daan: Yeah. That has been trial and error as well over the years for us. But in general I would say we listened to our existing customers. So for example, one out of four of our existing customers have a need for a product like this. So then that’s great. We already have X many customers ready to sell a product to. But then we also look at traditional secondary research. How many of these systems are out there? How many air conditioners are out there? We assess the competition. We buy all their products, we tear them apart. We use their app. We determine can we compete with us or not? And so for example, to date we’ve stayed away from competing with Nest or Ecobee because two behemoths in the industry we feel like we’re not yet to compete with them.


    So we’ve intentionally stayed away from that, stayed in the more niche markets. And a big one we use as well is customer reviews. So I’m pretty sure we’ve read every single customer review on Amazon of our competitors. So that’s something we do ahead of building a product. And with that it really helps with understanding the problems that any product is solving and how closely that’s related to what we’re currently doing in Mysa. But then it also shows where people are getting annoyed with their competition and where we could potentially have an edge on. And so that’s how we arrive at, okay, this makes sense. And then we do a technical assessment and determine how difficult would it be to build this product. And typically we’re a bit naive there, but I think you need to be naive in a startup to actually going to get started and do things.


    Joe: I agree. I’m not renowned for seeing barriers very well, sort of deal with them as they come. Which if you can stay upright and above ground then I think that’s a winning… It’s a good trait to have. Yeah, that’s interesting. We’re actually posting today a little snippet from the interview with Josh, talk to you about the Slack channel and the customer reviews and I thought that was really cool. But something that didn’t come out of what he had shared was that you were using that to understand competitors as well. So that’s really interesting. I never thought of that to look at reviews, to see what you’re doing good, what they’re doing bad and use that to deal with new products. That’s smart.


    Daan: Yeah.

  • Joe: Just a question I have around, we’ll move on here to more of a marketing discussion. There’s a couple of things that I think Zach mentioned about, I don’t know if you can remember about there was a growth framework or something that you brought back in the early days that really helped them simplify the future. Can you recall what that involved?


    Daan: I’m not sure. Well, it was a Frankenstein of a lot of growth concepts. I went very, very deep into just the growth marketing side of things. And a book for example that we used a lot from was Hacking Growth. And so the framework really is levered. Starting with a brainstorm and ideas and as many as possible, and then ranking them in a very simple way because you can take ranking ideas to a science as well and then you spend weeks trying to rank ideas rather than driving. And so we use the ice framework for ranking them. So a score of one out of ten on impact, one out of ten on confidence that it will actually have that impact and then a one out of ten on ease of execution. So what the framework does is it favors easy ideas that are of relatively high-impact because what you’re not trying to do in the early days is take very big bets that either work or don’t because you don’t have time to take a big bet and fail and then try again.


    So it intentionally favors the relatively small, easy wins, and then stack them on top of each other. And so that’s when we use them. What we did, we treated everything, every idea as an experiment. So we had a big… It was just a Google document, really with experiment IDs. And so for every experiment we wrote up what is the hypothesis. So for example, if we target people who like iOS on Facebook we’re going to see a 10% increase in click-through rate or something like that. And then we did the experiment design. So what’s our control group, what’s our test. And how long are we going to run this experiment for. And then we did a retrospective look back, were we right or were we wrong? And the idea was more so to move through all of these experiments quickly and try a lot of things, but don’t try them Willy-nilly, do things based on a solid hypothesis.


    I really believe in definitely as a marketer if you have a solid understanding of user psychology, some of my favorite books are behavioral economics and psychology because you can… It allows you to create really, really good hypotheses that are more likely to actually result in something. And so, we use that as the basis to run a lot of ideas through, especially for the first year or so.

  • Joe: And the other question was just on SEO. Can you talk about just how you guys have been successful with organic Google Ad words, as you said, or the free Google Ad words?


    Daan: Yeah. Extremely targeted SEO efforts. So, essentially it was trying a lot of long tail keywords with phrases that make sense for us that are lower in the funnel. And just using the tools that hang like Ahrefs and we used Moz as well at times. But they’re… I find them useful directionally, but not from a… It’s not going to give you any answers as to what content to develop. So it was really doing a lot of keyword research through Google and then actually just being somebody who is searching, so searching for those keywords. Am I getting an answer to my question? Yes or no. And then if the answer was no, then we would just write a blog post about it. We didn’t invest too much effort or time or design resources into each blog post, We would just get it out.


    If it starts ranking on page one, then we invest in design. So one example that we found that is still to date the number one blog post for us bringing in traffic is people were searching the best thermostat for multiple zones in your home. And I remember the top two articles were help desk articles from Nest and that were not even relevant to the question at hand. So we wrote a blog post. This is the best thermostat for multiple zones and that’s been our top polls for three years now. So I find for us SEO is really successful by being extremely targeted with long tail keywords. We’re not trying to compete on smart thermostat. We’re trying to compete on smart thermostat for baseboard heaters or anything like that. And then I find all you need really is four to five wins to start seeing the impact of your efforts in SEO on a meaningful level in the business.

  • Vaishal: Today in your SEO keywords mix what do you feel is the ratio that drives the biggest amount of leads to you?


    Daan: The ratio for SEO and Paid or within SEO organic specifically?


    Vaishal: Yeah. Within SEO, you would have, let’s say a set of x keywords, while other facts only really 1/10 generate the maximum amount of leads for you.


    Daan: Oh, got you. Yeah. I’m not entirely sure on a keyword level, but on a individual page or post level they’re like 10 that are really driving all of the volume and we have over 50. So it’s definitely… I think it’ll probably stay, get close to that 20-80 rule where 20% of the content you put out there is going to drive 80% of your results. That’s why we put it out there and only invest further in and when it’s bringing in results because otherwise it can take too long.


    Vaishal: Right. And how do you see that going from here with your SEO?


    Daan: From here, I think, well, we just launched a new product. So this year all of our efforts have been on doing the exact same thing over again for that specific product. And we’re actually… I’m very happy because three of those posts are now in our top 10 already. So we’re… We did some… It’s really nice to see that whatever framework and strategy we used three years ago is still working today.

  • Joe: Because I know there’s different schools of thought out there of like posting two blog posts a week, one a week and when you say 50 that’s like a lower number than I was expecting considering how long you guys have been around. So what’s your philosophy on that in terms of the amount of content you’re putting out there.


    Daan: It has to serve a purpose. I don’t think it matters at all. If you can hit two posts a week where the content is actually of high quality and somebody out there needs that content, that would be great. But I find it’s really hard to find those exact topics as well, because oddly if you think about how you use Google you typically use it either you have a question you need an answer for, it’s from some kind of entertaining purpose where you’re looking for products or solutions. But it’s one of those four things typically. And so it’s really all about figuring out the questions people are asking that are relevant to your product and then creating content for that. And I find that is not an easy task because the first five or 10 are easy, but then to keep it relevant and of high quality is more challenging. And we’ve used tools like answerthepublic.com for example, where you can just put in a topic and it spits out a bunch of questions people are actually Googling. That was great for ideation.


    Vaishal: And does the platform Quora play a role into it?


    Daan: Which one?


    Vaishal: Quora, Q-U-O-R-A.


    Daan: Yeah. It’s definitely part of the ideation, seeing what people are asking, yeah. We’ve explored Quora in the past actually with ads or even in organic strategy where we would try to ask questions and also answer them but that didn’t really work out.

  • Joe: Your qualitative research, would you have drawn questions from that as well?


    Daan: Yeah, definitely. So one of the insights, for example, from talking to customers is that a lot of people use our product in a secondary home or vacation home and as well as Airbnbs. So we’ve done some posts specifically targeted to those personas. So the best smart home upgrades for your vacation home, or how to manage energy in your Airbnb or things like that. So yeah, definitely.

  • Joe: And final question on that is like this Riverside tool we’re using, I was trying to figure out how do I get three unique video channels in Zoom because it didn’t seem to be able to do it. And there’s a video that came up, first thing I clicked and it’s Riverside saying, “Here’s a tool that allows you to get three different video channels.” And now we’re a customer. So I’m curious about if you’re using video content or is it all static blog content? How does that work?


    Daan: Mostly static blog content. Yeah. We don’t really have the bandwidth to do video content that quickly or because a lot of it that you would create also fails and doesn’t get any eyeballs. So we try to… Our video content is mainly… Or our video capabilities are mainly focused towards where we put a lot of money. So Facebook ads for example or Instagram or both the same.

  • Joe: Got you. So we’re about halfway through. One of the overall questions we have is if you were speaking with a business that is like Mysa was starting out in that first couple of years, trying to get traction, trying to find customers, trying to survive I guess. Or maybe they’re surviving, but they’re trying to scale. Something that we hear a lot is companies come to us and they’re not sure where to start when it comes to putting a marketing program in place. And there’s a certain amount where we can help as an outside partner, but there’s also of course needs to be an internal leadership there and a roadmap that they are implementing day in and day out. So I’m just curious, what would be the starting point for a company looking to put a formal marketing pipeline in place and then how do they build that? What would be the fundamentals there?


    Daan: The first thing that jumps to my mind is to throw out any preconceived notions of what a marketing program should look like. I think in the early days trying to copy companies that you like or that you see, and for example saying, “Well, we need to be on Facebook and on this and we need to do this and we need to do that.” Is really putting your eggs in too many baskets and it’s going to dilute all of the efforts. Because very early days, it’s very, I can’t stress enough how important it is to just focus on one or two things and get them right. And then add everything else. And so I often see people, yeah, we’re company so-and-so does five organic social posts a day or whatever it may be. We have to do that. Well, the answer is no, you don’t really. You have to do whatever works for you.


    So that mindset calibration, I’ll call it, at the start is absolutely crucial. But then it goes to, again, understanding your customers. How do they purchase? For us it was a lot of early adopters. They were very techie, so they go to Google. So that’s where we started. And then you can add everything else later, but it’s really finding the beachhead where you’re going to start with your marketing program. And that is by far the most important thing.

  • Vaishal: And how has your focus between acquisition and awareness evolved over the years?


    Daan: Yeah. This year is where we’re really starting to invest more in even just general brand awareness. So that’s… It took us three years or so to get to that point where we’re now starting to invest in higher level brand awareness where we’re not going directly for the sale or for the product. And I think this is the right timing because there’s a lot of low hanging fruit out there, and it’s very inefficient to move away from that too quickly. So now we’re actually going to run our first TV ad this year in the fall. But even that we’re doing in a very tactical and controlled way. We’re only going to do it in Quebec city, for example, and then compare results with Montreal.


    Joe: Okay. Interesting.

  • Vaishal: Yeah, and when you say it like this change in focus in this year’s awareness, but you also mentioned a heavy spending on Facebook earlier. Let’s say if we were to pick Facebook and would you say that there’s a difference between acquisition and awareness when you approach let’s say particularly Facebook?


    Daan: Yeah. So we have four funnel stages I would say, especially when we’re looking at Facebook. So lowest of the funnel is retention. So we do run Facebook ads to existing customers because we know actually about 25% and 30% of our annual sales are from returning customers. So we do run Facebook ads to them. That’s very minimal budget, but it does have a high return. One step up is remarketing. So anybody… We used to be more granular with add to cart versus viewed product, but now after iOS changes we’re just lumping everything together to maximize our audience size in one remarketing bucket. And then we have what we call acquisition, which is to people who haven’t heard from us. So that cold audiences. But this year we’re also doing now one level up, which is just general brand awareness. And aside from the brand awareness campaign in Facebook, everything else is optimizing for conversions. So even at the acquisition level to cold audiences we were optimizing for conversions and purchases. Now with awareness we’re going more for clicks and traffic and really to try and get people to engage with us and know us and then we’ll hit them later.


    Joe: Any other questions on that Vaish?


    Vaishal: Nope. That’s great. No, that’s a very fascinating distinction in terms of how you can just really look at it from an acquisition and an awareness perspective and on channels like Facebook. It’s easier to relate it to when it comes to Google because you have the keywords, you know the search intent and you can tailor it based on that. But when you go to channels like Facebook where you don’t know or you don’t have any search intent, it’s a very interesting approach on just how you can tailor your campaign on channels like that, and yet be more focused in the beginning and then scale up as we go forward.

  • Joe: And can you talk about the brand side of things, that’s something that we find in certain industries we have to spend more time explaining the importance of a brand and then trying to explain how that pays off in the future. Can you talk about that in terms of just your philosophy on brand and how you’ve guided Mysa’s brand to date?


    Daan: Yeah. Brand is interesting I think in all aspects, internally or even externally when we talked. I think everybody has a slightly definition of what brand means. Even if you think you’re always aligned, but it is very subjective in a way. To me brand is kind of similar… companies or organizations are similar to people. And so when you meet somebody somewhere at the party or a networking event, when you go home what do you think about that person? How would you describe that person to somebody else? And that’s how I think of brand. And so if you extrapolate that analogy, the key things are all the majority of interactions. So I don’t think every interaction has to be 100% on-brand, but the majority of them should be. And by interaction, I mean, anything from first website visit to the checkout process, to receiving the product, to talking to our customer support team. All of those are very important touch points that define the personality of our brand as somebody perceives it.


    And so very early we did some secondary research into other players in the market, even Ecobee and the others. And we’re selling thermostats, which is inherently not the sexiest topic in the world. So we decided to make our brand more friendly and approachable and talk about… We use emojis and we use very friendly language and smiley faces, and we call our customers and leads we call them friend all the time. So we’re trying to be that more friendly voice in a boring industry really the thermostats, HVAC. Although it is smart home, which is great for the techies, but we want to sell to more people than just the techies. So those were the beginnings. And then we’ve really put a lot of focus on our customer support. Unboxing, the first 30 minutes of the product are absolutely key for a brand. So it’s… If I’m often when I talk to people in the brand, they think it’s the visual identity only and that’s where it stops, but it is so much more than that and every interaction is important, especially the first 10 or so.

  • Joe: So beyond the visual look and feel, you mentioned the unboxing, any other key interactions that you guys have focused on.


    Daan: I would say one of the bigger ones at Mysa is the first 30 minutes. So when you get that product and you’re installing it and you’re playing around with it for the first time, from a product point of view for example, or developers or product teams spend a disproportionate amount of time making sure that the first 30 minutes is really, really great, because if you get a bug in your app three, four months down the road from when you’re using it, it’s not really going to upset you, but if you hit a snag in the road, right when you get the product, when you’re super excited to set it up, it’s going to have a massive impact. And we even see that from our customer reviews. We find getting that first 30 minutes right leads to five star reviews, getting it wrong leads to one star reviews. So that’s where I would say we have spent a lot of effort.

  • Joe: Right. Go ahead Vaish.


    Vaishal: When talking about… You made a distinction of bringing this year a lot more focused on brand. So in terms of your messaging, how would you make that distinction between going from a product to a brand focus?


    Daan: Yeah. I’m very lucky that I hired some great people who are way better at that than I am, because that’s not my forte. But we’ve, yeah, so we have a head of marketing Amy Fisher who came over from tourism actually. And she’s done wonders there in helping us transition from ‘we are the smart thermostat for people with baseboard heaters’, which is very technical and not very inspiring, to now we have messaging such as ‘save money and the planet’, smart thermostats for electric heating. So it’s a lot more speaking more to the emotional side of things. But also focusing on our unique value proposition.


    Joe: Yeah. That’s something we always try to uncover for clients is self-actualization. So there’s the products, there’s the features, there’s the strategic value in what they’re purchasing. But underneath that is the self-actualization. And I guess that’s what she uncovered there is save the planet. And if that’s the common denominator for a lot of your customers then you’re already getting into the deeper motivation between in terms of why they picked you.


    Daan: Yeah, absolutely. And it’s interesting how we transitioned over the years. We started with extremely to-the-point direct almost marketing features. And then we went to functional benefits and then we went to what they could actually do for you. And now we’re getting to that more emotional level. And ultimately you need the whole mix, I would say, can’t have one without the other. Although if you could only pick one in the early days, I would go functional over emotional because emotional is easy to get wrong if you don’t understand your customers.


    Joe: Yeah, agreed. And it also… You’re doing TV now, so that’s I would say your first probably really rich touchpoint where you can really convey an emotion. So it takes time to get to that point where you can take that risk to produce it and get it out there from a media perspective.


    Daan: Yeah, absolutely. What I’m learning now through the team is TV even, you can’t just test with a little bit of budget and you have to go at a certain scale to even see the results and impacts of it. So, yeah, I think it’s coming at the right time for us. Yeah.


    Joe: And then it’s also not just a media weight, but it’s a frequency and then duration, right? It’s not a 12-week campaign and that’s the test. It’s probably multiple, at least a year or multiple years to really gauge it.


    Daan: Yeah. 


    Joe: I mean, that varies obviously per industry.

  • Joe: So another question we had here was around what you view as your… What do you view as your most important marketing touchpoint?


    Daan: Good question. Yeah. My team always makes fun of me cause I’m always about the sale, but I guess the sale, the conversion. But yeah, I think that’s just selfishly. The most impactful marketing touchpoint I think is that moment between people becoming aware of us and people actually wanting our product. And that step in between there are a couple of hurdles. One big one is, will this product work in my home because compatibility is a big issue for us. And so easing those worries, I think is one of the more important steps in your funnel. And so that touchpoint that could live either on our Facebook ads, on our website or through email campaigns. But I would say that that message whenever it gets to people is one of the more important ones.

  • Joe: I got you. And in terms of say your website, is that a super important touchpoint for you guys?


    Daan: Oh yeah. Yeah, about 40% of all of our revenue essentially flows through our own website. We’ve launched in Best Buy and Home Depot now, but we’re still… Our website is the major driver of revenue. And the great benefit is that we control the entire experience there. So we were listed on Amazon. Amazon does great, but we get one page on Amazon with a bunch of restrictions put on us. So it’s really hard to tell a story and to get people develop that emotional connection with your brand so that they come back and buy again or tell their friends and family by yourself. Yeah. From that point of view I’d say our website is the more important marketing vehicle


    Joe: And any key learnings on that or best practices that you applied to that website?


    Daan: Reviews, reviews, reviews. I think, yeah, we’ve spent a lot of time trying to get a lot of reviews on there and really try to leverage them everywhere because it’s… Especially when you’re talking B2C and you’re talking one to many essentially having that… Your social proof really comes from how many reviews you have. It’s not… We haven’t found the singular call-outs to be super impactful. For example, so-and-so said this. We do use it, and it helps, but if that’s not paired with ‘and 1500 other people gave it five stars’ it loses its impact. So reviews are definitely important. And keeping it simple. I think over the top, over the years we use a fairly iterative approach where we add modules at a time or add single elements. But the downside of that is that it can become very cluttered because as you are working on the website to you it’s still very straightforward and clear because you’re adding one thing at a time. But to somebody who comes to your website for the first time it could be too much. So simplifying messaging, simplifying what you’re communicating to the absolute most important messages is also key from an e-comm point of view.

  • Joe: And what’s your… I know I talked a bit to Zach about this, talking about the choice to build an internal marketing team. He talks about just their responsiveness, which is very impressive in terms of how quickly your internal team is able to move on opportunities and get in market with stuff. And any other thoughts on that in terms of that choice to go internal. And I’d be curious also what your rationale is for when you pull in outside help in what you’re doing.


    Daan: Yeah. So yeah, the choice to go internal was really we wanted people to have a really deep understanding of our product and the industry and who we’re for. And so that is possible with external partners definitely. But we opted to just build that in-house and then move through all of the opportunities and experiments very quickly. And so we employ all of our people and try to make them feel safe and try to make them okay with failing. I really try to make… Trying things, failing and learning something that’s really accepted and almost celebrated at the team. And so that was an important factor in that, and just the speed of execution. Many times we turned around campaigns in a week or two and on a moment’s notice and got a lot of results from it by doing that.


    But then when we use outside help is really when we don’t have the expertise because we also don’t really believe in trying to be the best at everything. And so what we’ve done in the past for example is we used [inaudible] an agency that was specialized in scaling of Facebook ads for e-commerce. They’re based in the US. So we used them for about a year and we outgrew them in a way, where we saw a lot of great results initially. But then they didn’t really understand the nuances. So my learning from that was the bigger the agency, the more you’re just another client on the list, then they don’t really spend the time to actually understand you. So now we work with smaller agencies when they can really supplement the expertise.


    So for example, we’ve been working with this great agency in Quebec, MO:PR. And we’ve used them because none of us are from Quebec. None of us actually speak French, understand the culture. So we develop the overarching brand strategy for North America, I know tactics and campaigns. And then we work with them to tailor it to the local market. And we work with them to create, for example, the TV ad was created by them because they fully understand that market and it turned out amazing. So it’s really to supplement our team with either market knowledge or platform knowledge. So some things we don’t have experience with is web display and programmatic display. So we’ve worked with an agency there who have a lot of experience with that specifically. And then we always make sure one person on our team is along for the ride and he gets to learn a little bit more about it.

  • Joe: We are almost out of time here. Vaish do you have any like a final question for Daan?


    Vaishal: Well, not so much, like I mean now most of it is all covered, but this was circling back to the website. If you had to share for any brand touchpoint top three things, it could be related to look and feel or content or the format, what would be the three best ideas or philosophy that you would share that somebody can build from?


    Daan: Yeah, I would say copy over design. Copy is always going to move the needle more than design can. Not saying design is not important, I’m just saying the words are more important than moving people. The other one is testing web designs or landing pages is also very important and that can be qualitative. I think people resort to A/B testing all the time. But A/B testing if… I used to get this wrong in the beginning as well until I went to this conference in Austin with the top growth people in North America and I learned that if you don’t get a thousand conversions a month you’re A/B testing from a statistical point of view is actually a waste of time because you could have false positives because you don’t have enough data. And so a thousand conversions is a lot in a month. A lot of companies don’t have that. So I often see people doing A/B testing in 20 conversions on A and 24 on B. So therefore B is better but…


    Okay So yeah, qualitative research on the website is important. One tool that we use frequently is UsabilityHub, where you can essentially just upload images and get people… what is the first thing you see, or you can do? Where do you want to click first? Or you can get them to recall what was on the image. And so we’ve used that by, for example, taking snapshots of our hero, showing it to people and then asking them, what did we just show you? And then you can see what they recall. Because ultimately people have an attention span of six to eight seconds or so. If you’re trying to show them too much, you’re not showing anything. So by doing those tasks we’ve uncovered a lot of things qualitatively without the need for A/B testing. So that’s another one. And finally, I would say, I think I always prefer iterative design over complete redesigns all the time, just to make sure if you have something that is working, it’s really, really risky to start from scratch with it.


    Vaishal: Right. That’s great.

  • Joe: Final question from me Daan is I guess what’s your mindset now compared to when you started with Mysa. In your role, is it things like delegation, focusing more of your time on the big picture. I’m just curious what your mindset is these days in your role?


    Daan: Yeah. My mindset is I feel like I have to reinvent myself every single year. So I think we’re version number four. Which nowadays I’m really just looking at enabling the team to do good work. And what that means in a startup is making sure they are clear on what we’re doing. Things change so quickly and with multiple departments and you start to see a little bit of silos. So just making sure that the team has all the information that they need to execute because if they don’t know then it’s really hard to execute on things if they don’t know what’s coming down the pipeline or what’s important for example. So that’s a big part of my focus. And then as well just looking at the next big growth lever. And over the years the minimum size requirement for each lever is just getting bigger as we get bigger as a company. So where I used to think, what’s the marketing tactic that’s going to bring in the next $50,000 now it’s, okay, what’s the next channel or big move that’s going to bring in the next million dollars. And so that’s been an adjustment for sure. So I’m trying to make fewer decisions of higher impact and look six months to three years ahead.


    Joe: And how are you going about that type of a longer-term planning?


    Daan: What I find extremely useful actually is just modeling out some scenarios. And what that does is it just shows you what is required to move the needle. And so a lot of ideas for example, when you then put in the assumptions for example, I assume this will get us 10% more repeat customers or something like that. And you model with that. A lot of them are actually weeded out and not significant enough to move the needle. And so you end up with a set of smaller pool of ideas that you then need to do a lot of due diligence in. And so for example currently exploring taking our products to Australia and New Zealand. And working with the market research firm over there to really explore how many people have these heating systems and how is the market different? What are the nuances? What could a marketing mix look like over there? And so it’s bigger items like that as well as how can we work with utilities? How can we get more rebates? Yeah. So fewer ideas and more homework.


    Joe: With bigger stakes.


    Daan: Yeah.

  • Joe: Yeah. As they say, that’s why they pay us the big dollars, right? Cool. Well then we’ve got one minute left. So I know you’re busy. Really appreciate you taking the time to talk with us.


    Daan: Yeah, no, it was pleasure. It was fun.


    Joe: Awesome man. Great meeting you and all the best, I guess, in the days ahead.


    Daan: Thank you. All right. Have a good one.