Generally speaking, someone with a title like Chief Marketing Officer has a tremendous amount of knowledge and experience in all aspects of marketing. Because of this, a CMO is the perfect person to know what is more and less likely to work. So what are the top 5 tried and true marketing strategies that executives recommend to other business leaders? As part of this interview series, we had the pleasure of interviewing Olivia Mariani.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! To start, can you tell us a bit about what brought you to this specific career path?
When I first graduated college, I worked for a marketing and sales consulting firm where I learned about marketing automation, analytics and sales enablement. Everything that we sold as a managed service, I was able to pick up, since I was on the corporate marketing team and had to write content and attend events. I was really able to soak everything up like a sponge, and that propelled me to get into the tech industry and focus on demand generation. I liked that I could influence revenue directly and support sales while still getting to be creative.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person you're grateful for?
Definitely. One of my early mentors is a former boss who taught me all about messaging and positioning, which of course is foundational to marketing strategy. I have taken the frameworks and workshops we did together with me, and we still stay in touch and catch up on my career to this day.
What do you think makes your company stand out?
I think the best thing about Curbio is that everyone wins. The real estate agents gets to sell the home for more, which generates more referrals and happy clients. The homeowner nets a higher profit without paying out of pocket. And finally, the new buyer gets a beautiful, move-in-ready home! Our product has an amazing product/market fit, and is unique in how beneficial it is for all parties involved.
Are you working on any exciting projects now? Tell us about it!
We are gearing up to launch our new mobile app, called Curbio, which allows agents and homeowners to get home improvement estimates on the fly or upload inspection reports to get pricing so they can either do the repairs or negotiate costs and credits. This is a big deal because in home improvement, pricing is really opaque and inaccessible—you have to get a contractor out to your home to take measurements, it takes forever, and they may give you a price that’s not based in any logic, leaving you wondering about what it should really cost to renovate your home.
The app makes it transparent and easy to price out repairs or estimates, whether you plan on working with Curbio or not. And for real estate agents, it’s a gamechanger because they have a handy tool in their pocket when they’re touring listings, allowing them to make informed recommendations on updating the home before listing so that it sells faster and for more money. Not only can they get a price on the fly, but they can also see the estimated increase in sales price and ROI. We’re just getting started on this and plan to launch many more features in the next year!
With so many different types of marketing available, has any one area had a bigger impact on your business over the rest?
It has to be content marketing—specifically video content. Ultimately, I have found that great content and storytelling drives advertising and email conversions, a beautiful website with a good experience and engaging content converts users to customers, and the video or written content behind a product launch is really what drives success.
At Curbio, we have invested in an in-house content team, including video producers and editors, and it has allowed us to be agile and put out quality content more frequently, which is fueling our growth. Content is king!
How often do you try a new marketing strategy, and which ‘boxes’ does it need to tick before you’re willing to implement it?
In terms of strategy, I don’t often pivot once I have established the ‘block and tackle basics’ of the plan. Ultimately, corporate strategy should drive the overall marketing plan, so I only try new things when we’re looking to identify growth levers that are incremental to the core strategy.
As an example, we think that launching a new division in our business could be a major growth lever, but we’re not going to bet our entire strategy on it. Instead, we’re going to pilot, see what demand is like, then begin to build it into our technology and finally scale once it's been proven to be impactful. So, in that regard, the boxes it needs to check are ‘product/market fit’ and ‘existing demand indication’ before going all in.
In your opinion, is it better to try out new marketing tactics or to stick with what you know works? How do you decide where to allocate your budget and resources?
It depends on the stage of the business! A brand-new company or product within a company needs to test and experiment to understand what drives the most engagement and revenue. But, once you get to scaling mode, like where Curbio is in our post-Series B stage, sticking to what works is best. We cut the tactics that are unproven and pour more resources into the programs and channels that work, which drives down cost and accelerates growth.
Having reached this space as a CMO, what are your top five most successful marketing strategies?
1 . Support or investigate quantitative data with qualitative insights. Data can tell you that something is wrong, but it won’t tell you why. I am a fan of implementing a formal customer insights program on the marketing team so there are consistent one-on-one interactions with customers. The nuggets of information you get from customers are invaluable.
2 . Simplify your campaign message as much as possible. At Curbio, we recently had this catchy idea to create a riff off the phrase “kick it to the curb”, and we were assuming that customers would get the reference—curb being Curbio. But we ended up going with “Kick it to Curbio” for brand name recognition and simplicity, which was a great choice since the campaign was our top performing marketing campaign to date!
3 . Always best testing. Our team members are constantly A/B testing something to ensure we learn and optimize continuously.
4 . Be best friends with sales. The primary function of marketing is to support the sales team and generate pipeline. Oftentimes, marketing and sales can butt heads, but when there is alignment around goals, a good working relationship, and a continuous feedback loop, that’s when the magic happens!
5 . Messaging is always a work in progress. To the point of customer insights, there will always be new nuggets of information as well as macroeconomic factors that affect your brand positioning. I like to workshop and review the messaging framework on a quarterly basis to ensure that we are still on point and bring any new insights to that workshop so we can adapt. It keeps our messaging fresh, relevant and timely, and is a good strategic exercise.
Can you share a time when a strategy didn’t deliver the results you expected and what you learned from the experience?
At Curbio, we really thought that TikTok ads were going to kill it. Real estate agents are on the platform and we had great creative, but it just wasn’t hitting. That was a learning that made us reallocate that spend to other digital paid channels, like Facebook and Instagram, which perform very well for us, and we began to move all of our TikTok efforts over to organic. We’re not seeing a huge impact yet, but consistency is key and we’re not wasting ad dollars what could be spent elsewhere.
What expert tips can you share with those who just starting to build out their marketing strategy?
The five listed above are all foundational, but I would say the first thing to do is start with your customers. Look to the customer first, then inward. From there, you can build a messaging architecture, brand positioning plan, and KPIs with quantitative goals to get to the ultimate corporate goal. Then, the tactics come last. Begin to test a few different marketing channels to discover your mix. Over time, you’ll learn which channels drive the best results and you can begin to scale performance and become more efficient with your spend.
Lastly, if you could inspire a movement that would bring a great amount of good to many people, what would it be?
Not to be cheesy, but I think if more homeowners knew about Curbio and that they could have someone come and fix up and update their home without having to pay until the house sells… well, there would be a lot of people better off and thriving! Many people don’t have the cash to make updates to their home before selling, and sadly end up selling as-is, leaving money on the table. Curbio truly evens the playing field and allows homeowners to get the most value out of their home so they can do whatever it is they want to do next, with less financial strain.
How can our readers further follow your work online?
You can check out our work at www.Curbio.com, or on all social media channels @CurbioHQ!