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Interviews 2013 - 2016

How Marketers Stay Productive: We ask Gopi & Kailash of Exotel

November 5, 2013

For our seventh interview series, we feature Gopi & Kailash of Exotel — a startup which offers toll-free, mobile and landline virtual numbers that can make & receive unlimited concurrent calls & send SMSes.

In this interview, you can read more about their work at Exotel, their favorite marketing tools, productivity tips as well their advice for budding marketers.

Your location: Bangalore

Your favorite gadget: Gopi: iPad mini, Kailash: Nexus 4

You start your day with: Kailash: A quick run.

Your favorite time-saving trick: Kailash: I take care of content, and I come across a lot of keywords customers use to land on our website. I use ubersuggest.org to generate more similar keywords.

Describe an average day at Exotel?

gopi

Gopi: Average day at Exotel starts with looking at different reports that track website and tests/campaign performance. I then move on to whatever my goal is to execute for the day, could smaller tasks such as designing an a/b test or a new email campaign to bigger picture things such as thinking about a framework to automate repeatable tasks. Most things need a great deal of coordination and involvement from my colleagues . And in a chaotic startup environment, it has to be an uneventful day if it went according to plan! We end with a marketing meet on most weekdays to sync up with the team.

kailash

Kailash: Average day at Exotel is nothing short of adventurous. All our days start with a metrics email of the number of registrations on the previous day, a custom email report from google analytics on number of goal completions. As a software engineer in the marketing team, my job is to make sure there are no tech road blocks to the rest of the folks in the team, so there’s usually a request or two to fix a script or to take a look at a problem on the website. The day ends with a marketing call where we discuss what we did for the day and the targets for the next day.

As a startup marketer, what are some of your favorite productivity hacks?

Gopi: We use so many tools that we sometimes find ourselves either wasting too much time or ignoring some tools for extended periods. We’ve now setup push reports via email of only the metrics we need daily. We’ve also spent some time integrating some of these tools for our internal dashboard. We’re now on top of most things data related and have more time for forward looking ideas!

Kailash: It’s easy to get overwhelmed by the number of metrics and the number of small things that a marketer can do at any point of time. Start the day with an agenda. Pick 5 or 6 of these small tasks, write them down on a paper and then strike them down with great vengeance and furious anger when you’re done. :)

As a team who are well-versed with online marketing, I’m sure you rely on a few marketing tools to automate your efforts. What are the top 5 tools you use?

Gopi: Visual Website Optimizer, Google Analytics, Crazy Egg, Microsoft excel and Mailchimp are my top five.

Kailash: Intercom.io, Kissmetrics, Google Analytics, Sendgrid, Google Docs, Google Tag Manager.

How do you market Exotel? How much of your efforts are online?

Kailash: Online is one of our major channels. We have a proper SaaS-like online registration process, followed by a lead qualification process. This follows a bunch of drip emails/SMSes on how to use the product. We’ve integrated tools like Intercom.io, and Kissmetrics right in to our product so if a trial registration does anything interesting, we get notified and we pitch our product accordingly.

Exotel is growing and I am hearing good things on social media. How do you use this treasure trove of customer insight to power your marketing efforts?

Kailash: Almost all of our team is on social media, and 2 or 3 of us monitor our social profiles. We also have a support desk, and we’re very open to feedback as a team. Internally, we strive hard to make our customers’ business a success. We formalized it with a motto, “Make your customer win” — which Vijay picked up from the book, Behind the Cloud. So all our content on the blog is focused on the SME in India and the stuff they’re looking to read.

Is there any advice you’d like to give to budding marketers to help them work smart and stay productive?

Gopi: Set aside time everyday to step back from execution and think through strategy. You won’t get very far without this.

Kailash: Marketing is about having a lot theories and then executing an experiment fast on it. You might fail, but failing on an experiment only takes you one step closer to the answer. Picking your experiments smartly will help you get to a conclusion fast. Also document everything that you do on a calendar so you can go back and do analysis on why something happened.

A big thanks to Gopi & Kailash for taking the time out to answer these questions. We wish them and the rest of the Exotel team all the best with everything they do.

Tune in next month for another edition of ‘How Marketers Stay Productive’!

The ‘How Marketers Stay Productive’ series asks marketers their tips & strategies for staying productive. Every month we’ll feature a new guest and the tricks that keep them working smart. Know someone you’d love to see featured? Email Me.

Sahil Parikh

Building Brightpod, playing golf 🏌🏽 and traveling the world 🌏

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