The Pavilion Podcast
The Pavilion Podcast

Episode · 4 months ago

Ep 207: Marketing from Seed to Series C w/ Chris de Jong

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Ep 207: Marketing from Seed to Series C w/ Chris de Jong

Part of the "Is This A Good Time?" series hosted by Brandon Barton.

But hello and welcome back to the pavilion podcast. I'm your host, brand of Martin, and you are listening to is this a good time? The show where I put a billion members on the hot seat for fifteen minutes we hear their incredible stories. A lot of fun chows are out on Thursday, so hit subscribe and you will not miss hearing from our experts. Today our expert is Christy young easy, director of marketing at seven shifts, and we talked about the journey from being the first marketing hired to being a series seed company killing it. This month's sponsor is send Oso, the leading corporate gifting platform that inspires human connections for revenue driven teams to stand out at strategic points throughout the customer journey. All right, let's do this episode one hundred and one. Is this a good time? All right, but I'm so excited for our guests today. It's Christiani's, the director of marketing at seven shifts. Fellow Hospitality Tech Guy, Chris, so great to have you on the pond. Yeah, thanks for having me, Brandon. Awesome man. We'll...

...look all me. No filler. Let's jump right into the questions. You know I I love here about your journey, because you've spent feels like almost six years, I think this point, at seven shifts. But if you wouldn't mind back us up before that, tell us a little bit about the early stages of your career and then how you got into seven shifts and why the heck have you spend six years there? Yeah, for sure. So I've I've been really fortunate that I've spent almost my entire career in stass and when I left school I hated business school and I like didn't feel any connection to anyone in business school and so I spent all my time with like computer science and like comp side kids, and through that I got hooked up with a connection to a software company where I am up in Canada, and I kind of like snuck my way in there and really kind of like learn the ropes about software marketing, SASS and like recurring revenue businesses. Work there for a few years until we got acquired. Kind of went off and did some...

...consulting and, you know, worked in agencies, which was like a big mistake, and then through kind of like my network and you know working and sort of like community events, I got hooked up with our CEO, Jordan, who had just founded seven shifts, had just come out of an accelerator, was looking to kind of like grow the business and I was like, Oh man, this is such a great opportunity to join an early stage team really provide value two restaurants, which is a vertical I passionate about, and I kind of just said, can I like work with you guys, and he's lest yeah, just show up. So you know, I came on board. As you know, the founding marketer marketing number one, and you know, in the chaos of early stage startups it's just kind of like get going, do everything you can, work as hard as you can, as fast as you can to kind of like prove the business out, get to the point of product market fit and then kind of like scale up and build like a really high performance team, and so that challenge has kept me like...

...really energized over the past years. Yeah, and that's why I'm still here like almost six years later. Yeah, if I mean founding members says a lot, though, to you you know real passion from the early days. You know what is changed? If you if you wanted to say, you know, between that early so much I'm sure but like what are some of the things that you say, Hey, went away, but maybe went away in a good way, right from the early days, versus now? How many people in the company today? Yeah, so we're about two hundred and twenty five folks today, you know. So in terms of what is like really changed, I think it's just a lot of the kind of the nagging anxiety of early stage companies where you're like scrapping for every single like lead, every single deal, every single bit of pipeline. And when you grow to the stage that we've grown to now, is a serious state. See Organization. It's a lot more scientific and systematic, like you can you can really forecast out and do a much better job of saying, like this is what the business is going to need in six months, a year, and we have really clear ideas of how we're going to get there. And it's working...

...backwards from the goal of the build the processes to get you to that point. Yeah, and what about in the early days? What worked? I mean, what were some of those things that springboard in the business to get to being becoming a seriously, because I again you have this really unique perspective from both sides of it. You're leveling yourself up along with the business. Yeah, totally it, and a lot of it has to do with like what your product and what your model is, but like also like what the market conditions were. So what I joined early on. One of the biggest kind of opportunities for us was in the SEO space. You know, not many of our competitors were doing anything Seo wise as a solution kind of oriented business. Like people didn't wake up in the morning and say, like I need team management from my restaurant, but when they did, you wanted to make sure that you were found, and none of our competitors were playing in the SEO space. So we spent a lot of time and effort making sure that, like when somebody had a high intent and was like really ready to...

...explore solution, we were the only thing they found. Yeah, and you know, that paid dividends for us for like many years until we had to start laying on other kind of areas of marketing to help us scale up to the point we are today. Cool. Well, I'm curious to ask you the taxi tactics question in a minute here, but before we get there, I always talk about luck and hard work being the things that get you to where you are in your career. And so I wonder, you know, seems like the little serendipity in terms of meeting Jordan at that moment, but you know, in your own in your own path, in your own words, like what are some of those moments that that happened for you? Yeah, I when it comes to hard work, I really point to, you know, what happened, you know, at the onset of kind of covid. You know, as as a company that serves the hospitality industry, you know, we were really like thrown for a loop when covid hit and we're like holy cow, like what is this going to mean for our industry? How our customers going to be affected? And there was many dark knights of...

...the soul to like figure out what we were going to do to make sure that not only our company survived but our customers survived. And I think what we did was the correct thing in hindsight, which was really take like a proactive, like customer centric view of the problem and saying hey, we won't survive as a company unless our customers survived, so let's make sure every single one of our twentyzero customers at the time are taken care of, and that means reaching out to every single one of them and be like, how is your restaurant doing? Have you set up third party delivery? Do you need billing relief? And you know, we thought it felt very natural to do this because those are kind of our core values as an organization. But what we learned in that was like, not only can we help our customers survive, but it was a competitive differentiator, because a lot of other vendors in our space where like, hey, we're suffering to you got to pay me, and restaurant tours were like, I'm closed, I can't write you. Yeah, and so when they're like hey, there's a company like seven shifts, that's like taking care of me as well as their business. That's a...

...company I want to work with. Yeah, I mean I'm like, let me, let me take a moment to shout out to our team, because we did the same thing aboute. We basically said we called up everyone and said just you know, everything, all your subscriptions are on pause, like we don't expect we don't expect anything during this time and and and how can we help you do other things and innovating. So for so shout out you guys were doing that. That's great. I know many, many of the hospitality tech companies that are like the white hat, the ones we respect, like the or the did some similar things. And then the other folks were busy as hell, like the third party delivery companies, and they were just they were just busy. So, yeah, you know, a lot of that hard work as well with like well, how can we not only support our customers financially, but how can we empower them with the information they need for their business? So that's like we're not expertise experts in like third party delivery by any means, but like, how can we learn that really quickly? How can we equip them with the thought leadership, with the content that...

...can help them make smart business decisions to survive? And that bought us not only a lot of good will, but also it bought our own team like a lot of like domain expertise and things that we don't really think about day to day. Yeah, this is certainly the case when it comes to small medium businesses in the restaurant industry. They don't have the time to be experts in technology. They have to run a business, and so I could see that really, you know, providing a lot of value. Whenever I or my reps have been involved in consultative selling relationships, if they come off as an expert not in their field but in technology, it's appreciated because the next question, it is, is what point of sale should I be using? What you know, what reservation systems do you guys integrate with, and which ones, which ones you here are good? All of a sudden, this person's your outsourced it, you know, consultant and and there's no better place to be in in terms of a relationship with a restaurant then being able to help them across the board on things that they don't necessarily want to be experts in. So yeah, and you know if that's a really good point,...

...because you know, we target mostly at sand restaurants, like your local mom and pomps, and you know, we're kind of like a very like lightweight online APP that doesn't need a lot of training and consultative, you know, like sales with it. But we form these relationships with our customers and, just like you said, would like we're brought in as a consultant to kind of like help them optimize their business. figure out what their technology stacks should be, and that has really paid US dividends because we've built a great integration partner network and we understand all these partners at a deep level. So if somebody comes to us and they say, Hey, sevageist is working from great, but you're right, what point of sale should I use? Yeah, in the future so I can take more advantage of it, we can say, well, look at all of these great point of sales we work with. Let me send you an intro to one of these. Yeah, and you know that is made that our partner network has also grown, but partnerships and partner driven revenue has also grown exponentially to kind of match that. Nice...

...men. Well, lookome, you know, I'm curious. This is great because I get to learn from you in this what is a sales are marketing tactic that you think is like really working right now for your team, that people that others can can potentially put their playbook, including me. Yeah, so I think this goes back to what we were just talking about with like kind of like being a consultant and being an expert to people. One of the kind of unintended and like really interesting kind of Hacks, if you want to call it that, but I would just call it a strategy from the past year was, you know, like many Sass companies, we started a podcast and the goal of our podcast was to try to provide value to all restaurant tours out there to help them grow their business. It's called the restaurant growth podcast for that reason, and we were not picky about who we talked to. We would talk to anyone that has a great perspective, that has interesting content that they can share with restaurant tours. These were mostly, you know, folks on the vendor space, but these were also really smart restaurant tours as well, and they didn't have to be our customers to participate.

Anyone if they use our competitors. So what we just want to provide value. The interesting thing that happened is that as our team started developing these and started building relationships with these folks, even if they weren't our customers, they would come back to us three months later and be like hey, I really like working with your team on this podcast, like tell me more about seven ships, and then we can say well, sure, let me introduce you to a member of our sales team. Yeah, and the next thing you know you're building a great pipeline, marketing source pipeline from that, and so it's something that we learned a lot in two thousand and twenty one and we're doubling down on in two thousand and twenty two and we've got a great team to help support this awesome and speaking of team, anybody you're hiring for? Yeah, I am hiring for a copywriter right now. So one thing that's been really interesting and going through this journey is, like there's a lot of very bright, very talented content folks out there, but they mostly wanted to work in like long form content. They want to work in content marketing, they want to work on blogs, they want to work on things like video or pod cast like I just mentioned. But I'm trying to hire a conversion...

...copywriter. I'm trying to find somebody that focuses on like short form, snappy content for emails, for scripts, for websites, for in APP messaging, and it's been tough. It's been tough. The market is hot right now and really talented folks have a lot of offers on the table and you know, if somebody is listening to this and is a conversion copywriter. I want to talk to you. Very good. We'll say we can get one for you. Awesome. And who's some of the people that you would give shoutouts too that you know listen to them and and listen to their pods, you know, hear them on Linkedin or read this stuff on Linkedin and kind of appreciate the content that they're putting out. Yeah, I would say two people. So like one is her name is Hima a mean. She was formerly a startup called hyper context, now a test box. She's on twitter or handle is like h five Amaien, and she's just probably one of the like the smartest, scrappiest passionate marketers I know, and you know she really punches...

...above her weight for the marketing that she is able to like provide to the companies that she works for. And the other person I would say is a Kendall Bishop. She was formerly the Director of marketing it skip the dishes in the restaurant space and now she's a consultant and she's got our own company called Badass Growth Coe, which is like a fractional marketing consultancy, and she has done it all, she has seen it all, and she is far and away one of the smartest people I've ever met. I love it. All right, that's it. That's a new name to me. I will I'll be asking you to connect me with her. Kendall, looks incredible. We've got it super cool. All right, this one's going to be easy for us because, you know, generally speaking, we both love restaurants here. But tell me where. You know, pick a city. Doesn't need to be. Hopefully's on Saskatchewan, although I'd like to come visit you. It's probably pretty far. It's like that's a there's no record. Right now are...

...and doesn't need to be New York. We can meet in the middle somewhere. Where do you want to go, eat man? Well, yes, speaking of meeting in the middle, let's let's meet up a girl in the goat in Chicago. Chicago her use today. That's a right there, beautiful. There you go. Yeah, so they're part of Boka Group in Chicago and one of the best meals I've ever had in my life and all of their restaurants are phenomenal and anyone in the windy city should should check them out. Yeah, Chef Stephanie Izard, who I believe she won the first top chef, which is where she kind of made her name. Believe it or not, I'm now dating that. You Know Ag. Yeah, she she won the first top set but was a part of Boka Group and then came back with Kevin Baum and the crew there and opened up girl in the goat and I guess it's like West loop. Yeah, sure, West look up. So patrol Chris Awesome and it's always fun to chat. You know. We're going to be in touch talking on stuff. I'm excited to see how...

...things evolved for you. I know you're working on some new stuff within the company, some new tactics and stuff. I'm sites man. So you know, thank you so much for coming on and really looking forward to seeing what twenty two brings for you. Right on. Thanks Friday. This pleasure. All right, that's our show. Thank you so much for listening. If you love the show, please rate and review apple, podcast, spotify, APP all the stuff. Send it to friends. Perfect gift. This episode was brought to you by Sindoso. They are redefining the way businesses inspire human connections by offering an intelligent gifting experience with the global, ful film and infrastructure highly curated premium vendors, deep analytics and personalization at scale. I had so much fun today. I hope you did too. Now get out and crush those numbers.

In-Stream Audio Search

NEW

Search across all episodes within this podcast

Episodes (253)