In episode #412, you’ll learn why you have to fail to succeed in mobile marketing. It’s a hard-hitting and human discussion around the challenges and opportunities marketers face and the traits they should cultivate to succeed when our host Peggy Anne Salz catches up with Jayne Peressini, Senior Director, Mobile Marketing & Growth at Electronic Arts (EA). EA, the second-largest gaming company in the Americas and Europe, is best known for some of the world’s most beloved game franchises, including EA SPORTS FIFA, Battlefield, Apex Legends, The Sims, and Madden NFL. Jayne, a Mobile Hero recognized for her accomplishments, inspires us with personal stories and professional advice to cope with failure and provides a blueprint we can follow to set ourselves (and our teams) up for success. She also delves into her recent blog to reveal how marketers can develop “killer cross-sell and up-sell strategies.”
Thanks, Ricky, and thank you for joining Mobile Presence. I’m your host, as always, Peggy Anne Salz, mobile analyst, tech consultant and founder of Mobile Groove. And we are in the holiday season, it’s time to be thankful for everything we have and also everything we’ve learned. So, yes, some were hard lessons for sure but we’re also stronger as a result, maybe if you want to think of it this way – we as people, you are marketers, we’ve learned a lot, marketers have tried new approaches, new channels – that’s good, that’s good for of course growth marketing but then there’s also personal growth, you know, work from home means virtual and virtual is our new collective default state, right?
So, we’re looking in this show not just at how it’s all about personal growth but how also do you set your teams up for success and help them to achieve their personal goals, their personal growth, how do you skill, scale and structure teams for success, how do you set your teams and yourself up for success and finally we’ll hear about failure, why failing may be the best way to succeed.
These are some great topics, they’re also tough questions and we are going to get the straight answers here on Mobile Presence this week, of course, as always, because it is the bi-weekly show where we talk to the mobile marketing experts, it’s their daily job, their expertise, they’re great at it and they’ve earned of course the title of Mobile Hero as chosen by Liftoff, a full service mobile app marketing and retargeting platform.
But there is a second reason why we’re going to get some great answers today because we have a guest who I would describe as being the real deal in every sense of the word, her impressive career in digital marketing includes over eight years of driving growth at notable companies including DraftKings, Machine Zone and Reddit. She leads and manages UA efforts now at Electronic Arts, she’s hands-on, she’s apparent, well, actually let me correct that – I now know she’s the parent of three and she’s a Mobile Hero – Jayne Peressini, Senior Director Mobile Marketing and Growth, Electronic Arts – great to have you.
I’m excited, I talk to you actually from my parents’ house so two of my kids are running around but I told my mom to keep them quiet while I have this interview, this podcast, but I’m so excited.
And did I get the number right, it is three, right?
Yes, I mean, two and a third on the way, so, I mean, three soon.
I know your title, read it at the top, managing mobile marketing and growth but that’s broad. What do you actually do, what are you responsible for there?
Growth in general is broad and I love talking to people that have growth in their title because it means different things to everyone. What I do at Electronic Arts, we drive new user growth, we also retain users and we work with our product teams on ensuring that we’re driving retained review as well, so it’s not just new users, the team that brings in – my team that acquires those users is also in charge of ensuring that they stay within our games and that they’re quality users, so they’re kind of on the hook for both sides.
So that’s what you’re responsible for now, we’re talking about growth because, yes, there’s growth marketing and I started talking about personal growth at the top of the show, right? It’s not just about being successful in mobile marketing by being successful, you have to fail and you’ve written that down. I was just like, wow, this is a great blog, I read it and I read them all for all the Mobile Heroes before the show but it’s like, yeah, that just says it right there – you have to fail, that’s what you said. It’s important for you as well. Can you just unpack that for me and tell me that because a lot of people haven’t yet made failure their friend?
It’s something I’ve done my whole life. So, I taught myself how to surf in the summer, I crashed every – my mom said she sat on the beach and watched me teach myself how to surf until I basically figured it out after three months and similarly I can think about a time when my dad made my twin sister and I play golf in high school – I mean, we played several sports, I also played soccer and played competitively. But when we played golf, our golf team was terrible, we were the last in our division and my twin sister and I got us freshman together and we were like, hey, if we can all decide and agree that we’re going to train every summer to get better, by our senior year we want to be top of our division and we ended up winning our division and going to state kind of by our senior year.
I used the sports analogies a lot just because I grew up with that but I remember it clicking in a few ways. When I was at Machine Zone and how the CTO and Co-Founder of Machine Zone, he was my boss at the time and I remember coming to him one day and just saying I’m pretty down on myself, we’re not getting a ton of wins and he was like Jayne, do you think that Game of War came the first time we tried or the second time? He’s like you have to give yourself permission to fail and you have to tell people around you that you’re probably not going to get it right the first time and you’re probably not going to get it right the second time, but you will get it right.
And so that’s the approach I take for anything but also tell my team and when we do new things, we do new things all the time, I’m like you’re going to fail the first time probably, that’s what I want you to do, but I don’t want you to give up on it, you’re going to figure it out. And that leads into the mentality that we just don’t give up, there is not a problem I haven’t been able to fix or solve because of that mentality.
And it’s great that you frame it that way for your team as well. I’m just wondering what’s their response, relief, not micro-management here, I can figure things out because, you know, fail but also, you know, fly sometimes because you figure out things that you didn’t expect and sometimes even better.
A 100%. It’s funny, most of my team actually, have either worked with or for me at over three companies, I think, so I hope that that’s a testament maybe to the fact that they still like me but it’s also I think the reason that they will follow me or join me in the sense that it is a relief, in our industry failure is not something that is celebrated and just like, for people listening, I think about it like an algorithm.
When people talk about programmatic or talk about optimising campaigns and they talk about algorithms, if you let an algorithm run by itself for too long it starts to kind of just over-optimise on itself and then it gets to a point where it doesn’t scale anymore because it’s just narrowing itself down and if you consider yourself an algorithm, you have to constantly bring in new factors and basically have reverse algorithms that are going at the same time to make sure that you’re still scaling as a person and I kind of use that analogy too sometimes for people that don’t like the fluffiness sometimes of don’t give up but thinking about yourself as an algorithm and having to create inverse algorithms to ensure that you’re scaling and you’re being the most kind of efficient as possible.
Okay, that makes perfect sense and I really like the idea of an algorithm instead of just saying, you know, hey, hang in there, things will be just fine in the end and of course, speaking of end, we need to end right now, Jayne, we need to go to a break but we will continue to talk about life’s lessons with you and we’ll also talk about the traits that matter and how to cultivate them in your team. So don’t go away, we’ll be right back after the break.
And we’re back to Mobile Presence. I’m your host, Peggy Anne Salz, we have Jayne Peressini, Senior Director, Mobile Marketing & Growth, Electronic Arts (EA). And before the break, Jayne, we were talking about what makes people successful, ironically understanding, accepting, learning from failure. I’ll take that to the next level – what is the most valuable lesson you’ve learned that maybe you can share so that we understand that failure is good for a marketer?
Sure. The most valuable lesson I’ve learned that you’re not your customer. I think that I learned that when I was doing growth for ancestry.com early in my career and I couldn’t figure out – I was having a hard time acquiring new customers and I was running digital channels and I ended up – my best friend I think in the world is my Grandma, my Grandma Janet, and she’s supercool – and I went to a dinner party where she had people over and I literally just sat there with a bunch of 70-year-olds at the time looking at what they were doing, asking them questions and at the time they were all going on Facebook, that was like the height of this group going on Facebook and I was like, okay, I guess I gotta really learn Facebook and this was, again, I may date myself but this was still when MySpace was bigger than Facebook.
And I remember thinking to myself, as a 20-something year old at the time, that you can’t think about yourself as the user, the end user in terms of what drives you or what interests you, you have to use data but you also have to observe and know that, yes, your instincts sometimes are wrong and that’s a hard pill to swallow when you do kind of go by your instincts all the time. The longer I’ve been in this industry, the less I feel like I know and I like to kind of be in that position.
Learning from the data, one thing, but also watching people, right, watching people, watching their behaviour because the two fit together somewhere. The truth is somewhere in the middle, the data, if you take the data – it’s like polls, I won’t go there because we just had a really messy election in America but you ask people something straight to their face and they’ll say, I’d never vote for him, and then actually they did because 50% of the people somehow, you know, not 50 but how close – and you say, woah, how did that happen?
So people don’t always tell you, they show you, you see both in the data and in behaviour and I wanted to get to that level here as well because one of the things in your blog is you’re also talking about your team, you know, how to structure them, how to motivate them, how to protect them – I thought that was quite interesting. You’ve had to build teams or they cross-discipline or just focused on growth so only UA?
I’ve had to build cross-discipline teams and I feel like I’ve built teams at every company that you probably listed at the beginning and even currently at EA, Electronic Arts, my branding team will get upset if I say EA, Electronic Arts – my team consists of – I have a Creative Director that reports to me, I have a Director of Analytics, I have Director of UA so it’s cross functional in the sense that we’re all one team and I was very adamant when I joined Electronic Arts that I wanted it that way because I’ve seen at other companies it not that way where you have an analytics team that’s more central resourced rather than embedded in the team and so kind of to your point, if they don’t have context to the data, they’re just going to read the data for what it is and a lot of times they need to know about the campaigns, they need to know about the strategies and if they’re so close, then they’re on the same team as the UA team, the folks that we all think about UA, then there’s that level of intimacy with the initiatives that they wouldn’t get if they were centrally resourced.
Similarly, our creative team – we have creator wins, the UA people give high fives now virtually to the creative team and I think it’s really important that. And it’s like I’ve played soccer my whole life too and you have defence men, you have middle field, you have goalie, you have forwards, you can’t have a team just stacked at forwards, you’re going to let so many goals in, right, so you have to have all these cross functional people under, I hope, a really strong manager. So, that’s kind of how I try to manage my team.
You’re talking about the management of the team there, I’m just curious what is the biggest challenge right now because what I’m hearing in the industry is for one, retention is the new growth so we weren’t maybe all thinking in that direction so it’s a little bit of thinking in a different way but also how to get the right people. What is the challenge that you face?
It’s funny that people are surprised that retention is a big focus now because you have all of these really smart growth marketers that learned how to acquire best in class, better than anyone probably in the industry that tried before in this kind of era, and now with all these new customers, now we’ve got to retain them and it’s funny that that was not the thought maybe. But I, I don’t want to say I’m overly smart in that sense, but I knew that was going to come, I’ve seen it happen in the past and so my team of UA people, a lot of the people on my team don’t have retention or CRM backgrounds and what I tell them is you have to learn – I didn’t start in mobile so that’s also, you know, you can teach someone like me how to get into mobile, I mean I started as an intern but, you know, that was it and then I left.
But as I came back, you know, I tell my UA folks even you have to learn retention and if you don’t and if you decide that that’s not just something you’re strong in, hire for those people. So I hire people that are better than me, have stronger skillsets than me in different areas. I’m not a strong creative person so I hire really great creative people. I sometimes tend to be a hot head so I like people that are a little bit more level headed and like to be thoughtful and think through answers and problems because sometimes I get a little jumpy. So I try to hire for my weaknesses in that sense.
And then when it comes to setting your team up, you just have to think the next step. Okay, we’re acquiring people, what’s the next step after that? Okay, retaining, that makes sense, okay, what does that team need to look like, is it going to be part of the UA team or is this going to be a new function?
What about the data scientists, where are they? Are they everywhere, you know, people are saying they have to be, well it’s now virtual, right, but it’s always hardest – someone once said on a show here, it was really good, it was like trying to get people to speak Klingon in a sense that you had to like really bring together the Federation of Nations because data is everything but data in the team is a little tough because they may or may not be in their own zone. How do you handle that?
I feel like everyone on my team is a citizen of data in the sense that if my creative team doesn’t consider how we want to measure creative, they’re doing a disservice to the team. I’m a big stickler on operational efficiency and it all goes back to how we tag things. I get very into the detail sometimes and very focused on making sure we set things up so that the data’s clean and every company I’ve been at, there’s been messed-up data and it’s just wherever you go, everyone thinks their data is in a bad place and rightly so, everyone’s data is probably not in the strongest place.
But everyone feels like the onus is on them to keep data clean and also that the one source of truth, I think there’s also that. What I’ve seen a lot of UA practices functions do is that they use their own data to read out how the business is doing but then they never tie it back to kind of the larger business view and the business planning team uses a completely different data set than the UA team. My big focus is we use one source of truth, the product team, the growth team, the business planning team, whoever, we all use the same source of truth and that resolves half of the meetings that start with I don’t have the same numbers that you do, well how do you arrive at that number? And then it goes straight into, well, what are the decisions we need to make on this data?
Yes, so our data scientists in my opinion, it’s not on them to keep data clean, it’s not on them to fix all the data, a lot of the time it comes from more downstream from partners heading things up improperly or campaign people not putting the right IDs or the creative team not tagging things so it really starts at that beginning part so that’s what I try to focus on making sure that we have operational efficiency at the start so then we don’t have to fix things kind of as we go.
And speaking of naming conventions, that is a hot topic right now, a big challenge as well because, hey, if you don’t name the campaign or variable properly that moved the needle on your campaign in the first place, then guess what – there’s very little chance that you will be able to repeat those results again.
So I said it before, I’ll say it again, Jayne, I’m enjoying this but we do have to go to a break right now a final time but when we get back we’ll also talk about cross promotion and what you call the killer cross-sell, upsell strategy. So listeners, don’t go away, we’ll be right back.
And we’re back to Mobile Presence. I’m your host, Peggy Anne Salz and we have been speaking the whole time with Jayne Peressini, Senior Director, Mobile Marketing & Growth, Electronic Arts. And I think it’s been a really just, it’s been one of those conversations where I just don’t want to stop but I do want to get down into the weeds a little bit. We’ve been talking about preparing for success, how to structure your team, how to embrace data or embrace failure, but you do have one point in your most recent blog, and I’ll tell everyone where to find it, where you’re talking about, you know, cross-promo which was something that we sort of talked about and then we got really into other things and we got really far away from it but then you’re talking about the cross-sell upsell killer approach. Tell me about that and where you got the idea for it.
Sure. Whether it be at Machine Zone, when I started I think we just launched Mobile Strike, so two kind of main titles and then DraftKings I joined, we had one title and then we went to three within a few months and it’s I think counting over 40-50 different titles in the App Store and then you can categorise from there. But going from one to multi requires just a different thought process and part of that is you all of a sudden have a network, your network is this multi-app network and you have these players or these users that you need to figure out how you’re going to or if it’s even worth cross-selling or upselling.
And the easiest thing to do is first just track and if naturally users are moving from one title to another and an example of that is DraftKings, Daily Fantasy Sports players wanted to go back when their states opened up and legalised it. So that was an easy even organic transition where they would just cross-sell over there.
Now, acquiring a sports book user and trying to get them to download Daily Fantasy Sports was a different story and so I found that really interesting, that arrows point one way from titles but not necessarily the other way around too. So, some titles become feeders, examples of that too like Candy Crush Saga, they do a great job cross-selling into other games. So, you look at Wildfire Studios with Sniper 3D and if you play that, you start to see kind of the real estate that they have for trying to get you to play other games.
So some are incent-based, some are more just discoverability of the titles and if you’re a developer with more than one title, the idea of a network becomes more interesting especially that we didn’t want to talk about IDFA but with IDFA going away, you know, you still got IDFE and so something to think about there is how do you take advantage of that?
And there’s a lot I’m hearing here about making certain that there’s a circle, you’re not sending people away from the game and they go away, it’s about a complementary journey very much there. That’s sort of the way to make it work and there’s a lot in there as I said in the blog, we’ll tell people where to read it in just a moment. Just a couple of sort of quick fire questions for you because you are into efficiency and we all need to be – 2021 is coming, you know, New Year Resolution is always I’m going to get organised, you know, or something similar.
So what is your top tip of shortcut, maybe a time management tool or something you’re doing to just stay literally at the top of your game, Jayne?
I’m going to give you just a few quick ones.
I meditate in the morning, I give decision rights to everyone on my team so the most junior person on my team can make decisions on behalf of the team and the way I do that is through providing as much context as I have and so if they have their datasets and their knowledge and I give them as much context as possible, they in theory can make just a decision or better than I can. So, everyone on my team can make decisions which means that I don’t have to attend every single meeting so everyone’s a representative of my team and that’s really important because that frees up a ton of team.
And then I also get to inbox zero every day and that’s just like something I have to do and that means I make decisions – do I respond to this email, is this a meeting, is this not, is this a slack, is this a call and just so I’m really diligent about those things.
Wow, that’s something we all want to get to, inbox zero. Your favourite guilty pleasure, you mention one in your blog, you know, show music, whatever, it maybe something gets you into the zone and gets you ready also for your work, keeps you where you are, keeps you going – what might it be?
90-Day Fiance is definitely a guilty pleasure of mine, it’s a favourite in the household and then music-wise, I have terrible taste in music, like my workout playlist is everything from Emo to Katy Perry and Madonna, Lady Gaga and just, yes, my wife says it’s quite embarrassing so I try and play that just on my headphones. But, yes, we’ve no shame in that.
No shame in that, I’ll follow your Spotify list – no, I’m just kidding. Check that one out. And hey, we are into the holidays, we do have reasons as I said at the top of the show, reasons to be thankful, lots of lessons, experience – hey, it’s life. What are you most thankful for?
This year in particular, I’m most thankful for a few things. My mental health being one of them, I’m almost two years sober and that was a hard thing to learn. I realised that was taking care of myself meant that I could take care of other people and so I really dedicated myself the last two years to – I saw people that I considered whole and not broken people and not like me and I realised that everyone has their demons and even the most successful people have things that they struggle with, that so I struggle with so I tell my team that they need to take care of themselves and that I’m here to take care of them as well.
And I think that helps us as a team feel safe together but also making sure that we take care of each other. I’m also thankful for two thirds of my team are women and I think that’s also something that I’m proud of in terms of a lot of the women that are on my team at some point have called or texted me or just reached out and said I’m going to leave this industry because I’m so sick of being a woman in this industry and that to me was upsetting because they’re top talent and I made it my – and I still make it my mission that I show up as a strong woman, and I’m an introvert by nature so this is not something that comes naturally to me but we need diversity in our industry and it’s really important for me to create that.
Well, Jayne, you have a lot to be thankful for and we all do and we should all reflect on that particularly at this time so I just want to thank you so much for sharing that with us today and I also want to ask you how people can keep in touch with you because I’ve seen on LinkedIn that you have opened up your calendar for calls which is great for people who have questions or want advice but what’s the best way to stay in touch?
Yes, I have a calendar link, I used to say that I’ve never moved or cancelled a meeting but to be true to myself, I have moved a few but I try to keep those on my calendar and not touch them. So if you want to get a hold of me, my calendar link I think is on my LinkedIn so 30 minutes, you can have whatever time you want, we can talk about whatever you want.
So, yes, so.
Cool, we’ll have that in the show notes and who knows what will happen there. Every dialogue is good for something, there’s no such thing as a bad conversation. I just want to thank you so much, Jayne, for being on the show and for sharing.
Thank you, it was a pleasure, really.
And that my friends is a wrap, of course if you want to read up on Jayne, and you should, all of the Mobile Heroes in the series, they are over on their dedicated pages over at heroes.liftoff.io.
And of course if you want to keep up with me throughout the week, find out how you can be a guest or sponsor on Mobile Presence, then you can email me, email@example.com, mobilegroove.com is also where you can find my portfolio of content marketing and app marketing services.
Of course, also checking out when you can all earlier episodes of our show by going to wmr.fm or you can find our shows on iTunes, Stitcher, Spreaker, Spotify, Amazon and iheartRadio simply by searching Mobile Presence. So until next time – remember – every minute is mobile, so make every minute count. Keep well, stay safe and we’ll see you soon.