FreshBooks’ Mike McDerment on Social Marketing and CRM
While the old vanguard struggles with the transparent, hypersocial and collaborative aspects of today’s customer-driven environment, this type of audience interaction comes natural to startups. Case in point is FreshBooks, an online time tracking and invoicing company based in Toronto that caters to the SOHO market.
This firm uses a variety of social media to stay in contact with customers, including traditional channels like phone and in-person meetings. In fact, a few members of the executive team recently conducted a road show, dubbed “RoadBurn,” reaching out to customers across the southern half of the U.S. What gave it a modern twist was the use of social networking tools like Twitter that allowed all of FreshBooks’ customers and employees to get in on the fun.
Here, CEO Mike McDerment explains how taking your customers seriously, rather than your company, is the key to understanding and meeting customer expectations.
Target Marketing: What motivated you to develop the RoadBurn listening tour?
Mike McDerment: The whole thing came out of a sort of natural evolution of thinking. We were headed down to two conferences—one in Miami and one in Austin, Texas—back to back on weekends. And we’re based in Toronto … Somewhere along the line, someone said, “It doesn’t make a lot of sense for us to book four flights when we could book two if we went down and drove from one to the other.” And then it was more like, “Why don’t we drive and go meet some of our customers who are down in this part of the States?” We were going to rent a car and do it until someone said, “Geez, why don’t we do this right and rent an RV, and we’ll make a whole thing of it.” It just kind of ballooned from there.
What we were able to do was go and have 11 meals in four days with well over 100 customers between Miami and Austin.