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  • Writer's pictureRebecca Hastings

How Tech Startups Can Leverage Effective Marketing Strategies, with Darren Cairns

Marketing is essential for tech businesses and startups to thrive and succeed. It drives customer acquisition, builds brand equity, fosters customer loyalty, and enables businesses to adapt and grow in a competitive marketplace. In this episode, we are very fortunate to hear insights from my special guest, Darren Cairns.

Darren is an accomplished CMO that has worked with Fintech and Gaming. Companies he has worked with include Yahoo, Sony Playstation, 4Finance, and most recently LendingCrowd. He has worked with both B2B and B2C sectors and has helped drive record growth for those businesses.

We discuss:

  • How do you get the best out of your marketing team for startups and scale-ups?

  • The key lessons he learned from high-growth tech businesses

  • Moving from B2B to B2C

Episode Outline and Highlights

  • [01:48] Darren walks us through his marketing career.

  • [04:27] Biggest marketing similarities across different industries that Darren has worked on.

  • [07:46] Increasing revenue for 4Finance through marketing.

  • [13:02] Top tips in building and managing globally present teams.

  • [15:07] Key learnings from B2B to B2C marketing segments.

  • [19:55] Dealing with the unique marketing challenges of startups and scale-ups.

  • [23:00] Culture and values play a big role in your employer branding.

  • [26:00] Should marketing recruitment seat with the talent acquisition or marketing department?

  • [33:00] Darren shares insights on what startup CEOs should look at in terms of Marketing KPIs

  • [36:00] Top three things indicating you are getting value from marketing.

  • [38:11] Getting the best out of CEO and CMO working relationships.

Similarities in Marketing Approach Across Different Industries

Darren has an impressive marketing career across different industries. His tenure stretched before the internet boom, and there was a point when he was helping create the market for “people to try the internet”. This, his time with major players such as Yahoo and Sony, plus his fintech background puts him in a credible position to offer his perspective on the similarities across different industries when it comes to marketing approaches. We discussed.

  • Market segmentation

  • Market research and understanding of the market

  • Developing your target audiences

  • Marketing leadership, especially when bringing together a globally fragmented team

  • Treating stakeholders like partnerships

  • Involving stakeholders

If you are a business leader who understands the value of effective marketing for your business, you will also find Darren’s insights on the subject fascinating.

Why Your Culture and Values Play a Big Role In Your Employer Branding

A key topic that we also covered in this episode is the challenge of keeping and retaining the right marketing staff, especially for startups. The challenge is, as Darren puts it, “It is difficult for startups because in startups people tend to jump around a lot more. Ensuring that you have that team motivated is absolutely key.”

Darren emphasized the value of transparency for employees, especially on matters of how things are done in the business. What also resonated with me is how your culture plays a big role in your employer branding. Darren said, “Culture and values of the business that I work for that I lead or that I develop is really important to me. I’ve seen that done very badly.” He firmly believes that the marketing team is the communication expert of an organization. Communicating the values, ethics, and branding effectively attracts the right staff as well as the right clients. As he puts it, once you get that right, it comes through the way that everyone behaves and interacts with each other which becomes part of your employee attraction. He discusses how the value of being human, and treating others how you want to be treated, can set you apart from your competition.

Measuring the Effectivity of Your Marketing Strategies

How do you gauge the effectiveness of your marketing strategies? Darren also shared how you can set measures of effectiveness especially if you are a startup with a dedicated marketing team. He discussed acquisition numbers, conversion rate through a marketing sales funnel, and targeting the addressable market while looking at the cost of acquisition per channel.

How do you know that you are getting from marketing? Darren also gave an insightful response, such as your reputation, the aura of your brand, prominence, and presence in the right audiences.

About Darren Cairns

Darren Cairns has an extensive career background with notable experience in the field of marketing in both Fintech and the Gaming industry. He is currently the Chief Marketing Officer and Head of Sales of LendingCrowd, and has previously worked with Neyber, 4Finance, UPrush, Green Man Gaming, Sony, 3, and Yahoo as Head of Marketing.

Darren’s skillset and track record in marketing makes him a credible authority figure in providing insights on marketing strategies, especially for tech businesses and startups.

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Connect with Rebecca

Rebecca is the Founder and Director of The Lucent Group. She has extensive talent acquisition and executive search experience supporting digital and technology businesses through complex changes and fast-paced scale-up periods. She works with businesses advising on C-level, technical and commercial appointments, workforce planning, strategic talent management, recruitment processes, and associated technology and employer brand development. She has led and built successful teams, led numerous C-level, VP, Director, and Head-of searches, and designed and implemented outsourced recruitment solutions. In 2019 she helped a FinTech client secure a place in LinkedIn’s Top 25 Start-ups in the UK. Rebecca is a member of the REC (MREC), a qualified career coach, Certified Interviewer (CI), and has professional qualifications in FinTech, HR, Leadership, Digital Marketing, Diversity, Unconscious Bias, and Talent Management.

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