From seed toEXIT IN 4 YEARS

FROM ZERO TO EXIT IN JUST 4 YEARS – THE MARKETING STORY

10,000
leads

40%
growth (YBY)

#1
Geo-US

Long story short

Since we started working with SafeDK in 2015 (when they completed their seed round) our dedicated team functioned as their only marketing team, running all needed marketing activities, through all main milestones such as their first agreements with mega customers, the completion of their Series A round and of course their acquisition (Exit, the company was purchased by applovin). Our marketing responsibilities included inbound and outbound activities, demand generation and ABM, marcom management, offline marketing, event management, content marketing, CMO level management, PPC, SEO, co-marketing activities and more.

During our operation we went through different stages, starting from building the company’s marketing infrastructure, towards gaining awareness and achieving a market leadership position, and then came the exciting exit.

2015 (August)

Work starting point: Launch work, marketing foundations, CRM, full marcom material for industry events and marketing automation

2016

Awareness, Demand-Gen, Industry report launch, Round A support and PR

2017

Co-marketing activities, Ad-Visibility product focus, Multiple industry events

2018

GDPR campaign and comprehensive related content, Market leader positioning focus

2019

Acquired by Applovin

About SafeDK

SafeDK offers a complete mobile SDK management solution for the benefit of app publishers. The company’s portfolio of solutions includes an in-app SDK monitoring and control module, an ad visibility solution for monetization-intelligence purposes, an online SDK marketplace and more. The company was established in 2014, it was backed by StageOne VC and Samsung Next among other recognized investors and was acquired by Applovin in July 2019.

Deep-Dive

We started working as SafeDK’s marketing team as soon as they had completed their seed round. We were requested to provide a2z global marketing support, with a focus on creating awareness and generating quality traffic and leads. This case study is being written after four years of mutual work, being the only marketing arm for SafeDK from its inception until the exit.

The Challenge

Unlike many other products and services that are offered to the mobile app development community, SafeDK is developing innovative solutions and in many aspects, are paving the way. Market education was a major challenge, as well as understanding which of SafeDK’s solutions can evolve to present an optimal market-fit evidence.

Being a B2B company that targets both enterprise level companies and long tail mobile app startups, the company ran demand-gen marketing efforts and outbound “sales enablement marketing activities” all together.

Finally, the mobile app development industry includes hundreds of thousands of professionals that tend to be highly involved in closed communities and online groups. We had to roll up our sleeves and ensure that SafeDK’s voice is heard in multiple discussions.

Onboarding

As we accompanied SafeDK right from the beginning, we needed to start with proper marketing foundations.

Setting measurable goals:
We started with defining a prospect funnel and setting up KPIs. We built smart forecasts based on data that we already had from previous experience, industry benchmarks and our go-to-market plans.

Content marketing:
We invested a lot in content building and marketing.

We had a couple of reasons to focus on content:

  1. Content marketing is key when you need to educate your market or when your product is based on an innovative technology or when your company is B2B. We check marked all three.
  2. Content is key for SEO, which is critical when you have a low touch sales strategy, or when your website is designed not only to increase awareness, but also to collect leads.
  3. Social communities for mobile developers are flourishing. Many discussions in these communities focus on innovations that are presented through content: articles, videos, podcasts or alike. We had to generate a content arsenal.

We had to invest a lot in building a SUPERB content arsenal…

Our efforts included setting up content marketing foundations, running keyword research, creating a content calendar, in which we set a goal of 2-4 blog posts a month and 1-2 extensive industry report per Q. writing top-tier quality content (always with an emphasis on added value) and promoting our content via multiple channels (paid and non paid) such as social communities, newsletters, emails, ABM campaigns and more.

When the content is truly outstanding, this happens:

Guest posting and co-marketing initiatives:
With time the SafeDK brand became acknowledged and it was time to join forces with other industry players. We leveraged great opportunities for co-marketing activities, such as guest posting.
Guest posting became part of our marketing routine. Here are just 2 examples:

How You Can Beat the ‘SDK Fatigue’

How App Marketers Can Combat ‘SDK Fatigue’

PR:
We continuously worked on pushing interesting stories as PR announcements. From Round A completing, to industry reports that we built as part of our unique content strategy to strategic partnerships and more.
Our PR activities included:

  1. Writing the announcements
  2. Running media outreach research
  3. Building an online press minisite
  4. Hunting for top tier outlet opportunities (exclusive coverage)
  5. Releasing the news and pitching relevant journalists and bloggers
  6. Releasing news wires
  7. Tracking the results

Just a couple of examples:

Marketing Automation, Conversion Optimization and Demand Generation:
Back to the early days, before scaling up our traffic efforts, we ensured that incoming traffic is converted into leads, and then nurtured until prospects turned to MQLs and were ready to be transferred to the sales team. We analyzed the website, simplified flows, added lead capture components across all important pages (including the blog) and so forth. We onboarded marketing automation, defined email flows and ensured that the entire team views the same data.

Email marketing and monthly newsletters came after:
Apart from building landing pages, setting up drip campaigns, and analysing data, we used the automation system to send well-designed monthly newsletters. The average open rate stands on ~20%.

Tracking and measurements– marketing analytics:
We generated a monthly report that aggregates data from multiple systems, and filled it in religiously. Our measurements looked at all important funnel levels as well as conversion %, results by all channels, media spend, leads quality, nurture parameters, and more. We’ve analyzed each report with the founders and kept optimizing our activity accordingly.

Paid PPC and ABM campaigns:
When running smart B2B marketing, paid campaigns should never be the core activity, but must be added to boost the marketing impact. at a certain stage, when the company became ready for ABM and sales enablement efforts, these campaigns become critical.
We planned, set, managed and maintained SafeDK’s multi-channel paid campaigns including ABM, lead gen campaigns, awareness and sales enablement campaigns.
We ran many trials, using different content (top of the funnel, mid funnel…), different calls to action, mainstream and niche media channels, and multiple targeting techniques. We have optimized our media activities more times than we can count.

Industry benchmarks reports- a one of a kind content:
Being (also) an analytics solution, the SafeDK team knew they had a data gold mine at hand. We’ve worked on setting up a new industry benchmarks standard – the Periodical SafeDK data trend report of mobile SDKs benchmarks, that the whole industry was following every quarter.
This periodical report was not only a key enabler of our lead capture machine but also a key in becoming a market leader, recognized by the entire industry.

Additional activities done together: Meetups, board meetings analysis and presentations, lead-capture components (such as online Xray for SDKs ) and more.

Summary

The road to success is paved with obstacles (we like to call them challenges) and if you ask us, every startup company must be ready to run into these difficulties. The key lies in quickly understanding the story behind the numbers, and immediately act upon them. An optimal startup marketing team must know how to run, fast and effectively, multiple experiments, while all along building great materials to capture the attention of the market and generate the right impression. This team should know how to change its methods and strategies based on the startup’s stage and how to instantly adjust to changes, pivots and transformations.
Such a team must orchestrate multiple tools and technologies in order to chase the company’s KPIs, and always keep the founders in the picture, not only reporting back, but helping them deeply understand the high level principles of startup marketing.
We were lucky to be engaged with such a talented team at SafeDK