From Zero to Hero: Slack’s Marketing Strategy (7 Tactics to Implement)

The outrages growth of Slack is not a secret anymore with the company achieving $4 billion worth in almost four years.

Their debut wasn’t less impressive, the Slack platform encountering 8,000 access requests right from the first day of the app’s launching. And if the numbers did not amaze you, maybe the fact that they did not have any outbound sales team will blow your mind.

Then where’s the trick you wonder? Any clever lead generation ideas? Some guru marketers? Well, none of that in the beginning, but, definitely, a clear focus on interacting with individuals instead of teams, learning as much as possible about them and creating an app based on their needs and feedback.

What is Slack?

As its motto suggests, “Where work happens”, Slack is a cloud-based business app mixing a suite of features and tools meant to ease the communication within a team or department, replacing the traditional use of emails or phone messages.

In a simpler way, it can be defined as a messaging app allowing you to share privately or in group discussions (chat rooms) different types of content.

Its name was created from 5 acronyms meaning "Searchable Log of All Conversation and Knowledge". What began as a tool used internally by Butterfield’s company is now considered the fastest rising business app.

7 Marketing Tactics Behind the Success of Slack

1. Strong roots: experienced co-founders
As expected, such a success was not achieved by mistake. Its roots are based on years of experience and failures faced by a skilled founding team. Before building the Slack software, the co-founders, Butterfield, Eric Costello along with Cal Henderson and Serguei Mourachov spilled their creativity in establishing a solid foundation for Flickr.

However, despite a great business model, the project was bought, in 2005, by Yahoo, for only $35 billion. Later on, the founders considered the selling decision and its follow-ups some regrettable mistakes.

2. Overcoming market barriers with free subscriptions
Since its launching, Slack promised to diminish and facilitate the communication problems within a project's development. Moreover, the software appeared in crisis time, where the emails’ avalanche was the first thing to ruin your day at work. Despite all these favorable factors, the company decided to offer also a free version for Slack.

Obviously, the paid alternative unlocked additional features, but the free version was a strategy that triggered a high number of users right from the beginning.

3. A brand voice speaking from the soul
From its early beginning, Slack differentiated itself through approaching customers in a friendly and close manner. They managed to keep an eye on the competition without losing the focus on the client.

Understanding the lifecycle of consumers, what do they need, when is it ideal to reach them, to avoid pissing them off, and what channels to use, all these were among the focus points used to develop the communication strategy.

Also, another focus point resumed at the idea that each customer interaction is a chance to promote your product. Therefore, the duty did not fall, entirely, on the marketing team, a small part belonging to each Slack employee interacting with clients.

4. Emphasizing the NPS score
One of the most important metrics, used by Slack, is the net promoter score. Right from its debut, the brand counted on word of mouth growth. Since the product addresses individuals, rather than companies, the word of mouth is the most efficient way to grow the brand’s awareness.

This was a proven fact since now Slack hits 8 million daily active users with 3 million paid users.

5. Playful ads > corporate-y advertising
Their marketing proposal clearly had no trace of mainstream. From the app’s interface, combining dazzling colors along with a curvy sans-serif font and fun emojis, to a bubbly ad campaign with inflatable unicorns, kittens and an overall Disney movie background, Slack kept itself away from the boring B2B ads.

As the app was constructed on a rough background of research, the advertising campaign was created following the same protocol. According to Slack’s Holly Chen, head of digital marketing, playful ads reach a higher performance in comparison to the serious, mainstream B2B ads.

6. The feedback: ask for it, implement it.
Another “must-have” tactic for thriving success consisted in constantly monitoring consumer’s feedback and, most important, implementing it.

The customers’ feedback provided a reliable source of information on the clients’ needs and on what should Slack solve to become indispensable from their daily working routine.

7. Using explicit advertising materials
Slack focused on marketing for individuals, rather than companies, offering advertising materials which explained the entire purpose of the app, what it does and how each individual, along with its team, can benefit from using it.

Final Thoughts
Despite their outrages success, the marketing strategy implemented by Slack wasn’t something revolutionary.

A mixture of marketing strategies implemented at an individual level, rather than B2B, focused on clearly explaining the product’s features and how will these do the trick for the user, along with a useful app, an interactive interface and eye-catchy ads, all these seemed to have made Slack indispensable for a remarkable number of individuals.


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