Interview: Bruna Carvalho Bosshard, Marketing Director of SmartWatcher
January 12th, 2016
A startup business is a fast-paced one and marketing your product is something you cannot just put off until later. How to do it in startup way and what are the challenges? Bruna Carvalho Bosshard, Marketing Director of SmartWatcher, shared about her experience.
SmartWatcher recently went live. How is it going?
We had terrific publicity because we had two launches, actually. The first was for influencers and networkers and it took place in downtown Zurich. We presented the product, had a few beers and enjoyed the evening.
We also had a brunch for journalists, which was a very good idea because it led to a nice article about our project in one of those newspapers that you can find at the train station. So a lot of people were downloading the app.
What would you change in the way you launched?
We would actually do some more testing before the launch. We caught some bugs after the launch that could’ve been fixed before and it would've allowed more people to download and use the app. But, it’s easy to say that now. We were rushing to deliver the app before the holidays because the app store closes and does not review or release any apps during that time.
However, I have read the interview you recently posted [on the Grossum blog], by Hugo Carvalho (no relation!), and I saw that he said he wishes they had launched earlier and done less. So I think deciding when is the right moment to do the launch is one of the toughest questions for a startup.
Deciding when is the right moment to do the launch is one of the toughest questions for a startup.
What is the toughest part of being a marketer for a startup?
I think the tough part is that you have to do everything. And marketing is such a huge thing to do and consists of many parts: communication, analytics, monitoring, public relations, etc. Also, I think it’s very difficult to find a person that’s good at everything, every side of marketing. I know my weaknesses, so my task is to handle everything in a good manner until we have reached the point when we have more people and one can handle his / her own tasks.
What are the basic things in marketing that you have to do as a startup?
Networking is very important. It depends a lot on what kind of project do you have - whether it’s local or global, it changes a lot.
If you want to start local, networking is especially important. Be present at events, present yourself and the startup, your product, connect with people. The competition is strong for everything, so you have to give an added value and personalized approach is a very good thing. Put “a face” out there so people recognize the brand.
Digital PR is also a good thing because if you build online relationships with influencers, blogs, etc., you can get a huge reach without having to pay too much (and this is the area where startups have to be especially mindful). :)
Is it better for the startup to launch locally first and then globally, or reaching global level right away is possible?
In the case of SmartWatcher, we have a viral element in our app - people have to invite other people to be their watchers. It’s like a social network, kind of. Also, the world is so connected nowadays, even if people live in different countries, that sometimes starting locally isn’t possible. For example, I’m Brazilian and Italian, and I live in Switzerland, so I have added people from Brazil and from Italy, so no way the app could be just local. While we began local, after two weeks we decided that it’s time to get our application to the worldwide app stores.
Who do you go to for advice?
We are currently based at the leading technology incubator here in Zurich called BlueLion. A part of this incubator’s offer is a coaching program wherein each startup is assigned a coach.
One of the most valuable things we got from the coaching is connections - with journalists as well as with other startups. One startup - The Eye’s Company - that we met through them is focused on video production and because we didn’t want to have this cartoonish kind of video 90% of startups usually make to explain their product, these guys made the video for us.
We also have an advisory board, consisting of experts in usability, the mobile industry, and project management.
Apart from our official coach and advisors, we also learn from the legendary influencers, such as Steve Jobs. I know it might sound cliche, but actually, I really think we believe in similar things like being brave enough if you believe in a feature or in a marketing strategy to go for it. If the worst comes to the worst, fail fast, learn and change.
Be brave enough if you believe in a feature or in a marketing strategy to go for it. If the worst comes to the worst, fail fast, learn and change.
What is the most favorite part of working in a startup?
The same level of difficulty it has in it, the same level of fulfillment it gives. When you do everything by yourself, you have to try things and be brave and experiment, so when everything starts to work as you want, it is really fulfilling.
Also, like at the WebSummit, it was really cool to feel a part of the amazing change that is going on right now. If you don’t participate in something like this [startup business], it is hard to realize how fast the world is changing - digital innovations, augmented reality, etc.. It felt really exciting to me. This thought helps me when I feel tired to get up and continue creating.
Your advice to other startuppers.
The most beautiful thing about our times is the Internet, its democracy, and its sharing characteristics. I really believe in sharing knowledge and advice with the community.
Some people think “Oh, this worked for us, so we won’t share our methods in case our competitors would like to use them.” I, on the other hand, believe that if everyone will be working on successful methodologies and the competition will grow, the quality of the end product will increase as well.
Keep on trying, sharing and asking for advice. This is why I like Facebook groups - the ones without too much spam in them - this is where you can find those who have encountered the same issues as you and who overcame the challenges that you’re facing right now.
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Find out more about the project and download the application from the official website: www.smartwatcher.com
Let's develop a great product together!
Let's develop a great product together!