In this episode of the GrowthTLDR, we talk to Craig Zingerline about the growth of Sandboxx, a product that lets people send letters to recruits in the military.
We get into what it's like to do customer acquisition for a niche audience. We talk about Sandboxx's approach to content marketing and how it's helped them be called Google for the military.
And, we talk about the purpose of growth teams at a company, why you shouldn't overthink them, and the advantages of the pod team structure.
Time Stamped Notes
[3:50] - Craig introduces what Sandboxx does. It connects people with their loved ones who're in the military doing boot camps. Using the Sandboxx app, people can compose and send letters. At Sandboxx, no one team owns growth; anyone can contribute to experiments.
[6:55] - We talk about the origins of Sandboxx and how they ended up serving their current audience.
[10:50] - Sandboxx has been serving that audience for five years. Roughly 40% of Sandboxx's team has either served in the military or has had a spouse who served, which helps them stay close to their audience.
[13:00] - We talk about Sandboxx's customer acquisition strategy. It's been a mix of content and communities (Facebook groups, Reddit, Quora). They have to be extra cautious not to be self-promotional.
[19:05] - We go through Sandboxx's content marketing strategy and what kind of content helps them to attract new customers.
[21:35] - A lot of Sandboxx's best content ideas come from their customer happiness team. That team categorizes the questions they get asked so the content team can more easily use it for inspiration.
[26:40] - We talk about how you can be part of a community and ensure you don't come across as too self-promotional. Sandboxx spotted gaps within the industry for specific groups on certain topics and created them. They focus on always creating value vs. promoting.
[30:05] - When getting started with growth, one of the most important things to do is not overthink it. Sandboxx doesn't have a formal growth team; responsibility for it spans across both marketing and product. You don't need to wait until you have the perfect team structure. You can get started with a lot fewer resources than you think.
[33:10] - Growth teams focus on creating net new value. Not everything they do will be successful. Their approach is to test, scale, and kill. They ask what tests should we run, what's worked, and we should scale, what's not working, and we should kill.
[35:00] - We talk about the benefits of pod structures in organizing teams around metrics. Craig feels the value of a pod structure is the fact you have a cross-functional team working on a metric, with clear accountability to making an impact against that metric.
[38:15] - Craig talks us through how one of their best growth ideas came from someone in their OPs team, and why experiments should be open to anyone.