DraftKings Doesn’t Chase Vanity Metrics

Jayne Pimentel, senior director of growth marketing at DraftKings, will speak at AdExchanger’s upcoming Programmatic IO conference taking place April 29-30, 2019 in San Francisco.

Jayne Pimentel is hard on her technology partners, but that only makes the relationship better and more stable in the end.

“I don’t want to say it’s a love/hate relationship,” said Pimentel, who joined daily fantasy sports company DraftKings as senior director of growth marketing in August. “My partners respect me and it’s because I’m tough on them, but they also work hard for me, because I’m loyal.”

Though a lot of people in the growth marketing space feel like they need to be running with 10 or more media partners at any given time – and are quite secretive about who they work with – Pimentel calls herself a “contrarian” in that regard.

“I’m very transparent about who I run with, and it’s funny that marketing people keep that so close to the chest,” Pimentel said. “Because it’s not a competitive thing. If you think that not telling me the five ad nets you run is a competitive advantage for you, then you’re dreaming.”

Before hopping aboard at DraftKings, Pimentel ran ad operations at Machine Zone and spent nearly two years as director of revenue and ad ops at Reddit. Before that, she cut her teeth in classic programmatic during stints at Turn and Razorfish.

She spoke with AdExchanger.

AdExchanger: What is your growth marketing philosophy in a nutshell?

JAYNE PIMENTEL: The value of marketing has changed, and that’s because we’re data-driven. We look at revenue in the same way a CFO does. I don’t consider my team to be marketers as much as they are business owners – and it’s up to them to make decisions based on the signals, data and levels they have in order to reach their revenue goals every month.

And that means marketing isn’t a cost center anymore, it’s really a competitive asset. My philosophy is that I don’t chase vanity metrics and I actually talk to the finance people more than anything else.

Mobile programmatic: What inning are you in?

I’d say we’re at the bottom of the first and there are two types of teams playing, those that have titanium laser beam bats and those that were trained by Babe Ruth back in the day.

We’re a tech-driven company, but there are companies in our space, mainly in the UK and EMEA, that have been around for decades or even a hundred years or more. They’re not technology-first companies, but they do have the brand equity. Our growth marketing strategy is about acquisition and driving revenue, but we also want to be a household brand.

It’s early for mobile advertising in the US for Sportsbook [the DraftKings online sports betting product that’s currently only available in New Jersey], but I think there’s a really interesting opportunity here and people are going to watch what we do.

The federal law prohibiting sports gambling was overturned last year, but sports betting is still only legal in some states. How do you take that into consideration when you’re running your growth marketing programs?

There is complexity, but that also creates some competitive advantage for us, because we’re investing in automating and enabling dynamic creative executions to handle the regulations and include all of the appropriate disclaimers.

On top of that, the odds are also constantly changing based on the different matchups and lineups. We have about 600 variations of creative running for one game – then multiply that by various states.

Yes, there are regulations, but that means automation is that much more important.

What metrics are important to you?

As soon as someone churns, they go to one of our competitors and it becomes much more expensive to get them back versus trying to keep them happy by actioning off of our data.

Everyone in growth marketing has done a great job of looking at vanity metrics, like installs, which reminds me of Facebook back when they had cost per fan. When I was in an agency, that’s what we optimized to, but one day a CFO must have woken up and said, “Wait, how does that tie to our revenue and how long do fans retain?”

Now that we’ve started focusing on users who stay with us, our customer quality metric has improved 40% year-over-year.

How do you approach your tech partnerships?

On the platform side, the majority of our media investment in a given quarter is going to our API-enabled partners, like Facebook, Twitter or DSPs. If I can move the needle on 80% of my activity by building out API functionality for the UI, and make it easier and more seamless for my marketers, that’s what I’m going to do.

There will always be ad networks out there, but I’m not going to focus most of my time on growing 5% of the market.

What’s the most ridiculous thing a potential tech partner said to you in a meeting?

One vendor told me during a pitch that the best thing they had to offer was that they were located just two blocks from us – office proximity was their selling point.

This interview has been edited and condensed.

 

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