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In Growth We Trust: Marketing | Growth | Startups

🔮 Community-led Growth, Day 1 users and Monzo stories w/ Tom Davies, Head of Marketing at Yonder

Tue Jul 11 2023
MarketingCommunity StrategyGrowthCustomer EngagementTargeted MarketingOnboardingProduct TestingMarketing ChannelsOut-of-Home AdvertisingCompetitive AdvantageProduct IntegrationBehavioral Engagement


This episode covers various aspects of marketing and community strategy. It explores the challenges faced by marketers, the importance of building a community, and strategies for growth. The episode also discusses the role of honesty in managing community expectations, the value of customer feedback, and the impact of different marketing channels. Additionally, it highlights the significance of onboarding customers personally, the role of out-of-home advertising in brand building, and the evolving nature of communities. The episode concludes with insights on fostering good behavior and engagement within a community and the collective responsibility of growth within a company.


Marketing is about value and being clear on what we want people to know about us.

The guest emphasizes the importance of conveying value and clarity in marketing messages.

Building community with early customers is crucial for success.

The episode highlights the success of building a community with early customers and leveraging their support for marketing and feedback.

Honesty is important in managing community expectations.

The episode emphasizes the significance of honesty in managing community expectations to build trust and maintain engagement.

Yonder's success in building a community through targeted strategies.

Yonder's targeted approach to building a community in the tech industry and leveraging platforms where their target audience spends time has been successful.

Engagement with the community is not just a marketing problem, but a company culture.

The episode highlights that engagement with the community should be ingrained in the company culture and involve various teams beyond just marketing.

Onboarding customers personally helps build strong connections.

The episode emphasizes the importance of personal onboarding to establish strong connections with customers.

Testing the product before launching is crucial for success.

The episode highlights the importance of testing the product with a small group before seeking wider exposure to ensure it works flawlessly.

Exploring different marketing channels and strategies for growth.

The episode discusses the challenges and considerations in exploring different marketing channels and strategies for growth, including social platforms, sponsorships, and out-of-home advertising.

Community as a competitive advantage and its integration into the product experience.

The episode emphasizes that community can be a competitive advantage and explores ways to integrate it into the product experience.

Fostering good behavior and engagement within a community.

The episode looks to gaming communities and apps like Duolingo for inspiration on fostering good behavior and engagement within a community.


  1. Marketing and Community Strategy

Marketing and Community Strategy

00:10 - 1:03:57

  • Marketing is about value and being clear on what we want people to know about us.
  • A recent post on LinkedIn received over a thousand likes, leading to the host shaving his beard.
  • The post went viral because it resonated with both boomers and 23-year-olds.
  • The guest has a background in marketing, starting in San Francisco and working for Transfowise and Monzo before joining Yonder.
  • He discusses the challenges of marketing at Monzo and the broader role he took on at Yonder.
  • The guest studied in San Francisco and played college soccer there before moving to London.
  • They discuss the focus of the podcast episode.
  • Building community with our first 500 customers was a success
  • Monzo struggled to balance satisfying early customers and building for mass adoption
  • A community strategy needs to evolve as the company grows
  • Honesty is important in managing community expectations
  • Don't have preconceived notions of what a community should look like, start from your goals
  • We were fortunate to have the right type of customers early on
  • Our community helps with marketing and provides valuable feedback
  • We incentivize user participation with rewards and value their time
  • Yonder has a small number of super engaged customers who support them and help them succeed.
  • Trustpilot reviews have helped Yonder gain a nearly five-star rating and build trust with their customers.
  • Yonder initially struggled to build a community on Facebook, but eventually found success using Slack.
  • Yonder targeted people in the tech industry for their community, as they are more likely to give feedback and support new products.
  • Yonder's product is used daily by their customers, which keeps them engaged and provides constant opportunities for feedback.
  • Yonder focuses their marketing efforts on platforms where their target audience spends time.
  • Getting people who don't use Slack to engage with the community is a challenge
  • Community engagement is not just a marketing problem, it's a company culture
  • Engineers, support team, and founders all interact with the community in our Slack
  • Early on, we had a more intentional engagement plan, now it's more organic
  • We encourage challenging feedback and value face-to-face interactions in Slack
  • There are always discussion points coming up in the community
  • We ask the community for their input before making decisions
  • Bringing the whole company behind the community is important for brand building.
  • Smartly used intercom built into their products to provide support and involve the entire company.
  • The podcast host also participates in customer support during late hours.
  • Onboarding customers personally and offering referrals helps build a strong connection with them.
  • Adding customers to the community when they are most excited about the product is crucial.
  • The moment of receiving a physical product can be a good time to invite customers to join the community.
  • Yonder launched multiple times, starting with their own team as initial customers.
  • They focused on ensuring that the card worked well rather than aiming for a large customer base from day one.
  • Marketers often focus on big launches and going viral, but it's important to test if the product works first.
  • Yonder initially launched with a small group of 10 people to test their product and fix any issues.
  • They gradually increased their customer base by inviting friends and family, reaching about 150 customers.
  • Yonder then launched a PR campaign and got another 2,000 people on their waitlist.
  • They implemented referral programs to further grow their customer base.
  • Yonder believes in starting with a small group of friends to launch a product before seeking wider exposure.
  • The balance between launching an MVP and crafting the ideal experience depends on factors like pricing and functionality.
  • For Yonder, being a paid upfront product meant they needed a certain level of polish before launching.
  • As a payment card, it was crucial for Yonder's product to work flawlessly to retain users' trust.
  • Transitioning from community effort to other channels for growth
  • Risk and fraud considerations in bringing on new customers
  • Facebook testing resulted in wrong customer types
  • Paid social format was not viable for growth
  • Exploring different channels like sponsoring podcasts and newsletters
  • Considered purchase that requires time for decision-making
  • Current growth mix includes word of mouth and aggregators
  • Balancing hyper-rational customers with brand-focused ones
  • Desire to test more paid channels with a thoughtful approach
  • Challenges with social platforms blocking credit education content
  • Importance of educating younger people on responsible credit use
  • Out-of-home advertising as a brand building exercise and tracking results
  • Raising funding at a time when other startups couldn't lowered media costs
  • Opportunity to expose product to London market
  • Using out-of-home advertising effectively generated interest and web traffic
  • Community is a competitive advantage for the company
  • One-on-one conversations with customers in Slack channel still valuable
  • Challenges of maintaining reflective feedback from broader user base in community
  • Community will always be part of the company's strategy, but may change in form
  • Potential to batch customers based on joining date in community
  • Exploring ways to integrate community into product experience
  • Gamification and rituals can enhance engagement within the community
  • A shift is happening in the product where conversations between customers are becoming more prevalent.
  • The company wants to set a positive culture early on to combat toxicity that can develop in online forums.
  • Looking to gaming communities and apps like Duolingo for inspiration on fostering good behavior and engagement.
  • A community should be treated differently from an audience, with a focus on building relationships and connections.
  • Some users value being part of the community even if they don't actively use the product or service.
  • The company has had instances where people want to stay in the community even after canceling their subscription.
  • Growth is seen as everyone's responsibility within the business, not just the marketing team.
  • Initially, there was pressure on the head of marketing to drive growth, but now it is a collective effort.
  • The company learned through trial and error to find an effective approach to growing the business.
  • Growth is everyone's responsibility, not just the job of a growth marketer.
  • Marketing is responsible for bringing high-value, high-intent people to the website or app.
  • Different teams handle different stages of the customer journey, from top of funnel to application process and member value.
  • Marketers cannot fix growth alone without support in verification tools, processes, and risk models.
  • The whole company should be working on growth, including reducing churn and increasing engagement.
  • Being in a startup means learning as you go and figuring things out together.
  • The podcast hosts discuss community insights and how they can improve their own strategies.
  • They consider printing stickers as a reward for reaching 1,000 listeners by a certain date.