Bambino is a California-based company founded in early 2015, offering an app-based service that allows parents to easily find, book, and pay local babysitters. The app is positioned as a marketplace, connecting trusted local sitters with nearby families. In 2016 I was recruited to help launch the brand and build marketing momentum for the company.
The company aims to disrupt the babysitting market—a $15+ billion/year industry that operates almost exclusively by word of mouth. Additionally, Bambino seeks to deliver unprecedented convenience and ease of use for parents as well as open up a fun, flexible revenue stream for young adults.
When I joined Bambino, the company had already established their brand guidelines, including: core values, visual identity, tone of voice, and brand slogan. My challenge was to design a strategy to market the brand to the public and build momentum by growing a new user base.
I began by categorizing my research into three main categories: brand, market, and customer. From there, our CEO and I pinpointed three main marketing goals to build our strategy around: acquire and curture users, encrourage repeated app engagement, and implement the brand.
Since Bambino was a small start-up working with limited resources, it became clear we should focus on just a few key marketing channels and iterate intelligently. I then conducted a brainstorming session with team using the “traction channel" framework, developed by the business scholars Gabriel Weinberg and Justin Mare.
Based on our knowledge of the market, past experience, and the current abilities of the product, we narrowed our focus to 3 main marketing strategies: social media, word of mouth, and affiliate programs We also identified growth targets for each strategy:
With our strategies determined, I moved on to designing and implementing them. While doing this, it was important to design scalable solutions that could adapt as the company grew. For our social media marketing channel, I built a web presence on 4 of the most popular platforms for our target demographics. I then broke down the strategy into 2 parts: organic (non-paid content) and paid (paid ads).
Organic Social Media
Referring back to my understanding of the market and the brand, I determined that our organic content strategy would be to educate the public about the new kind of service the brand offers as well as build trust & credibility by establishing ourselves as a “thought leader” in the space. I would accomplish this by: producing original content, offering regular branded posts explaining the features of Bambino, placing it in the context of our audience’s daily lives, and occasionally posting linked articles from established partner websites (with link back agreements) to establish credibility in the market, maintain relevance on the subject, and boost SEO.
Paid Social Media
The paid category required me to break down my strategy into Active Shoppers (those actively looking for a service like ours), and Passive Shoppers (those not looking for our product, but who may convert if prompted). I targeted Active Shoppers through a blend of SEO tactics, Google Ad Words, and Apple App Store campaigns, and targeted Passive shoppers through paid Facebook & Instagram ads.
Word of Mouth
Bambino aims to modernize the service of finding, booking, and paying a babysitter. Based on our research, this process is traditionally done by word of mouth, with parents referring babysitters they know and trust to other parents. While seemingly “low-tech”, we felt that a word of mouth strategy would co-opt this tradition, and help us transition users to our more current model of babysitting.
Unlike other markets, the youth services market (things like sports programs, summer camps, and caregiving services) relies heavily on discovery via social groups. To tap into these potential user groups, we chose to launch an affiliate program to reach audiences outside our normal sphere of influence. To implement this strategy, I decided on 2 key tactics: appoint “brand ambassadors” to draw attention to and represent the brand in key communities, and encourage user reviews and testimonials.
After implementing my 3 marketing strategies, my focus came down to making them better. I iterated by establishing a reliable way to track and analyze performance, A/B testing ad variations, and texting new strategies on small scales with minimal spend before scaling up.