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Interview with Nick Allen, Head of Marketing at FileInvite

Rhythm Singhal By Rhythm Singhal in Interviews-L on

Nick Allen is the Head of Marketing at FileInvite a SaaS document collection platform. They help clients collecting forms, applications and all the supporting documents for them to help do their business well. Let’s look at what he has for young marketers:

My Journey as a Marketing Professional

I began my marketing career at a travel agency in Brazil learning what marketing was like in the real world and Portuguese at the same time. I published a blog and told travel stories online before it was a thing. We covered my boss’s trips and other influences in the community and created blog posts newsletters and live events to generate buzz around travel. We’d bring guest speakers in for cultural meetups –  then follow up with stories and potential journeys they could take.

Looking back we were doing old school influencer marketing, real-life social proof, email storytelling, and content marketing to drive leads.  We even had a LoFi Groupon type offering where we packaged together tours to France and the Middle East.

My first day on the job with hunting down someone that could print flyers and that spoke Spanish because I couldn’t speak Portuguese and nobody spoke English.

From there I travel to traveled back to New Zealand and helped market an international school. I created student profiles much like a social network where students could talk and discuss their experience with us. We built an online payments platform and had students paying for short courses online, which was a first for a school in New Zealand.

From there I progressed through a small startup selling financial research, a billion dollar London hedge fund to a management consulting firm in the UK where I spend six years leading digital marketing, social media, and websites in over 13 EMEA languages.

After telecommunications and real estate experience I’m back in the startup world with FileInvite.


Old school vs new school, fish where the fish are:

The tried and true traditional marketing methods, much like a good pair of Levi’s Jeans never grow old. When weighing them up against some shiny new media channel or marketing technique I stick to an audience-centric approach. Are they using this tool (media), are they there and would they respond well to my brand being there?

Putting yourself in the shoes of your ideal customer and your average existing customer is a fantastic measure of “will this fly”.  Your 65-year-old male fishing enthusiast, probably won’t respond to a treasure hunt campaign on Snapchat and would get annoyed if you used emojis in his Facebook group.

Defining your buyer personas and honing user journeys is key. It means when you create content you can have them in mind and write to them.

Data Beats Opinion

We’re always looking for new ways to reach our audience and expand it. To reach those that we’re hoping to get to purchase something. As a marketer, I spend a large amount of my time validating new ideas and proposals. I try to be as data-driven as possible with my decision in order to be able to compare results, which does mean I tend to focus on campaigns with a digital endpoint. Somewhere I can see trials, visits or a conversion metric at the end.

You can evaluate a campaign based on visitors to your site, and the conversions you could get. When I say conversions, we look for people to take a trial, but you might want them to download a white paper, contact you, or subscribe.

When you collect the data you can track improvements and improve your assumptions and hypothesis.  

Know your Expected ROI

Here’s a handy calculator people can use with all their marketing efforts to calculate the ROI of a campaign or medium, compare ICE scores and include creative budgets.

One thing that tends to be forgotten is the frictional costs of running a new campaign. Always consider the time it will take to build collateral, and what impact this will have on sales,  support a production/product.


Having the right marketing tools to create and measure is paramount.

Here are my 5 tips for choosing marketing, well any SaaS software.

1.Define the desired outcome

Start by truly and definitively defining: what are we trying to solve.

In ranked priority, you need to answer

  • Who is this for?
  • What problems does it solve?
  • What is the most important goal you’re trying to accomplish?

This way you’ll know what functionality and features are vital and which are nice to have.

Keep it in a nice comparison spreadsheet with columns for the competing alternatives.

2. Look at the frictional costs of the product

Is this going to be a nightmare to integrate? What other platforms does it replace and how much user training will be needed and can they help you map adoption to your team.?

3.Set a budget

Doing this can ruthlessly allow you to eliminate things that are too expensive for your team.

4. Is it elegant?

With a lot of software the end user experience – for clients – is paramount, but the day to day users get neglected.

They get a clunky dashboard or the workflow for their day to day tasks is a nightmare. For example, a CMS can display a beautiful web page, but how hard is it for you as a marketer to edit a page, to see metrics, edit an image or create a form?

When the product is great, repeat and referral business flows. Consumer grade enterprise is as easy to use as consumer software but as robust, secure and extensible as an enterprise product.

5. What’s support like?

Take the marketing and response time during your “free trial” is an indicator of the responsiveness of support once you purchase.

My favorite Marketing Products.

Hubspot is a fantastic platform – and they’re savvy marketers.

From a marketing perspective, carving out their own vertical and creating a movement with inbound marketing, then the whole marketing automation piece, was a stroke of genius!

It rendered comparisons useless, lowered their paid media budgets and allowed them to own content marketing and the push to bring blogging into the business realm.

From a product perspective, they provide an all in one platform to manage CMS, Support, Sales and Marketing Automation.

Sometimes they are slow to respond to more technical questions, but their knowledge base and help files are where the CSM will send you anyway. They’re so robust and mechanical at recording solutions to all their customers’ nuanced inquiries.

Trello simple and intuitive – they’re great at using UGC too.

From a marketing perspective, their Taco dog and customer built ideas they share in newsletters about how to use the tool are great. Marketers can learn from this!

From a product perspective, Trello is awesome for tracking jobs using Kanban or Agile project management approaches. It’s brilliant for Getting Things Done.

Books to read

Traction: How Any Startup Can Achieve Explosive Customer Growth by Gabriel Weinberg

A book for any marketer, corporate or startup. The 19 channels Gabriel discusses lets you think outside the traditional Ps of marketing into other ways to grow the business.

Hooked by Nir Eyal

If nothing else, to get you thinking of emotional and psychological elements in your marketing. It’ll also get you thinking of how to make your product an indispensable part of your customers’ day.

Blogs to follow

The marketoonist  – to remind you to forget the shiny objects.

Seth Godin’s blog – Will give you an appreciation of permission-based marketing vs ads, and will push you to ship/ launch things and be brave!

The MOZ blog and White Board Fridays – is fantastic – with learnings for anyone who wants to win with search engines and any online activity.

Final thought?

If you:

  • Have a complicated onboarding process that needs loads of supporting documents.
  • Need to collect a bunch of documents for a website or creative brief.
  • Consult with clients and need a load of information, docs, and files from them.

Give a try today.