Interview with Pere Rubies, Chief Marketing Officer at GrowPro Experience
Pere Rubies is a digital business enthusiast, travel lover, and sports addict. Always looking for new opportunities in the digital world. Currently, he is the Chief Marketing Officer at GrowPro Experience where they are transforming the market of the educational experiences abroad.
Your Journey as a Marketing Professional.
I coursed telecom engineering and then a degree in marketing and analytics. I started working as a technical consultant in an IT company but soon I realized that I need to move to business and marketing.
Mixing technical and marketing knowledge has been the key in my career. I started two companies with a partner in my twenties, one where a marketing consultancy and other was a SaaS product, but none of them worked.
4 years ago I started as a CMO in GrowPro Experience, international travel, and education agency, and my goal was to completely transform the company in a digital platform that becomes the first worldwide platform that provides educational experiences abroad. During these 4 years, we have grown from 5 to 80 employees worldwide and last year we helped more than 5k students overseas.
This year my team and I will be completing the transformation and we were launching a completely new website with a development in the backend that will change the way people book educational experiences online.
What are the primary marketing channels you have worked on? What will be your advice to young marketers on each of these channels?
There is no unique channel where I focus on if I think in the long term. I always try to be present in all the channels because I think we will learn a lot of your potentials and customers in every interaction. In fact, I try to have a lot of feedback from the people who are interested in our products to fine-tuning all the channels.
But if I have to select one of them, I strongly recommend focussing on SEO and organic growth. This is the hardest but the best channel to invest in. Building a strong organic channel of acquisition is to build an asset that will add value to your company itself and will work for you creating opportunities over time.
However, today is more difficult than ever to get the top 1 in Google and even getting the first spot it will not guarantee you will have enough relevant traffic, Google is rolling out more and more snippets in the search results providing the answers to the queries without entering to the websites of the content creators.
As I said, I do not recommend to focus only on one channel. If you need traffic and potentials as soon as possible, it is better to invest in PPC channels like Google AdWords or Facebook Ads.
In my opinion, if your product is sexy enough, it is better to push towards Facebook platform because investing in PPC there you will have better ROIs and at the same time, you will increase the community around your brand. Facebook platform maybe would be a better option if you have a product of impulse purchase. But the truth is that you will have to test both platforms and get the metrics of CPL, CPA and so on to decide which is better for you.
What are some of the important marketing software that you have used and found to be really useful for your company?
During all these years I tested a lot of marketing software and there is a winner called Hubspot. It has everything you need to plan, create, deliver, test and measure marketing campaigns and they also look forward to adding new features constantly to the product but also to the marketing community. The problem is that if you need a large number of contacts in your database the cost becomes a problem.
Recently I discovered ActiveCampaign and I have to say that I’ve been impressed with the ease of use and capabilities.
One thing I’ve learned is that it is very important to understand what features you need the most and then look for specific marketing software that suites your needs. I mean, try to ask yourself if something is a “nice to have” or a “need to have”. Everything in the first list can be missed in your decision.
Which companies, according to you, are your competitors. How do you differentiate against these?
As I said before, we are facing a complete transformation in our business, moving from a service agency to a product platform. It means also that we are changing our competitor’s matrix from traditional agencies of travel and education abroad to platforms like Airbnb Experiences. The main difference between these platforms and GrowPro is that our experiences are focused on educational experiences abroad and in terms of duration are between one month and two years.
We have grown +100% YoY focusing on the experience that our team delivers onshore, in every city we are present, where all our customers feel comfortable and welcome once they arrive. We provide the best experience onshore and it differentiates us from our competitors.
Your 2 line advice to people entering in the marketing domain.
Read a lot but start now, act. Do not hesitate, try everything you imagine as soon as possible and measure everything, always.
Learn every day from others, stay up-to-date with algorithm changes and new features in social media. Plan, do, measure, adjust and repeat. Do not focus on traditional learning. Marketing changes too fast.
There is no solution that fits all, find your secret sauce and refine it. It is time to create, but do not forget to copy what works.