Amanda Goetz: Q&A Session

Q&A Session: Amanda Goetz

Amanda Goetz Q&A Session is happening on 10th September 2020 at 10:00 AM PST (1:00 PM EST)

As VP of Marketing of the largest global wedding company, The Knot Worldwide, Amanda Goetz leads PR, social, community, brand, partnerships and product marketing strategies across the company’s international family of leading lifestage brands, including The Knot and WeddingWire. 

Amanda has been an integral part in innovating and sustaining The Knot’s unwavering brand equity and leadership among engaged couples, leading to the merger and take-private deal of The Knot/XO Group for nearly $1B in December 2018. The deal resulted in the merging of the two leading wedding planning brands, The Knot and WeddingWire, to create The Knot Worldwide, the largest global wedding planning company. 

Previously, Goetz served as a startup founder building availability software for the wedding industry after spending years analyzing companies for Ernst & Young’s Entrepreneur Of The Year program. She also worked for David Tutera as Head of Marketing developing the go-to market strategy for his brands, licensing deals and client partners.

Amanda graduated summa cum laude in 3.5 years with a BS in Business Administration, Marketing and a focus in statistics from the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign and was a 2015 fellow of Startup Leadership Program.

Amanda lives in the UWS and is a single mom to three spunky and independent little kids: Hadley, Lincoln and Greyson.

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Amanda Goetz – Transcript

Q&A Session with Amanda Goetz @ The Knot

September 10th, 2020

Hi everyone! Thanks for having me here. I’m looking forward to answering as many questions as I can during this AMA.

A little about me: I’m Amanda and I currently lead Brand at The Knot (all things weddings). I’ve been there for almost 6 years and oversee brand, content, PR, social, influencers, etc. I’m NOT a growth marketer so I only know enough about performance to be dangerous. Prior to The Knot I was a founder of a wed-tech company and prior to that I led  brand for a celebrity wedding planner. I started my career at Ernst & Young. I’m starting my next company on the side and back in building mode. Happy to answer questions around startup marketing / big co marketing… balance…..anything! Excited to chat!!

Hey there! What’s been the best way to engage influencers and utilize social where you saw real ROI?

Macro influencers (more than 50K) followers (cost $$) should be used strategically for PR moments. Micro influencers are (5-10k) are the ones to work with for actual conversion.

I’m working on a startup, but have little to no cash. How should I start, when there are so many things that cost money (like building out the whole site)? So in short; best way to monetize or fund a startup website?

Step 1 is about proving out the concept. You should focus on value prop testing and getting enough validation points before putting any money in. I put $1k in FB ads and asked friends to post on their Twitter to figure out what value prop to use for my startup.

How do you continue to keep your customers in the lifetime of your services? Great business but other than the other brands of parenting, finance, house, retirement, I would imagine we’d only use The Knot once

We believe in a mission of empowering people to live life judgement free so we actually don’t assume you will buy a house / have a baby and reacquire someone when the time is right. Note: we have the bump and the nest as sister brands.

What tools do you use on a daily basis?

I manage a team so I spend most of my time in GA, segment and Google Slides (lol).

What methods/tools do you use to find influencers?

Dash hudson is where we track our influencers.

Do you find that you’ve had a decrease in venues and other vendors since Covid-19 and if so how have you shifted to find other avenues of revenue?

We are a media company + ecomm company (The Knot Registry) + a two-sided marketplace. This has helped weather COVID hits.

How do you balance marketing to two different audiences? (Your vendors and brides/couples?)

We actually have a head of B2B and B2C marketing (me) because the brand to vendors is VERY different. We are in lock-step to ensure we only promote content / ideas to couples that work with our vendors (ie: we don’t push DIY often).

Where is the best place for “Brand” to live inside an organization? (If you were to put it into a silo, which one? And then how do you also get it out of that silo and spread it?)

Brand is more than just visual identity – it’s the competitive landscape and how you play (strategy) and how that comes to life in your owned and earned channels. Owned (your emails, social, content, etc) – earned (other people talking about you – PR, influencers). I would pull all those together under one umbrella. Paid can live on it.

Do you see marketing as different across industries, or should the same formula work for all?

Marketing is the most dynamic field. What works for one month at the Knot may not work the next so marketers have to be artistic and scientific in nature so I don’t think there is a one-size-fits-all formula.

How do you lift up female colleagues and empower them to lead?

My biggest thing is leading by example. I spend time with my kids and decline meetings and say why. I don’t try to hide the fact that I’m a mom, I talk openly about my egg freezing decision, that I go to therapy, etc. I think we have to remove stigmas around things.

How do you encourage employees/execs to engage with company content on social?

This is a GREAT question. I don’t think you can force it. You have to create a culture people love and they want to talk about.

Would you say your social presence has influenced The Knot’s branding on social?

No – I will say confidentially that my Twitter has caused more internal convos I’d rather not have but I believe that company’s don’t own people…..and that you can choose to view someone’s SM presence as an asset or a liability. Newer companies understand this.

How do you manage the creativity of marketing with data-driven analytics?

There are clear lines of gut vs. data needs. What colors to use / what influencers to work with ….. those are gut + a little insight. Which channels to optimize for acquisition —- that’s all data.

There are clear lines of gut vs. data needs. What colors to use / what influencers to work with ….. those are gut + a little insight. Which channels to optimize for acquisition —- that’s all data.

Channel focus… expertise is key.

I own an independent, mostly online, jewelry store. When we advertised in The Knot sometime ago, we were offered print ads in a regional edition of the magazine. That wasn’t very helpful since we sell worldwide. Can you talk about your strategy in this regard, and if there are options for cost effective nationwide advertising?

We no longer have the regional magazines and are JUST focused on national TKM. The Knot Magazine. Happy to connect you with the ad team for those –

Are you afraid that The Knot’s business is facing a sustained COVID19-driven alteration to the way couples engage with the brand?

Luckily we’ve seen traffic stabilize and people are still getting married. Even if it is smaller…they still need a photographer, hair & makeup, venue, etc.

From your perspective, what are the key skills/talents a person who is interested in a brand marketing leadership role should be amazing at doing?

Creative strategy + conviction….part of my job is getting our exec team to buy into what I want to do. I rebranded The Knot two years ago and it took a lot of persuading people on the “why”.

Also, I think being a generalist helps.

What’s your best words of advice to someone building something on the side (like a freelance side hustle with the hope to turn full time) and a 9-5?

Oh……I could talk about this for a FULL hour. First thing, I would suggest making sure you are OPEN to the fact that you are doing it (I was VERY public about my desire to build again) and get it in writing that you can do so. Hit your goals at work and don’t let that falter. as for when to go full time, I would keep that very quiet until you are ready.

If you can single out the most important advice for branding in current times, what would be it?

Self awareness applies to brands as well. Marketers need to be self=aware of their brands.

In your opinion, where should brand “begin” for a new venture? I’ve noticed that agencies are hired to “create” brands for new ventures. Can this actually seep into the DNA of these companies?

A lot of people outsource visual identity in the beginning. I separate that from “brand” because a brand is more than the colors, fonts, etc. I believe the CEOs have the most direct impact on the DNA. They are visionaries. A CEO without a vision has to hire fast a visionary to lead this DNA creation

Do you have any thoughts on the app/saas/software side of your work? How does that relate to brand for you?

I used to oversee product marketing — that should be the bridge between brand + product. If you can’t have that….the head of product + head of marketing need to be in lock step.

Can you tell us anything about the next company?

I’m launching a cannabis company for real women like me (moms + millennial women) to remove the stigma around CBD first. Very high end, high quality product and brand. But don’t tell anyone!!!!

How does one try to become more specialized in this role? Also, how do you measure brand awareness? Do you create your own scoring program? 

I was all over the place for 10 years and that makes me a VERY attractive CMO candidate. If that’s your goal, keep juggling. We do a quarterly brand tracker to a gen pop sample to see how awareness is tracking quarter over quarter against our competitors.

What type of organic content do you feel really drives traction on your digital campaigns at Knot? Educational, Case Study…? Anything in particular that has provided a regular win?

A big finding was a 1x quarter celeb partner to do a 360 campaign with. We do a press event + content + in-product + social posts + exclusive insights (content) into their wedding. This is a big expense but moves the needed the most on PR / Social SOV.

How are you able to champion long-term, arguably “fuzzier” areas like brand and content (vs. something more immediately tangible like growth marketing) in a data-driven organization?

This is very hard when leadership is quant focused. Use a brand tracker + OKRs to show the need for it (for example: we know that higher brand awareness leads to organic installs)….so…how do we lift brand awareness? PR / Social / Traffic (more eyeballs on our brand).

What percentage of your advertising goes to traditional media vs digital media?

We only do SEM / app store.

What are the best digital channels for The Knot? And does this differ for brand vs performance mkt?

We only use owned / earned channels for brand (ie I have no budget).

Did you use any paid advertising service at the first stage? If yes, CPM or CPC?

Please give me some suggestions about cost-effective advertising methods for brand awareness.

I believe it’s about building brand loyalty with a small set of loyalists first. Focus on retention & experience first and build out from there.

How do you leverage word of mouth and make sure that people still talk about The Knot months and years after they’re married?

Engagement loops. Our product does it for us. Wedding websites on The Knot communicate the couple’s brand choice to all of their guests. Build engagement loops into your product and WOM is a LOT easier.

It feels like the wedding industry goes super hard on Instagram, and a presence there is almost a given for us. I of course have an eye on TikTok, but what do you think will be the next move for us?

Tik Tok is still the wild west for brands. I don’t think IG is going anywhere as it builds upon its shopability + discovery features.

When updating your brand guidelines – what is your process to ensure it is captured by the entire department? Also, do you go back in time to update existing content?

Show your brand pyramid at the beginning of EVERY internal meeting to the point where people roll their eyes. Saying it over and over again is key

COVID has really hit the wedding industry hard. Are you seeing a major pivot at your company to accommodate for more of a remote style experience?

Yes, definitely seeing a shift to smaller weddings and our CX has been staffed up a bit to help as well as deprioritizing some social endeavors to focus on supporting our zero-based inbox goal.

In terms of starting your new startup what are the first three places you put an advertising budget? I assume Facebook is towards the top.

I’m actually not putting paid behind my new company. I’m focused on building a community first….hence spending more time on Twitter 

How highly do you recommend Segment? What are some of the challenges you’ve faced with using it?

It works for what I need it to. Show me what is happening to this cohort of people and where is the drop off/confusion. My biggest issue is internal compliance– too many people in there creating funnels. It gets so messy and then something breaks and you don’t know it.

Do you know if The Knot has any plans on stepping into the corporate event world and is there any chance your team could be looking for partners to jumpstart that? And if not, any advice for us?

We are not. Check out Happily.

How much do you let influencers control the conversation about your brand? When you give them a task, do you dictate their every move?

I let creators do what is authentic to them. They know their audience better than I do. We give message points / timeframes but that is it.

I am a content marketer (social media and copywriting) but want to add brand strategy to my repertoire. What resources would you suggest to get started in this area?

My best advice – talk to people who do it. You’ll learn more from people and start to see through-lines.

For just the app, how does the structure of your marketing team look like? i.e. How big is your team and what are some of their roles? Currently I work in a small team, so I’d like to suggest ways to expand it. Also, working in the app space (albeit focused on web app atm).

I don’t think of marketing orgs by platform. ASO is part of the top of the funnel and lives with SEO. App store ads live in performance marketing and all other channels are platform agnostic (social, etc). Oh but is HUGE for us. Get that mobile web traffic into app store conversions.

What are your top 3 traffic sources with % and biggest conversion channel? For digital stats (ads data, conversion, organic, etc.) are you using dashboard or automated presentation tools?

Traffic comes from SEO, SEM – hands down. We have 24 years of content at our fingertips.


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