Mad Mimi is a great example of a company that morphed itself into a healthy business in a competitive niche by excelling through terrific customer support from the center of the company. That and of course their obsession for clean, nicely designed newsletters helped them become the beloved email marketing provider of many business owners.
Dean, who has the awesome title “Chief of Culture”, tells how a marketing tool for musicians turned out to become a creative email marketing tool used by businesses from all around the globe. He also shares his vision on the future of email marketing, and the influences of social and mobile on email.
Could you tell us a bit more about yourself and what you do at Mad Mimi?
Hey there, I’m Dean Levitt and I’m the “Chief of Culture” at Mad Mimi. My role at Mad Mimi is sort of a mix between customer relations, technical support, and marketing. My awesome team and I make sure that we’re always solving issues, answering questions, eradicating confusion and, most importantly, spreading positivity and knowledge about email marketing and Mad Mimi.
Mad Mimi 2 saw a lot of social integration features. How do you see the integration of social moving further into email marketing?
I look at social integration as simply completing the online circle of life. Whenever a new channel appears, people like to say “X will minimize Y” or “This spells doom for Z”, when in fact the most successful social media innovations are complimentary. You can grow your social network via email content and grow your newsletter subscribers through your blog, etc. It’s a gorgeous, interactive circle!
How will your software be adapted to become more compatible with mobile devices and their email clients?
In terms of email rendering well and being optimized for mobile devices, we’re already there. Mad Mimi’s always stood by the elegance of simplicity when compared to complex templates and “noisy” designs.
I'm not seeing our focus on mobile being on the “productivity” side – but really on the metrics and stats visualization side. I don't know yet that mobile is ripe for email newsletter creation, because I equate it with the same space you have to be in to be creating a document or presentation. Mobile's screensize and text processing could grind on the user a little if we try to push the moment and do too much there.
What further influences will mobile have on email marketing according to you?
With the increase of smart phone capabilities as well as the advent of location based services
consumers are becoming more accustomed to go to their phones to check email, search for local services, and make purchases.
1. Content needs to be more timely and relevant. There’s a sense of immediacy. To take advantage of this, I’d advise folks to send more frequently but keep contact short, to the point.
Design, like content needs to be simplified. Visual real estate on a mobile device is pretty limited so the simplicity of a single-column email with minimal distractions from the message is going to be more effective than using complex templates thick with copy.
Are there any new app integrations coming to Mad Mimi soon?
We’ve just wrapped up SurveyMonkey, Highrise, and Batchbooks integrations and next up on our list are Salesforce and FreshBooks. We'll also be launching a deeper Facebook and Twitter integration next week and we're planning on new integrations effectively on a bi-weekly basis. Mad Mimi has lots more in the early stages of development.
A classic: Why should marketers prefer Mad Mimi over other email marketing services?
Mad Mimi's character was born out of a dissatisfaction with traditional email marketing providers like Constant Contact or iContact. Don't get me wrong, those services are right for a lot of people – but we're not those people, and we felt like we wanted to create something for others like us – and it turns out there are quite of lot of them.
Mad Mimi’s power and uniqueness lie in our simplicity and ease of use. Creating an email newsletter should be easy, fun and quick and Mad Mimi’s UI actually makes that possible.
Being a robust and powerful ESP doesn’t mean you have to be cluttered and complicated. Mad Mimi strikes the balance between functionality and ease-of-use perfectly.
In addition, our users often say it’s our support that sets us apart and we’ll be discussing Mad Mimi’s support shortly.
How did you come up with the name Mad Mimi and your colorful mascot?
Gary (our CEO) and myself are both musicians. Initially, we were building Mad Mimi as a tool for musicians to market themselves and M.I.M.I was an acronym for Musicians Intuitive Marketing Interface.
Mimi herself was designed by artist, David Bamundo.
In a previous interview a while back you mentioned you hadn't spent a penny on advertising yet. What advise can you give to starting entrepreneurs to grow their sales without advertising?
Word of mouth is the most valuable form of advertising out there and it can’t be bought! I can only speak for ourselves but our word of mouth spread because we sincerely want to offer the best possible service out there from customer support to the interface itself. I think our users pick up on that.
When there’s a genuine relationship with each user, those same users are more inclined to talk about us.
It’s not something we planned but we found that by doing our best and beyond, we grew sales and we actually gained friends too!
Inspiring Interview with Dean
Mad Mimi is especially known for its great customer support. What tips can you give to our readers to make their own customer support better?
I could talk for hours about customer support. Mad Mimi’s support is so strong because…well…each person on the team is encouraged to be themselves, to build relationships with users based on more than just answering technical questions, and are empowered to actually resolve issues.
At Mad Mimi, we’ve made support paramount. Everyone from the CEO to CTO puts in their time doing support and I think this gives us great perspective and has meant that there’s very little disconnect between the user, the support team and the developers.
How has your experience in the advertising business helped you with other aspects of running Mad Mimi?
I don't see myself as being in the advertising business. It's more like “preaching to the converted” if you will. By that, I mean that email is about communicating with people who already like you and trust you and have bought your wares before. I think of advertising more on spreading the word to people who haven't heard of you before. Email is a channel – a two way channel – of communication, and I think if anything I've learned that… that advertising is one way – outbound. Email is both.
What's the most awesome thing about your job?
I’m lucky enough to interact with hundreds of amazing people daily who’re sharing things they’re passionate about. I’ve found great music, cool events and really gained some friendships. I’m a customer myself of many of the folks who use Mad Mimi to send emails.
One customer popped into our live chat upon coming out of a kidney transplant, just to say hi. A DJ in Toronto sent me a mix tape that I played on a cross country trip. I’ve tested out NYC’s top pizza joints with another; and even had a Mad Mimi user, who was traveling the world to raise money and awareness for a charity, crash on my couch.
It’s these connections that make my job awesome!
Anything else you'd like to share with the readers from Best Reviews?
I think the most important aspect of email marketing is this: create the emails that you’d love to receive. Oh, and please feel free to reach out to me anytime. ~ Dean
Big thanks to Dean for sharing his experiences and thoughts with us in this interview. We're looking forward to seeing Mad Mimi evolve further in the future.