Darrick, Strategist at Ladder was kind enough to spend some time answering all these questions! You’ll learn about what he does in his day job as a Strategist at Ladder, tools he uses, why he likes marketing, and more!
A little about yourself (work & personal)
My name is Darrick, I am passionate about creating growth opportunities out of chaos and an advocate for digital inclusion.
I am currently a strategist at Ladder, a growth marketing agency that uses proprietary technology and data-driven strategy to increase ROI for startups and enterprises.
Being a strategist at Ladder means a lot of things and I’ll share a few of them here.
You don’t turn away from hard problems. Our clients work with us because we are invested in their success as much as they are. It’s our mission to help demystify growth.
Accountability. Each strategist gets full ownership of every client engagement which brings a sense of pride in all of the results we get. Transparency is our superpower and sets a standard for our work.
Lifting as we climb. We are always exploring new tactics and integrations that clients have never used before. We make sure we teach other as we teach ourselves. As a unit, we are only as strong as our weakest link. Ladder Learning is always a highlight in my week.
Co-founded a mobile Video Dating app and helped acquire its first 3500 downloads.
I mentor and teach strategy to entrepreneurs attending social impact accelerators (Fownders, NY Media Center, StudentDream.org)
I discovered my passion for making Art four years ago. Last year, I became one of the very few foreigners invited to paint a mural in Sao Paulo, Brazil’s “Beco Do Batman Graffiti Alley”. Currently reserved only for top brazilian artists.
I quit my previous Job while watching the NBA Finals (Thanks Lebron for the inspiration) to join Start Up Institute and pursue a more fulfilling career in marketing. Now I am here!
Resources you use (Blogs, podcasts, books)
The a16z Podcast discusses tech and culture trends, news, and the future. We get clients from different verticals every month and it’s always great to have pulse on what’s unfolding.
How I Built This
How I Built This is a podcast about innovators, entrepreneurs, and idealists, and the stories behind the movements they built. Each episode is a narrative journey marked by triumphs, failures, serendipity and insight — told by the founders of some of the world’s best known companies and brands. I listen to this podcast to learn more about founders to improve operating and management empathy. Understanding how our clients build their business is key to how we integrate foundations for their growth.
Blue Ocean Strategy – Great insight on crafting unique positioning for your business in competitive markets.
Tools you use on the job
1)Google Docs to organize my docs, sheets, and presentations.
2)Asana to manage my tasks internally and with remote teams
3)Ladder Portal to create and execute my marketing plans with clients.
4)Third Party Products – There are a lot to mention check our blog post on the 45 growth tools we use.
A typical day (or week)
We work with our clients on monthly test cycles and each week of the month is a phase in our test cycle. Here’s a weekly macro view to give my daily adventures some context.
First Week Goal: Deliver Insight and New Strategy Execution
In the first week we share our learnings and insight from our campaign testing the month prior. This report supports and informs our strategy for the upcoming month. Once the client and I agree on tactics, we finalize all creatives for launch and begin executing.
Second Week Goal: SHIP, SHIP, and more SHIP.
We aim to ship our tests to market as fast as possible. We ensure everything’s running smoothly on the back end since we tend to use out of the box tactics that require multiple integrations. Having our data flow transparent is key, as it will be what helps us inform future strategy. This is the best time to put out early fires and catch any hiccups that may cause blockers down the road.
Third Week Goal: Continue Optimizing.
As we start to see trends in our activity (good or bad), we double down and continue optimizing our campaigns for best performance. As we optimize we begin to start finding new problems in the funnel to attack and crafting test ideas for next month’s strategy.
Fourth Week Goal: Analyze For Insight and New Strategy Then…Repeat!
During our last week we analyze our data and begin to craft narratives around performance to share with our team internally. This is where we all get the opportunity to get more eyes on problems and wins to create the strongest strategy to impact our client’s business. Although each client has one dedicated strategist, they are getting a full team of experience behind our tactics.
What do you enjoy about marketing?
I love being able to help businesses amplify the voice and presence of their mission. Every founder and executive member we work with has a story before joining our partnership. It’s rewarding to see how we integrate their story into our own to create new outcomes and narratives.
What’s something you don’t enjoy? (If anything)
I don’t enjoy the fact that marketing can’t solve everything, but it is a reality. Sometimes there needs to be a shift within a company or business model. That’s where you can’t outsource your genius.
Luckily, we have a great roster of clients that we work with who hit the ground running during our engagements. Before joining Ladder that wasn’t always the case. In some situations, marketing can’t solve a product-market fit issue. There is only so much any marketer can do if a product does not deliver the benefits to satisfy customer needs. This is a hard but necessary conversation to have with a business to ensure they are making the best decisions with their resources in relation to their goals.
Why you wanted to work in marketing
To help businesses who are solving problems reach the people who need their solutions the most. We don’t know what we don’t know as consumers and marketing can be that factor in bringing opportunities to light.
I have personally worked in founding teams on mobile products and felt the pressure of not having a strong funnel to support the customer journey. The “Build It And They Will Come” mantra was our marketing plan and that is more of a recipe for disaster! The more I shared my story, I realized other founders and businesses shared the same problem. I wanted to be able to not only solve this problem for myself but help the inspiring people I meet as well. I started to look into what it takes to create a foundation for growth and followed the white rabbit..
What did you do before this job?
I worked in the non profit sector before jumping into sales and business development for early stage and growth companies in the start up industry.
I also started an Art + Design studio that I continue to operate in NYC which grew organically over the past few years. I began to experiment with content marketing and that planted early seeds of what marketing can do for not only businesses but our passions.
What do you know now that you wish you knew when you first started out in marketing?
Practice and performance is the ultimate teacher. In the beginning I tried to read as much as I can, but that can block growth and progress when there is no application. I wish I knew how to balance out the information I take in with how much work I push out. This can be summed up by one of our Ladder Values, which is to Ship Courageously.
What’s a piece of advice you’d like to give to new marketers?
Anything is Possible.
Keep learning new things and putting them into practice. Treat your “self learning” as you would treat your client’s relationship. Ultimately they become one in the same. How you do one thing shapes how you do everything.