It takes a (global) village: Fireside chats with Kiwi Landing Pad’s Sian Simpson
In August, the NZ Tech Marketers Group had the privilege of hearing from the Kiwi Landing Pad’s Director of Community, Sian Simpson, who joined us in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch to share her knowledge and learnings about doing business in the US and the key to building and nurturing a thriving community.
Described as New Zealand’s startup and innovation ambassador to the world, Sian Simpson has grown the New Zealand startup community at the Kiwi Landing Pad, in San Francisco, from 200 to 5,000 in the last four years, making it the bridge between New Zealand and the USA (and increasingly the Commonwealth) for the innovative Kiwi technologists who dream of exporting their businesses overseas.
Sian also started programs such as the Sales & Marketing Jams, and KLP’s leading webinar series which focuses on growing the capability of Kiwi entrepreneurs and talent. Both have had thousands of attendees and viewers, and bring experts to the forefront in their domains, as well as featuring a diverse range of speakers and stories, which Sian actively champions.
Sian was named the New Zealand Global Women of Influence in 2017, and won back-to-back AIMES awards for Technology & Innovation in 2015/2016.
- Sian is passionate about the internet, a community builder, marketer and online video expert.
- She has spent the last five years working for high growth New Zealand tech companies implementing and managing their online strategies, growing their communities, creating and curating content across multiple platforms.
- Sian has a marketing background – she’s one of us!!
A snapshot of the Kiwi Landing Pad Community – a true global village of tech companies on the world stage
Highlights from the fireside
- Community at the core
– Every organisation and industry will have a different definition of community but one thing we should all have in common is knowing that it isn’t just your database
– No matter your role, stay connected with your audience. Ask your customers/users what they want.
- Don’t “boil the ocean” and tips for business success in the US
- Remember the US isn’t one market; it’s better to take a city/state approach, as everywhere is different
- Start by dipping your toe in the water and getting the lay of the land
- Figure out what your target market is and where in your customers are
- Test your message – a good way to do this is to test your vernacular on customers and friendly clients who can tell you the language set used in the specific place. For example words used on the east coast may be different to the west coast
If you’re travelling to the US from offshore:
- Split your trip into four parts (customers, investors, learning, networking).
- Frontload your most important meetings in week 1 and allow for any rollover catch-ups to happen in weeks 2-3.
- Cascading introductions are critical. Consider asking everyone you meet to introduce you to 1-2 people and be sure to mention your agenda.
- If you don’t already, introduce a project management tool (such as Trello) to help plan for your trip ahead.
Photo credit: @NickWAllen
How to create scale, balance and perfect the “juggling act” when building a community and/or expanding into new territory?
- Invest in your content platform and ensure you’re serving up and facilitating content that is relevant and personalised to the needs of your community
- In order to protect and get the most out of your time, learn to say no when needed and push back on people to be prepared.
- To achieve scale, if you find yourself repeating the same thing over and over – automate! Sian’s rule of thumb is if she has said something three times, she looks to automate it.
About us: The Tech Marketers Group NZ is a network by and for New Zealand tech marketers. The group exists to share information, ideas, learnings and resources to collectively strengthen and grow the collective marketing capability and success of NZ tech marketers.
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