Interview with Miruna Dragomir – Marketers Need to Focus on the Big Picture – Episode #32

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Miruna Dragomir is the Head of Marketing at Planable, a content collaboration platform for social media teams. For the past three years, she’s been leading growth efforts at Planable. They’ve grown 30X in revenue in these past three years and continue going up. She was previously a part of Uber’s Marketing Team and Oracle’s Social Media team.

In this episode we talked about the biggest mistakes teams make when collaborating on social media marketing, what it takes to be a CMO or Head of Marketing, why her company published their product roadmap on their website, and more.

Full Episode Transcript:

Kenny Soto  0:00  

Okay, we are now recording and 54321 Hello everyone and welcome to another episode of Kenny Soto Digital Marketing Podcast, your resource center for tips and tricks, excuse me, tips and tricks in the digital marketing landscape. Today I have a really cool person that I know all of you will love to listen to and learn from. Her name is me Do not drag on me. Did I say that? Correct? Muna. Yes, perfect. And she is the Head of Marketing at plantable, a content collaboration platform for social media teams. For the past three years, she has been leading growth efforts at plantable. And they’ve been able to grow their revenue by 30 times in the past three years. And it’s continued to go and as continues to be going up. She was previously a part of Uber’s marketing team, and Oracle’s Social Media Team. Welcome, Miruna.

 

Miruna Dragomir  0:54  

Yeah, hi. It’s good to be here. 

 

Kenny Soto  0:58  

Now, I like to ask a blanket question just to get more information about your background and for the listeners to get more context on who you are, and why you do what you do. So my first question for you is, why did you get into digital marketing?

 

Miruna Dragomir  1:16  

That’s very good question. I think for me, it was it was a wasn’t intended necessarily. I didn’t, you know, wake up when I was 15 or 16. I say digital marketing, that’s going to be one thing. I actually started I, when I was in high school, and I had to choose a topic and and a career path. I thought advertising was actually my, my go to, and it wasn’t that well informed. Because it was just based on what I’ve seen in shows or movies. It wasn’t like real life at all. But I remember I started talking to some people from the advertising industry trying to understand what specifically I’d like. And it was really interesting, because I started to feel back then that something about the industry, the advertising industry isn’t right for me. 

 

Because all of the people I would talk with, they would ask me, Okay, that’s great advertising. But what from advertising? Do you want to go to strategy and research? Or do you want to be like a creative copywriter? Or would you like to be designer? What is it? And I wouldn’t know how to answer that. Because I would keep saying all of it, I want all of it. And everyone would kind of you know, have a shoulder shrug. Okay, but all of it is not really an option. And then when I went to university, I chose to advertise an advertising University. 

 

And then I would, I would still feel like I’m missing something. Because I would even go to like internship interviews and the same questions all the time, which path which path and I didn’t want to choose any of the available path I wanted at all. And then I kind of started to talk to more people and understand that there is this marketing world entire marketing world and joining the client side means that you could end up having a role that has it all. And this combination between absolutely everything, from analytics to data, to me, even creative campaigns made me want to say okay, this sounds like like it’s for me, like I could really enjoy this kind of diversity and a dynamic environment. So that’s how I ended up in marketing and then digital, digital is really the the part that where I could deep dive into my data and to my love for data, because I really have a thing for that. So digital marketing is kind of the the place where you where you can go very, very in depth with all your analytics, and that’s, that’s why I love it so much.

 

Kenny Soto  4:21  

Now, this can be from either Oracle, Uber or your experience working at both companies. What’s the most important lesson that you learned from working with those teams that you still use today?

 

Miruna Dragomir  4:39  

Um, I think yeah, it’s a lesson that I’ve that I’ve learned exactly from both companies. And that is that I personally and I think that most marketers should strive to have as much of the big picture as possible. Um, I think that’s one thing that I that I was kind of missing at Oracle and I really wanted it. Because Oracle, you know, it’s a such a huge company. And it’s hard to get a to get a full picture, when you’re part of a social media team, you don’t really have access to all the data to all the goals behind everything, every campaign, to the real journey from, I don’t know, a person that hears about you from visiting or from Google or from anywhere, and then their entire journey until they actually sign up or get to a salesperson. 

 

And I missed it an Oracle and I found out how it really is to have the the opportunity to look at all the data at Uber. Uber is a very data driven company. And there was really there were there were no, I do then, if you didn’t want to learn, there was no stopping you to explore with data as much as you wanted to. It wasn’t it wasn’t all dashboards, or it was SQL, it was databases that you could access for yourself if you learned to, to query using SQL. So that’s what I did there. And once I kind of got the an understanding of how SQL works, I would lose days and the system, looking at insights and finding patterns and all that. So that’s what I took with me at plantable. It’s funny, because I remember to this day that my first question at the interview for the job was, how much access do I have to data? How transparent? Are you as a company? Can I see it all? Because I need to see it all? Yeah.

 

Kenny Soto  6:56  

Personally, SQL scares me. If I wanted to learn about it, what would you recommend is like the best approach and or set of resources I can use to learn SQL.

 

Miruna Dragomir  7:13  

Um, honestly, I don’t have a specific website to reference people to because the way I personally did it is if Uber, there was a set of resources, specifically made for databases at Uber. But the way I do it and the way I kind of approach learning in many topics, I’m not a very patient person. So I cannot spend a lot of time reading on a subject I need to get my hands dirty and to start doing at from the first minute if it’s possible. So I haven’t started doing it is that I’d read for like a one hour about it just to understand the basics, you know that you need to access separate collections or tables, and that you have to tell kind of the system, how to access those kind of these basics of of how SQL works and how this accessing of databases works. 

 

And then I just try it out, just try to write my first line. And always do it with Google in front of you. Because it might seem like you’re not learning much when you’re simply copying queries from Google. But once you do, you’ll have to make some changes. And once you have to make those changes to the Google queries, you’ll have to understand how they work, you’ll have to understand what you’re replacing and why. So yeah, honestly, I’d go all in, leave, if possible, fewers behind and just try it out. See, see how it goes.

 

Kenny Soto  8:47  

So really the only way to learn SQL and just like any other thing is just to try it out. If it breaks figure out why and then keep moving forward. Got it? Yeah, it’s

 

Miruna Dragomir  8:57  

it’s not easy. I give it that I It wasn’t easy. For me, it took a bit of time to end a bit of it can be frustrating, you know, because you keep changing the small things. And then it’s still it’s still showing the GM and there are no results and it can be really frustrating. But then when you finally nail it, it’s it’s very worrying to

 

Kenny Soto  9:20  

got it now. You are in a very competitive industry, the industry being more tech. And last time I checked, there’s more than 1000 Mark tech companies, probably by the end of this year, there will be around 10,000 maybe even more than that. And I definitely want to start off by asking you what this planet will do.

 

Miruna Dragomir  9:44  

Yes. Okay. So planet bull is yes, I tech software for marketing for social media teams in particular. What it’s a collaboration platform. What it does is that it’s this one in one space where the marketing and social media team can unite and create, plan, collaborate, approve and schedule their social media posts. So, very briefly, it’s everything that happens before and including the actual publishing of a post. So all the familiar way to that people can relate to us, usually the spreadsheets and spreadsheets, the emails and the calls, that’s how a lot of teams still do it. They create their content, calendars and a spreadsheet, they then send that spreadsheet to everyone expect comments and separate cells, implement comments, and then copy paste them usually to a creative, or to the native platform or to a publishing tool. So plantable takes care of all this process, it’s where you, it’s where you get rid of all these tools that are not built for a social.

 

Kenny Soto  11:03  

I’m thinking of the best way to phrase this question. So what would you say is the most common set of mistakes a social media team makes, that this tool helps to solve? You mentioned, using spreadsheets for collaboration? Are there any other things that can be categorized as mistakes that a social media team or content marketing team would be using? That this tool helps us all?

 

Miruna Dragomir  11:35  

Yeah, so I think, for me, what I find is, is a very big mistake is teams that run from approval process. It seems it’s natural, in a way, it’s tempting to say, you know, having approval process in place, having people, a lot of people involved having gotten no legal or brand, or PR approver content, or a manager or CEO, is just, it’s gonna get us, it’s gonna slow us down, it’s gonna get clunky, it’s gonna get very viral. They’re kradic. And not at all flexible and creative. And I think that’s a mistake. 

 

Because I personally believe that the more brains involved in a process, the better. It’s almost always, when more people are involved, the end product, and the end result is going to be better. So running away from involving too many people is probably probably means that you’re losing out on, on performance and and better results. But I do understand the fear, because the fear is real, having 10 or 20 people in an email thread really makes a difference, it can really slow you down. But that’s kind of what what plantable solves this mistake is what plantable solves, it allows you to collaborate with as many people as possible without having this without having to pay in efficiency, or in, you know, deadlines missed. 

 

So I really think that you should, you should not allow the compromise of as little people involved as possible. But focusing on the right process, even if it’s flammable, if it’s a different other kind of system that works for you, that’s fine. But it’s important, it’s important to really draw it down and design it in a way that it has the clarity, the visibility and the efficiency that this kind of process really needs.

 

Kenny Soto  13:41  

I would love your opinion on the idea that one size fits all, does that really work? When creating a content strategy? For social media? Should I use the same type of content that I use on Instagram, on Twitter and LinkedIn as an example? What are your opinions on that?

 

Miruna Dragomir  14:03  

Probably you probably shouldn’t. It’s always about in terms of, you know, what do you actually do in marketing or on social? I think it’s always a matter of the classic impact versus effort. So I would test it honestly, yes. Traditionally, it wouldn’t be advised to put the exact same content because it probably the audience will not respond in the same way. If we only think of us as consumers, when we browse Instagram, we’re in a mood when we browse LinkedIn where and probably have totally different moods so it’s a different kind of topic even but even if it’s the same topic we expected, framed or said and in a different way. On Instagram are probably more chill relaxed. We’re not necessarily there to see a very formal kind of call intent on LinkedIn, we’re there to learn. 

 

So we’re prepared for you to throw us real valuable content and not general fun stuff. So it’s most probably it’s not a very wise idea. But if I, if I would work to actually work on social and a particular team, I would test to see just how big the impact of personalization or non personalization is. And try to measure how much time it takes me to curate and personalize that content for each platform. And see how big of a difference that what that accounts do Is it is it a positive result when you balance it out, or it’s just it’s too much time and it’s not worth it for your particular audience and scheme.

 

Kenny Soto  15:50  

Now, we’re going to diverge just a little bit, we’re still talking about plantable, but in a different set of topics. So I want to know, what’s the hardest part of your role today as head of marketing.

 

Miruna Dragomir  16:08  

Um, it’s patience. For for my role in particular, and for the stage that plantable is in is that there is we as any startup, we focus on growth, and we focus on growing and scaling as as fast as possible. But I’m not a not a marketer that likes to throw money at the problem. That’s a bit of a pet peeve of mine. I really, I like fruitfulness. And I like to know that the money we invest, has a result one way or another. 

 

So sponsoring everything out there. And putting blasting our name across billboards isn’t my go to solution, I want to test I want to experiment and when I see the clear ROI, I want to test the scaling and do it step by step, ensuring a health healthy and steady growth. And that’s kind of I think, a struggle because it’s, it’s hard to wait, sometimes you sometimes just want to okay, that ad worked out with a certain amount of money, let’s just double that amount of money. And that’s gonna that’s going to double our growth, that’s usually not have a go. So being patient and scaling one step at a time, I think is it’s a challenge. Besides patients that

 

Kenny Soto  17:41  

regardless of your specific job, What skills does a marketer need in order to become a head of marketing, whether that’s marketing for startup, a big corporation, whether it’s b2b b2c, a service based business or a product based business?

 

Miruna Dragomir  18:04  

I think those skills can can vary a bit, what you need to focus on marketing in a not in a startup necessarily, but in tech, marketing, and tech. And in software, whether it’s b2c or b2b usually means that you have to, you should be a more of a hybrid marketer and a technical marketer, and less of a specialist possibly, that is if you if you want to take the head of marketing route, for example, because you being the head of marketing to get there, you’ll probably have to experiment with a lot of different parts of marketing, you might have to do a B tests at some point, you might have to do newsletters at another point, you might have to experiment with performance. 

 

And all that means that you don’t necessarily you’re very set in your ways, and you’re not very this is what I like to do. If nothing else, that’s a different route, you can become an expert, huge specialist in something. And that’s amazing if that’s the kind of person that you think you are. And if you think that works for you being very focused on one thing. I think if you, if you want to work in tech, you have to really embrace the analytical part of it. Because it’s it, there’s really, so few places left where you can be creative, and nothing and not not not combine that with data in any way. So I think that’s, that’s a very important skill to have, and to explore as much as possible. And it’s not only, I mean, you don’t have to learn SQL. 

 

It’s just the mentality behind being an analytical person. It doesn’t have to necessarily mean that you have to, I don’t know No Excel to top. Just just having the mindset ready asking questions all the time, the whys. You know, why does that happen? Why that? What does that mean? What? What could we do to learn more about this and that.

 

Kenny Soto  20:20  

So there’s definitely two approaches, there’s the specialist route, and the generalist route. Now, I saw on Planet wills website, something very interesting that I haven’t seen in any other marketing tool, whether it’s focused on social media, or paid advertising, or competitor analysis or market research. Your company has its product roadmap, on display for future features and features that users have asked for. Why did you decide to have that on your website? Can you speak more about that?

 

Miruna Dragomir  21:00  

Yeah, I think it’s part of how we differentiate for one thing, we’re very open and transparent with our customers. And the roadmap, for example, in particular, it’s, it’s kind of the public voice of our customers at this point, it’s not necessarily what we’re gonna do. We don’t, it doesn’t we don’t commit to it. And we say that, you know, it might, you might vote for some features that we might decide not to implement. But for sure, we’re going to monitor that roadmap and the way you vote for those constantly, and you’ll, you’ll know for sure that we’re not ignoring it. And we chose to, to make it public. 

 

Because we want everyone to know where we’re going not only way where we’re at, I think it’s it’s important for you as a company to, to show that you’re, you’re human, you’re on a path you’re not, especially in tech, it’s it’s important for people to know that you’ll grow and develop and that they’re going to be there for that journey. They’re not buying this one product that’s fixed. And that’s the way it’s going to be, they’re going to be there with you, you’re going to grow, they’re going to help you grow, they’re going to tell you what they think you should do to grow. And that’s, that kind of builds the relationship between our customers and us and it, it even creates a bond that’s a bit less transactional. It’s not only about I paid for this, you better deliver. It’s more, okay, look, I think you guys are doing this great. 

 

But this little thing, not amazing, you should change that. And we listen to that. And we implement that feedback. And it, it helps us listen to our customers, and it helps our customers sometimes even cut us a bit some slack, you know, understand that we’re a team, we’re human, we’re growing, and it’s probably never going to be perfect, but as long as we keep listening to them and improving it, it allows them to understand us to not view us as this rigid entity that they can only judge and criticize, but also help.

 

Kenny Soto  23:19  

Just like people, teams and products evolve over time. Exactly. What do you think is a non obvious trap? early stage startups fall into? You mentioned earlier, throwing paid spend to see if scale can happen that way? Are there any other examples of traps that aren’t necessarily aren’t necessarily obvious to early stage startups?

 

Miruna Dragomir  23:47  

Um, yeah, I think they’re two very common mistakes. The first is selling yourself cheap. This is a very common mistake. Because you know, if you’re a modest, humble entrepreneur, you’ve just started you want people to use your product. You don’t. You don’t care yet that much about money. So you just want people to pay anything really showed that they are kind of giving something in return. And they’re not free users, but they feel like they could and want to pay for the product. But they sell it themselves themselves too cheap because they’re most usually humble and afraid that people are not going to pay if they ask for too much. 

 

And I think that’s a mistake because it’s very hard to change that mindset. Once you grow. You’ll start hiring people you’ll start hiring salespeople, marketing people that will end up selling at their on their own. And even if you don’t mean to your kind of pay Ask that kind of attitude along, sell at any cost, allow for discounts anytime, do whatever you have to do to close the customer. And it’s going to be harder and harder to set a clear boundary and barrier of what you will sell your product with. And, and if you grow a lot in the beginning with those very low costs, it will be very hard to raise those costs, you usually will choose not to and to grandfather people in and those people might end up costing you a lot, because they’re using the approved version, they need a lot of customer support, they take out take on a lot of you know, resources, no matter what they are. 

 

And you’ll basically be at a loss and you’ll lose money. So that’s I think, a very often mistake, I’m not saying you know, go very bold out there and say you want millions of dollars for your product, you have to be realistic, but realistic, not. I don’t know too humble. And the second mistake is putting the it’s still kind of very related to this, the growth at all costs kind of mentality, and doing whatever it needs, you need to grow. A lot of that mentality is good. But there should be some boundaries. One of them I think, is frugal last, you shouldn’t spend money without thinking about it, or without looking at the results. And that’s, you know, investing too much and doing things and too little into looking at the things that you’re doing, you know, putting all engines on, do do do a daycare, put content, output, marketing, output, ads out everything so that people will come in. But a lot of times, teams don’t stop to Okay, but what are we doing? Is it working? Is it not working? Is it working well, because of this pressure to grow. So that’s that I’d say I’d recommend stopping every now and then every quarter every half a year to really look at at the results of what you’re doing.

 

Kenny Soto  27:18  

My last question for you is more focused on your overall career. So up to today, if you can go back in time knowing everything you know right now, and use what you know, to speed up the trajectory of your career 10 times faster. What would you do? Um,

 

Miruna Dragomir  27:44  

honestly, I think I’d spent a bit less time at Oracle. And that it just I think the lessons learned there ended a bit sooner than I chose to leave. That’s one thing. And I think I’d spend more time understanding everything about marketing from top to bottom and less and trying to deep dive in some topics that I really wanted to understand, but couldn’t at that time.

 

Kenny Soto  28:23  

Can you elaborate?

 

Miruna Dragomir  28:26  

Yeah, I think, for example, at first, I wanted to learn more at some point about design, for example, which came in very useful don’t get me wrong, it really helped me the fact that I knew all the tools, you know, the Adobe suit, and whatever else me I needed in time. But for example, I think I spent a bit too much time on that I should have just, you know, okay, fine. I know how to open it, I know how to crop a photo, put a filter on, I don’t know, create a few vectors, edit them and save the save the file. But for some reason, you know, I couldn’t let it go. I wanted it to be beautiful. But when you were when I was young, at least it was hard to accept that I’m going to be good at some things and bad others. Design is not something I’m ever going to be really good at. 

 

And after I grew up, I learned to accept it. Okay, that’s not my thing. That’s never going to be my thing. I’m going to work with amazing designers and it’s not something I should or have to excel at. And I think that’s something I would tell myself to let things go a bit sooner, which is it sounds you know, counterintuitive. A lot of people say don’t give up, never give up. I think sometimes it might be an idea to give up. If you don’t enjoy that particular thing. Or if you’re really not good at it. You’ll probably you’re probably good at some other things that you’re not exploring because of the time you’re wasting by invest.

 

Kenny Soto  30:02  

So it really comes down to listening to yourself and trusting your instincts. Perfect. Exactly. Miruna if anyone wanted to connect with you online, where could they find you?

 

Miruna Dragomir  30:13  

LinkedIn is the best best place to connect. I keep it very, very clean up to date. So add just connect with me there, ping me message me whatever. And I’ll, I’ll be sure to reply.

 

Kenny Soto  30:26  

You heard it here, folks. This has been another episode of Kenny Soto Digital Marketing podcast and I hope everyone has a great week. Thank you Marina for your time and say goodbye.

 

Miruna Dragomir  30:37  

Good bye.

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