“How easy was that?”
I usually see this written on the exit screen on a Zoom conference call when I finish a conference call with my teammates in Wisconsin. Those words remind me of celebrity chef Ina Garten of the Barefoot Contessa, who pulls off complex dishes with her signature smile and one of her trademark lines, “how easy was that?” So I’ve subconsciously associated delicious roast chicken with Zoom calls. I guess that means for me, the marketing strategy is working.
I haven’t seen many digital ads for Zoom. Mostly I have seen ads on the buses and on billboards in orange and blue, with a simple phrase “Meet Happy.” I spoke to Janine Pelosi, CMO of Zoom, a video-first unified communications platform,, to explain the rationale of the marketing campaign that seems to add the old-fashioned elements like billboards and bus ads. Her response was a little surprising: she insisted that the key ingredient was happiness.
“From day one, delivering happiness has been part of our DNA,” Pelosi told me in an interview. “And over time, it’s so authentic to who we are. When we brought ‘Meet Happy’ to the market, there were a lot of not great things going on in the world. We had no idea it would take off the way it did, but in retrospect we should have, because it is authentic to who we are.”
I tried to dig a little deeper, because happiness is abstract and subjective. How do you push happiness down the line to the end user?
“For us, we fundamentally believe that if our employees are happy, they will deliver happiness to our customers. The way we measure that is we have a very low attrition rate,” she said. She confirmed that the original marketing team is still with Zoom with virtually no turnover. She attributes employee satisfaction with a straight line between the work that is done and the company moving forward, and lack of bureaucratic hierarchy that can sometimes stifle creativity.
“We entered into a very crowded market, so for us to kind of come out in a crowded space, we needed to make an impact. People don’t wake up in the morning thinking about your brand, so you have to nudge them throughout the day.” When I asked how she accomplishes this, she said, “It starts with the product. I think we have an easy-to-use, secure, reliable product. So that is a marketer’s dream. The brand promise we put out there, we deliver on. I think it’s important [for companies] to know that you can grow with Zoom,” Pelosi said.
Debbie McGrath, CEO and founder of HR.com, expressed a similar sentiment. They left one of Zoom’s competitors because of the ease of use and superior customer service.
“We do lots of webcasts and virtual events so we needed something that was easy and reliable,” she told me. “We wanted better customer support and an open system for APIs.” HR.com has been a happy customer of Zoom for almost a decade, and has no immediate plans to change, as long as Zoom continues to invest in customer support and in their ability to scale. When I asked McGrath what made Zoom different from other vendors, she said, “It’s really their customer service and reliability of the product,” noting that many vendors promise the world and often come up short.
Marketing is supposed to join users with a product. If the product fails to live up to consumer expectations, then it will be a short-lived union. Zoom has already done the hard work of making sure their product meets the customer vision, so customers can indeed achieve happiness—whatever it means for them.