“Facebook’s #1 Marketing Plan: Build An Awesome Experience” with Jonathan Ehrlich, Director of Consumer Marketing

Jonathan Erhlich, Director of Consumer Marketing at Facebook, was in town last friday to talk about effective product marketing. Set in the intimate Harbor View Room at Steamworks, it was an energetic & engaging talk. In the words of Boris Mann:

“Jonathan is rocking the room – forcing people to pay attention, think & respond” – @bmann

However, the comedic highlight of the evening occurred after Jonathan told the room that “Facebook ads work.” To which someone replied:

“Ads convert fans, but I can’t eat fans. Any tips on converting fans into money?”

Even Jonathan had to laugh at that.

Though it’s easy to summarize the key points as follows:

  1. Build something great.
  2. Acquire and engage users intelligently.
  3. Iterate like hell.

It simply does not do Jonathan justice. Therefore, read on if you want to hear those key points fleshed out with more salient quotes and examples, as well as Jonathan’s response on how to convert fans into revenue.

What is Marketing?

When you boil it down, marketing is about the core experience. Therefore, don’t suck. Build an awesome experience.

“Why is BMW’s marketing budget 1000 times less than GM? Because BMW’s marketing team is called the Engineering team. They build love into their product. They put all the core marketing values into the product.– Jonathan Ehrlich

“At the end of the day: Build something great. You can’t market something that isn’t great” – Jonathan Ehrlich

Six Steps to Building Something Great

1. Aim for a big market

“If you start something, make sure you’re in a big market because you’re going to be wrong. 90% of companies are wrong. But make sure you’re in a  big market so you have that wiggle room.” – Jonathan Ehrlich

Ex. Microsoft, Apple & Twitter all started out with different products than what made them successful. Microsoft was buying DOS, Apple was doing motherboards & Twitter started as the podcasting company Odeo.

2. Know your audience

“We’re hit with 50 000 messages every day, if you don’t have something that stands out of the clutter you’re wasting your money.” – Jonathan Ehlrich

Ex. For TechCrunch 50 Awards, Jonathan knew that Jason Calcanis, the President of TechCrunch, had a son and was a passionate father. He videoed his two children pitching his product.

3. Focus on a few who will love you

“I’d rather have Chris Sacca talk about my product 5 times than spend enormous amount of marketing money. Why? Because he has over 1 million followers and he is an amazingly articulate guy who knows how to reach people.”

Firstly, find out who the “amplifiers” are. Those user who love you.

Secondly, arm them.

4. Be first best

Where are Friendster or the Diamond Rio? They both had amazing leads but blew it.

Be first best by offering a functional differentiation.

Ex. Though the iPod came out as 15th MP3 Player, it offered over 1000 songs! The Diamond Rio could fit 12.

5. Listen to Paul Graham and Danny Robinson

“Ship fast, instrument everything that’s important, and iterate like hell” – Jonathan Ehrlich

On shipping fast:

“Put your experience out quickly. Don’t spend months building it. Why? Because you’re wrong! You don’t know until you build it!” – Jonathan Ehrlich

Ex. Apple stores cost 10x more per square foot than any other retail store but bring in 15x more revenue. This is because Steve Jobs built mock stores in a warehouse and tested it.

On iterating:

“Don’t do anything you can’t track because then you’re just wasting money.” – Boris Mann

6. Acquire & engage user intelligently

“Facebook ads work. They work. Just try it.” – Jonathan Ehrlich

Social networks are the best weapon for acquiring users. In this case, Facebook!

a) Use Facebook pages but get users talking about you on their personal streams.


“A message gets viewed 10x more on a user’s stream than on a static facebook page.” – Jonathan Ehrlich

b) Be innovate, while keeping it simple.

“Keep it simple. Why? Because people don’t read anymore. They just scan it.  They look at visual queues.“ – Jonathan Ehrlich

c) Be authentic & relevant:

“I do not want to hear about you 15 times a day, unless you’re relevant to me. I’m sorry, I just don’t.” – Jonathan Ehrlich

The Advantages of Facebook Connect.

Increased user generating:

“It took us 8 years to reach 1.5 million registered users in the era of email. It took only 5 months to acquire same number users on Facebook.” Gregg Spiridellis, CEO of Jibjab

“When someone publishes to Facebook, we see 20 clicks back to jibjab.com, which is 7x greater than email.” – Gregg Spiridellis, CEO of Jibjab


Thanks so much to Jonathan for flying down here & sharing his passion for great marketing with us! Thanks also to Maura, Danny, Boris & Sonia for making it all happen! We’re looking forward to seeing some awesome product experiences coming out of this talk!

If you attended, we would love to hear your thoughts about the talk and what you learned or perhaps, wish Jonathan had covered.  So, feel free to comment on this post.

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