Jun 13

Why I joined Intercom

One month ago I left Facebook to join a start-up called Intercom. I loved Facebook and would always recommend people to take any job offer there – more on what makes Facebook such a great place to work another time. But Intercom felt like it was a once in a career opportunity to join and help build a company with an incredible mission.

It was important that I knew and highly regarded the founders, that their mission was large enough to last a decade, and ambitious enough to irreversibly change business for the better. Intercom has an engineering team recruited from Google, Apple and Amazon, and a fantastic launch product to build on top of. But on top of all that, I joined Intercom because of an immense opportunity I saw about the future of business, and the impressive steps Intercom have already taken towards that future.

Let’s look at the things shaping that future.

As the internet permeates everything, all businesses are becoming web businesses. As web businesses gather data about customers through interaction after interaction, they have an opportunity to learn about customers’ behaviour, habits and preferences. They can use this insight to personalise products and outbound communications.

Many start-ups are thinking about personalised outbound communication, for example email optimisation companies and website personalisation engines, but Intercom’s mission is much larger – to use behaviour based customer segmentation technology and build the best way for businesses to talk to their customers, and talk to them at scale. Intercom allows businesses to:

1. See their customers and their behaviour.
2. Segment them in meaningful ways.
3. Talk to everyone, specific segments, or individual people.

This two way communication is critical because the rise of the social web, and the web itself permeating everything else. The simple fact is that the internet is catching up with how life is offline, and this means that the future of business will look more like the past than the present: Business owners knowing all their customers’ preferences, tailoring their offering to customers through dialogue, and learning how to make their business better in the process.

When thinking about interacting with customers online today, many businesses try to minimise customer interaction to reduce costs. This is a model of business for a pre-social web world. The successful businesses in the future will see customer interactions as a profit centre, because they will compete not on technology (as most software and data storage is now high quality for low cost), not even on great product design (which is now becoming a minimum bar to entry to a market), but on really great customer service. This means ongoing dialogue with customers, building relationships and loyalty, and constant internal adaptations to changing markets.

Intercom‘s vision is to enable this future for businesses, with a level of personal intimacy our ancestors would be proud of, at a scale they could never have imagined. I’m incredibly excited to be a part of this new company.

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Sep 12

Six examples of brands doing great work on Facebook

Generally I take a pretty long view at things and my public talks reflect that. I speak about things that are happening now, but will take 2-5 years to fully realize themselves. This means people often ask me for examples of great work happening now. Things people are doing that can inspire change in todays marketing and advertising status quo. I’ve been showing these six examples in talks I’ve been giving recently so I wanted to share them here. These are some of my favourite recent examples of great work from marketers and their agencies happening on Facebook. Remember this is just my personal opinion – some things I like, and not anything official from Facebook. I’ve broken it into three great examples of page publishing, and three great uses of the Facebook Platform.


Almost all brands have a Facebook page and most publish regularly. There are many marketers trying to figure out what good page publishing looks like, and many lists around the web of what to do (many of which recommend things I disagree with). So who is doing a great job?


Oreo decided to do 100 posts in 100 days, each post reflecting something important about that day. I don’t have the inside track but my guess is that whoever is coming with these and executing them is having a lot of fun! As with much page publishing, this comes down to excellent art direction, excellent copywriting, and an understanding of what people are likely to respond to and share.


Red Bull

Red Bull consistently publish fantastic posts. They have two consistent traits: 1. Excellent photography. 2. Short well written copy. Posts with great photography and short copy perform better than those without photos and with longer copy.



I often hear brand marketers question whether their brand has a role on Facebook. They wonder whether people will talk about them. I always tell those people that if you want people to relate to and buy your product, your brand needs a sense of purpose, independent of the marketing channel. Once you have a sense of purpose – “this is what we’re all about!” – it is pretty straightforward to see what you might talk about on social media. Consider Febreze, a brand that deals with bad smells – not something you might imagine we would want to talk about. Well during the Olympics, they put together a fantastic publishing strategy around the Azerbaijan wrestling team. It was fun, and really well executed. And people talked.



When people build on Facebook Platform, the result is often over-cooked and too complicated. In fact, for marketers, often the best thing to do when thinking about Platform is that it is a means to produce newsfeed stories. For many people, their experience of a marketers efforts are not their Page, or their Platform App, it’s through the newsfeed stories their friends produce by using the app. This means that it is often best to design the newsfeed story first, and then think about what Platform integration will make those stories possible. All three of the examples below do this well. the Platform app is simply a means to an end.

P&G – Thank You Mom

P&Gs Thank You Mom campaign debuted at the Vancouver Olympics. For the London Olympics, their creative agency Wieden+Kennedy created a beautiful TV spot. The question then was, what do we do on Facebook? The wrong answer was to only use Facebook to drive views of the TV spot. The right answer was to build on one of the most powerful insights around social behavior: Anything that helps people build relationships with others is likely to see fantastic engagement. Much social interaction between people is to build relationships with others. So the simplest most powerful thing we could do was to build something that would allow people to thank their Moms on Facebook. To celebrate their relationship not only with their own mother, but the other mother figures in their life. The reason this worked so well was that it was simple. The goal of the app was to produce newsfeed stories of people’s friends thanking their mothers. The Thank You Mom campaign resulted in a 5-20% sales lift for the brands involved.


Lays – Do Us a Flavor

Lays are running a campaign where people can create new flavors and vote for others. Lays will manufacture the winning entry. As with Thank You Mom, the Facebook execution is dead simple and focuses on producing newsfeed stories. It taps into a few different social insights, one being tied to helping people project their personal identity and others tied to helping people build relationships with others by bantering over the flavors they create. Within a month, over a million people were using the app which means that it is very likely that tens of millions of friends were seeing stories in their newsfeed.



Target – Give with Target

A similar theme with Target, who gave $2.5 million to schools in the US by building a simple Facebook integration designed to produce newsfeed stories showing the schools their friends were nominating and voting for. This tapped into people’s sense of social identity – what helps us feel part of a community, group or movement. The newsfeed stories then helped people build relationships by facilitating conversations between friends about different schools. Thanks to the simple integration and excellent newsfeed story design, Target gave away the $2.5 million long before the deadline was up.


So that is six recent examples I like. I’ll post more as I find them in the future and I’d love to find out about them from you! Any other examples that you love?



Jul 12

A New Creative Canvas

Here is a talk I gave a few months ago explaining why Facebook is a new type of canvas for creative marketing. Let me know what you think!