Room For Growth

Join WillowTree experts Billie Loewen and Billy Fischer for a deep dive into growth marketing. In each episode, Billie and Billy will discuss the latest news and topics in lifecycle marketing, chatting with a wide array of guests including WillowTree colleagues, client-partners, and industry thought leaders. Let's grow!

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Your Hosts
Billie Loewen

Billie partners with leading brands to execute results-driven, mobile-focused growth strategies and campaigns. She leads the growth team and works closely with clients to recommend lifecycle marketing and product strategies that measurably increase acquisition, engagement, conversion, retention, and loyalty. She is passionate about maximizing growth by delivering personalized customer experiences powered by cutting-edge technology and user insights.

After launching the growth practice at WillowTree, Billie developed partnerships with 15+ mobile SaaS providers, including Braze, mParticle, Segment, Mixpanel, and more. Billie holds a degree in journalism from the University of Montana and an MBA from the Darden School of Business from the University of Virginia.

Billy Fischer

Billy is responsible for managing client relationships and providing strategic consulting for growth marketing initiatives across WillowTree’s portfolio. He partners with clients’ organizational leadership to guide them through the process of integrating people, processes, and technology to deliver best-in-products and experiences.

With 15+ years of agency experience in digital and marketing, Billy has established expertise in transforming customer acquisition, engagement, and retention strategies for some of the most admired consumer brands in the world. Billy has a Communications Arts and Public Relations degree from Ohio Northern University.


Room For Growth, Episode 22
Episode 22 (46 min)
Voice for Authenticity feat. Author and Hollywood Speech Coach Samara Bay
November 30, 2022

The six different “likes” in the English language each have a functional purpose, explains speech and dialect coach Samara Bay, whose A-list clientele includes the likes of (ahem…) Rachel McAdams, Pierce Brosnan, Gal Gadot, and Keegan-Michael Key. For Samara, identity and voice are intertwined. Her work asks listeners to reimagine what we think strength, warmth, power, and passion sound like in settings that include the boardroom, big screen, campaign trail, and beyond. 
Samara’s forthcoming book Permission to Speak discusses voice standards and stories, historical biases, and how to establish ownership of our own voices. With Billy and Billie, she explores how to bring passion and joy into authentic messaging and public speaking, dialing up or down the energies we bring into a room or marketing tactic. Samara also shares her experiences as a young actor and mentor for women that has shaped her approach to speech coaching. Grab some tea with honey to go along with this episode: you’ll probably be talking about it for quite a while.

Room For Growth, Episode 21
Episode 21  (46 min)
The B2B Digital Revolution feat. AB InBev’s Jason Lambert
November 23, 2022

Jason Lambert, VP of Beyond Labs and BEES at AB InBev, thinks of a customer data platform (CDP) as a circulatory system: it powers the instantaneous flow of data to all business functions.  It’s not the “perfect” metaphor, he says, but it does summarize the impact of a platform that’s become a buzzword for marketers.

Part of Jason’s role at the largest and oldest brewing company in the world involves a few more buzzwords that we can definitely get behind — empowerment, transparency, and inclusivity within the B2B ecommerce space. With over 500 iconic brands and 10 million small-to-medium-sized businesses (SMB) in the AB InBev portfolio, Jason wants to solve pain points and elevate the experiences of these worldwide retail partners.

Enter BEES: it’s a B2B e-commerce and SaaS platform co-created by AB InBev and Ambev that is reinventing the digital ecosystem for retailers through highly personalized reward and loyalty programs, expanded portfolio visibility, flexible fulfillment, and more. As the platform matures, Jason creates space for even more tech innovation at BEES’ incubator, Beyond Labs, and in his role as an adjunct professor of product management at the Columbia Business School.

Here, Billy and Jason discuss best-in-class, consumer-grade platforms, and processes in the massive yet oft-neglected B2B market. Our host and guest also explore the hyper-local yet global nuances of the beverage industry, and how to incorporate a modern tech stack and business development strategy into a 650-year-old commercial business. It’s a deep dive into martech that will leave you feeling all the Budweiser.

Room For Growth, Episode 20
Episode 20  (34 min)
Food is Fun feat. Lynn Blashford, CMO of White Castle
November 16, 2022

What drives the deep craving for a White Castle burger? Why do “Cravers” wait in line for hours, even days, before the opening of a new location? And how has the 101-year-old, family-owned hamburger chain — the first in America — facilitated collabs with the likes of PUMA and Wu-Tang Clan? For Chief Marketing Officer Lynn Blashford, it’s a blend of the Castle’s distinct product offerings and unrivaled Craver passion that creates a perfect recipe for the brand to reach new heights in quick service retail (QSR) locations in the Midwest and coast-to-coast go-to grocery markets

Lynn and Billy discuss the niche, nuanced definition of a “cult-like” brand, the importance of trial-and-error in building loyalty programs, and how White Castle has among the lowest employee turnover in the industry. Word to the wise before you start this episode: make sure you have a 10-pack of sliders heating up in the microwave. You’ll definitely be craving them by the end of this delectable episode. 

Room For Growth, Episode 19
Episode 19  (49 min)
Always in Experimentation Mode feat. Ashley Elleby of Amazon Music
November 9, 2022

Ashley Elleby wants Amazon Music to differentiate rather than duplicate. As Global Head of Lifecycle Marketing at Amazon Music, she drives customer awareness of and engagement with the retailer’s ad-free and unlimited music streaming platform for Prime members. It’s a tall order, but as Ashley discusses, her bias toward action comes with a big reward: it’s the same “no fear” mindset she had as a college athlete, engineering student, MBA grad, fashion founder, former Google marketer, and mentor for underrepresented communities in tech.

We’ll explore how Ashley helps Amazon Music surprise and delight its customers amid the cacophonous, competitive landscape of music streaming services. We discuss metrics to determine customer LTV, the benefits of speaking the language of engineers, marketers, and executive leadership, and how to hit the mute button on all of our annoying internal “What ifs?”

Room For Growth, Episode 18
Episode 18  (24 min)
Rule Number 1: Don’t Be Creepy feat. BilliexBilly
November 2, 2022

Ever get the feeling that Instagram is listening to you? It might be — or it might not. In the words of one of our favorite Facebook relationship statuses, it’s complicated. Here, our experts explore how customer data platforms (CDPs) can take out the “ick” factor for brands in search of more personalized, automated customer experiences.

Guided by the use cases proposed in the MarTech article “19 CDP Use Cases That Can Annoy or Engage Your Audiences,” Billie and Billy break down when marketing and re-marketing tactics are creepy vs. cool, and when they’re annoying vs. appreciated. We’ll explore how to take the pushy out of push notifications, the differences between CDPs and CRMs and CEPs, and examples of when location tracking works like gangbusters — or when it breaks up the party. Let’s not make it weird, k?

Room For Growth, Episode 17
Episode 17  (48 min)
Web3 is a Vibe feat. Serial Entrepreneur David Leiberman
October 26, 2022

For David Leiberman, Web3 and music share more similarities than differences. Notably, they connect, empower, and inspire. That’s at the core of the three chart-topping apps that David launched with co-founder Sammy Rubin: the kids’s music and illustration app Mibblio, short-form video creation and editing platform Triller, and Disney Karaoke: Frozen (no explanation needed). Here, David reveals how he and co-creator Sammy Rubin’s products garnered accolades like the highest-grossing app in 100 countries and a surprise feature in the iOS App Store. Hint: it involves a little bit of marketing magic.
Now, David’s about to launch another big product: Think next-gen Discord — a chat platform designed to empower and connect Web3 and NFT communities that put data ownership back in the hands of the individual. Did we just hear a collective gasp from growth marketers everywhere?

Room For Growth, Episode 16
Episode 16  (26 min)
Burning Questions feat. Billie Loewen and the WillowTree Growth Team
October 19, 2022

What happens when you get 60 lifecycle marketers together in one room? Find out in this week's episode that offers a rare window into the energetic and talented team that makes up WillowTree’s Growth Marketing practice.

In our first segment, "Cool Sh*t Stories," two teammates discuss dating app messaging qualms and QSR client work.

In our second segment, "Burning Questions," the team launches rapid-fire questions to Billie, which she answers with quintessential candor.

It's spicy. It's entertaining. It's worth a listen.

Room For Growth, Episode 15
Episode 15  (21 min)
Growth Marketing Master Class - Holiday Guide 2022
October 12, 2022

We know that the upcoming Fall and Winter holidays are the Olympic games of marketing. Today’s episode is a special gift from Billie and Billy to our listeners.

Billie and Billy’s sage advice will guide 2022 holiday campaigns, aid in decision-making, and suggest incredibly intentional messaging and frequency choices. ‘Tis the season for smashing success.

* Warning for parents with small children and hyper-intelligent pets: episode contains spoilers about Santa Claus. 

Room For Growth, Episode 14
Episode 14  (54 min)
Getting Gritty feat. WillowTree's Caitlin Watson
October 5, 2022

Being both a beloved people manager and a lifecycle marketing visionary is a major balancing act. How do we find the balance? Our guest this week, WillowTree’s Associate Growth Director Caitlin Watson shares her secret: it’s all about grit.

Growing up in Philadelphia and being raised by two "gritty" individuals shaped how Caitlin sees the world and approaches her varied roles as a marketer and manager. We discuss how this same learned characteristic of grit can make us better marketers and extend to our everyday lives outside the workplace.

Room For Growth, Episode 13
Episode 13  (56 min)
Celebrating Strategy Season with WillowTree’s Jarrod Cady
September 28, 2022

In today’s episode, we discuss all things strategy with our guest, Jarrod Cady, SVP of Commercial Strategy and Operations at WillowTree. Jarrod has been crowned "The King of Frameworks," for decision-making, analysis, and communication. He sits at the intersection of go-to-market strategy, business development, and delivery and brings a strategic perspective to WillowTree clients' businesses at every step of the customer journey by imaging what is possible and delivering a strong point of view on how to execute.

Jarrod is a trusted advisor to clients and executives alike, and this episode gives a glimpse of what it’s like to work with him. If you’re looking to overhaul your commercial or engagement strategy, use this conversation as a starting point. And if you’re going to take anything from this episode, let it be Jarrod’s advice to make friends with the people who can help you intimately understand the entire picture of the business that you're running or a part of.

Room For Growth, Episode 12
Episode 12  (62 min)
Nurturing Your Network feat. Braze’s Matt McRoberts
September 21, 2022

Why does “networking” get such a bum rap? This week’s guest, Matt McRoberts, SVP of Global Alliances at Braze — one of our favorite partners at one of our favorite platforms — explores why too many of us are “fair-weather networkers,” leveraging our contacts only when we need something. Matt shares a better, more consistent approach — cultivating and connecting with our professional communities digitally and in person aiming for authentic, win-win relationships.

Matt is one of the OG Braze employees — starting way back when Braze was still Appboy — and has watched the platform grow into a publicly-traded company and a leading provider of automated and personalized omnichannel messaging.

In his role, Matt oversees the ecosystem strategy at Braze focusing on technology integrations, regional reselling, and channel development as well as partnerships with MSPs including GSIs, consultancies, and agencies. All of the above is ultimately about relationships — with customers and your professional network — and Matt is here to demonstrate how great relationships are forged and nurtured over time.

Room For Growth, Episode 11
Episode 11  (27 min)
Growth Marketing Master Class - “Is it Time to Overhaul Our Loyalty Program?”
September 14, 2022

It’s that time of year: Q4 is typically when brands set their vision for the coming year and take a hard look at their loyalty programs. Is it time for an overhaul?

Billie and Billy dive into the reasons why it may or may not be the right time to shake things up. Whether trying to regain market share, revisit your tech stack, or re-examine how loyalty programs play out across various platforms, this episode is all about unlocking an exceptional personalization and omnichannel strategy around loyalty.

Room For Growth, Episode 10
Episode 10  (57 min)
The Future of Digital Analytics with Industry Leader Adam Greco
September 7, 2022

We had the pleasure of speaking with an analytics industry veteran, Amplitude product evangelist, and author of the definitive book on Adobe Analytics, Adam Greco. Joining Billie and Billy for their deep dive with Adam is a special co-host, Jeremy Stern, who leads our Analytics practice at WillowTree.

In this episode, you’ll hear about Adam's decision to leave his role in consulting to become a product evangelist for Amplitude, and his insights on how product and marketing teams can increase collaboration. Adam also does some vision casting, predicting a massive convergence of digital analytics platforms in the future. Whether you’re just starting out in analytics or leading a large product team, this episode is an invaluable resource.

Room For Growth, Episode 9
Episode 9  (62 min)
Redefining Success feat. Author and CEO Tim Schurrer
August 31, 2022

From singer-songwriter to author-CEO? In this week’s episode, Billie and Billy speak with Tim Schurrer of David Novak Leadership, and unpack his untraditional career path, exploring the ways that failure shapes us and the benefits of servant leadership.

Tim's book, The Secret Society of Success: Stop Chasing the Spotlight and Learn to Enjoy Your Work (and Life) Again, reframes what it means to be successful. Sharing powerful stories from CEOs (Apple’s Tim Cook and Ford’s Alan Mulally), all-star athletes (LeBron James), and cultural icons (Fred Rogers), Tim teaches readers how to capture meaningful and sustainable success by joining what he calls The Secret Society—a community of people who know how to make an impact, whether or not they have the spotlight.

Room For Growth, Episode 8
Episode 8  (51 min)
Intentionally Transparent Marketing feat. Ohio Liquor's Lorraine Terry and Kristen Castle
August 24, 2022

This week we are joined by Kristen Castle and Lorraine Terry, two talented marketers from WillowTree client Ohio Liquor—a public-private partnership that helps promote safe consumption of liquor in the State of Ohio. Kristen and Lorraine share how OHLQ creates stellar marketing experiences while safely promoting the sale of high-proof liquor products and directing profits toward statewide economic development.

In this episode, Billie reveals how OHLQ achieved record-high performance rates (in terms of click-through, engagement, and attribution) and OHLQ discloses its unique tech stack. Our liquor experts also share their go-to cocktail and mocktail recipes. Meet us at the bar for an educational and “spirited” fifty minutes of marketing insights.

Room For Growth, Episode 7
Episode 7  (22 min)
Growth Marketing Master Class - “What Platform Do We Implement First?”
August 17, 2022

Billie and Billy are trusted advisors to some of the most influential marketing and IT professionals in the country, and they hear the same questions time and again. In each Growth Marketing Master Class segment, they’ll dig into these burning FAQs, offering guidance, industry expertise, and a little attitude.

For our inaugural Master Class segment, we’re tackling the single MOST frequently asked question: Is there a “right” order of operations for platform implementation, and if so, what comes first? The answer may surprise you.

Room For Growth, Episode 6
Episode 6  (55 min)
Creating Digital Bidding Experiences feat. LiveAuctioneers’ Phil Michaelson
August 10, 2022

The most powerful digital platforms are ones that effectively capture a live, real-world experience.

That’s exactly what this week’s Room For Growth guest, Phil Michaelson, has done as CEO of LiveAuctioneers, a digital auction house solution for buying and selling one-of-a-kind treasures.

Translating the fast and furious experience of a live auction into web and mobile is complex, but Phil credits the success of the platform to a strong, cross-functional team that includes research, design, product, and advanced analytics.

Throughout the pandemic, consumer interest in estate sales has grown exponentially, and Phil joins Billie and Billy to discuss how his team examines search data and recent trends to reach this growing market and compete with analog auction experiences. As a long-time entrepreneur, Phil is always thinking about the best channels to leverage and how to fulfill user needs on both sides of the marketplace.

From jewelry to gazebos to knights in shining armor to David Hasselhoff memorabilia, LiveAuctioneers’ customers are always bidding on something completely unique. You can hear about all things niche eCommerce and more in this episode, so be sure to tune in.

Room For Growth, Episode 5
Episode 5  (50 min)
Transactional vs. Emotional Brand Experiences feat. Hanesbrands’ Alvin Chow
August 3, 2022

How can a company drive growth and become a differentiator through brand positioning? Exceptional branding has the power to impact top-line KPIs,  increasing revenue and customer engagement across both traditional and digital media.

This week we spoke to Alvin Chow, VP of Global Brand Marketing at Hanesbrands Inc., about all things brand. Before his current role, Alvin worked for powerhouse brands such as Coke, Nike, and McDonald’s. Fun fact: you can thank him for the existence of indulgences like the McFlurry and McGriddle.

To Alvin, an exceptional brand creates a rockstar proposition, consistent global experience, and an emotional connection with consumers. Billie and Alvin discuss how brands can shift from transactional to emotional relationships, as well as the challenges of balancing acquisition and retention efforts and measuring awareness-level KPIs through traditional media.

Room For Growth, Episode 4
Episode 4  (46 min)
Starting with Problem Over Platform feat. WillowTree’s Margo Bulka
July 27, 2022

Traveling and learning about communities across the globe helps this week’s guest Margo Bulka better understand how people interact with technology—and she uses that perspective every day in her role as WillowTree’s Product Strategy Director to envision best-in-class digital experiences.

Billy and Billie share their insights on the current crowded ecosystem of MarTech, and how many companies fall into the trap of choosing a platform to grow their digital product before fully understanding the perspective of the user. To prevent WillowTree’s clients from making this understandable misstep, Margo employs a lean "Jobs to Be Done" process to fully understand the problems that users have and how they can use the digital product to solve them. Spoiler alert: getting in front of users and learning about their problems doesn’t have to be a big, long cycle.

Margo also recalls from her travel experience the dominance of super apps in the eastern hemisphere, and how functionality consolidation goes beyond apps but also into operating systems. Finally, Margo, Billy, and Billie share how the team at WillowTree brought a bold vision to life in partnership with Pepsi for the 2022 Super Bowl Halftime Show mobile app.

Room For Growth, Episode 3
Episode 3  (47 min)
True Brand Love with Hardee’s and Carl’s Jr. feat. CKE’s Jason Seeley and Apryl Felver
July 20, 2022

Airline miles, hotel points, fast food stars—no matter what industry you’re in, loyalty programs play an important role. Taking your brand’s loyalty program from “earn and burn” to “true brand love” is no easy task, but this week’s guests from CKE Restaurants—the parent company of the beloved Hardee’s and Carl’s Jr. QSR brands—have built an impressive track record of brand love and loyalty.

Jason Seeley, Sr Director - Digital Strategy and Integrated Technology at CKE Restaurants, and Apryl Felver, Director of Loyalty and CRM, launched a revamped rewards program for CKE Restaurants in 2022, moving from concept to live in just nine months. Along the way, they learned directly from their consumers how to create a loyalty program that would exceed expectations and differentiate their brands with unique campaigns, including partnerships with Fandango for the recent release of Jurassic World: Dominion. While taking the burden off restaurant operators by expanding features in their digital properties, Jason and Apryl are also exploring how to enhance their on-premise loyalty experience.

Given the growing opportunities and ever-evolving technology in the loyalty space, you won’t want to miss our guests’ insights in this episode!

Room For Growth, Episode 2
Episode 2  (49 min)
Shifting Dynamics in Publishing feat. Penguin Random House's Anne Bono
July 13, 2022

If you’ve purchased a book in the past 10 years, chances are you’ve picked up a product made by Penguin Random House. On this week’s episode of Room for Growth, Penguin Random House’s Director and VP of Growth Marketing, Anne Bono joins the podcast to share insights from her 20+ years of gutsy, fascinating experience as a “homegrown” marketer.

Anne discusses how being an early adopter of marketing channels has given her a wide range of experience across industries, leading to her current responsibility of growing the Penguin Random House (PRH) brand. She explains how PRH stood up as a direct-to-consumer arm during the pandemic, and how they use customer data to make product recommendations based on niche interests. As a Latina and a member of the LGBTQIA+ community, Anne is deeply passionate about how organizations take action to include underrepresented identities beyond window dressing, and she gives candid advice on how marketers can own it when they make mistakes in their efforts to promote diversity and inclusion.

A self-described “violently happy” individual, Anne shares all the above and more with Billie and Billy on this week’s episode – you don’t want to miss it.

Room For Growth, Episode 1
Episode 1  (44 min)
Taking Live Sports Engagement from Air Ball to Slam Dunk featuring Alyssa Baker
July 6, 2022

Fan experience is top of mind for any marketer involved in the sports world, but very few brands have nailed the strategy and execution of omnichannel fan engagement in live sports. In the pilot episode of Room for Growth, Billie and Billy are joined by WillowTree Growth Manager Alyssa Baker to talk about her experience managing touchpoints such as email, push, and in-app notifications to engage NCAA fans throughout the March Madness tournament. Alyssa shares how her team balanced a hybrid of manual and automated messaging, controlled notification frequency, and adjusted their strategy based on how fans responded to the broader context of the tournament.

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