We’re thrilled to share our interview with Chelsea Maclin, Bumble’s VP of Marketing. She’s the woman steering the incredibly inclusive messaging of technology that’s changing the way we network, make friends and date.
Chelsea, tell us about your role at Bumble!
I’m the Vice President of Marketing at Bumble. This means that I lead our brand marketing strategies and initiatives, through regional and international campaigns, influencer and experiential marketing, and integrated brand partnerships. Prior to my role at Bumble, I worked at and consulted for B2C and B2B tech companies, where I helped drive sustainable growth.
I joined Bumble in 2016, before we launched friend-finding mode BFF and our professional networking vertical Bizz. I’ve loved every moment of working alongside this talented team, and it makes a huge difference that we have a real mission: as a company, we strive to empower women and help end misogyny.
How do you find stories that resonate across your enormous audiences?
We now have over 60 million users in 150 countries! With the incredible growth of our community, we’ve seen an increase in success stories across Bumble Date, BFF, and Bizz. We’ve found that our users are happy to talk about their Bumble experiences, and these stories are typically submitted organically via our website and social media platforms.
One of the most memorable success stories I came across this year was from a woman named Audrey, who joined Bumble BFF following her recent move to Chicago. Shortly after, she matched with Allison, and the two instantly clicked. Not only are they now besties, but Audrey will be in Allison’s wedding as a bridesmaid. This Bumble BFF match resonated with a lot of people because it can be hard to find friends as an adult, especially when moving to a new city.
Our users are at the heart of everything we do. In one of our most recent campaigns, we wanted to highlight Bumble’s vibrant community; our original plan was to showcase the 100 NYC-based users who inspired us the most, but we ended up selecting 112 because we received such an influx of inspirational stories, we couldn’t choose.
Our team was deliberate and intentional in every detail of this campaign, including the choice to feature diverse community members from every walk of life. We received an overwhelmingly positive response and are now taking this campaign worldwide.
What connects the messaging of BFF, Bizz and Date?
Bumble is mission-driven, founded on the values of kindness, respect, and empowerment; these are integrated into everything we do as a company. We also want to change the world by helping to end misogyny, which is no easy feat! On Bumble, women make the first move, and have the chance to set the tone of the conversation, which usually leads to a more equal relationship dynamic from the start.
We’ve heard from Bumble users time and time again that they feel more empowered when they make the first move. The confidence this engenders can have a positive ripple effect on other areas of your life.
"We also want to change the world by helping to end misogyny, which is no easy feat!"
Bumble does a lot of off-line and experiential marketing – are these increasingly important for tech companies?
‘IRL’ events have long been a focus for us, and our team has always valued having a physical presence in communities worldwide. When we launched in 2014, we focused heavily on guerilla marketing, and would hand out Bumble merchandise at bars and stickers at college football tailgates.
We’ve continued showcasing this with OOH campaigns and experiential marketing like our Bumble Hive pop-ups. These are spaces where our users can connect in a fun, interactive space that offers entertainment, drinks and snacks, and interactive sessions with entrepreneurs and influencers. We think of it as a physical extension of the Bumble HQ. In early 2018, we hosted Bumble Hive at Melrose Place in Los Angeles. This was the third Bumble Hive; previous ones popped up in London and New York in 2017.
I think it’s important for companies that primarily live in the digital space to create real life touch points with their audience and build memorable experiences that help keep the brand top-of-mind and relevant in every market.
Bumble’s Real New Yorkers campaign will be rolling out globally.
What marketing approaches do your millennial and Gen Z audiences respond to?
We know that the Gen Z community respects and enjoys interacting with authentic, socially-conscious brands, and crave interesting online-to-offline experiences. These insights certainly help inform our decisions as a brand.
A great example of this is our 2018 partnership with HBO, where we hosted a “stay home to the movies” event for our users. We took over an iconic brownstone in Manhattan and invited guests to enjoy an at-home movie night experience watching HBO’s exclusive shows. This was a hugely successful activation for us because the experience resonated with our young, socially-connected core audience that’s always looking for unusual things to do.
We’ll continue to keep our finger on the pulse of both Gen Z and millennials to understand each generation’s needs and aspirations and be able to deliver quality experiences.
"The Gen Z community respects and enjoys interacting with authentic, socially-conscious brands"
So aligning with social/political hot topics core to the company’s values?
Absolutely. Bumble’s core values are kindness, accountability, equality, respect, growth, and courage. These values are a part of our DNA, and will continue to guide us along with our north star and mission to help end misogyny and to create a kinder internet in all corners of the world. By keeping these values at the helm of everything we do, Bumble has been able to change the way people connect online.
Our efforts to pass House Bill 2789 in Texas, which outlaws sending unsolicited, sexually-explicit photos online, is a great example of that. With the passing of this bill, we’re proud that Texas is stepping to the forefront of online safety and accountability. On Bumble, everyone is held accountable for their actions. We’ve banned shirtless bathroom mirror selfies, gun photos, hate speech, and we have a zero tolerance policy for any form of harassment or abuse.
Can you tell us a little bit about the rest of your team?
Yes! Our marketing team at Bumble is robust – we have field, content, creative, digital, social, and PR are all included in the marketing umbrella. The brand marketing team works across all of these teams to sustain healthy growth for Bumble. There are SWAT teams dedicated to specific channels and verticals, but we all work collaboratively on relevant Bumble Date, BFF, and Bizz campaigns.
What marketing tools help your team?
This isn’t specifically a marketing tool, but we keep a robust marketing calendar, which enables our team to take a quick but comprehensive view of the previous and upcoming campaigns, no matter how big or small.
At Bumble, collaboration is a huge part of our culture, and Slack is another tool that serves as a space where team members share their ideas and have creative discussions. Oftentimes, these ideas actually come to life through product innovations and global campaigns. I also like to meet new people ‘IRL’ and to hear feedback from our community; Bumble Bizz has been an incredibly useful way to engage in creative, productive conversations.
Our team also uses Spredfast to manage our social media channels and track analytics. We always want to be serving relevant content for our followers on our social platforms, and Spredfast is a great tool that helps us uncover insights about what resonates with our audience and what doesn’t.
What are you most excited about in marketing 2020 and beyond?
I’m most excited to see how the marketing world responds to the next generation of consumers. Research has shown that Gen Z cares deeply about authenticity and social impact when it comes to brands. I’m looking forward to the shifts in marketing strategy as both new and more established companies cater to this crucial group.
What advice do you have for the Linktree community?
Knowing your audience deeply — and their learning their needs — is the most important step to growing and connecting with your own tribe!
I like to keep up with the latest books and articles by industry leaders to understand where the sector is headed. Growth Hacker Marketing by Ryan Holiday, which supports the thesis that marketing is a mix of art and science, made quite an impact on me.
Let’s take a look at how Bumble uses Linktree…
Bumble's honey-toned Linktree
They’re a stylish bunch over at Bumble HQ (you can check out their beautifully designed offices in Architectural Digest) and that really comes through in their Linktree, which is all about that yellow shade they pretty much own these days!
Clear call-to-action comes through in the copy of each link, letting the visitor navigate with ease. Social buttons beneath the links make sure audiences can grow across all platforms, even if they only started on Instagram.
A big thanks to Chelsea and the Bumble team for chatting to us. With powerhouse marketing teams using Linktree around the globe, we know there are some rad insights to share with our community. Who do you want to hear from next? Let us know by sliding into our DMs or dropping us an email – you’ll find all our deets on our Linktree.