Interview With Larry Kim

Interview With Larry Kim

Everyone, get excited.

Today, we had the amazing opportunity to catch up with Larry Kim, founder and CEO of MobileMonkey and founder and former CEO of WordStream, now owned by Gannett.

MobileMonkey is a Facebook marketing platform utilizing Messenger used by millions of users globally. We’ve all heard of chatbots - why not get the best info from the top genius behind them!?

Larry Kim is giving a talk at this year’s Web Summit, tomorrow! This is the perfect opportunity to be briefed on how to save money with your company or startup while ~ reigniting ~ your marketing and engagement!

The talk, “The four growth marketing principles you need to create your unicorn”, will be given for all the best in the industry to see at PandaConf tomorrow, Thursday, November 8th at 1:45pm - 2:05pm.

Startup Tuesday: Hi Larry! We are so excited ~ and honored ~ to chat with you! You are a marketing legend and we can’t wait to pick your brain!

You have a lot of experience when it comes to building an awesome business from the ground … up! We love the fact that you started WordStream at a Panera Bread restaurant (love their coffee!) and sold it - just this year - for $150M to Gannett. That’s amazing. Congrats!

So, having all of this experience, from bootstrap to unicorn, what is the single most important piece of advice you have for anyone who is sitting at a Panera Bread right now, working on their business plan - while listening to their family and friends repeatedly saying, “What are you doing? Go get a day job!”?

Larry Kim: Wow that hits pretty close to home! Believe it or not, my lack of a “real job” was a huge issue for my in-laws.

They were pretty mad that my wife was working as a medical doctor while I was pursuing this ‘fake job’. Sadly, even as the company started to grow initially, they just dug-in. So, I have empathy for people who might be going through that kind of negativity.

A way to think of this in a positive light is to consider it as a fantastic free source of motivation to work  hard and succeed, because you probably don’t want your in-laws saying “I told you so” for the rest of your life. And the great news is if you generate a 9 or 10 figure exit, they’ll quit bugging you, pretty quick!

OK - my one piece of advice to aspiring founders is to be super-picky. Basically it takes a long time to grow a successful business.

Since start-ups fail most of the time, don’t just jump on any startup idea - it has to be truly remarkable.

Beware of founders disease - overestimating the novelty/value of your idea, while underestimating the competition/effort required to make it successful. There are just so many donkey startups out there - make sure you’re not one of them from the get-go!

Be brave, startup founders!

Be brave, startup founders!

Startup Tuesday: So, let’s just get right to it. Why chatbots? Why now?

There are more daily active users on popular messaging platforms than social media, yet less than 1% of companies have any ability to engage with their customers on those platforms. And the engagement rates of chat marketing is 100x higher than the average engagement rates in organic social media or email marketing.

I thought that was crazy, so I started MobileMonkey, a popular messaging platform used by millions of users worldwide.

Think MobileMonkey as a “MailChimp for chat” - a platform for helping you:

  • Compose chat messages to send to your list

  • Grow & manage your contact lists

  • Tools for chat-blasting content to your customers.

I think people should jump on this bandwagon because this is the next big growth marketing channel for the next 5 years is chat marketing - like email marketing was so transformational 20 years ago.

There’s a huge advantage of adopting new marketing channels early on -- it will never be easier to accumulate contacts and generate ridiculously game-changing ROI.

The good news is that MobileMonkey has a free, non-expiring edition that you can sign up for today!

Startup Tuesday: Why do you think that less than 1% of businesses are using chatbots - despite the fact that there are more people on messaging apps than social media AND the fact that messenger campaigns receive 60% to 80% open rates (versus way lower open rates on email)?

Larry: Chatbots are super confusing. When you think of chatbots, you’re probably thinking of those personal assistants like Siri or Alexa.

And so when marketers ask themselves, do I need a chatbot for my business? They usually say: no. And, they’re right. Most companies absolutely do not need to create a Siri or Alexa for their business.

The confusing thing is that we’re finding is that Facebook Messenger chatbot marketing has almost nothing to do with personal assistants, and is way more about top-of-the-funnel lead generation:

Basically you need to think of it a content distribution channel like email marketing or social media, except that it is +100x more engaging than social media or email marketing.

Once people figure this out, they’re hooked!

Startup Tuesday: We’ve heard you talk about chatbot blasts and we love them! Could you explain what these are and why they are better than email marketing?

Larry: Chat blasts (note: this is just some term I’ve made up) are basically like email blasts, but you’re sending out your content via messenger. But it’s not like email marketing. The engagement rates are a gazillion times higher!

Here are a few example chat blasts that I’ve recently sent out:


I send them out once or twice a week.

Startup Tuesday: And, finally, since chatbots are obviously the future ~ what’s the easiest way to build one?  

Larry: Millions of users are leveraging MobileMonkey chatbot tools to engage with their customers every day via chat. It’s a free product (doesn’t expire) so give it a try today!

Make sure to grab a hot seat at Larry’s talk entitled “The four growth marketing principles you need to create your unicorn” at PandaConf tomorrow, Thursday, November 8th at 1:45pm - 2:05pm. You don’t want to miss it ~ because you want to create a unicorn, don’t you?

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