This week we sat down with Will Flaherty, VP, Growth at Ro, a D2C telemedicine startup that’s grown from three to seventy team members in the past year and seen revenue increase by 720% since January.

November 9, 2018

Can tell us a little about yourself?

I’ve worked in customer acquisition for seven years now, starting my career at SeatGeek where I initially helped grow the mobile app, then expand the offline brand later in my tenure there. I joined Rent The Runway in 2017, again focusing on driving customer acquisition and growth, with a special focus on the subscription product. I left RTR three months ago to join Ro- it’s a direct to consumer full stack telemedicine service. We’ve built the underlying technology and network of physicians to facilitate digital interactions with patients through an amazing online interface, video and phone calls. So you can immediately speak with a physician, receive diagnosis and have a prescription written and fulfilled digitally to your door in a couple of days. Our customers love us because the experience is just so much faster and more convenient than the traditional model of receiving meds.

 

What’s your biggest priority right now?

The business is only a year old, and our newest brand, Zero, launched just six weeks ago. So I’m thinking about how to run the most efficient marketing campaign by testing channels rigorously and thoughtfully, with a view to finding channels that will scale reliably over time. There are so many marketing channels available to us, and we need to master the ones that are relevant to our audience, and focus solely on those.

 

So which channels are working for Ro?

Television has been a great performing channel for us. We’re reaching people there that we may not have reached otherwise, through Facebook for example. And because our network of physicians and pharmacies covers about 90% of the US, a national TV campaign makes sense for us.

 

Any specific TV advice for our Insider group?

With TV, you have to be incredibly thoughtful about your creative content and delivery. Make sure that your ads explain the product well, and deliver the value proposition clearly. It’s nice to inject humor and levity, which helps build brand equity. But it’s important to mention that you don’t have to get your TV ads pitch-perfect on the first attempt, it may take some time. And believe it or not, there are ways to approach TV production that doesn’t cost the earth. Happy to talk more in the Slack group with anyone who wants to know more.

 

So TV is working well. What other channels are important to Ro?

Yes, TV is just one component of our marketing strategy. We’re being very thoughtful around the full funnel experience. For example, we’re spending a lot of time on improving our landing pages, and improving conversion with paid and search traffic in mind; we’re thinking about optimizations at the site level that are tied very deeply to what we know about our traffic and it’s source. For example, we want to be present in web queries where people are seeking health information, and creating content that maps to these queries.

 

Final thoughts?

D2C businesses need to go through a trial and error phase to figure out which channels can produce sustainable growth. A lot of people reach out to me with random pitches, proposals and plans, so it’s hard to know where to direct my energy. For me, it’s important to put blinders on and only focus on the channels that matter. I’ve found that saying ‘no’ is a skill that requires some refinement and practice over time; that’s my most valuable habit, because there are so many ways to get distracted. Overall, we need to be clear about where to spend our time and effort. For Ro, we know that the consumer shift to telemedecine is inevitable over the next few years, so we’ll aim to focus on only the things that will move the needle the most.

This week we sat down with Will Flaherty, VP, Growth at Ro, a D2C telemedicine startup that’s grown from three to seventy team members in the past year and seen revenue increase by 720% since January.

November 9, 2018

Can tell us a little about yourself?

I’ve worked in customer acquisition for seven years now, starting my career at SeatGeek where I initially helped grow the mobile app, then expand the offline brand later in my tenure there. I joined Rent The Runway in 2017, again focusing on driving customer acquisition and growth, with a special focus on the subscription product. I left RTR three months ago to join Ro- it’s a direct to consumer full stack telemedicine service. We’ve built the underlying technology and network of physicians to facilitate digital interactions with patients through an amazing online interface, video and phone calls. So you can immediately speak with a physician, receive diagnosis and have a prescription written and fulfilled digitally to your door in a couple of days. Our customers love us because the experience is just so much faster and more convenient than the traditional model of receiving meds.

 

What’s your biggest priority right now?

The business is only a year old, and our newest brand, Zero, launched just six weeks ago. So I’m thinking about how to run the most efficient marketing campaign by testing channels rigorously and thoughtfully, with a view to finding channels that will scale reliably over time. There are so many marketing channels available to us, and we need to master the ones that are relevant to our audience, and focus solely on those.

 

So which channels are working for Ro?

Television has been a great performing channel for us. We’re reaching people there that we may not have reached otherwise, through Facebook for example. And because our network of physicians and pharmacies covers about 90% of the US, a national TV campaign makes sense for us.

 

Any specific TV advice for our Insider group?

With TV, you have to be incredibly thoughtful about your creative content and delivery. Make sure that your ads explain the product well, and deliver the value proposition clearly. It’s nice to inject humor and levity, which helps build brand equity. But it’s important to mention that you don’t have to get your TV ads pitch-perfect on the first attempt, it may take some time. And believe it or not, there are ways to approach TV production that doesn’t cost the earth. Happy to talk more in the Slack group with anyone who wants to know more.

 

So TV is working well. What other channels are important to Ro?

Yes, TV is just one component of our marketing strategy. We’re being very thoughtful around the full funnel experience. For example, we’re spending a lot of time on improving our landing pages, and improving conversion with paid and search traffic in mind; we’re thinking about optimizations at the site level that are tied very deeply to what we know about our traffic and it’s source. For example, we want to be present in web queries where people are seeking health information, and creating content that maps to these queries.

 

Final thoughts?

D2C businesses need to go through a trial and error phase to figure out which channels can produce sustainable growth. A lot of people reach out to me with random pitches, proposals and plans, so it’s hard to know where to direct my energy. For me, it’s important to put blinders on and only focus on the channels that matter. I’ve found that saying ‘no’ is a skill that requires some refinement and practice over time; that’s my most valuable habit, because there are so many ways to get distracted. Overall, we need to be clear about where to spend our time and effort. For Ro, we know that the consumer shift to telemedecine is inevitable over the next few years, so we’ll aim to focus on only the things that will move the needle the most.

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