Tips on how to scale with speed and stamina. (Hint: Relationships are key.)

[Jason Williamson, VP and global head at Oracle for Startups, and Mika Kayt, CEO and founder of Outgage, during a fireside chat at Startup Grind’s North America Summit on Sept. 15.]

No matter how you slice it, relationships matter. Especially for startups. That was a key theme during a fireside chat at Startup Grind’s North America Summit last Wednesday. During the session, “Scaling your startup with speed and stamina,” Oracle for Startups global head and VP Jason Williamson chatted with Mika Kayt, CEO and founder of Outgage, on how she is scaling her startup quickly and building a lasting foundation.

An Israel/U.S.-based startup, Outgage ties gift giving to digital marketing, providing transparency, creativity, and actionable metrics to firmly establish gifting in the marketing mix. With engagement rates exceeding 40%, Outgage takes gifting from a nice-to-have to a need-to-have for brands like Zendesk, Cisco, and SAP. Outgage is also a member of Oracle for Startups.

Giving gifts is a natural part of relationships

Who doesn’t like a gift? People like to give and receive. However, gifting for business has traditionally lived outside of the measurable world of marketing…until now.

“Outgage gives marketers control and visibility over new types of campaigns that can exponentially increase their engagement, build their pipeline, create relationship-building experiences, and grow their ROI,” said Mika. “That’s what the C-suite wants to see, and it is helping establish gifting as a regular part of the marketing mix.”

Zendesk used Outgage to target current customers for a product expansion, using a drone as the gift. The campaign gave Zendesk full-funnel visibility from shipping to tracking to landing page visitation and call-to-action metrics. The campaign earned a 35% engagement rate, and the follow-up campaign registered 46% engagement. Both campaigns helped Zendesk strengthen their relationships with their customers.

Tips for scaling early, and scaling with stamina

When it comes to scaling, Mika says it’s important to first figure out who you want a relationship with and why. Second, she advises, realize it will take time. “I wish I could tell you we took out one Google ad and it was magic,” said Mika. “We’re very much ABM (account-based marketing) oriented, building relationships, doing our own gifting campaigns,” she added. “At the end of the day, it’s about the relationships you start with. There’s no magic button to push. It’s about people really.”

📌 Here are Mika’s insights on how to gain scale as a startup:

· Warm intros are key, and relationships activate them

· Know the customer and understand their pain points

· Build and nurture those relationships

· Grow with referrals

· Use your own product (Outgage does many of its own gifting campaigns)

· Tell your story and share your wins

Building a great team requires a strong foundation

You can’t bat a thousand with recruiting and hiring, and Mika says that’s okay. She experienced a co-founder breakup early on, and those lessons have been invaluable. It’s important to understand people’s intrinsic skills, and that sometimes they are right in the early stage, but not as you scale. Mika’s core team was key to building the right culture, including her twin brother and COO Daniel Kayt. “When you work with family, if it’s bad it’s the worst kind of bad; and when it’s good it’s the best kind of good. And for us, it’s the best kind.”

📌 Tips for building your team:

· Figure it out quickly and be willing to cut ties if needed (especially with family)

· Understand your strengths and weaknesses, and hire accordingly

· Empower, delegate, and get out of the way

· Create a “no BS” culture (but be respectful)

· Remember, it’s always about your people!

Creating relationships that drive hyper scale and stamina

Mika believes in the power of partnerships to help startups grow “exponentially.” A core benefit of Oracle for Startups is the opportunity to build and integrate with Oracle products and co-sell to customers. Outgage recently integrated with Oracle Marketing Cloud (Eloqua), which allows Oracle customers to easily add gifting to their campaigns.

“Partnerships with established and innovative companies like Oracle are a big advantage for startups,” said Mika. “It provides a win-win situation where we can complement and co-create with Oracle and provide solutions for Oracle’s customers. That’s something where everyone can win, and it’s especially beneficial for scaling startups like Outgage.”

📌 Tips for creating relationships that scale:

· Know who you want to partner with and why

· Clearly define your goals and be super transparent and communicative

· Always look for the win-win situation

· Lean in, engage, and nurture the relationship

· Remember, it’s always about people

Start scaling and building your relationship with Oracle

“With Oracle, we go from being a tactical touchpoint of gifting to being a strategic play and giving customers a bird’s-eye view of how gifting raises omnichannel marketing and engagement with customers,” said Mika. “For us, joining Oracle for Startups was a no-brainer.”

Is your startup in the market for a new relationship? Learn how Oracle for Startups can be a strategic partner for your business.

Amy Sorrells is a communications/marketing person. Currently the director of global communications for Oracle for Startups, Oracle’s program for entrepreneurs.

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Amy Sasser Sorrells

Amy Sasser Sorrells

Amy Sorrells is a communications/marketing person. Currently the director of global communications for Oracle for Startups, Oracle’s program for entrepreneurs.

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