MarTech Interview with Lauren Weinberg, Global Head of Marketing and Comms at Square

Is SMS marketing a fruitful messaging channel in today’s business environment? Lauren Weinberg, Global Head of Marketing and Comms at Square weighs in with a few thoughts while sharing a few key marketing tips in this chat:


Tell us a little about yourself Lauren…we’d love to hear about your role, a typical day at work and how that changed for you and your marketing team in light of the Covid-19 pandemic?

I’m currently the Global Head of Marketing and Comms at Square where I drive marketing and comms strategy across the globe. With this, I’m tasked with reaching businesses by putting valuable information and products in front of them that will help them start, run, grow, and adapt their business. 

Every day is different! There are some days where our sole focus is reviewing briefs and creative for upcoming campaigns and some where we’ve dedicated time to brainstorming how Square can get in front of more businesses. Like everyone else right now, it’s a lot of time on video calls.  And some days might include joining speaking events or being interviewed for a podcast.

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Take us through some of Square’s core marketing learnings and processes in 2020-2021 and how you feel marketing leaders should adapt to create more impact given today’s dynamics. 

At the onset of COVID, many brands were saying, “We’re all in this together,” without backing those words up with action. Instead of saying this to businesses, Square wanted to show its support and demonstrate through actions. For example, we leveraged some of our marketing budget to refund our customers software fees in March and April. Overall, our main goal was to share information about the products and services that could offer immediate help, while also connecting our customers to other businesses experiencing the effects of COVID to create a sense of community. We wanted to focus on providing immediate response and business community relief, education and support, and product solutions. 

Marketing is regarded as an art and a science at Square, playing an important role in driving growth, but we are also advocates for our customers. We provide education, inspiration, and a sense of community because we know being a small business owner is hard and can feel lonely at times. 

With this in mind, marketing leaders should adapt their strategies to be both functional and emotional. It’s important to understand your customers and the tools they need, but also to let them know they aren’t alone, especially during this time. 

How have you seen marketing teams use different mediums (like SMS) to drive communications and engagement during this time?

SMS marketing has proven to be a powerful tool that businesses have turned to to connect  with new and existing customers during the pandemic. On top of this, consumers are continuing to show a preference for SMS communication over other forms, demonstrating that it’s important for businesses to keep consumer preferences in mind so they are communicating with their customers in ways they want. 

SMS marketing is versatile since it can be used in a variety of ways from sharing information on sales, to updating Loyalty customers on rewards, or new store information like additional locations opening, updated hours, or COVID safety protocols. 

Many businesses have previously looked to traditional email marketing to reach customers for increased sales. But Square found that its customers have seen strong attributable sales per text message compared to email, with SMS marketing having 3x higher in attributed revenue for the same automated campaign. From this, it’s clear that businesses have been leaning on SMS marketing to incentivize customers to return in-store and shop so that they can continue to build those relationships. 

What are some best practices that marketing teams should follow when implementing this as part of their overall outreach and strategy?

To start, messages should be short and simple, and start with something attention-grabbing to encourage consumers to continue reading and take action. Businesses should use clear, easily readable language and avoid abbreviations that can be confusing for some. 

Personalization is also key so that customers feel valued and appreciated, and not that they’re just receiving a mass message. Above all, it’s important that SMS messages bring value and communicate important things with customers that they’re most likely to want to know about. This might be sales, Loyalty programs, coupons, or new products. Lastly, cadence should be kept in mind so that businesses aren’t overburdening customers with messages that would then ultimately prompt them out of receiving SMS messages. 

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What are your thoughts on the impact of SMS marketing on small / medium businesses vis-a-vis enterprise businesses?

Businesses of all shapes and sizes can benefit from using SMS marketing. Since SMS marketing has a number of purposes, businesses can glean a lot from offering customers to sign up for SMS notifications. 

SMS marketing is also quick and effective, getting information out to customers within minutes. Businesses in every industry need to be able to connect with customers, whether they’re an SMB or enterprise, something that’s been even more important during the pandemic. 

Take us through your biggest marketing technology learnings through the years and the current martech stack in use at Square?

Over the years, we’ve learned that to fully leverage a martech stack, customer data and marketing tools need to be seamlessly integrated. This requires data to be treated like a product with a well thought out design to lower the cost of integration. It also requires a holistic strategy for what tools to buy, build, and integrate with, that comprise the complete stack. 

In a year where the landscape is changing, it’s important to focus on learning and staying on top of trends. New tools that unlock new capabilities are always emerging. Marketing requires investment in engineers (both software and data), data scientists, analysts, and so on. Data and metrics will prove if your approach worked or if it didn’t, ultimately helping expand your technical skill set.  

Square uses a number of marketing technology tools from Google Marketing Platform (AdWords, Analytics 360, Search Ads 360, Display & Video 360, Tag Manager, Campaign Manager 360), to Optimizely Web & Full Stack, Contentful, Marketo, and Iterable. Others also include Customer Data Platform, Amplitude, FullStory, and Looker, and while this is not a martech tool, we use this for marketing reporting. 

A few takeaways for marketing leaders in 2021: top factors they should keep in mind as they plan for the rest of the year?

It’s important for marketing to be nimble and move quickly. As we continue to deal with the long-lasting effects of COVID, marketers should adapt their strategies in order to communicate and resonate with their customers. Companies should also focus on the entire customer experience and work through every stage of the customer journey, with campaigns designed to address awareness tactics, consideration, including content, webinars, and conversion efforts. 

In 2021, it will be necessary for marketers to communicate that their brand is one that customers trust. It’s important to show not tell, and this is something that is always top of mind for Square.

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Square is a technology and financial services company that offers hardware, software, e-commerce, and financial tools to millions of businesses globally. Square builds powerful tools so entrepreneurs can start, run, grow, and adapt their businesses across every industry. 

Lauren Weinberg is the Global Head of Marketing and Comms at Square

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