Lorenzo Rossi is many things, including a charismatic conversationalist, a Mobile Masterminds contributor, and the Co Founder & Head of Growth at Replug. We picked his brain to uncover a bit of his fascinating journey through the mobile app industry and learn from the insight he has gathered while working in dating, shopping, transport, and more!
Where are you from and where do you live now?
I actually get asked this a lot, as I am an Italian living in Germany. I am from a small town near Florence, but with only 8,600 inhabitants, you probably haven’t heard of it (alright it’s called Monte San Savino). Everyone knows each other where I’m from, it’s like a big family. But currently, I am living in Berlin, and have proudly survived 6 winters thus far. There’s so much culture, many museums… It’s the hub for startups and mobile in Europe and it’s THE place to make connections. The weather is terrible but everything else is great.
So how did you get into the mobile app industry?
I started out in more traditional marketing roles, managing online and offline services for a training & consulting company. I got into Mobile when I arrived in Berlin in 2013, working for a mobile startup that was basically a paid app for backgrounds and lock screens. It was still in those early days before the big performance focus, but I began running my first mobile campaigns on Facebook. I took to it instantly. I liked creating the texts and being a bit creative in photoshop. Watching the data was exciting as well and I enjoyed seeing how small changes to the creatives would result in improvements.
And how did you end up at REPLUG?
I founded it! It’s a long story though. Last year, we were talking with my friend and now business partner, Luca, about the Italian Mobile Marketing situation, and decided to create a content hub (www.mobile-marketing.it) with the main objective of educating the Italian market and raising awareness of the importance of Mobile Marketing. As a result, we started doing some consulting for different companies that needed to move their first steps in the mobile industry and after some months we decided to open our own agency. In February 2020 we launched REPLUG, a mobile marketing agency focused mostly on mobile-first start-ups and traditional companies that are shifting to mobile marketing, helping them scale their business. We not only help them grow, but we also suggest them the best tools to navigate the mobile digital landscape in total transparency.
About my prior experience: after my first hands-on experience, I ended up moving into another position with the dating app LOVOO, right when dating apps seemed to be hitting their stride. There I met a lot of expert colleagues and great people who taught me a lot, and I found a boss and a mentor, André Kempe, who helped me become more of a performance marketer. I remember he gave me all the difficult channels and pushed me out of my comfort zone; in the beginning, I didn’t like it too much, but it helped me to develop a real passion for testing and experimenting. I worked at LOVOO for 2 years, then I moved to Zalando and later ended up at Free2Move. After 3 months at Free2Move, our CMO left Berlin and the company, and due to his absence, I temporarily took the lead of the entire marketing team to fill in the gap. We were in a critical moment trying to scale so we needed to keep everything rolling. I hired 15 people, and then, months later, I had the opportunity to participate in the process of hiring the new CMO. We knew we needed someone with experience, and we found the perfect person. Our new CMO Seth Elliot brought us to something I hadn’t experienced before. And I shifted from being Head of Performance to Head of Marketing, which meant that I got to coordinate online and offline marketing activities, events, CRM, design, and lots of fun stuff.
Are you a jack of all trades or do you focus on a specific area of app marketing?
Even though I do a bit of everything, and I have a 360 degrees experience, right now I must say I’m back to focusing on Mobile Marketing and Apps Promotion, and I love it.
What are the biggest challenges you currently face?
Let’s say that at the moment, I think of the common problem for everyone, especially those who decided to start a business this year: the Coronavirus. But, apart from that, I would definitely say: help people understand the value of tracking and attribution and the importance of transparency. One of our main values at REPLUG is to be transparent with our partners and with the companies we help grow. We want to help them start and we want to give them all the instruments and the knowledge for scaling their business. And then we say: Ok, good luck on your journey!
What are the tools you can’t live without?
Trello, definitely. Once again but in a different way, I’m talking about transparency. You have your clients’ work organized and they can see what you’re doing and where they’re going. I think it’s also a good way for them to notice that you care and you want to work together with them because they are unique.
What do you think are the key future trends in the mobile industry?
One is incrementality, definitely. I think more mobile marketers will start testing and see what their campaigns are bringing them in terms of value and to avoid fraud. And then, I would say more customization, localization, engagement, personalization: generalistic messages don’t work anymore. I hear a lot about proximity marketing these days, as well, but I guess it’s still too expensive for performance marketing purposes.