How Gaslight Built A Growth Engine That Paid Off: A Case Study
At its core, Gaslight is an agile software development consultancy. That description, however, doesn’t really do it justice. They not only deliver valuable working software every time (that’s a promise!), but they do it through close collaboration with a client’s team and follow a process that incorporates design, feedback and iteration every step of the way.
The end result is more user-friendly, which means happier customers and the timeline is more aggressive, which means faster ROI. Win-win.
Traditionally a Ruby shop, Gaslight also specializes in Elixir, doing more successful client projects and offering more thought leadership than almost any other dev shop across the nation. In fact, they are one of three leading Elixir consultancies to be hired to collaborate on developing a side chain to Ethereum in the cryptocurrency market. The other two are owned by the Elixir creator and Phoenix creator (Phoenix is a web framework built with Elixir), respectively.
In other words, they’re an important leader in the national tech community.
As a major player with a proven method—with happy clients making active referrals to prove it—what’s the problem? Well, as CEO James Taylor puts it, “We want referrals. But we want more than referrals.” They hadn’t needed an active marketing foundation in order to gain new business, but they wanted to build one to scale more aggressively.
Gaslight was poised and ready for this change too: for years, they’d been writing blog posts and churning out content. For years, they’d been attending and speaking at conferences. For years, they’d been hosting events and meetups on site. They knew who they were as a brand. All they had to do was to add some deliberate growth tactics.
That’s where Growth Guild came in. James knew that hiring a marketing person was a priority for Gaslight, but he also knew that hiring the right person takes time. Growth, on the hand isn’t something most serious companies want to wait for. Gaslight sure didn’t.
The Growth Guild Solution
So in February, James hired Growth Guild for a 6-month contract centered around getting some foundational growth efforts in place. Efforts like:
Optimizing the website for growth through tactics like chat and pop-ups
Creating additional content geared toward specific campaigns
Actively promoting events (online, onsite or conferences hosted by others) and targeting the right audience while there
Launching nurture email campaigns
Testing out some paid ads and retargeting
It’s pretty much the processes you can read about on our services page, tailored for Gaslight. They were also geared specifically toward inbound. At least at first.
One of the ways we operate, however, is like a “stealth growth team.” We want clients to feel like partners, fully supported in the day-to-day. That means we’re as agile as the company needs us to be, even if that means making changes to the original plan—as long as we stick to our areas of expertise and respect scope for the sake of our other clients, of course.
Soon after we kicked off with Gaslight, they went through some internal changes. For one thing, their growth person, part- marketing and part- sales, left about a month into our engagement. With her, we had been inbound-focused, looking at top-of-funnel blog posts, optimizing the website and kicking off more general nurture campaigns. In her place came a sales person who, understandably, wanted growth to be focused more on outbound needs.
So we wanted that, too.
While some foundational elements remained, we worked together to pivot. Part of our plan was implementing the marketing side of HubSpot, which we got up and running as planned, but we spent significant time building out the sales side as well—and laying the foundation for ongoing, sustainable growth. Under the direction of the new salesperson, Steve, we built a pipeline system that fit his strategic focus.
We also found, trialed and implemented an outbound email platform to reach new contacts—and we created and launched multiple campaigns, creating some necessary sales collateral to support the pursuit of new audiences.
Additionally, we realized the passion and presence Gaslight already had for and at events. While we had discussed adding some quick wins like geotargeting and social media to their events in the original plan, we realized there was a major opportunity to be more strategic. Many of their devs, for instance, were actively speaking at conferences. Also, the office already had the infrastructure to host fairly large events, as well as the routine of weekly Friday coffees already built into their operations. So we created a formal and more robust set of tactics to make their conference attendance count, and geared some of our content development toward those needs.
Through every change, we met regularly and spoke openly with Gaslight to determine best next steps. When we asked them what it was like to work with us, James said, “Growth Guild was proactive and kept momentum going. When they needed something from us or to connect with someone on our team, they kept the ball rolling to ensure that work was completed and deadlines were met.”
That fits with our core values as a company, because we believe growth requires constant action and attention. Building momentum is what gives us the most energy!
As we neared month 5, Gaslight interviewed and hired an in-house marketer. We got to help with that process and do our best to transition everything off to her. Of course, passing on a growth team’s worth of work to one person is a bit of a challenge, but she suggested creating “playbooks” for each tactic—so as our last effort, we documented these tactics step by step and walked through them with her.
But Gaslight’s main goal happened too: they got new business. In fact, when we said goodbye and officially transitioned to their in-house person, they were deciding whether to turn away business or hire more employees—the best possible dilemma for any organization to face. While Growth Guild can by no means claim responsibility for all the new business, 9,241 contacts interacted with various digital efforts and $2.7M of new revenue was touched by our digital campaigns.
Best of all, the growth foundation has been laid and is ready for their team to carry on—and scale!
Although we miss our daily interactions with Gaslight, we’re excited for their team and can’t wait to see what’s next for them. And if you’ve been toying with developing some custom software to improve your customer experience, internal operations or anything else, we couldn’t recommend a better team for the job! We’re happy to share more or introduce you directly.