“Since hiring Kevin to oversee our marketing two years ago, we’ve grown from two to five locations with a 285% increase in monthly recurring revenue (MRR) while maintaining a 3.5% average marketing cost during that period.” –Kane Willmott, iQ Office Suites
I began overseeing and managing iQ Office Suites’ marketing in April 2017 on a part-time contract basis (a fractional CMO role).
At the time, iQ Office Suites had two locations with plans to open a total of twenty locations by 2020. The company needed a comprehensive marketing strategy, the team to execute on it, and someone to guide the decisions while overseeing all activities.
My job was to immediately bring in marketing specialists to ramp up marketing efforts. We started hiring content writers, designers, developers, search engine optimization specialists, pay-per-click specialists, and more to help drive leads to the business to sustain growth.
As a result, iQ grew from two to five locations with a 282% increase in monthly recurring revenue between January 2017 and December 2018, all while maintaining a 3.5% marketing cost (as a percent of gross revenue).
In 2017, iQ acquired a coworking space (BrightLane) and we rebranded it into an iQ Office Suites. iQ saw a 79% growth in MRR during in 2017 while maintaining a 3.2% marketing cost.
In 2018, iQ opened two additional locations, growing MRR by an additional 97% during that year while maintaining a 3.7% marketing cost.
The first location (Vancouver) was opened in an entirely new market with no existing presence or awareness in place. For this location, we were able to get it to 80% of target occupancy with an 8% marketing cost in the first year.
The second location opened in 2018 (36,000+ sq. ft. in Toronto) was filled by the date of opening with a combination of new members acquired via marketing efforts, as well as current members transferred from the former BrightLane location while it was under renovation.
In the two years with opening two new locations plus acquiring/rebranding one location, iQ was able to sustain growth with an overall marketing budget of under 3.5% while growing the business almost 3x.
Some of the things we accomplished.
- Redesigned the website, resulting in a 54% growth in overall traffic (+26% for organic traffic without a drop-off after launching the new site) and increase goal conversion rates by 61% within nine months of the redesign.
- Created member surveys to get feedback from members on member experience with the goal of increasing retention.
- Created prospect feedback surveys to better understand what leads want, what they like about the space, what was missing, and how iQ compares to other options. This helped to improve sales and marketing processes and make the business more aligned with the market’s needs).
- Set up Net Promoter Score surveys to give investors (current and potential) faith in the satisfaction levels of members at each location, making it easier to attract new investors and give confidence to existing ones.
- Added a Slack community for members and staff to improve communication and develop a richer sense of community among members and staff.
- Developed formal strategies for all areas of marketing (positioning, website, content, social media, email, member experience, pay-per-click advertising, search engine optimization, PR, offline) to make iQ’s marketing consistently strong and aligned.
- Started doing PR campaigns in order to build broader awareness of the company in the Canadian markets they serve (with plans to do the same in new markets they will enter).
- Grew a spin-off brand called iQ Venues to help better sell the event space services.
- Built an entire marketing team from scratch, including outsourced designers, writers, PPC and SEO specialists, web developers, PR professionals, and more.
- Developed a broker marketing system to automatically alert brokers of office availabilities which has resulted in better awareness of office availabilities among the broker community, increasing their chances of referring clients to iQ.
- Implemented goal tracking systems for all conversion points to better track ROI and results of all marketing channels.
- Developed systems and processes for an internal marketing person to implement on a weekly or monthly basis. Includes blog publishing, social media, website updates, and more.