Mailchimp: An innovative B2B brand with a human face and a monkey in its name

Mailchimp: An innovative B2B brand with a human face and a monkey in its name

If you know email marketing, and especially if you also own a small business, you will know Mailchimp. In fact, you might even feel a lot of affection for the brand if you’ve used its platform. That’s because US-based Mailchimp has achieved that most extraordinary of feats: it’s a B2B brand that has tons of personality. And that earns it a unique place in the Just.Marketing Innovation 50 list.

Happy in its home town

Mailchimp started out in 2001 as an email marketing business in Atlanta, Georgia. Today, it remains in its home town and is still founder-owned but has evolved into an automated marketing platform.

It’s all very technical behind the scenes but becomes an oh-so-human service if you are the customer. And that has been key to its success – using its own voice to overcome the pitfall of being perceived – as many B2B brands often are – as faceless robots.

Expressing empathy for business owners

The brand is built on understanding the passions, drivers and, yes, weaknesses of small business owners. It’s an approach fostered by its founders, Ben Chestnut and Dan Kurzius, who were once at the helm of a small business themselves.

This deep empathy with its customers translates into knowing that CRM, advertising and email marketing may be things their customers may not understand, yet know they have to do and all the while wish they didn’t have to do it. So it overcomes these barriers and stands out by acknowledging this, which then feeds through to doing things differently in its own marketing.

Among its campaigns, perhaps most famously it sponsored a podcast called Serial. The makers made a short promotional film and found one of the interviewees couldn’t pronounce Mailchimp. This funny human moment became the centre of a campaign called ‘Did you mean Mailchimp?’ And what some brands would have regarded as a little too risky helped the brand rise above the noise.

Quirky is good

The Mailchimp work culture is designed to retain that brand personality. The company believes this ‘sustains a creative, humble, and independent workforce and encourages a healthy work-life balance,’ according to its website.

In recent years it has made a couple of small acquisitions to help expand its expertise into new offerings, to give its customers access to e-commerce but always with the aim of keeping the service simple.

Its leadership says paid media will be used to introduce it to new customers while social is there to remind existing users why they enjoyed using Mailchimp in the first place. And it plans to keep doing that while remaining jargon-free and definitely a little quirky.