Read the pitch deck the marketing lead behind Red Bull’s craziest publicity stunts used to raise $47 million for his data startup from investors like Andreessen Horowitz and BlackRock
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- Jonathan Yaffe worked for Red Bull in 2000, back when no one knew what the company was.
- He saw how the company had no data to measure the success of its experiential marketing.
- This inspired him to launch AnyRoad, a data startup that just raised a $47 million Series B.
When Jonathan Yaffe first graduated from college and started working in marketing for Red Bull in 2000, no one in the U.S. knew what the company was. He did a little bit of everything to spread the word, including talking to clients, hosting big city-wide events, hiring famous DJs to hype the brand, driving the now-famous Red Bull truck around San Francisco, and even commissioning banner planes to paint the company’s adventurous slogan, “Red Bull give you wings,” across the city sky.
But while Yaffe believes Red Bull ran one of the “most successful marketing campaigns of all time,” what the company lacked at the time, he says, was data.
“I would run the numbers at these events — at one we organized and we spent $14 million dollars, 50,000 people came, and we handed out 80,000 Red Bulls,” Yaffe tells Insider, adding that he realized there was no way to measure who were the people who actually drank the “80,000” Red Bulls, or how the events actually affected how people perceived the brand.
“When someone is tired tomorrow, and they see a Red Bull or a Rock Star iced coffee, what’s the chance they are actually going to reach for a Red Bull because they associated it with a certain experience of adventure and fun they had?” Yaffe says. “These are the questions I hoped I’d answer.”
This inspired him to launch data management startup AnyRoad, a platform dedicated to what he describes as “the experience economy.” The company measures consumer data from experiential marketing campaigns to build loyalty, brand perception, and increase revenue off of data models.
While Yaffe and his brother Daniel first co-founded AnyRoad in 2013, the company really took off during the pandemic. The firm raised a $9.2 million Series A from firms like Andreesen Horowitz in 2020, and on Thursday it announced a $47 million Series B led by Andreesen Horowitz and BlackRock. In addition to big investors, the company has nabbed clients like Budweiser, Ben & Jerry’s, and Honda.
“Experiential marketing” is big business, with analyst firm Gartner saying companies spent $700 billion on it in 2019. Michaels hosts virtual art classes to sell more supplies, for example, and LuluLemon has pivoted away from solely being a “retail” company to one that focuses on connecting its product with real life yoga classes. And it gathers data from these events to build a better model on what its consumers like and associate with the company. It speaks to a change marketing Yaffe has seen take shape over the last 20 years, where marketing people aren’t “creative” types like in Mad Men, but rather are actually data analysts.
Now with the $47 million, the company plans to fine tune its platform’s data analytics and further integrate machine learning.
“The best marketing leaders are now data scientists,” Yaffe tells Insider. “If we want to connect with our consumer base, we have to be able to see how they connect with their experience.”