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Anatomy of a Growth Marketer: Dae Son, DraftKings

Written by: Juliana Casale, Director of Marketing

Anatomy of a Growth Marketer is an ongoing blog series showcasing top talent in the field of digital advertising.

Draft-Kings-LogoBoston is perhaps best known for its B2B tech and ecommerce offerings, but it may not surprise Red Sox, Patriots or Bruins fans to know that one of the biggest names in the local startup scene is DraftKings, a daily fantasy sports site with more than one million registered players and over $200 million in yearly prize payouts. Founded in 2012, the fantasy sports startup has already acquired two competitors, raised $74.8 million in funding, and reported 10X growth year over year.

To learn more about how DraftKings is growing its user acquisition efforts in 2015, we consulted Dae Son, Social Channel Manager.

[staff title=”” name=”Dae Son” image=”” description=””]


How did you become Manager of the Social Channel for DraftKings?

I have a Computer Science background. When I graduated the Internet bubble burst, and all the programmers and CS graduates were out of jobs, so I was looking anywhere that would take me. I started off as an email designer and moved up towards becoming an account manager for clients. And that’s how it began. I can’t lie; I absolutely hate CS, but it really helped me to become analytical. We all know how to run A/B tests, understanding what numbers you need to reach to hit confidence levels — and how you go about creating your A/B tests is very important because the last thing you want to do is waste money on bad testing.

I kind of fell into email marketing and eventually got into paid search and paid advertising. During the DraftStreet acquisition, DraftKings saw that I had paid advertising experience, especially in Facebook. They really needed to fill a hole there, and that’s when I jumped in and took it from there as Manager of the Social Channel.

What do you find most attractive about this role?

When I found out DraftKings had a need for buying on social media, it was a perfect fit because I knew the product; I was pushing it to users every day through email, so it just meant applying the same thing to different channels. When it comes down to it, it’s all user acquisition. My main focus in email was to get these guys to convert, to become a paying customer. That’s still my main focus on the social channels, so it’s great that I can use the exact same language when it comes to speaking to potential customers.

What I love the most is the absolute freedom I have when it comes to constantly refining our message. There’s never a moment where we’re satisfied with the message that we have out to our users. Every day we’re trying out new creative, testing new concepts.

What does a typical day look like for you at DraftKings?

The most important part of the day is really the analytics side of things, because you’re always looking at your test results. Should you be responding to them, should you be turning campaigns off, should you be trying something completely different? Maybe your test was set up wrong. We’re making sure everything is performing correctly and meeting our KPIs. After that it’s conceptualizing and coming up with new ideas and finding the next target segment. If there’s 90% of the market that we haven’t touched, how are we going to reach them and speak to them? So that’s pretty much my high-level day to day.

The most important part of the day is really the analytics side of things, because you’re always looking at your test results.

I do a lot of reading when it comes to the space itself; I’m on Facebook and Twitter nonstop, so I am constantly scrolling. I follow and I friend everybody possible related to the market, our industry, our vertical and anybody’s who a social marketer as well. So I do a lot of research when it comes to what’s new.

In terms of collaboration, which teams do you work with? What’s the workflow like?

In our office we have the product team, two rows in front of me, and the creative team one row in front of me. So it’s fantastic. Because I’ve been at DraftStreet and then DraftKings for so long, I have a great idea of what products we have to offer and what will speak well to our potential new users. Having the product team right there, it’s amazing how quickly and easily everything moves. There’s really no friction whatsoever when it comes to product providing us with anything we need. It’s the same thing with creative, too. Every company has creative guidelines that we all need to follow, but we really try to push out crazy, eye-catching things that also speak to users, and provide a clear message about what DraftKings does and what we stand for.

What is your favorite Nanigans software feature?

We talked about how 90% of my day is analytics. The most important thing for me is the dynamic table that Nanigans has – it’s absolutely amazing. I can look day by day, by hour, by sport; if you organize your strategy groups correctly, you have a wealth of information available. Instead of having to export and create a pivot table on your own and try to figure things out, everything is laid out for you perfectly.

In addition to the actual product itself, it’s clear you’ve invested heavily in talent. You guys have a fantastic team. I realize people have careers and people need to change, but it’s very important that I keep Sandy and Nader. Their response time is ridiculously quick.

What do you love about working in-house at DraftKings?

It’s like that old adage, “If you want the job done right, do it yourself.” That’s so important. You know the process. If something happens, you’re going to know first and the last thing you want to do is write an email or have a conference call with your advertiser. When everything’s in-house you can do it yourself and react quickly.

It’s like that old adage, “If you want the job done right, do it yourself.”

They really give you the space to be creative at DraftKings. The leadership here, the only thing they say to me is, “I want you to meet these goals; how you get there is up to you.” I love that. It really gives us the freedom to do whatever we want. I love testing, I love the analytics side of it; that’s what drives me on a day to day basis. Every day, we brainstorm and come up with new ways to reach our target audience, and maybe ones who are further away from our target audience. How can we speak to them? That creativity keeps me here.

You want to work here because of the growth. The company and the industry are growing quickly, and you will grow as well when it comes to learning and experience. There’s a certain level of trust that they give to you as soon as you’re hired, and there’s really no friction when it comes to things getting done. Anything you need that will help the company will get done immediately at DraftKings. That is very rare. There are always going to be hiccups, but it’s the smoothest transition I’ve ever had from acquisition. The leadership and the culture here is very positive.

Looking to further your career in engineering, marketing or analytics at a rapid-growth, data-centric company? DraftKings is hiring!

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