Q&A with Louise Flynn: Human IMDB, Sports Fanatic & SaaS Queen
Louise Flynn is best known as Brisbane’s go-to B2B SaaS Marketing Queen but she wears so very many hats; Organiser of Brisbane’s largest meetup for product managers ProductTank, founder of Rulu Marketing, MBA holder, guest speaker for organisations like guest speaker at ProductTank, Fishburners and QUT and SaaS junkie.
We felt very privileged to sit down with Louise Flynn to learn more about what a great work day means to her, her go-to SaaS marketing resources and so much more. So without further ado, here she is… Louise Flynn.
Who is Louise Flynn the human?
I am a lot of different people – ‘Aunty Lou’, Godmother, Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) Junkie, Meetup Organiser and small business owner. I am focused on living authentically and being with my tribe. For the last 3 years I have been resetting my work and personal life to focus more on aspects I am strongest at and leaving behind the ‘Everything to Everyone’ tag. Read Marcus Buckingham for more on this.
A great work day would include meeting new entrepreneurs and SaaS people at our local networking events, ideally over some really good wine and with an insightful speaker. The COVID-19 restrictions have meant I appreciate even more the amazing community of innovators we are ‘hiding’ in Brisbane.
What is something that not many people know about you?
5’7” with a childhood playing netball I was actually a Basketball coach. I coached my university men’s team at Griffith University, at the Queensland Academy of Sport, at schoolboys championships and state team programs.
Strategically Basketball is a great sport for those in high growth business. Entrepreneurs will be interested to know that Michael Jordan shot between 40-50% over his career as arguably the best player of all time. It reminds you that even the greatest in any field have failure. It’s about how they recover and persist that makes greatness. The Australian Women’s Basketball team mantra was Relentless Persistence, which I think is gold.
What’s the most useless talent you have?
I have a fantastic memory for B Grade TV stars and shows. I am like a human IMDB. It is only useful occasionally on trivia nights or when someone can’t remember ‘the name of the famous actor that was in that show where, you know, there was a girl and a pizza place….’ The answer is Ryan Reynolds for Two Guys, A Girl and a Pizzaplace.
What are you currently watching/reading/listening to?
Workwise, I moved most of my subscriptions to following the companies and influencers in LinkedIn. This has really made my daily feed really rich with tips and links across a wide range of topics in B2B Marketing, SaaS and Product Management. Influencers of note include Carlos Hidalgo and Dave Gerhardt (SaaS Marketing); Shari Levitin and Tamara McCleary (Sales and Leadership) and local Peter Laurie (Startups and scale-ups).
Who is your professional inspiration?
I have a few and they are all personal to my skills. I would put Leanne Kemp, Everledger at the top of the list. The first time I heard her speak I was stunned by someone who was focused on their user and yet so focused on building a real, profitable and scalable business. Everything she talks about is pragmatic and grounded in reality. She showed me that there were Australian Female Entrepreneurs like that out there that would appreciate my real-world approach to startup marketing.
What’s on repeat with your work playlist right now?
My playlist definitely alternates between 80’s Pop, 90/00’s EDM and Dance (Sunday Recovery rather than Saturday Trance) and rock across the ages. Sometimes I need a bit of brainfood so my podcast list includes Armchair Expert (with Dax Sheppard), Jay and Silent Bob Get Old (NSFW), Freakonomics, Every Little Thing and Science Vs.
What’s your most recommended product resource?
It may seem biased but my current go-to resource is the Mind The Product Newsletter via email and my LinkedIn feed, which takes contributions globally from Product Manager, Owners, Engineers, Marketers and UX thought leaders around the world. I find the mix of content gets me out of my marketing and Brisbane silo with diverse experiences.
For the product content specific to SaaS, I am becoming a fan of Wes Bush, Product-Led Institute, who writes and podcasts about building a product that can sell, support and grow itself. SaaStr and SaaStock also have good SaaS-specific product resources.
And now for the tough questions!
You’ve worked with some of Brisbane’s best SaaS companies, and now have a SaaS marketing agency called Rulu. Why did you decide to specialise in this area, and what do you love so much about Product Marketing?
After 20 years in Marketing, I can attest that marketing SaaS businesses is the extreme sport of Marketing. When a client or user joins your software/ platform, that is just month one, not the final sale. You have to keep on delivering on the promise you made in your marketing.
More importantly in a SaaS business, Marketer can be the difference between scalable and profitable growth for a startup. I love the ideal that I am a business leader rather than a cost centre.
Product marketing is often the forgotten discipline of translating the product features into clear messaging and resources that give current users the understanding to use new features and sales and marketing teams the tools to sell new features to prospects. Great product marketing contributes to growing life-time value, reducing churn (cancellation) and maximising returns on your development investments. Product Marketing used to be reserved for very complex, technical products that needed interpretation but I am thankfully seeing more software seeing the benefit of a dedicated Product Marketer.
You are one of the event organisers for Brisbane’s best Product meetup – Product Tank. Can you tell us more about this, and what have you noticed about the Brisbane Product ‘scene’ by hosting these events?
ProductTank is an informal meetup that brings together the local product community in each of those cities – whether they’re Product Managers, Marketers, Designers, or Developers – to share their experience. ProductTanks are always free to attend, organized by volunteers from the local product community. I joined the Brisbane chapter because I have seen firsthand how hard it is to develop marketing, growth and customer success strategies when the product itself does not meet the customers needs. In the last 5 years, Brisbane has come into its own with more dedicated product, UX and product marketing teams and more investment in education. It is showing in local SaaS companies that are getting traction globally including Genie Solutions, Neto ECommerce, SilverRail, Tiny and ClipChamp.
This year we have two strands of content which you can register for on Meetup here. The 2020 Roadshow is going to 10 local product teams for them to share how they execute product. While Covid-19 may have taken these events online, each team has been so generous to share their philosophies and processes which are great actionable takeaways. The Yakka Workshops, which give the community hands-on skills, will be back up and running soon including a ‘What is Product?’ session and Competitor Analysis.
What is next for you Louise?
More of the same. I am working on our June ProductTank event with local Brand management software company Outfit on June 23. I have client projects in progress helping reduce churn and new clients who are beta testing my new SaaS Marketing coaching service. I am really excited about where 2020 is now heading.
Thank you to Louise for sharing her market insights and tips for aspiring SaaS Marketers. We absolutely loved reading your insights on the Brisbane market, and really appreciate the time taken to put so many links and resources together for us. Be sure to go connect with Louise Flynn on LinkedIn.
Love this Q & A? Why not read our Q&A with Sarah Smith?