Appi Camper is an interview series that shines a spotlight on today's mobile elite, showcasing their expertise and knowledge. Growth leaders share trends, strategies to navigate the current market, tips to overcome present challenges, and how they approach these impacts to successfully emerge as an Appi Camper.

Spotlight with Mike Reese

St. Louis raised, and based now in the mile-high city of Denver, Michael Reese has been working in the digital space since 2011. Michael held a variety of roles at Western Union over the last 9 years, most recently as the US region’s GTM Digital Manager where he split his time between paid user acquisition for the mobile app and web channels, app store optimization, and web content creation.

He is currently the Mobile Marketing Manager for The North Face where his focus is mobile strategy, more specifically mobile app growth and messaging for SMS, push, and in-app notifications.

Michael is an active volunteer with Junior Achievement in Denver. An avid skier and road biker, he enjoys hiking, going to shows at Red Rocks, and exploring the outdoors. He currently lives in Denver, CO with his rescue dog, Addison.

What are the trends you are seeing during this time? Any notable effects or strategies you can share?

I think naturally during the shutdown, retail traffic slowed as people were not leaving their homes, and businesses closed globally. Businesses that have digital options are able to adapt easier in this COVID scenario. Companies with options provide customers choice, and I think many companies with both retail and digital options were able to naturally adapt to this change and shift in consumer behavior. During this new normal that we are all in the process of adapting to, being in the digital space and being able to capitalize on digital channels is what drives growth.

Customers like options and they have their preferences, but consumers also have to adapt, and if your business can still serve that need through a different channel, you may convert customers to change their preferences when interacting with your brand. Making sure you can capture those customers that may be retail-focused via digital channels in times like this current COVID period is essential to user acquisition and growth goals. Whether that is .com or mobile growth, having a digital option is important to be able to reach customers at this time. At the end of the day, regardless of which of the channels they use, as long as it is your brand and not a competitor, those options keep growth occurring.

What are some of the challenges for growth marketing during this time?

The big challenge to me is the lack of certainty of what is next. How long will COVID be around? Is there going to be a second wave that puts us back into lockdown and repeats the same economic struggles of the last 3 months? I think that level of uncertainty is a challenge and makes it hard to know how to react in this market. Until we have more data to provide clear insight into how customers react long term to this new normal, we are left to react to this situation as it unfolds.

How are you adjusting to working as a remote team? Are there any tips you can share about how to make it work?

I think the cool part about working for a global organization is that we already heavily relied on video conference technology to connect to peers in other offices and locations already. So to me, it was an easy shift having to rely on video technology to stay connected with people from my office. I think the harder part has been working from home for so long. One thing I do is try to move locations within my home that I work from every few weeks so that my surroundings are not the same all the time.

What are you doing to stay positive and balanced while working remotely?

My dog has been a great way to balance out being cooped up in the same setting for the past few months. Taking time to step away and get some fresh air multiple times a day to walk her has been an excellent way to unwind and for both of us to get exercise.

It is also important to unplug from time to time, take a day of PTO, or 2 or 3. Take a break from staring at the computer screen all day to recharge. I also have started taking calls while walking around my apartment or walking the stairs in my building, or even stretching. I think it's meaningful to be more active since we are not in an office setting, we are not moving from our desks to the printer or to conference rooms, so try to move whenever you can.

Lastly, I try to connect with friends and family as much as possible via FaceTime and phone calls. It’s always good to connect with loved ones.