SuperPhone’s CEO Ryan Leslie on Winning Gen Z Customers

SuperPhone’s CEO Ryan Leslie on Winning Gen Z Customers

According to Ryan Leslie, when attempting to capture Gen Z’s attention, brands often err by attempting to appear “cool” without genuine authenticity. Gen Z, in contrast, values brands that resonate with their beliefs and contribute positively.

How does a Grammy-nominated recording artist and multi-platinum music producer find themselves running a technology company? Founder and CEO at SuperPhone – Ryan Leslie’s journey started as a producer for Madonna, Jay-Z, Kanye West, and Beyoncé. As an avid technologist who taught himself to code, he was looking to build more authentic relationships with his followers. 

SuperPhone is an intelligent mobile messaging platform that helps enterprise retail brands acquire, and engage with mobile customers. It has raised a total of $8.3 million in funding over 8 rounds.  

Martechvibe spoke to Leslie about what brands can do to build authentic relationships with young consumers, how to use technology to get global brands local relevance, and deliver personalization through SMS.

Excerpts from the interview:

How do you see the relationship between artists and fans changing in the future?

In recent years, the relationship between artists and fans has experienced significant evolution, driven by technological advancements and changing consumer behavior. Looking ahead, I anticipate further transformations in this relationship. 

Personalization will reach new heights as artists utilize advanced tools like SuperPhone’s intelligent texting platform to engage fans on an individualized level, delivering personalized messages and tailored experiences. Fan participation will soar as interactive experiences allow fans to actively contribute and collaborate with artists, fostering a sense of co-creation. Direct and authentic communication will strengthen the bond between artists and fans, while virtual and immersive experiences, facilitated by VR and AR technologies, will transcend physical barriers. Data-driven insights will empower artists to make informed decisions, connect with their fan base more effectively, and create memorable experiences. The future holds immense potential for artists to forge deeper connections with their fans and cultivate a vibrant and engaged community.

What do brands primarily get wrong when reaching out to Gen Z customers? What advice would you give them?

When brands reach out to Gen Z customers, they often miss the mark by not truly understanding their unique characteristics and preferences. One common mistake is trying too hard to be ‘cool’ without genuine authenticity. Brands should approach Gen Z with respect and a willingness to listen. 

Another misstep is underestimating their desire for social responsibility and authenticity. Gen Z values brands that align with their values and make a positive impact. 

Additionally, brands shouldn’t overlook the power of digital platforms and influencer marketing, as Gen Z is highly connected online. Lastly, brands should consider personalized engagement over traditional interruptive advertising. Leveraging SMS marketing, like SuperPhone, allows brands to have one-on-one conversations and deliver personalized content. 

To succeed with Gen Z, embrace authenticity, social responsibility, digital channels, and personalized connections that foster trust and shared values.

How does text messaging typically fit into the larger marketing media plan? What advice would you like to share here?

Text messaging is a crucial component of the larger marketing media plan, allowing brands to establish direct and meaningful connections with customers. It serves as a personal and immediate channel to deliver targeted messages, exclusive promotions, and time-sensitive information. As part of an integrated marketing strategy, text messaging enhances customer communication, drives engagement, and boosts conversions. 

My advice is to focus on delivering value and relevance through personalized messages, respecting customers’ privacy and preferences. Incorporate cross-channel engagement by including links to websites, social media, and mobile apps. Timing is key, so be mindful of when messages are sent. Leverage automation and scheduling features to optimize delivery. Lastly, track and analyze campaign performance to refine your strategy and achieve marketing success.

What makes SMS reliable and cost-effective for marketers?

SMS is an incredibly reliable and cost-effective tool for marketers, and here’s why. 

Firstly, it boasts an exceptional open rate, ensuring that messages are read promptly. This reliability allows marketers to effectively connect with their target audience. SMS is permission-based, meaning recipients actively opt in to receive messages, resulting in higher engagement rates and a more receptive audience. 

It’s also a cost-effective solution, with low per-message costs and the ability to reach a large audience. SMS offers personalization options, allowing marketers to deliver targeted and relevant messages. 

Furthermore, it provides instant and direct communication with customers, enabling timely responses and actions. In short, SMS delivers reliability, cost-effectiveness, personalization, and immediate impact for marketers looking to connect with their audience in a meaningful way.

What kind of insights can brands hope to gain by analyzing voice traffic?

Analyzing voice traffic offers brands a treasure trove of insights into their customers. By diving into the data, brands can uncover valuable information on customer preferences, sentiments, and behaviors. This includes identifying frequently asked questions or concerns, allowing brands to be proactive in addressing them. 

Moreover, voice analytics provide a glimpse into customer satisfaction levels, helping brands make improvements to their products, services, and overall experience. It also offers demographic data, empowering brands to understand their target audience better and customize their strategies accordingly. By embracing voice analytics, brands can make informed decisions, deepen customer engagement, and build stronger connections with their audience.

How can multinational retailers use SuperPhone to stay relevant locally?

Multinational retailers can utilize SuperPhone to maintain local relevance in an impactful way. With SuperPhone’s intelligent texting platform, retailers can establish a genuine connection with customers on a personal level. By leveraging its advanced features like tagging, segmentation, and targeting, retailers can tailor their messaging to cater to local preferences and cultural nuances. 

SuperPhone’s seamless integration with Shopify and other apps ensures that customer data is unified and up-to-date, enabling retailers to deliver targeted promotions and personalized recommendations specific to each local market. By utilizing SuperPhone’s capabilities, multinational retailers can create authentic and personalized experiences that resonate with local customers, ultimately fostering loyalty and staying relevant on a local level.