Tobias Börner is the CMO and co-founder of LOVOO, the largest German-speaking dating app by downloads. Lovoo changes how people meet through innovative location-based algorithms and an app radar feature that helps people find successful matches.
Recently, we caught up with Tobias to discuss his experience founding LOVOO and what insights he can offer to mobile app marketers.
Tell us a bit about LOVOO.
I’m currently the CMO and co-founder of LOVOO. We started LOVOO, a mobile first dating app, in 2011 in Germany, and since then I have taken responsibility for the entire marketing team. Two years ago we sold LOVOO to The Meet Group (based in the US).
Right now my focus is on expansion. We operate across a range of markets such as Italy, Spain, and France, but the German market has been our focus. With The Meet Group operating out of the US, my challenge is to grow the user base. I am constantly taking advantage of every opportunity to try new channels in the mobile market.
What did you do before LOVOO?
Before LOVOO I founded an event community called Club Culture, a platform for people interested in attending parties. Users were able to discover events and parties on our website. We would also send photographers to the parties who would then post photos on our website, attracting attendees from the parties they attended. The idea for LOVOO came about in 2010 when I thought to myself how convenient it would be to have a radar for events to meet new people.
This was during the time when iPhones were becoming more popular, so it was clear to me that we had to migrate from a website to an app environment. Therefore, LOVOO was born as a mobile first service. As Facebook and various social media platforms were on the rise, it was an optimal time to market.
We decided to go into the dating space because we had a lot of knowledge in the industry and felt it was an environment where businesses can live side by side. It was a great decision at the right time.
What are some of the important qualities to succeed as an app marketer?
In addition to having a passion for marketing, it’s important to have a love of product. Since day one I have been addicted to user funnels, being a part of product meetings, and utilizing my performance marketing knowledge.
Secondly, customer relationship management is crucial. This includes customer activation, revenue optimization, and improving the retention time of each acquired customer.
Lastly, be open to modern marketing approaches. I suggest using a mix of brand and performance marketing. Build a strong marketing team that understands the mobile scene, and do not separate them by brand and performance. Bring them together and make sure that every employee understands the big picture.
What has been your most career defining moment?
Back in 2012, when the mobile marketing industry did not yet fully exist, it was difficult to acquire mobile users. There were no Facebook app ads or Google universal ad campaigns. Plus we were trying to bring our mission to market with little budget to work with. So we ended up calling hundreds of local TV production agencies to ask them if they could display a float radar which shows you singles nearby. Unfortunately, no one cared, until one small agency gave us a chance.
They produced a report about our product and company which aired on a popular TV channel during prime time the following Sunday. Within 10 minutes our app was downloaded over 40,000 times. This to me was my kick-off moment.
Who has been your best advocate or mentor in the mobile industry?
So many people have influenced me. I’m constantly trying to meet individuals in the industry who are similar to me or have similar companies, and sharing knowledge is always so important to me. I encourage my team to share their experiences with peers to learn and grow. I’m also a huge fan of podcasts and listen to them every morning while running.
What tips would you offer to mobile marketers to grow their career?
Be open minded and use your budget in that way. This is extremely important if you are responsible for a larger budget. Constantly monitor your return on investment, and don’t be afraid to explore new opportunities.
Only run channels which are possible to scale. If your goal is to be international, stick with channels that are easy to scale. To do this, look beyond your acquisition funnel. Investigate your product funnel and understand if you acquired the right customer with your budget.
Is there a piece of advice you wish you knew at the beginning of your career?
In the beginning we developed product features and improvements to please investor requests. These requests weren’t focused on the needs of our target users. This occurred quite often, and ultimately we learned that most of these efforts weren’t worth the investment.
Read other insightful Q&As with leading mobile app marketers in the industry.