How Mixpanel used ABM to support their shift to a freemium, product-led growth model

Case Study Overview

The customer

Mixpanel is a product analytics leader that offers a powerful self-serve platform to help software companies acquire, engage, and retain more users. 

The challenge

After tremendous growth, Mixpanel expanded to a digital ABM strategy in partnership with RollWorks to meet the needs of its growing and evolving ICP. 

The payoff

The marketing team at Mixpanel saw:

200% increase in signup volume from 2020 to 2021 

98% increase in LTV sourced from paid channels from 2020 to 2021

13% increase in CTR from new ads 

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the customer

Mixpanel is a product analytics leader that offers a powerful self-serve platform to help software companies acquire, engage and retain more users. Founded in 2009, Mixpanel has grown into a global presence of 275 employees. The San Francisco-based startup is used by 250K apps and websites, and conducts 9 trillion user transactions per year.  

The challenge

For years, Mixpanel had a traditional, sales-driven go to market strategy, where marketing focused on driving contacts from key accounts to fill out forms and talk to sales. But in 2020, they set out to expand their market footprint within high-growth startups, so they pivoted to a freemium model. Now, Mixpanel customers can sign up and get started on their own, upgrading to a paid plan when they’re ready. This change meant their marketing strategy had to shift to encompass this SMB segment and their unique buying journey.

And while some marketers may still think that ABM is only good for going after enterprise accounts, Mixpanel’s Growth Marketing Manager Cody Nguyen knows that’s not true. The team had already been doing ABM with RollWorks before the pivot to freemium, and Cody knew that the approach would support this new go-to-market model as well. Now, they’re using RollWorks to engage not just the “big fish” like Uber and DoorDash, but also small, high-growth startups like Clubhouse and Blind. 

The solution  

Cody and the Mixpanel marketing team used RollWorks to support this shift to a freemium model, using ABM campaigns to introduce their new pricing plans and promotions for startups and small businesses. Once a customer is signed up for a free account, Mixpanel uses RollWorks to retarget that user and target the other buyers in that account with ads for a paid plan.

Mixpanel also uses RollWorks Account Scoring to prioritize its top accounts in alignment with sales. They start with their own model for calculating the lifetime value of a customer—based on firmographic data, the model predicts what the expected 36-month revenue of a given account will be. Then, Mixpanel uses RollWorks to prioritize the top 15 - 20% of these accounts, for a total between 1,000 - 2,000 accounts on their target account list (TAL). For context, before the pivot to freemium, they only targeted about 100 accounts at a time.

Cody Nguyen, Growth Marketing Manager says, “RollWorks has been instrumental in facilitating some big changes for Mixpanel. We’re now using RollWorks as more of a direct response channel, very similar to what we were using LinkedIn, Facebook or even paid search for. This has worked very well for us, allowing us to target a much larger population of accounts.” 

In particular, Cody and the team say that RollWorks stands out in the following ways: 

1) Ease of use: With RollWorks, the intuitive user interface means that Mixpanel can easily build and launch its own campaigns, unlike other platforms which Cody says can be hard to use. 

2) Robust data set: Mixpanel also appreciates the massive data set and powerful machine learning that RollWorks brings. This makes it easy to run campaigns targeting 'unknown' accounts and buyers. 

3) Scalability: By using RollWorks to help them scale from 100 accounts to up to 2,000, Mixpanel can use ABM to quickly grow its free user base and drive conversions to generate revenue. 

spotlight: Rollworks/marketo integration 

Mixpanel uses the RollWorks-Marketo data sync to continuously update its dynamic target account lists and exclusion lists in real time, eliminating tons of manual list updates. Cody and the team also use Marketo to feed retargeting audiences. For example, for people who have signed up for a Mixpanel account but haven’t implemented the tool, Mixpanel serves them urgency-based messaging to nudge them. These global ads are easily customized per country or language. And Mixpanel found that by using RollWorks dynamic creative to call out specific company names, they saw a 13% increase in click through rates.

According to Cody, “With RollWorks and Marketo, we have eliminated manual labor and wasted spend to now focus only on our high-value accounts. As a result, we’ve seen around a 60% increase in conversation rates, while cutting our CPAs by 30%.” 

the payoff

By helping Mixpanel identify and engage its best-fit accounts, RollWorks has been instrumental in helping Mixpanel exceed its marketing goals every quarter for the last year, despite the pandemic. Here are some results they've seen: 

  • 200% increase in signup volume from 2020 to 2021 
  • 98% increase in LTV sourced from paid channels from 2020 to 2021
  • 13% increase in CTR from new ads 




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