Red Nova Labs Continues to Create Jobs, Expands Marketing Department

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Kansas City startup hires three new marketing employees, strengthen what was once an under-manned team

Finally we have the rounded team in place that can support our itchy-pants business strategy. -CMO Carrie Royce

As a self-funded startup, Red Nova Labs currently relies 100 percent on revenue for team growth. Thanks to recent success, the company has increased the size of its marketing department to 12, a staff that consisted of just two people in early 2010.

Recent hires include Marketing Director Matt Oberender, Content Writer Nadine Anheier, and Social Media Specialist Drew Hendricks. All three will strengthen the department of an organization that was working short-handed for a long time.

"When Red Nova Labs started out, we were particularly strained," CMO Carrie Royce said. "Since day one we've been rapidly experimenting and shopping ideas in the market, but we've been doing it with just a few marketing heads. Finally we have the rounded team in place that can support our itchy-pants business strategy."

Red Nova Labs first made it to profitability with marketing platforms for the self storage industry. Its flagship product, StorageFront.com, now provides web visibility to more than 4,000 storage facilities nationwide. Follow-up products like WebWorks for Self Storage, which launched earlier this year, have fueled the company’s expansion.

"It was a lot of hard work for our small crew to get us this far," Royce said. "But thanks to their determination, we’ve been able to hire more ass-kickers and round out our skillset. Now we’re better equipped to diversify and to execute fast. If our latest business venture — Red Nova Labs Games — is any indication, great things are going to happen here with this team."

Mystery Ball is the first game from the newly-hatched Red Nova Labs Games division, and the first promotional task Royce gave her new team. The iOS game will be released on the Apple App Store on Nov. 3. Since it is the first game Red Nova Labs has released, the challenge was sizeable: establish credibility in the gaming industry and spark a buzz.

In about a month, Mystery Ball has been featured on several top gaming websites, including Gameranx.com and Gamersmint.com; the two trailers the marketing team produced have more than 1,800 views; the game has been mentioned in more than 1,500 tweets on Twitter, and Mystery Ball has 127 fans on Facebook.

"With Mystery Ball, we had a really fun product to promote. Naturally it was more exciting to marketing employees than self storage or home mortgages, and everyone wanted to work on it," Royce said. "Still, when you throw anything at a group of marketing people who have not worked together before and have not been exposed to that market before, you don’t know what you’re going to get. I'm super pumped by how quickly the new team moved and how focused they’ve been on measurable results. Marketing is money, man."

Leading the Mystery Ball team has been the responsibility of Oberender. Working for a startup is a new experience for the marketing director, as he has spent his career in restaurant marketing for large clients such as Pizza Hut and Mr. Goodcents. He decided he was ready for a new challenge and that brought him to Red Nova Labs.

Royce plans to use Oberender's expertise to help broaden the reach of Red Nova Labs’ newest business unit, BuzzMeDo, a mobile-based platform out this month that helps businesses communicate with local customers.

"Matt's experience navigating corporate structure was something we were largely lacking among the marketing team," Royce said. "He has already brought some rationality to our startup muster, and his straight-shooter approach helps bridge Marketing and Sales — a challenge in any organization. That said, I'd say the ready-shoot-aim nature of our business model has been something of a jolt to Matt. It's a good, fresh perspective for him."

Red Nova Labs was also undermanned in the content department — content is key in web marketing. The company takes great pride in its original web content and the ability to come up with truthful and entertaining messaging. Anheier impressed Royce and Editor C.J. Moore with a blog rant she had written about grammar, which was sidesplitting. She beat out nearly 100 applicants and several shining stars for the Content Writer position. She has spent the last seven years as a puzzle Editor at UClick, a segment of Andrews McMeel Universal.

"Nadine’s voice fits here," Moore said. "She's witty, her copy is concise and clean, and she works quickly. I interviewed a lot of great people and not once have I questioned the decision to go with Nadine."

Once Anheier was on board, Royce wanted to bring on someone who understood organic web visibility. Hendricks was the perfect candidate to promote Red Nova Labs' multiple platforms in the social network realm.

"Drew's ability to promote through social media and his underground knowledge of various channels makes him a hugely valuable contributor to a web marketing think-tank," Royce said. "Originally I was looking for a 'suit' — someone who could work a room like the PR managers in 'the olden days' — but Drew quickly convinced me that social is something else that requires hybrid gen of PR and technical web. His guerrilla approach to social is savvy and scalable. His mind holds a virtual rolodex of valuable contacts in the social media world, and it’s clear that he knows how to develop trust and meaningful relationships with those contacts. He impresses me."

Royce said that the company would like to continue to grow, but now that the marketing department is well staffed, Red Nova Labs' next goal is to expand the engineering department. The company's immediate need is for front-end UI developers, but it is always on the lookout for great back-end programmers as well.

About Red Nova Labs
Red Nova Labs was founded and self-funded in 2009 as a web development and marketing agency as well as a technology think-tank, creating original, cutting-edge systems for web and mobile. On the service side, the company supports interface design, backend programming and online marketing. On the product side Red Nova Labs invents, builds and launches its own web-based platforms for various applications and vertical markets. To support both business models, its growing team of development engineers conceives resourceful code generators which add practical ease to complex programming—enabling unprecedented speed in creating vibrant, multidimensional environments and utilities. Once a product is launched, each business operates autonomously as an independent unit, with full engineering and marketing support from Red Nova Labs on the back end. The company is open to collaborative opportunities.

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C.J. Moore
Red Nova Labs
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