Mobile Heroes

Derrick Nguyen by Derrick Nguyen | October 6, 2019

Prior to joining the mobile industry, Derrick worked at an ad-tech startup as a marketing manager, primarily managing email marketing. With mobile being a hyper fast growing channel, Derrick made the move to a mobile ad network startup, his first intro to the mobile space.

Learn more from his Mobile Hero profile.


Throughout my career, I have been very fortunate to work at different companies at varying stages of growth. In addition to marketing, I have had the chance to wear many different hats, from business development and ad operations to program management. Though challenging, this wide swath of exposure prepared me for one thing: how to be more effective while working with less. All of this preparation was put to the test when I moved from a convenient corporate environment to a fast paced start-up in a competitive space.

For UA marketers working for an early stage startup with limited resources, below are my best 4 tips for stretching your budget for maximum effect.

1. Keep it simple with smaller budgets

Big companies with massive budgets will always have the flexibility to stretch their tolerance for exploring new tests and platforms. I found that a smaller budget forced me to be more surgical about where the money goes. I kept the performance goals very simple, stuck primarily with the proven traffic sources, and ignored the gimmicky experiments that often lead to ambiguous outcomes. Keep in mind, there is nothing wrong with driving performance by keeping simple goals. In the end, this consistency ultimately leads to increasing your future budgets.

2. Use partners to help manage fraud

When I worked for a larger organization, I had the luxury of taking advantage of premium features and resources to combat fraud. If you can afford it, opt in for the features that your MMP provides for fraud monitoring; even then, there is still a lot of work to do with managing the whole process. In this instance, I had to limit the campaign access to one or two performance based networks/agencies with the proper resources to control the distribution of the campaign. This vendor’s fraud monitoring technologies had proven effective, which is something I can lean on. The right vendor that appreciates this exclusive privilege will work hard to police the space on your behalf.

3. Stay proactive with automated reports for commonly requested metrics

At a large organization, nothing is more convenient than having beautiful reports taken care of; however, it may not always be the case on a smaller team. When managing your own reports, you need to be more attentive to questions about certain performance metrics. As a result, I queue up automated daily reports on particular metrics from all of the platforms I have access to, and routinely input this information into excel to do deeper calculations. The formulas only cater to the kinds of information that typically gets asked. Being proactive here will save a lot of time when inevitable fire drills spring up. I like to have access to data I’ve already vetted rather than scrambling to queue up ad hoc requests.

4. Get things done with genuine relationships

It is no surprise that larger organizations have developed systematic processes enabling cross functional teams (such as data analytics, legal, finance, etc.) to provide support for other teams. Depending on which team you need support from, that system can be a bit more ambiguous. So what do you do? Submitting tickets is a necessary formality with most departments; however, it’s more important that you develop a strong rapport with your respective cross functional colleagues.

Startups with smaller teams are constantly prioritizing tickets, which means you need to figure out how to compete for their attention. Like vendors fighting for your attention, you tend to remember the ones you like the most. I make a genuine effort to get to know the folks I’m making requests of. Not only does this lead to improved efficiency, but it makes your time at work more enjoyable.

These tips helped me be more successful and I hope that they inspire you to improve the effectiveness within your own organization.