How I Pendo Product-led growth

Thinking outside the (marketing tool)box

See how Top Hat used Pendo to reimagine their vision of marketing outreach, automate labor-intensive processes, and communicate with customers in the moments that matter most


Top Hat’s marketing team was called in to assist the customer success organization with a large renewal campaign, but saw limited success with traditional, email-driven channels. And in the past, an effort like this bogged down their customer success and sales team with tedious and time-consuming outreach tasks.

Pendo'ing it

Top Hat leveraged Pendo in-app guides to automate their renewal campaign and reduce the amount of administrative work previously required of their account reps—while paving the way for future outside-the-box campaign possibilities.


By using Pendo in-app guides to automate this once-manual process, Top Hat has seen a massive uptick in their renewal campaign engagement, compared to previous email-driven initiatives. The success of this initiative has also opened the door for Top Hat’s marketing team to continue partnering with customer success and sales to further build out scalable communication strategies.

Matthew Walcher

Web developer, marketing

Top Hat

Top Hat is a software company that’s changing the way students engage in the classroom. By activating learning opportunities through students’ smartphones and creating a space where instructors can collaborate with their students, Top Hat is reinventing the lecture experience.

Pendo’ing it is an exciting thing. [It’s asking] what we should be putting in front of the customer within our app. How can it be different? What cool ways can we bring together other third parties, like Marketo, with Pendo?

Let’s try something new

Marketers spend a lot of time thinking about the best ways to reach the right people, at the right time, with the right message. And while their ideas can be revolutionary, the channels marketers are often shoehorned into don’t feel as exciting (looking at you, email). With Pendo, it doesn’t have to be this way.

When Top Hat’s marketing team was tasked with running a renewal automation campaign to support their customer success organization, Matthew Walcher, Top Hat’s marketing web developer, knew there had to be a more effective method that didn’t involve the inbox. “We were going to do an email campaign,” said Walcher. “But [I just thought], ‘I feel like we can make this better with Pendo.’”

Instead of forcing users to leave the Top Hat app to respond to emails regarding their upcoming renewal, Walcher wanted to leverage Pendo to communicate with users while they were actually using the app. Walcher also mentioned that the renewal process for their account reps was previously very tedious and completely manual. “They literally had to email every single one of their customers,” he said, “and that’s what we were trying to solve. How do we make this more efficient, less tedious for the account reps, and automate it so that they don’t have to do so much admin work?”

Out with the admin, in with the automation

Walcher and his team deployed an in-app guide with two different pathways, corresponding to the two ways a user could respond to the guide’s renewal intent prompt. 

The guide first populated in a very unobtrusive way with a simple yes / no question. Depending on how the user responded to the first prompt, the guide would then expand to include other fields where the user could enter in more detail about their renewal intent. Each pathway resulted in a custom success message to suit the user’s submission. Walcher also needed a solution for users who ignored or dismissed the guide. Using Pendo, he was able to program the guide to continue to resurface until the user submitted a response. “That was helpful, and got us a bunch more [responses] as well,” said Walcher.

TopHat | Pendo Product Screenshot

Walcher noted that there were a few nuances to navigate as he was setting up these Pendo in-app guides, but that the payoff has been worth it. “We had to program a bit of a delay to make sure our Marketo script and form were loaded before displaying the Pendo guide,” said Walcher. “We also had to make sure that the form positioning was right. At the end of it, it was relatively simple.”

Leveraging a Pendo in-app guide not only made for a more seamless user experience, but it also took a huge load off other teams’ plates. With Walcher and his team managing the renewal campaign, the customer success and sales teams could focus on higher-value tasks instead of the administrative work that was previously required of them. “They were really excited. Anything that makes things easier and more efficient for them, they were like, ‘this is awesome!’” 

The success of this campaign has also opened the door for Walcher’s team to partner with other departments within the organization, as more groups have become interested in exploring how they can use Pendo to automate similar processes.

Pro tips

  • Think outside the box and challenge your notions of what a campaign looks like (and where it lives)
  • Take advantage of incremental change—start with a single project or campaign, see what works, and use those results as a jumping-off point to iterate and expand in the future
  • Always consider the user experience and how small things, like the placement of a guide, could impact it—then design around those considerations