Find out how Rosetta Stone ditched the CDs to go from venerable language learning program to beloved mobile app powerhouse without missing a step. 

“I look at these other brands out there and I cry a little tear for them,” says TJ Hunter, senior director of consumer marketing for Rosetta Stone’s consumer division. “I don’t think they understand the power of mobile; if they did, they’d definitely have more of a mobile presence.”

Rosetta Stone, which originally carved out its niche in the desktop world, was founded in 1992 as a pioneer in the use of interactive CD-based software to accelerate language learning.

“When you poll people in the street and say, What do you think about Rosetta Stone? a lot of people remember the yellow box,” says Hunter. “They’ll remember our CD products specifically; they won’t think about what it would look like on a mobile device or tablet.”

But, as technology evolved, Hunter says, Rosetta Stone was in danger of being left behind, with consumers increasingly cutting the cords to their desktops, moving in droves to mobile-only information consumption.

“So the biggest challenge for Rosetta Stone was actually becoming relevant — to have people see us as a product that is available on their mobile device or as an app,” Hunter explains. “We had to adapt to a mobile-first strategy, and that required some product innovation. And what we learned is that you have to continue to innovate.”

And that evolution can’t be restricted to app technology; it means transforming how the company reaches out to users and potential users.

“Our business is predicated upon human communication,” Hunter says. “It comes down to that. It’s how you communicate the value and entice the customer to continue to put in the time to extract the benefit.”

He notes that the fundamental mobile marketing principles are as valuable as ever, and core to their strategy — in-app messaging, push notifications, drip email marketing, and all the other tools in a savvy digital marketer’s toolbox.

“All of these apps have given us a way as marketers to communicate and I think the opportunities are endless, because now we’re looking at connected devices, not just mobile,” Hunter says.

And that’s what gives marketers the unprecedented opportunity to really dig into what a consumer wants, needs, and desires from your company.

First thing’s first, Hunter says. “Respect the customer. And you do that by understanding what the customer’s problem is. Now decide how mobile can help you continue to solve it — not help you continue to get more users or more usage, because that’ll come naturally.”

For Rosetta Stone, it’s understanding that language learning is aspirational — users want to connect with their own heritage or culture, to travel, to advance, or change their career. And that means the company’s marketing focus is on more than just getting a customer to start the journey with a sale; they see it as a journey to motivate the user to continue using the product so that their aspirations become reality.

“Is it easy? No. In interpersonal human communication, it’s hard to understand what someone is saying and then to be able to respond,” Hunter says. “And in a marketing relationship, it’s even tougher.”

But that focus on communication is what engages customers, and turns them into the kind of fans who become evangelists for life, and keep breathing life into your app — the holy grail of marketing strategy.

To find out more about how to leverage personalization, data mining, and engagement strategy to keep boosting your LTV and ARPU, join Hunter along with Founder and CEO of Insert, Shahar Kaminitz, and VB’s Director of Marketing Technology, Stewart Rogers, in this VB live event.

Don’t miss out.

Register here for free.

In this VB Live event, you’ll learn to:

  • Leverage in-app personalization to build loyalty
  • Proactively seek and secure high levels of customer satisfaction
  • Increase customer retention rate
  • Raise revenue per user
  • Implement strategies that increase LTV and increase ARPU


  • TJ Hunter, Sr. Director of Consumer Marketing for Rosetta Stone’s Consumer Division
  • Shahar Kaminitz, Founder & CEO, Insert
  • Benjamin Weiss, Mobile Product Manager, Walgreens
  • Stewart Rogers, Director of Marketing Technology, VentureBeat


  • Wendy Schuchart, Moderator, VentureBeat

This VB Live event is sponsored by Insert.