Aylin Aron (Ahmet)

Local Measure - Location Based Customer Intelligence Platform

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Local Measure is a B2B startup that helps brick-and-mortar businesses discover and connect with their customers online. It allows them to identify and resolve customer inquiries in real-time and avoid detrimental damage to their brand.

As Head of Product I led all aspects of product development - from inception to find product-market fit - from 0 to 3m ARR in 12 months.

The Pivot

I joined the team in 2013, two years since the launch of Roamz, a location-based application that helps people discover things to do in their city. With so much noise on the social web Roamz existed to uncover serendipitous moments, the local way. Roamz aggregated social data from multiple sources including Foursquare, Twitter and Facebook.

After 2 years, nearly 300k app installations and approximately 30% DAU's Roamz began to stagnant and a difficult decision was made to pivot the company focus.

Lessons of a failed startup

Engineering serendipity was not an easy feat
The primary hypothesis of Roamz was that users' seeked serendipitous moments when looking for something to do. Serendipity is by its very nature random, in its purest form it is very difficult to engineer.

To ingest and analyze a person's digital trail across varied services and platforms where information is dispersed is challenging and often results in a mismatch. Even if one service had enough information to paint an accurate picture of who I am and what I’m into, there is no API to read our emotions or state of mind.

Growth
Acquiring new users (CAC) was costly. Partnerships with local bloggers and influencers resulted in high conversion of new users, however retention was challenging as the app's network effect lacked even as we released features to attempt to lift virality.

Monetization
Building a sustainable business was challenging with a stagnate user base. Advertising, paid partnerships and email lists were explored.

Competition
Foursquare and Yelp continue to gain majority market share by expanding global footprint, shipping new features constantly and supporting an ever growing number of devices.

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New beginning

We met with advertisers and major retailers in the U.S. and Asia to join as app partners, however they were more curious in the data Roamz was ingesting about locations/customers vs advertising to app users.

This was consistent theme for several months, so we decided the idea was worth exploring.

Approach

Discover & Define the Problem

Social media is noisy and no longer an optional platform for B2C engagement. Social media has fundamentally changed the way people communicate and share experiences online.

Business owners have limited or no visibility into what their customers are saying about their product or service experience in the moment.

To validate this was a problem worth solving, I partnered with one engineer and in a week we built a prototype using Twitter bootstrap.

From wireframes to a working prototype, we validated the idea in-person with the advertisers, retailers and venues who expressed early interest in this data.

I surveyed 100 SMB's to help with product discovery. 90% of respondants were unaware this content existed about their business. 80% of respondants would pay for a product that could deliver this content.

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The prototype highlighted location-based checkins and social posts at one or multiple locations.

To generate demand, I created a simple landing page to capture email addresses of businesses interested in testing an early version of the product. 300 businesses signed up over a 4 week period.

Define an initial target audience

To gain a deeper understanding of the problem I took a systematic approach using JTBD framework which revealed the following unmet needs.

For SMB owners:

  • Difficult to get a consolidated view of customer feedback shared at their physical location
  • Difficult to find their customers in the digital realm to continue building relationships that foster loyalty
  • Difficult to address negative customer reviews in real-time. Yelp reviews are often shared after a bad experience not giving the business an opportunity to rectify the situation
  • Difficult to know where to source content online about their business if they're not most technically savvy

For marketing teams in large corporations:

  • Difficult to access location-based social data from tools like Hootsuite, Radian6 and Wildfire
  • Difficult to understand "voice of the customer" sentiment segmented by business location
  • Difficult to build relationships with important digital influencers
  • Difficult to disseminate information within a large organization in a timely manner

Design,Develop & Deliver the Solution

In the early days, my focus was to build features to help us acquire new customers vs engagement.

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MVP feature set

I defined an MVP feature set and together with Designer we developed an end-to-end experience that they would love.

Location tagging: Search and add your business location in order to monitor social activity across Foursquare, Twitter, Instagram and Facebook locations.

Content discovery: Ability to access a stream of social media posts in a consolidated view. Easily filter on date, source and customer attributes. Identify loyal or influential customers across your business locations.

Content engagement: Like, follow and respond to your customers posts in real-time.

Notifications: Get notified when your customer respond to your comments.

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Define success metrics that ensure your intended people outcomes

50 businesses created accounts within 30 days of releasing beta.

Of these, almost all users discovered valuable, actionable customer content.

30% of business owners were able to convert a customers negative experience to positive in a timely manner.

Growth (Post PM fit)

After achieving success metrics, my focus shifted to building features that the majority of our users would use, developing a high-quality experience, and attracting new segments (hotel vertical, franchise businesses).

Automations: Automatically route important information to the right person within your organisation to take action.

User management: Easily manage user access and permission to ensure the integrity of your digital brand.

Analytics: Measure social activity, sentiment and key trends for each of your business locations.

Accessibility: Mobile friendly to ensure managers could monitor social activity on-the-go and operations were able to retrieve and resolve customer inquiries on multiple devices.

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Case study: Automations

Problem

Customer interviews helped to identify 2 pain points:

1) During high-volume periods, users would identify an important post to late making it difficult to rectify an unfortunate situation.
2) Users felt it was high-effort to find the appropiate person in their business to ensure a response can be sent to customer in a timely manner.

Solution
We built automations to allow businesses to set criteria for high priority social content.

Once matched, we’ll automatically alert the right person, or group in their organization.

Testing

I conducted 2 usability sessions with 5 participants in each. The participants were selectively picked to join the 2 hour scenario driven session. Bugherd and inspectlet were used to gather feedback and record behaviour.

Testing helped to reveal several opportunities to improve UX including introducing an indication of how many alerts would trigger a week based on the rules set. This indicator reduced the uncertainty felt by users during the creation process.

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Results

In an initial pilot, we enabled automations for 20% of customers. Over 4 weeks, 50 automations were created resulting in 2k matches and an email open rate of 86.57%.

Within 3 weeks of launching to entire customer base, 40% users created at least one funnel resulting in an email open of 82% with an average of 25 recipients per automation alert.

By supporting an operations use case, automations expanded our reach in a organization and drove new business opportunities (and revenue).

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