Product design and marketing in the customers' language
We helped Repro, a Japanese start-up, boost conversion and retention by helping them shift from a feature-driven mindset to a customer-focused one.
Repro is an analytics tool that helps mobile product teams understand how their app is performing, and identify opportunities for improvement. It logs user actions while capturing what the user sees on the screen, revealing how the app is being used tap-by-tap.
Repro got in touch as they were raising their series A funding. They were dealing with a lot of new input: “must have” feature requests from customers and sales, and laundry-list feature comparisons from potential investors and partners. It was critical to cut through the noise with a clear message and product strategy based on customer needs.
That’s where AQ came in. We’d met Repro in 2014 at the Orange Fab Asia accelerator program, where we mentor in UX design. Repro CEO Yusuke Hirata came to us soon after seeking our veteran product team’s UX expertise to prepare for Repro’s global roll-out.
As a Japanese start-up with global ambitions, Repro needed to understand customers both in and outside of Japan and provide a product and message relevant to customers working in many markets. Based on over a decade of experience working on global products, we knew we could only improve Repro’s value proposition by ensuring the product spoke to customers’ real-life problems.
Our work would begin with the design of a new marketing page and visual identity, continuing with the new customer onboarding experience, and end with a UX overhaul of core features.
To start, we identified who the real customer was, what problems they were trying to solve, and what their decision process was when they looked at solutions.
The previous wave of customers had been personally introduced to the product by the Repro team via a face-to-face walkthrough, sometimes over a few beers. As awareness of Repro grew, the next wave of prospects would become more diverse and unknown. We needed to talk to customers with no connection to Repro, whose first contact would be the marketing page.
To do this, we reached out to product managers from AQ’s network—PMs around the world who were leading fast-moving teams—and interviewed them about how their team evaluated and adopted analytics tools.
“At AQ, we see marketing design and product design as two sides of the same experience. The marketing page is often the customer’s first encounter with a product. It sets expectations of the product’s purpose and value that last months into actual use.”- Mathieu
We found that the key to converting the most dispassionate product manager was to demonstrate that Repro could answer their deepest questions about user behavior—and to drive decisions. It was also important to sell to their team, by creating an entry point for engineers to begin a technical evaluation and presenting upfront pricing for management.
This discovery reset the Repro team’s perspective, shifting them away from refining features of the product for a few individuals towards defining a value proposition and workflow for entire product teams.
In our first workshop with Repro’s team, we derived personas for a realistic “product team” from our interviews, representing the three team members who would be visiting the site, and walked through how each would process information on the page. We replaced the long list of features on the marketing page with concrete value propositions of how Repro helps product teams make informed decisions.
Ryan led the redesign, and within a few weeks of iteration, we had a solid marketing page, validated by feedback from the same product managers we first interviewed. After launch, conversion increased 2.5 times, right in time for a huge wave of traffic from their Series A funding announcement.
More importantly, the conversations at Repro were changing, even when AQ wasn’t around. The team was talking about the people within their customer organizations, and how to help them succeed.
“When you develop a service you want to tell people everything it can do. AQ helped me to think instead about what kind of person is looking at the site and how they will use it. They were great at cutting things away and focusing on the story people needed to convince their bosses to pay for our product.” Yusuke Hirata, CEO of Repro
Next, we began to work together on the product itself.
The Repro team’s initial brief focused on usability issues that had become painful to their most dedicated customers, who were using it every day. But we felt that solving these issues was not going to drive retention during the critical first month as new customers were evaluating Repro’s usefulness.
We ran a second series of interviews with actual customers and discovered that many didn’t use the bulk of the app’s functions because they weren’t aware they existed or didn’t understand their value.
We analyzed Repro’s retention funnel and identified five engagement milestones that make it more likely for a customer to identify value and stick with the product. Most people were only completing one or two.
Our job was to find where people were getting stuck, what they weren’t seeing, and guide them through the critical “firsts” that would provide a holistic view of Repro’s value.
We started with event tagging. The video feature was popular among customers, but many were unaware that Repro could tag key user actions (events) in the video. If Repro was a movie, they were slogging through the director’s cut, and these actions were the highlight reel. We designed contextual guidance that explained how to turn on event tagging and how it would help them discover insights.
We also devised an easy-to-understand five-step instruction plan to nudge product managers to complete the next step, exposing them to a new benefit of using Repro with each one.
After the rollout of our work together, Repro saw marketing page conversion increase nearly threefold, and greater engagement with multiple features of the app. Throughout the collaborative design process, we saw the team shift to more customer-focused product decision making. Their team has since expanded from six members to 25, including an in-house design team, and they’ve recently completed their series B funding.
Our work with Repro took the form of bi-weekly collaborative design sprints. Each sprint began by sharing new insights from research. We wrote out and prioritized UX issues, crafted design hypotheses, sketched and wrote UI copy together. Most decisions happened in work sessions, cutting down time spent on email and documentation. Everyone on the team knew what to do next and why, because they were in the room.
“I thought it would be hard to find a design partner who would keep up with our speed of change. I was impressed by AQ’s consistent commitment to raising quality within limited time frames.” - Hirata
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