Community-driven marketing platform that helps teams find the common interests of its consumers.
New York, US
2 — 10 employees
— Design Sprint
— Product Strategy
— Product Design
— UX Research
— Art Direction
Notus is a tech company from New York City who had identified an urgent need in their market. While it was common knowledge that the future of marketing was organic, most SME marketing teams did not have the time or resources to implement a successful organic strategy. They were either haphazardly publishing content, throwing spaghetti at the wall, or spending excessive amounts on paid ad campaigns that were less effective, but more predictable.
Notus developed an algorithm that combined the magic of authentic organic influence with the stability of hard data. They described it as an: “Acquisition engine for identifying where your target audience is, what and who they are influenced by, in order to engage with them where they are and build 1-1 relationships with them at scale. We call this earned community-led growth.”
The founders were coming from a strong start: 1) They’d correctly identified a profitable opportunity, 2) They’d diligently listened to and explored the challenges facing their target user, and 3) They’d created the tech side of the solution and proved it worked.
However, they were lacking product expertise and had no alignment or clear direction on what the final product would actually look like. They had asked Povio agency to help them with design and development, but before starting that stage they were missing an important step: Defining and validating an MVP.
They called on us at Human First, as experts in Sprinting to solve complex problems. It wasn’t the first time we’d been brought in at this stage, so we had our recipes at the ready.
Given the clear mission and the strong foundations, we were clear on the perfect approach: Design Sprint. By utilizing this approach, we were able to conduct two rounds of Design Sprints and validate the final scope of the MVP. Despite being physically separated, the fully remote nature of the Design Sprint allowed us to work collaboratively and efficiently. As a result, we were able to develop a clear product direction that met the needs of our users
We started with an extensive preparation stage with a series of expert interviews. Since the founders had already done extensive field research it was important to organize and analyze that data. We then led the team through the 5 day Design Sprint process:
At the testing stage, we uncovered something that surprised the founders: Various aspects of the terminology, features and tools inside the prototype were not resonating with users at all. In fact, they were losing interest before they even explored the tools, because they didn’t see the point of the product itself.
Even though the tech capacities of the product solved specific problems that these users had expressed, they had a hard time connecting the dots. The founders had been too close to the problem and had made assumptions based on their own experience bias. In short, users couldn’t see the value of the product because it hadn’t been designed through their eyes.
So you can probably guess what our Human First team did next, right? (It’s in the name!) We took the prototype, switched to a user-first lense, and got started on the final fix.
Since we had detailed, user-generated data from the first Design Sprint, we were able to progress directly to an: Iteration Sprint. With the context from the previous work, we moved fast and smart, fusing the Define, Sketch and Decision stages together.
This time the team learned from our initial findings, and pivoted the product to an educational focus. Instead of showing users eye-straining tables full of data and vanity metrics, they presented clear strategies and actionable steps to organic growth, with simple explanations – who to target, how to approach them, what to say, how often. We then proceeded to creating a new and improved high fidelity prototype, and proceeded straight to a successful user testing stage. The difference in feedback in the space of a week was astounding.
We then completed the project with an: Execution Sprint. Based on the last round of feedback, we filled in all the gaps, such as missing screens and information, and prepared detailed designs so the MVP was fully ready for the development stage.
This project is a textbook example of the rapid results that Sprint methodology offers:
Aside from pulling off the immediate MVP goal, Notus was able to reap the benefits of the Sprint work in the long term, with countless knock-on advantages:
You don’t have to invest months of your time without a reliable game plan or step-by-step blueprint to guide you.
Now all you need is ONE week!