Change Position Change Position
Over the past couple of days I have been on a reading marathon. Completing all the books i could not finish and starting new ones.
One of the gems I have discovered in my marathon is “Obviously Awesome: How to Nail Product Positioning So Customers Get It, Buy It, Love It” by April Dunford
My first impression was that the title is a mouthful and if it were up to me the title would be “Obviously Awesome: How to Nail Product Positioning” but besides that i charged forward on my speed reading crusade.
Now for those who know me, I consider my self a bit of a unicorn. I can : strategy, UX, code, test, data science, growth hack and market. Not only can i fulfill all these roles and functions but after some practise I have “mastered” each of these (except for coding in flutter)
Being involved in and started numerous startups I have had to assume these roles and functions as it’s all hands on deck until a VC emerges and ends your resource conundrum.
I have always thought I know positioning, after all I am a creative, but after reading this book I have found the error in my ways. The book details a positioning framework with some great examples such as :
- A startup called clearpath that developed a robot that could be used in industrial facilities to intelligently move around and pickup and deliver materials. They constantly had to explain that their product is not just ‘a robot’ and they repositioned their product as “self-driving vehicles for industrial use”. Once businesses understood what they really do they ended up raising $30 million to accelerate their growth.
- A startup called Janna systems that developed an enterprise CRM that enabled it to model relationships between people in a way that Seibel couldn’t. They repositioned themselves as “CRM for investment banks” and went on to grow their revenue from $2 million to over $70 million in eighteen months.
- A startup that developed an “Uber for cats” only to discover that customers thought that they are developing a cat collection and delivery service when they were really creating a marketplace where you can buy cat products
Knowledge gained and not applied is knowledge wasted — Unknown
Armed with this knowledge i set out to reposition The Grate app.
When we launched this app in 2017 it was met with mixed reviews and understanding. The Grate app was positioned as “an app that lets diners review food”, here is a link to the launch article
“An app that lets diners review food” was not really what the app was all about. What the app intended to do was create insights for restaurant owners and managers so they can know what works and what doesn’t work and use that data to improve their menu and service. All of this was coupled with an engaging gamification based rating, reviewing and events experience.
Having had a chance to reposition the app now I would describe it as an “Insights driven crowdsourced platform for reviewing dishes at your favorite restaurants” but let me break it down further
Now let me take The Grate app through the Product Positioning canvas
There are numerous competitors in the review space - Zomato, Google reviews, Tripadvisor, Yelp and even to a certain extent Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. All of these platforms allow you to take a picture and post your review. If The grate app didn’t exist our users will just use these platforms or not post reviews at all and just share their experience with their friends and family.
Most, if not all, of these platforms allow you to review a restaurant and not the dishes in the restaurant, and this is what is unique about The Grate App. The platform crowdsources individual dish reviews and users can rate them on price, taste and presentation in a Netflix like 5 star rating system. Using our platform users can have a form of restaurant dish GPS/navigator that can inform them on what to order and what to avoid at a particular restaurant.
The platform also features a leaderboard to keep track of the top users, restaurant events and push notifications so restaurants can send a push message to a segmented user base.
Value (and proof)
Using our platform users can have a form of restaurant dish GPS/navigator that can inform them on what to order and what to avoid at a particular restaurant. This has an time and cost savings advantage and allows for restaurants with a lower restaurant rating to still get new customers who want to experience a particular dish that they do very well. You don’t go to Spur for their lamb but for ribs or Wimpy for their chicken but for their Burgers.
The leaderboard was a hit and we posted the leaderboard every Saturday morning and immediately afterwards we saw a massive uptick in new users, ratings and reviews. Call it peer-pressure but everyone wanted to be number one.
Restaurant events proved to be the money maker and we had a handful of restaurants paying us to list and manage their events RSVP’s and payments. There were numerous platforms that allowed restaurants to list their events but what they couldn’t do is link who : RSVP’ed, what they ordered, what they experience was like and the ability to target them via a push notifications campaign to get them to come back. This is the golden thread that we offered.
Push Notifications to a segmented user base — This feature was/is very unique and were even looking at building this out as a separate product all together and offer it to startups and advertisers so any developer with an app can integrate to our service and earn revenue by allowing advertisers to send push messages to their segmented user base.
Target Market Characteristics
There are two primary markets we targeted
1-Small restaurants : Typically your smaller, non-franchise restaurants produce great dishes and want people to know about it, they do not have the funds to create TVC’s and Billboards so every cents counts, they need to know that if they spend X amount they will get ROI. They care more focused on targeted messaging and know their customer base. They care the most and without us they have a mix bag of unrelated platforms to use that do not have that golden thread.
2-Restaurant enthusiasts : If restaurants were airlines these would be your frequent flyers. They enjoy going out and posting reviews on what they have had for the world to see. Unfortunately without us they can use other social media platforms, what we need are price conscious users who can only afford to go out once in a while and when they do they need to make sure what they order hits the right price point whilst meeting and exceeding their taste and presentation expectations
Marketing our offering as : “An app lets diners rate food” gives a level of context but not enough to really explain what we offer to both consumers and restaurants. We are in the restaurant food reviews category but needed to add the crowdsourcing and insights capability. At this point we would be tempted to position ourselves as a “restaurant dish GPS/navigator” but that would put the app in the same category as Navigation App’s like Google Maps and Waze which we are not.
He/She who owns the data owns the user -unknown
With all the data we were collecting the next step was to use that data to better serve our user base. We know what you like, what you don’t like, which restaurants are your favorite, which dishes are your favorite, which days you go out, which days you stay in and which events your attend.
All of these data points indicate that the user would be going to the restaurant but what if the restaurant could come to the user? If we create a delivery service we could send a push notification for a delivery of your favorite chicken curry as your left work and enroute to your home. Because we know what you like our recommendations could be smart recommendations going out at specific times and with specific dishes.
Push Notifications as a service
With global Ad revenue dropping and Ad blockers being installed, advertisers are looking for new, engaging and measurable ways of connecting with consumers. Lets say you operate an app that connects bakers with baking materials and ingredients, a baking marketplace of sorts. You could plug into our push notifications service and SMEG could run a campaign to market their baking mixers to your active user base that love baking through our platform.
Dish reviews as a service
Google has made trillions offering users access to their API’s and charging what seems like insignificant amount but as the API calls increase the cost increases. $17 per 1000 requests may seem small but once you hit 10 million users and 1 million Google Places calls per day the costs start to stack up ($17000 per day!)
Ideally the Grate app would like to offer our dish reviews data to Google at lets say $5 per 1000 requests and they can mark it up to $17 per 1000 requests and they can sell this to their current developer base. Win-Win
The online food delivery market is huge an is expected to reach US$1,396m by 2024 in South Africa according to statista.
- Revenue in the Online Food Delivery segment is projected to reach US$965m in 2020.
- Revenue is expected to show an annual growth rate (CAGR 2020–2024) of 9.7%, resulting in a projected market volume of US$1,396m by 2024.
- The market’s largest segment is Platform-to-Consumer Delivery with a projected market volume of US$524m in 2020.
This will mean a move away from Sit down restaurants to Online delivery and many small to medium restaurants will struggle.
After this exercise this has emerged as the positioning statement :
“Insights driven crowdsourced platform for reviewing dishes at your favorite restaurants”
Let me know what you think and if it ties in all the elements the app has and category it fits into.
In the next article i shall be repositioning my other startup Jovi