Building Upshot From The Ground Up

The Moonshots team is the innovation team of Influitive. Our goal is to create new products in the Advocate Marketing space. For our first project, we wanted to create an easy and natural experience for professionals to advocate for their favorite companies.

Identifying The Target User Base & Learning About Their Needs

We chose to focus on B2B SaaS marketers because they are Influitive’s key customer base. Our first step was to learn about their professional needs and industry trends.

We interviewed over 30 marketers from different marketing functions, seniority level, and company size. We learned about their roles, professional goals, difficulties at work, and industry trends. We used affinity diagram to capture key insights and uncover common themes.

Parts of the affinity diagram

Some of the key themes we uncovered are:

  • Me Economy (Personal Brand is important for career growth)
  • Marketing is becoming more data-driven
  • Want to know what and how my peers are doing
  • Build my tribe

We explored each theme further by conducting more interviews.

Ideate, Validate, and Repeat

As a team, we brainstormed ideas tackling each of the themes. We then went back to our research participants for feedback.

We used the feedback to refine and reform the ideas. We created Twitter ads and simple landing pages to gather interests on these ideas. We then reached out to the hand-raisers and learned more about their needs.

One of the Twitter ads we ran to gather interest.

We continued to iterated with on ideas that had high sign-ups. We brainstormed features based on our learnings. I would then draft mocks and bring them back to the hand-raisers for more feedback.

Low fidelity wireframes for one of the ideas. L-F wires are used for early interviews. If our majority of our participants are excited about the idea, we start adding details to the idea and create high fidelity wires.
High fidelity mocks. They are used for user interviews and validation.
Affinity diagram for one of the many ideas that we tested. Since we didn’t have much wall space, we started creating affinity diagrams on Stormboard.

We used the same process with five different ideas. At the end, the idea that stood out was the idea of learning and sharing campaigns. Marketers are curious to learn how their peers run campaigns. They are also itching to share their knowledge and build their personal brand. This lead us to conduct


Upshot

The idea that we believed had the most potential was Upshot. Upshot helped marketers highlight their achievements by helping them share a past success. However, writing is no easy task. We made it easier by helping users decide on a topic, ghost write the piece for them, and then distribute the story to their network. We ran a high-fidelity experiment and created 6 Upshot stories. My role was to identify what makes a good Upshot story, lead UX/UI, and helped the dev with front-end code.

Upshot published six stories. Majority of the contributors enjoyed the experience of creating with Upshot. Each story also received strong reader traffic. Below are a few screenshots from the Upshot experiment. You can see a saved version of an Upshot story here.

Iterations of the Upshot experiment
Upshot.co story page
Publishing flow

Tying Upshot to Advocate Marketing

After Upshot’s success, we wanted to tie it back to Influitive. Based on research by Influitive, professionals advocate for companies to help accelerate their own career. The most sought-after rewards are:

  • Getting featured on the company blog
  • Getting featured in a case study
  • Speak at an event or conference

For companies, new and fresh content are important part of their lead generation funnel. Blog style posts are easy to digest and great for social media shares. It is time-consuming and difficult for marketers to keep a pipeline of new content.

Tying the two together, we help companies generate authentic customer stories while recognizing the advocates for their achievements.

Building the MVP

One of the biggest design challenges of the MVP is to design a cohesive experience that addressed two different groups of users:

  • contributors: professionals featured on Upshot
  • vendors: customers that purchase Upshot as part of their content strategy.

On top that, we support two different end-points of the experience:

  • story creation process which involves both vendors and contributors
  • featuring and hosting Upshot stories

As a result, we created three separate Upshot experiences for each type of users—contributors, vendors, and readers—with a focus on the first two.

User storyboards. Left: Contributor storyboard. Right: Vendor storyboard.
MVP flow map

For MVP, I lead the interaction design, user testing, and set branding direction. I worked with a UI designer to create the visuals. You can find the mood board I recreated to help guide the UI designer here.

Delightful and Easy experience for contributors

We iterated the publishing experience for contributors so it is simpler and faster.

Contributor publishing flow for the MVP

In order for our editors to better work with our contributors, we included a quick questionnaire during onboarding to collect basic information about their needs.

Screenshot of contributor onboarding questionnaire

Robust and comprehensive experience for vendors

Iterated experience for creating a new campaign

Good reading Experience

Checkout Upshot stories here: http://readupshot.com/stories

Readupshot.com story page
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