In this episode, you’ll learn:

  • How Peep used early user feedback to narrow down Wynter’s product positioning
  • How you can analyze your qualitative data
  • What questions marketers should ask to get useful insights from their customers, especially when the company is still at an early stage

Links mentioned in the show

Follow Peep on LinkedIn.

Wynter.

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    Transcript

    Anna:

    Hello Peep, and welcome to the show.

    Peep Laja:

    Thank you for having me.

    Anna:

    Awesome. I’m super, super excited about this one. I heard great things about Wynter and I am super excited to hear everything and learn from you. So, first of all, can you please tell us what is Wynter and how did you actually coin the positioning and messaging for it? When I first encountered it and when I first read about the company, I thought that the business model was pretty genius. So, I’m sure our audience would love to learn more about this.

    Peep Laja:

    Yeah. Well, Wynter is in the business of delivering audiences. So, if you sell to, let’s say, SaaS CMOs, we can deliver your SaaS CMOs, then you can ask them questions. Our main use case is messaging testing. So, testing your messaging and whether it resonates with the people you’re trying to sell to, to market, or not, then how you can improve it. And our key audience is B2B, not B2C. And in B2B, delivering audiences based on the title, company size, the industry, is an unsolved problem, and we can do it relatively cheaply and very fast.

    Anna:

    Great. Awesome. And could you please expand a bit more about the audience? Because I heard you are delivering both insights about B2B and the B2C segments.

    Peep Laja:

    Yeah. So, essentially the way we define an audience is just a group of people that represent types of people. So, we have a database, our own database, that we call a panel, of various business professionals in various industries. So, starting from startup founders to SAO people, content marketers, CFOs, e-commerce directors, et cetera, et cetera. So, basically every title you can imagine, we have people with specific titles in our database. We also have a consumer panel, as you referred to it. The consumer panel is like, you can target people by their habits, like, “Are you working out? Do you want to lose weight? Do you own a dog? Do you have a house?” Things like that. So, psychographics and goals and interests. But our key focus is delivering B2B audiences.

    And our own messaging, we launched the business as CopyTesting, so it was a different name altogether. And when we launched the business I had multiple business assumptions. So, one assumption was that we are actually in the business of helping businesses write better copy, hence the name, CopyTesting. And we would put your copy, website copy, in front of people and they will tell you what is clear, unclear, what do they get or not get, where’s the friction. And we assume that the copywriters are going to be all over it, and it’s going to be really great for consumer companies, especially e-commerce. And we also assume that by calling the company CopyTesting it’s going to be the de facto tool for this category, like Kleenex or usertesting.com. And when we launched, it turned out that we were wrong about all four assumptions.

    So, as with any SaaS product, you don’t want to wait too long to launch it. You want to launch it soon enough so you can shorten your, or speed up the feedback loops. So, I was nervous at the launch because I thought maybe it’s not all perfect, that we should build some more. But the idea of getting more user feedback will help us grow faster. And I’m very glad that we launched when we did because we learned that we are not in the business of writing better copy, we are actually in the business of delivering audiences, because… Whenever somebody wants to do CopyTesting or messaging testing or anything related to their messaging and positioning, they only want to hear from a very specific audience. So, if I am an SEO tool, I want to hear from people who do SEO.

    If I am an expensive email marketing tool for e-commerce businesses, I want to hear from the directors of e-commerce or VP marketing at e-commerce companies. So, everybody wants to hear from a very specific audience. So, we learned that we are actually in the business of delivering audiences. And another thing that we learned that we were… The companies that naturally gravitated towards us, actually B2B companies, not B2C. In fact, we learned that in B2C, let’s say in e-commerce, the product marketers there weren’t really into it because in e-commerce when a company launches a product page. Once the page is launched they’re not actually thinking about the copy on the page anymore at all. It’s not like a perceived problem. Whereas in B2B companies, B2B companies where the annual contract value of a single client then the lifetime value, it’s very, very high typically.

    And they really care about the messaging resonating with the people. And so, it’s actually not copywriters who are drawn to it but more like SaaS marketing people and agencies, marketing agencies. And finally, our name CopyTesting, it’s like a descriptive, literal brand name. And that’s a weak brand name because in the long run, even SaaS, you cannot compete on features. Every feature you have, they can and will copy. And by they I mean the competition. So, over time, as the category that you’re in matures, everybody will have the same features. So, think about email marketing. Which email marketing has features that other companies don’t? They all have the same exact features. So, in the end, you compete on brand, your brand is your long-term mode and competitive advantage. And so, if you have a weak brand name, like a literal brand name, that’s an unnecessary handicap.

    So, for instance, Supermetrics. If you guys were datadashboards.com, that would have been a silly name, a terrible name. So, when people talk about your company name, you want to have a unique name, not a name that just is the actual name of the thing. Otherwise, you don’t get any brand share. And so, when we learned about all these things, we decided that, hey, we need a new name. Oh, another thing we learned was that the people that we’re actually trying to sell to, like the B2B SaaS people, don’t care about copy. The marketing leadership does not care about copy. People with budgets don’t care about copy, because the copy is usually considered as something you delegate to a junior member of the staff. “Oh, we have this new marketing guy who started. Let him write the copy.” Or, “We have the intern, let him write the copy.” Or, “Let’s hire an outside freelance copywriter to write the copy.”

    Whereas, what does the marketing leadership think is important? It’s positioning and its messaging. And of course, messaging is just a level up from copy, so it’s very, very related. So, we realized that we need to change our positioning. Well, where do we fit in? So, it’s not about the copy, it’s about messaging. And we also, for the name, we needed a name that doesn’t mean anything basically. I was going for a name that means nothing at all because then you make the meaning. So, Wynter is short and easy to say, and you can have some fun with it. It’s like Wynter is coming, was our launch campaign. And then there’s quite a bit of name research out there as well that we relied on. Research shows that the more simple and human-sounding the name, the greater the company’s success. Brands with short, easy-to-pronounce names are viewed more positively by investors. And even like a book to market ratios are better for companies with similar names.

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    Anna:

    Yeah. That sounds very, very interesting. Thanks for sharing all the insights. And I do definitely agree with you. I think shortening the feedback loops is definitely a good idea, so you can get the actual information from people who would be paying you the dollars to use your product. So, to touch more on that, could you please tell us, how did you analyze the data to coin the new positioning and messaging for Wynter, when you decided to change the company’s direction? And then, maybe you could tell us what quantitative or qualitative data you analyzed, how you analyzed it, and what was happening when you gathered all these data after different feedback loops. Maybe any reports you created or something like that.

    Peep Laja:

    No reports, because I don’t report to anybody. I’m the founder, so I need data. And because I think reporting is, when you need to report to other people… We are so small. I mean, our team is less than 10 people right now. And back when we launched, there were two of us. So, it was a very small team so I didn’t spend even a minute building any type of charts and reports, not a single one. All the data we gathered was qualitative, because I was basically doing all the demos, and I was pitching people with sales calls all the time. So, I have a pretty significant social media following. My other company, CXL, has been around for 10 years so we advertised basically in the CXL newsletter, where I got my first leads from and first campaign customers from.

    And so, getting on sales calls, demos with people, people who paid for the test, getting calls to interview them, so it was a lot of just qualitative data gathering. Also, live chat. We’re big on live chat from day one, and I was running most of the live chat. And you start to see trends and patterns, because with quantitative research the only thing is like, what are the themes and patterns? What are the issues that keep coming up again and again? And then you start getting… The insight starts to pile on and it becomes like an understanding. So, if I hear all over again, let’s say, that then in direct to consumer e-commerce, product marketers are telling me, “Yeah. I don’t really think about the copy on my product pages. It’s not a problem for me.”

    And if you hear that 20 times, it’s like, yeah. I think I get it. They don’t care about it. And in the beginning, we only had consumer audiences, we weren’t able to deliver B2B panels. But the companies that I… We kept getting questions. The companies that naturally came to us like, “Hey. I want to try your services. But I only care about the feedback of marketing managers.” Say, “Oh, okay. Interesting. B2B companies. We don’t have that now,” but it kept coming and it was like, that’s a signal. And then we tested that assumption by building basically a no-code version of the B2B audiences. We recruited some people to be our B2B panelists through CXL’s newsletter. And we just set up a simple typed form survey actually, and the typed form has a built-in credit card field as well.

    So, we said, “Okay. We’re beta testing this new service and offering B2B panels for messaging testing.” And the same thing. People who were buying our beta services were all B2B SaaS companies and marketing agencies. That was a signal. So, they are actually wanting it and we were doing a lot of the work behind the scenes manually. And it’s like, now we need to scale. And to scale, we need actual developers to build actual software. So, basically first and foremost, qualitative research. In terms of quantum in small, early-stage startups, you don’t really have a lot of data. I mean, yes. We have sign-ups and so on. But we’re really trying to figure out, who is the ideal customer for us? We have multiple hypotheses, and when we’re looking at signups come in, most people didn’t do anything.

    We were on Product of the Day when we launched. We won the daily raise for the who’s the product of the day, and then we got 10,000 signups or something like that. And most of them did nothing at all. I don’t know a single… The product on traffic for B2B is pretty useless in my opinion. But we’ve got a good PR so that was useful in that sense, but all these people… So, we’re like, who’s buying, who’s buying? You’re looking for signals again. So, if we’re doing quant reports on sign-ups and then just… The sample size in the smaller segments was not big enough to make meaningful data. And really trying to understand the why behind all the things in the early stages. And since we implemented these changes, we changed the name, changed our positioning, changed our messaging, our growth has accelerated. Month over month growth has accelerated significantly. So, 100% I can say that it paid off, it’s working.

    Anna:

    Yeah. This is super interesting to hear. And actually, I think that’s the first time when I hear that you’ve been relying on qualitative data that much, and I definitely am in full support of this. I think that marketers should take both into consideration and really judge case by case, depending on what they’re trying to achieve. And can you please tell us about the further steps? So, now that you are planning to take Wynter to a new level, and maybe add some more services or products, what kind of questions will you ask your audience to get more of this qualitative data? And then how are you going to go about it? And maybe you could tell us again, how are you planning to analyze this data? Are you going to keep the same questions as you had in the beginning, or tweak them slightly now that the company’s already established and you already have a working messaging, a working concept?

    Peep Laja:

    So, the reason I’ve mainly operated off of qualitative data is that because if you’re just getting going, you don’t have enough quant data to be meaningful. So, that’s the key reason. And qualitative data, you don’t need large sample sizes to get insight. Whereas with quantitative, you need quite a bit of data. Today, I mean, our future roadmap now is that we are expanding beyond just messaging testing to also audience research. So, let’s say that you guys had Supermetrics, you are, I don’t actually know which styles you’re selling to, but let’s say that you are selling to VP marketing of SaaS companies. I’m just making this up. And then you might be wondering, well, when we write copy and craft messaging for Supermetrics website, and then the other marketing materials, we should really focus on the pains we’re solving. But look, what are the perceived pains? What is actually the pain this SaaS CMO is thinking about when it comes to working with data?

    And then that’s where audience research comes out. So, obviously, you can do a lot of interviews and try to reach out to people, and that’s all really great, but very time-consuming, can be very expensive. So, with Wynter, the idea is that, since we have the audiences already you can target the audience you want to reach and you can survey them. So, when you put together a survey as… Okay, when it comes to data, here are 10 issues we solved, please rank them in the order of priority, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. So, all these different things that you might want to ask this audience. And then if you get the data back and now you can inform your messaging, then you can test how that messaging lands. So, that’s the direction where we are going. And also we’re expanding to testing cold email messaging. So B2B SaaS companies often use outbound sales as their key channel for growth.

    And the problem is that all cold sales are extremely ineffective. You send 1000 emails, get maybe 10 demos if you’re lucky if you’re really great. And most of you get ignored. And so you don’t even know what about your cold email is not landing? What about it is crap? And so again, we can tell you, because if you’re cold pitching SaaS CMOs, we can have them tell you what they think of your cold email, and what would actually catch their attention. So, that’s kind of our future path. The way we are thinking about product or product roadmap is again, mostly driven by qualitative. So, again, I’m doing sales demos, I’m doing 15, 20 demos a week myself, plus I’m on live chat often. And so when I hear, “Oh, yeah. I would totally use it. If only we would also have this and this. You need this panel.” And sometimes I’m like, “Okay. Well, we’ll do a no-code version again.”

    So, I can invoice you right now for this service or this use case. And we determine whether they pay, whether there’s a will to pay for this. And if yes, and we manually behind the scenes, we do things that don’t scale and we can deliver the service, learn from it. And then, now we know when we want to actually productize it and put it inside a product, we’re much more confident that there’s a demand for it because we already have had people pay for it and stuff. You ask about what data I want to use in the future? Obviously, I want to use a lot of quantitative data as well. We use Heap for product analytics, and so any click and then any scroll inside the product we can measure, and we can see which behavior leads to more, let’s say, tests set up and so on. But right now as it is, the company has been around eight months, so very early stage, very early stage. And the amount of data we just have is not very useful right now. I mean, it’s useful, but it’s more directionally inaccurate rather than precise.

    Anna:

    Thank you so much for sharing all of the useful insights, Peep. And if the audience wants to learn more about you, where can they do it?

    Peep Laja:

    I’m very active on Twitter and LinkedIn. So, you can just follow me there and send me a message.

    Anna:

    All right. Thank you so much for coming to the show.

    Peep Laja:

    Thank you, Anna.

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