3 Ways Research Can Help You Create a User-Centric Business

A product marketing manager at Lightricks shares her advice on how entrepreneurs can be more successful with social media marketing.

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If you're looking for ways to create a user centric business, Cori Widen, a product marketing manager at the unicorn startup, Lightricks, believes research is key. She sat down with Jessica Abo to share her best business practices.

Jessica Abo: Can you start by telling us a little bit about Lightricks?

Lightricks is a tech company and we specialize in mobile content creation tools. We have several apps here: Videoleap, Motionleap, Boosted, which we'll talk about today, and several others. And all of our apps are geared toward inspiring people to create visual content and to share it with others.

What can you tell us about Boosted?

Boosted is a visual content-creation app that specifically helps small businesses create results-oriented visual content for their social media marketing. Users can use their own photos, their own videos, all of their brand's colors, their fonts and things like that to create really, really professional social media content. Since social media marketing is a huge factor in small businesses, being able to reach their overall marketing goals is hugely important.

And in what ways does Boosted use your own user research?

Every piece of content in the app is there because it's specifically crafted to help small businesses achieve their marketing goals, whether their goals are sales, brand awareness, engagement, whatever. Every piece of content is chosen specifically for that reason, and nothing's there just because it's pretty or nice or cool. Additionally, in the app, you can also see that the content that's there is listed by content type. So we recommend all different types of content for small businesses to create, for example, tips, tutorials, promotional, videos. All of that stuff is there because through our research, we learned from business owners the exact content types that are helping them reach their goals.

All of the content that you see there is based on what we learned in our research works for small businesses. Another thing that we really learned from our conversations with small businesses was more about this experience of building a business and the thing that people say over and over again that's so striking is that they mostly start their businesses from a place of passion. They are passionate about something and then they decide they want to monetize it. So whether someone opens a yoga studio or is really into jewelry making, or they have an awesome idea for a startup, they start from a place of passion. Really at the end of the day, what we hear from people over and over again is how much they want to spend their time doing what they're passionate about. This whole idea is incorporated into the app in that it really informs two of our basic core product values in Boosted.

One of them is that we're trying to save people time. Nothing in the app, no matter what you do, no matter how fancy it is, will take you a lot of time because we understand people want to be spending time doing what they came to do. The second thing is that we are aggressively pursuing a situation where no one has any learning curve in terms of using Boosted. That means that every aspect of the app, whether it's features, templates, anything, anything you do in the app, is designed to also work really, really well for anyone who doesn't have design or marketing skills.

For businesses interested in testing the waters with first-party qualitative research, what do you recommend?

The first piece of advice I always give is to have a mindset shift. All good research starts with curiosity. In order to do good research that's going to have an impact on your business and the bottom line of your business, you have to get curious. And what that really means is that you have to have an open mind and you have to really believe that by talking to customers there's something for you to learn.

Commit to something specific on a regular basis. I often recommend doing one interview with a previous customer or a current customer or someone from your target audience every week. The impact of one interview per week is potentially amazing. Sometimes small businesses will find that, let's say, the language and messaging in their marketing isn't actually resonating with their target audience. Talking to people about their sentiments, motivations and challenges can very often give you new ideas to test in terms of your marketing messaging.

The third thing I recommend is to take all of the new ideas that you're gathering — and you'll definitely gather a lot from your interviews — and commit to testing them. Not everything you hear from every single interview will work. So what you have to do is kind of trust your intuition and ask what's worth testing here and then do it. Take the different concepts that you're hearing and think about how you can put them in different places or maybe organize an A/B test. Let's say, in a paid advertising campaign to test the different things that you're hearing.

There are a lot of Boosted users who will use the app to create a quick promotional video for their business with the messaging that they usually use in their marketing. Then, very easily, they can change up the text to reflect a different message, like something they're learning in their current marketing. Then, they can run an A/B test or post in different places on social media and see which ones perform better; and that will give them more insight as to which marketing messaging actually works.

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