“In 2014 I realized content cannot be our USP and hence our product is local discoveries and not content. That shift in LBB history was pivotal for our success” Suchita Salwan, CEO of Little Black Book
Hi friends! This time around we were houseful again! Its such a pleasure to host such inspiring people from such diverse backgrounds working on ground-breaking projects. It feels like home to us. Here is the gist of what we learned from Suchita and Dhruv at the event:
Quality Content 101
Contrary to popular belief thriving in the content industry is as hard as cracking AIIMS and IIT in the same year. It is so because high quality and relatively unknown content are like pearls in the ocean which are fundamental for long term survival of a player in this field.
If you think that you can build a repeatable and sustainable business out of crappy content you are terribly mistaken no matter how big your initial user database is. If somehow you have passed this first hurdle of getting quality content in a bundle we would like to congratulate you with the next hurdle that is the competition which, unfortunately, will be in the field long before you sprout and will do everything you can imagine to send you packing.
Alas!, This is also an assurance that nobody can make profits by selling content to the consumer because the same information will be available for free at another site and you will find your customers raising their flag before you can blink an eye. But still there is hope because quite frankly there are 7 Billion people out there and hence there is still a lot of room for pure content websites.
You can never have enough content!
How one figure out how much amount of content is enough for the day? This was one of the hot questions of our event.
“In a month we push out 800 new recommendations and our key metric is once a week engagement of the users or a group of users for actually planning out a trip for the weekend based on the recommendations of our platform” said Suchita. As mentioned earlier we are a local discoveries platform where users trust that they can leave it on our experiences to figure out how to plan the most kick-ass weekend possible in Delhi or Gurgaon. So to make sure that we can connect with the needs and requirements of our users we need to maintain a humongous quality database of the same. This is imperative because if a user comes to lookup a new restaurant in town the day its launched and we happen to have reviewed it already it strengthens that users trust in us 10 folds.
In the app segment consumers are fickle
In Dhruv’s own words — “Consumers will download your app to get the initial coupon/discount you will try to lure them in with and then uninstall the app as soon as the incentives dry out go to the rival brand to get their incentives and so on.” Brand loyalty remains a luxury of the global conglomerates with a tangible product and even there is a cut throat competition for the same. Hoping for that exclusivity factor for content is an unforgivable blunder even for the new kid on the block. Hike — a messaging platform like Whatsapp is a good example of this.
Recommendation not rating is the key for LBB
LBB doesn’t like to leave its users in a dilemma by rating specific locations for food, travel, activities etc because rating cant clearly define weather one should head towards that experience or not but recommendations can. This is so because recommendations cuts through the ambiguity and tells the user in simple binary weather to go or not go. Also we dont put up a comment section because that too can create a confusion hence defeating our MO.
Phases of a content based startup
Generic Initial phase MO of a content brand is to have the maximum rapid growth anyway possible with the MVP at hand till the startup is roughly two years old.After that one has to focus on perfecting the product or service itself and targeting an exclusive section of the society won’t help you achieve that goal. It may work for some time but given a scale say 5 years the growth rate will come to its peak and then if you try shift people’s perception of your site they will not thank you for that as they expect consistency. This can be put into perspective with McDonald’s example: Everybody knows when they order fries they will get the same exact thing they got two years ago and that’s why they came to McDonald’s today as they know if they wanted to experiment they wouldn’t come here in the first place. Zomato is known for giving rich information about a food-venue and BookMyShow is mostly used to book movie tickets.
Post Boosts — A Gamble
Being the technical one of the two present, Dhruv jumped on to answer with a lot of enthusiasm when someone asked “How to effectively use post boosts?”. He said “To say that Post Boosts are worthless would be a false statement. Post boosts are basically a gamble where you might get lucky one day while on the other day you might not. The one way you can have control is to boost only those types of posts which have a history of getting a good response. This can be measured out by a good mix of intuition and experimenting. I highly recommend not to boost every post.”
The “Tailored Experience” Attribute of LBB
LBB is reaching new heights simply because we strive to please our existing customers in the most effective way possible and in return we hope they publicize and promote this among their friends. Something I are pretty sure they must be simply because everybody would want to spread good experiences among loved ones. The fact that we are confident to decrease our promotions from social media platforms to 35% in contrast to popxo and scoop-woop where they do 70%+ shows that we are doing things the right way.
A General Protip please!
“The one business model is cherry picked by the giants of the digital era hence to thrive you have got to become the bridge or the intimidator/gap between any two or more if possible.” said Dhruv and Suchita collaboratively.
Suchita Salvan a.k.a. Mrs Right (as per her office colleges joke about her) ended this blissful session with “I hope that I don’t see any LBB clones popping up out of nowhere please!” To which we all had a great laugh.
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Written by Nitin Joseph