rippl, gamification saas for brands.
Co-founder, Product Strategy
Remember the feeling the first time you rode a bicycle? Or when a dear friend calls up after ages? How about when a loved one passes? Emotions are deep, meaningful and memorable, and marketers and brand owners often forget the privilege of communicating and engaging with people. Each click, each purchase, each email is a moment of bonding between a brand and a consumer, and has infinite potential to be more than just a transaction. This was the opportunity that my co-founders and I set out to solve for. The result is Rippl, a SaaS product for engagement and gamification, that helps brands maximize consumer touchpoints to build memorability, loyalty, and ultimately, retention.
Customer acquisition costs and lead generation efforts are an ever increasing sinkhole, and we believe that user engagement and retention will be the most critical investment that brands will make over the next decade as they build and nurture their digital assets, websites, and apps. Globally, the customer engagement market sits at around $18 billion, growing at 20% annually, and we set out to build a set of tools that enabled brands to get in on that market without any heavy lifting.
Brands could give away over 10 types of rewards, each one highly customizable
Go-to-Market and MVP
At Rippl, we conducted extensive research among the founder network to identify our Ideal Customer Profile (ICP) and their pain points. From initial ICP definition calls, we learned that large brands particularly struggled with a retention problem, and had limited bandwidth for experimentation. arrived on large brands being our initial targets. I outlined three potential go-to-market strategies the product could follow, and picked a low-code approach as most appropriate for our ICP, given their limited tech bandwidth and maneuverability to innovate. Our channel for the first 12 months was founder-driven sales, given the strong network that the team brough to the table, and forgoing the initial pricing discussions, we started an exhaustive beta testing period.
We ran the beta for a 3 month period, following which we opened up to the public with staggered onboarding, constantly learning and adapting along the way.
The dashboard provided rich first-party data and insights on user engagement
Product Market Fit and Pivots
Rippl’s journey to finding product-market fit was a winding one, marked by several pivots and course corrections along the way. Originally conceived as a B2C platform for brands to engage audiences, early market insights led to us taking a more siloed approach, which shaped up to be a set of B2B tools that would allow brands to plug gamification into their existing user journeys.
Despite initial success after the pivot, we struggled with conversions. The large lead times spent evoking brand marketing team’s imaginations and convincing them that gamification works was resulting in more inertia than we could afford. The sales and product teams underwent a weeklong communication-focused sprint, where we played around with everything from positioning and narrative to brand voice and vocabulary, and we came out of it with a redefined, OKR-first approach to selling Rippl
The learnings and pivots along the journey proved crucial in finding product-market fit. Since making these changes and others, Rippl has seen significant impact, and has been used by a variety of well-known brands in India and the Middle East.
Defining vision and Measuring Success
At Rippl, we adopted a weekly strategy and vision call to ensure that everyone was aligned on the product’s direction. We questioned ourselves every week and kept the roadmap as dynamic as possible, allowing us to adapt to changing market needs and customer feedback. That was just the first step, however, and communicating that vision effectively to the rest of the team was equally important.
In addition to having a clear vision, it was important to defined metrics to measure the success of the product against that vision. Did we want volume of customers or depth? When was our ideal break-even? How did market demand and fundraising affect these outcomes? Answering questions like these played a big role in our ability to evolve, and rather than take a ‘build first and monetize later approach,’ we went in with timeboxed periods of learning, adapting, and profit-making.
Rippl powered engagement for brands like Hotstar, IndiGo, and Audi India
Since launching, Rippl has seen significant impact across the board. Brands have been able to use the product to bring an element of gamification to their user journeys with minimal heavy lifting. That in turn led to 250% increase in engagement time, a 200% increase in click-through rates, and a 34% uptick in organic growth. In the 13 months since the first preview launched, Rippl has accumulated over 500,000 engagements, working with brands ranging from Tata AIA and Mahindra Finance, to IndiGo Airlines and Audi India.
- Pivots and course corrections are unavoidable in the early stages of building your dream. Expect them, so that embracing them will be easier. We built the product as a monolith, but went increasingly modular as we started pivoting some parts of it.
- As ideal as a vision likely sounds on paper, market response and needs are what define how it will turn out. We started speaking to our target audience even before we had a product, and that helped us hit the ground running.
- B2B businesses are a whole different world from B2C businesses, and require careful nurturing, strong client relations, agility to adapt, and modularity to scale some parts.
- Gamification can be a powerful tool for improving user engagement and retention, but requires a philosophical buy-in and a commitment to long term results.