After a few days of workshopping, we defined a rubric that steered our decision towards a specific customer segment, pain point, and existing feature set to refine.
In partnership with the Smarty team, we created new brand direction that explicitly tied to the user experience and value proposition.
We spent a few weeks analyzing ad campaigns, designing a new splash page, and refining the core feature set that early adopters would use most.
Smarty came to us as an AI-powered productivity tool, with the first version of their product already in the market, getting feedback from users. They faced what many tech-talented founding teams face: building first. The team was working toward deeper clarity, focus, and validation on their target market and true value proposition, and enlisted our team to collaborate in this effort. We partnered with Smarty to conduct deep customer discovery work, analyze the market, and re-design their MVP with a validated value proposition and product roadmap.
"Working with Further Faster is a game-changer! The team has helped us as an early stage startup accelerate and systemize our journey from zero to one. Honestly, I wish we had started working together right at the inception of our startup journey because the best practices we’ve implemented together has helped Smarty grow by leaps and bounds. As a first-time founder, I’m always questioning what is the right thing to be doing, building, focusing on, and prioritizing. Further Faster has brought me a level of confidence about the decisions we make that I did not have before, and the progress we’ve made together speaks for itself. The network of Further Faster has also connected us with key new members of the Smarty team and I’m so grateful for the relationships I’ve developed with them at my side. I see Further Faster as a part of the Smarty family now and I hope we will continue working together for the whole startup journey from PMF to scaling beyond. I’m really excited about what’s next for our partnership!"
We kicked off our project with the Smarty team by synthesizing their work to-date into two distinct How Might We questions, each representing a potential target customer segment.
How might we help EAs/VAs automatically reschedule meetings and re-prioritize tasks when something urgent arises in a way that empowers them and their team with more time to process tasks in an organized way?
With these questions as a jumping off point, we conducted deep research and customer discovery leading our teams to a new understanding of the product’s value proposition and core feature set. This revised product strategy was summarized into a Jobs to be Done statement:
When I’m newly overwhelmed and the meetings/tasks keep coming, I want to easily track my workload, so I can have mental clarity and confidence each day.
Now, let’s dive deeper into how we got there.
Our work together kicked off in May 2022 with a series of product hypothesis workshops to define the core assumptions and hypotheses about the product and target user groups. From these workshops, two key personas were identified: administrative assistants and agency professionals. Our core hypotheses for each user group were synthesized into the form of a user journey map, initial persona profiles, and the “How Might We” Questions as summarized above.
We conducted three user surveys and 12 one-on-one user interviews across two target customer groups, administrative/executive assistants and creative agency professionals. Interviews focused on how and when people choose to integrate new productivity tools into their workflow, tracing the journey to implement a new tool all the way back to the customer’s first thought that they may be experiencing a problem. Tracing this journey allows us to deeply empathize with our customers and map when and why customers will choose to switch to Smarty. This process helps to uncover and validate Smarty’s value proposition, identify the product’s core job to be done, and inform the go-to-market strategy.
An in-depth market and competitive analysis was conducted, including market sizing, segmentation, a competitive feature matrix with direct and indirect competitors analysis and visual analysis, and marketing audit of direct competitors.
Armed with significant qualitative and quantitative data from primary and secondary research methodologies, our team identified patterns, motivations, and opportunities that would lay the foundation for the next version of Smarty’s product. We decided to start with the scheduling and task management flow since that is a workflow that is core to any future value proposition the company means to pursue.
Using a new splash page, a fresh brand design and new messaging from our interviews, we prepared 3 ad-campaigns to further hone our key value propositions. Over the course of 2 weeks, we determined our Customer Acquisition Costs (CAC), and best-performing message set.
New insights led to a clear MVP feature set, and we collaboratively re-designed Smarty’s interface to align with the user’s needs while still leveraging the development work completed to date to maximize efficiency. The new MVP designs are currently in development.
Our collaboration with Smarty is on-going, with Further Faster acting as an interim Chief Product Officer to embed ourselves in the team as we bring the product into development, testing and launch. Together, we’re creating a culture of continuous research, testing, and discovery to ensure that we’re confidently accelerating toward product-market-fit.