Braze, formerly AppBoy, teaches brands such as Postmates, Gap, Lyft, and OkCupid to retain customers via mobile experience. Co-founder and Inc. 30 Under 30 honoree Bill Magnuson has gleaned major lessons from the onerous task of scaling from scraping by in 2011 to a $400 million valuation and $100 million in raised capital as of Q4 2017, and from watching clients and others outside his stable falter on customer relationship management (CRM) practices. The takeaways from each experience are really the same takeaway. Here is the maxim: Always think long-term.
Daydreaming might help
As an early stage founder, especially a first-timer, you're trying to think about what's next and plan as realistically as possible. But you will help yourself by thinking about what rapid success will look like, and how you would shift operations accordingly.
Magnuson compares demand outpacing one's current output to replacing the wheels in your car while driving. "That's an analogy that I think captures the hardness in a good way," Magnuson said in a phone interview. "It's really leaning to the side. When are you going to think about defining long-term change?"
So what were Braze's adjustments when it didn't want to make a lengthy metaphorical pit stop? Standardizing mass training. At the outset, the company then known as AppBoy was individually onboarding new hires. Now, with a global operation, trainings are uniform and digitized, a kind of Braze MOOC for all.
Resist the temptation of immediate sales
When Android apps first came on the scene, they carried a price and took a moment to catch on. Once there was demand for a $2.99 app, Magnuson saw scrappy upstarts jamming to sell without thinking long-term about that app's function in consumer retention.
Magnuson declined to name the biggest missed opportunities at the time, but he cited client Domino's Pizza as a success, beginning with the pizza franchise's pivot in 2010. The ubiquitous chain ranked low in a public taste poll, and in response made a radical change to its product and operations.
"[Domino's] started a transformation that began with customer feedback," Magnuson said. "They decided to take advantage of one-to-one channels, and create a pizza tracker feature [in the mobile app]. It was also the quality of product itself. Taking the mindset that it should be constantly evolving--you see the results in the mindshare and stock value today."
Indeed, Recode reported earlier this month that Domino's stock grew faster than Amazon's, Apple's, or Google's since 2010, when its outgoing CEO took the helm.
Even if you don't have the resources of Domino's, you can apply the core principles: Use mobile CRM to make customer engagement a marathon, not a sprint. And do it in conjunction with ever-improving product.