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Resonance: a new user growth platform

Published: 2024-04-18
Updated: 2023-04-18

Hi all! I know I disappeared from the face of the earth (at least as far as my writing goes) about 4 months ago. It has been a wild time, and I plan to elaborate more in another article, but I’m finally coming back energized and eager to tackle some new topics.

One new set of topics I want to dive into is entrepreneurship and growth. I’ve spent years working on growth teams, and a couple of years outside of that working in and around advertising. Now that I’m changing jobs and moving into Site Reliability Engineering and DevOps, I’d like to start reflecting on and summarizing some of what I’ve learned.

More than that, I want to make my experience useful to companies that are trying to grow. Writing articles and educating people is definitely one way to do that. But another way I’ve identified is to build some of the common growth tools that keep getting replicated from company to company so they don’t need to be built out yet again. The two tools I have in mind to start are offers (which you might’ve also heard called promotions or incentives) and referrals.

Why is that helpful?

I spent three years working on a team that owned referrals and offers, along with some other marketing tooling and reward fulfillment systems. Then I was hired at another company to build almost the exact same set of services and features. Both were built in-house and required many engineers and marketers to keep running. In hindsight, (or maybe in foresight too honestly), this makes no sense! Neither company was building a best-in-class product by spending time on offers. Neither company would have listed referrals as a “core competency”, as one friend put it.

And think about it: staffing a team of engineers easily costs a million dollars a year, if not two! Running the infrastructure for a typical referral and offers system can cost upwards of $400 a month. Then there’s the opportunity cost of building it out, trying to get the new features in there that marketing wants, and AB testing all the copy and reward amounts to death. It’s practically a full-time job just starting and stopping AB tests.

Now don’t get me wrong, growing a business does require creating a sustainable system for acquiring new customers. The teams I worked on were trying to build that system, and as such were very important to the business. But it’s still a lot of investment to solve a problem that’s fairly ubiquitous and has been solved before.

So with all that in mind, I decided I could save companies an incredible amount of time and money by just building these systems once and packaging them up in some easy-to-use APIs. Now, for about the cost of the infrastructure, companies can get a fully-fledged referral and offer system, complete with the ability to AB test out of the box, all built to avoid engineering dependencies as much as possible.

See how Resonance can help you jumpstart your growth and save you money.

So how does it work?

Resonance offers a set of APIs and a handy-dandy web console for creating and managing everything that goes into a typical offer or referral system. That includes rewards, fulfillment criteria, campaigns, and of course, the offers and referrals themselves. Resonance can track a user through the offer or referral lifecycle and notifies your system whenever a user has taken the actions required to earn their rewards. The best part: after some initial setup, Resonance can be run mostly by a marketer (or whoever wants to run it) without much additional engineering input required.

The secret sauce that enables us to reduce engineering involvement is that Resonance is built around events. Whenever users take an action in your application, it should fire an event that Resonance can pick up and work with. As long as engineering instruments your application once—with periodic updates as features change of course—Resonance can figure out the rest when it comes to dynamically making offers to users, or knowing when users have fulfilled the requirements for a reward. This should be a very familiar concept to anyone in the growth space, where you’re likely already emitting events to trigger Braze canvases, fire off SMS messages with Attentive, track behavior in Amplitude or Mixpanel, or maybe do all of the above and more with something like Segment. Resonance should be able to plug right into that ecosystem. Or, if you’re just starting and don’t have that ecosystem yet, Resonance can be a good tool to start creating the event architecture you’ll need as you start adopting more tools.

The other thing I noticed about building growth tech, beyond the real costs, and the opportunity costs, and the additional engineering overhead, is that there’s a lot of insider knowledge required. With so much money flowing into acquisition strategies (like ads, referrals, and incentives), you want to make sure you’re spending it well. But it’s not straightforward to find people who have built and run incentive and referral campaigns long enough to understand the dynamics. What’s a good create-to-complete rate? What’s a healthy CAC (customer acquisition cost)? Do you know the lifetime value of those users? Do you know if your acquisition spend is generating a return, or is it just a loss in the long run? How long are referred users sticking around? What impact, if any, does receiving a referral reward have on the referral sender? Is incentive money better spent to acquire new users, or is it more efficient to help retain existing ones? These are all hard questions to answer, and frankly, they’re hard questions to ask. You need to have been in the space a while before you know all the levers you can pull. So a big part of what I want to do is help reduce that knowledge gap and get companies to make data-informed decisions right away. I’m working to bake these learnings right into the product, from the way information is surfaced in the console, to the way that the documentation is framed.

Where can I get it?

If you’re interested in trying Resonance at your company, please contact me and we can hop on a call right away! Or if you’re unsure and want to know more about whether Resonance can help with your use case, I’d still love to have you contact me! Or feel free to check out the guides on the website to get a sense of what Resonance is and what it can do for you.

As a final note: I do have a pricing page up because I respect transparency and I want to be upfront with customers. That being said, there’s no way I’ve gotten the numbers right on the first try. This is part of the growth mindset: release, and then learn from what you’ve released. If you’re interested in Resonance but you think the price makes no sense for your use case, please get in touch! I’d love to make it work for you and your business.

Thanks for reading! I’ll be sure to share what I learn as this unfolds. Take care!