Brynn Putnam, CEO of Mirror, on Launching a Breakout Growth Smart Hardware Device for Fitness

Episode 19 March 12, 2020 00:41:12
Brynn Putnam, CEO of Mirror, on Launching a Breakout Growth Smart Hardware Device for Fitness
The Breakout Growth Podcast
Brynn Putnam, CEO of Mirror, on Launching a Breakout Growth Smart Hardware Device for Fitness

Mar 12 2020 | 00:41:12

/

Show Notes

In this episode of The Breakout Growth Podcast, Sean Ellis interviews Brynn Putnam, CEO of Mirror, a smart fitness hardware and subscription service for better at-home workouts. The product is essentially an elegant mirror that is also a personal fitness studio with content ranging from on-demand cardio classes to boxing and yoga. An important part of their value proposition is that unlike most exercise equipment, the Mirror takes up very little floor space.  

While common startup wisdom today touts that you should launch early with an MVP version of your product, the Mirror team wanted to ensure that they launched with a very polished product that could deliver a great experience. They also focused a lot of effort and marketing dollars to build trust in the Mirror brand.  

In the interview, Brynn explains

Learn more about CEO Brynn Putnam at https://www.linkedin.com/in/brynn-jinnett-putnam-1311938/

Learn more about Sean Ellis at www.SeanEllis.me

View Full Transcript

Episode Transcript

Speaker 0 00:00 <inaudible> Speaker 1 00:03 <inaudible> Speaker 2 00:08 grim to the breakout growth podcast where Sean Ellis interviews leaders from the world's fastest growing companies to get to the heart of what's really driving their growth. And now here's your host, Sean Ellis. Speaker 3 00:23 All right. In this episode, we'll look at mirror a smart fitness hardware and subscription service for better at home workouts. I'm speaking with their CEO, Brynne Putnam, and she explains how they're pursuing their goal of getting mirror into every home. Uh, their growth approach actually pretty different from most of the companies that we've previously looked at because Mir is so experienced in brand driven, the team's invested a lot of money up front and a lot of time up front in building a great product experience and then building trust in the brand. So now they're becoming much more sort of data iteration driven, uh, with a systematic approach to nurture buyers from interest to becoming loyal customers. So necessarily they're trying to build desire for the cool product and then build trust usually through social proof, then get people to make the purchase and over time build that habit of using the product through a rewarding and gratifying experience that not only will help retain and engage customers, but actually help to drive the referral loop and bring in more customers. So it's a pretty different story and I think it's a really interesting one. So let's get started. Speaker 3 01:39 Hi Brandon, welcome to the breakout growth podcast. Speaker 4 01:42 Thanks so much for having me. Speaker 3 01:43 Yeah, I'm excited to dig into mirror with you. It's a, it's a really interesting company. Um, so before we dig into how you're approaching growth at mirror, be great. If you could give us a quick introduction to what it's all about. Speaker 4 01:55 Absolutely. So mere is a nearly invisible interactive home gym when it's off. It's a beautiful full length mirror. And then when it's on, you can see live and on demand classes of any type from yoga to <inaudible>, bar boxing, weightlifting, dance, cardio, as well as one-on-one personal training, which is an optional upsell onto our baseline subscription. Speaker 3 02:20 Okay. So when, when you're not using it with a personal training, what, what's, what's the experience like? What is, uh, what are you actually looking at in the mirror? Speaker 4 02:28 What you can see during a class experience is your self reflected, your instructor transmitted and speaking to you, the members of the mere community. And then the experience is optimized in real time to your personal profile. So everything from the content changing, if you have an injury to exercises, uh, getting harder if your heart rate is not in the correct target heart rate zone, there's really this, um, real time optimization that occurs based on your goals, preferences, injuries and heart rate data. Speaker 3 02:59 Very cool. And so then it's group classes then when it's not the one, it's not a personal trainer. Speaker 4 03:05 Yeah, absolutely. So it's one instructor speaking to many people, you're able to see the avatars and locations for the members of your class and you can communicate by sending emojis and notes to each other, which appear up on the screen. Speaker 3 03:18 Oh, very cool. And then how does it, so you said that it kind of adjusts based on your heart rate and some other things. So in a, in a group class setting that seems like it would be kind of hard for them to adjust to, to each individual. How does that work? Speaker 4 03:31 Yeah, what's really nice is the main class sort of continues with the instructor offering encouragement tips, um, and really keeping the class moving. But you'll see sort of alternate videos or text-based notes and animations that will come into view based on your personal profile on what your heart rate is doing. So you're able to stay a member of the group experience while getting personalized feedback in real time. Speaker 3 03:55 Okay. So it's kind of like back off or, or push harder or maybe oversimplify but okay. Speaker 4 04:02 Yeah. So if you're seeing a jumping exercise and you have a knee injury, we'll slide in an exercise that doesn't have jumping or your heart rate gets too high, will tell you to, to, to take a break and sorta rest period. Things like that. Speaker 3 04:16 Very cool. And then who are the typical customers on it? Speaker 4 04:19 What's really exciting is because mirror is a content agnostic platform or audiences incredibly broad and diverse. So by month two, after launch, we had members in every single state in the U S that we sold into a members as young as children, well up into their eighties, um, ranging from absolute beginners to advanced athletes and really evenly split between men and women. So there's a lot of diversity on the platform. Speaker 3 04:45 Very cool. And how long has it actually been available? Speaker 4 04:48 We started, um, uh, we publicly launched in September of 2018. So it's about, about a year and a half now. Speaker 3 04:54 Oh wow. So it's, it's still pretty new. So, um, what did you do? Prelaunch. And, and, uh, obviously with, uh, with hardware and content, it's going to be kind of hard to kind of MVP and customer development, some of that stuff to find product market fit. But what was, what was that journey like to know where you knew you got it right? Speaker 4 05:15 Yeah, absolutely. So for context, I've spent really my whole career in the health and wellness space. I was a professional dancer at the New York city ballet. I then opened a chain of fitness studios about 10 years ago called refine method and grew that to multiple locations here in New York. And then Mira was really born out of sort of personal need. I was newly pregnant, running an increasingly busy business and finding that the boutique studio model wasn't working for me personally anymore. Uh, making a class reservation, traveling 30 minutes, working out in a group of sort of sweaty folks, many of whom were much more athletic than I was at the time. So I started to think about working out at home, but I didn't really want to sacrifice the quality of the class experience for the, of the, um, at home workout. Um, it didn't want to put a big bike or treadmill into my apartment. Speaker 4 06:02 I tried using apps or streaming services, but I found it really exhausting and awkward. Like search for content on YouTube, try to prop up my phone to follow along and then tracking my progress through a variety of apps and Adams. Um, coincidentally we put mirrors into our fitness studios and the experience, um, our members said was the best upgrade we had done all year, um, was give them the feedback on their form and that it created a really immersive environment for, for fitness. Um, and so I knew we were sort of onto something when it came for, you know, creating an ad home platform for content and solving the footprint issue of, of traditional gym equipment. Um, and I think I made a decision maybe a bit different than most, uh, uh, sort of hardware startups that I initially wanted to really raise money and get the company off the ground based on sort of, um, selling the experience rather than selling a functional prototype. Speaker 4 06:57 So we raised our first round of money using, um, really like an almost an animated video and a series of images to try to, um, recreate sort of what the experience would be like and the brand would be like. Um, and then from there, after we raised our first round of financing, we spent about two years really developing the functional product. Um, you know, unlike most, I think hardware companies where you sort of build the function and then you layer on experience and brand. We really started the other way. We knew that we were always gonna really be, uh, a content and experience company. And so we wanted to, um, kind of start there. Speaker 3 07:33 Obviously it sounds like a lot of your customer development was just because you've been in the industry for a long time and you, you ha you were able to sort of vet a need for it as you, as you got to the point where you were ready to, to go after this opportunity. But did you take that same video that you had used with investors and put that in front of, uh, individuals and, and try to see if they would get excited about this type of technology or was it, did, did you feel confident enough that you could just build it and get, get going with it? Speaker 4 08:01 Yeah. I think what I sort of realized early on is that, um, you know, our customers had a clear sense of what they wanted from the experience, but it was sometimes harder for them to, uh, look beyond kind of a, a scrappy or crude prototype to what the ultimate experience could be. So for a long time, you know, close to two years, we sort of had to trust the decades of domain expertise and understanding of the customer. And we really, uh, didn't put a lot of people in front of them mere because we knew that it would be really hard to kind of understand what the ultimate kind of polished product was going to look like when in the early days they were really, you know, our very first prototype was a raspberry PI, a tablet and a piece of one of my glass that I had cobbled together in my kitchen. Um, but I, you know, I was fortunate that I had a confidence from kind of decades in this space teaching real humans that even if our customers were, were not quite able to see what was being built or totally understand it, that I understood what ultimately they wanted. Speaker 3 09:06 That's great. And then when, so you said you launched in September, 2018 once you got it out there, how did you, what was the initial reception? Like how did you feel like, okay, this, when did you feel like we're, we're definitely onto something here? Speaker 4 09:21 Yeah, so we launched on the main stage of tech crunch, um, in a very dramatic fashion and I think we were kind of standing backstage realizing that really only a handful of people had seen the mirror before that point. And so there was some chance that we would launch and it would really be crickets. Um, I think are sort of sign of life for us was all of our investors had kind of stayed up late to try to be the first mirror purchaser. And, um, we, uh, we had a number of people who purchased mirrors before them. Um, so sort of, uh, the Gates, um, the customer reception was, was quite positive. Um, and then I think really the, the big moment for us was in a Christmas. Um, our first Christmas I was at home visiting my, my inlaws and I heard my, my little cousin kind of screaming in the other room and she came in and showed me a video of Alicia keys, uh, receiving a mirror from her family and she just let out this, you know, Alicia lets out this huge scream of excitement when she sees that they've given her the mirror for Christmas. Speaker 4 10:21 Um, realized in that moment that we were, you know, we were really onto something when you could have this, um, you know, this wonderful, uh, this wonderful celebrity be so excited to receive a gift and we didn't even know she, she had purchased one. Speaker 3 10:34 Right. And so it's not like you did some celebrity endorsement that you had to negotiate. It just, it happened very organically, it sounds like. Speaker 4 10:40 No, I mean it was, I'm really just sort of this exciting moment of realizing, you know, customers were not only loving the product and excited to get it, but we had sort of, um, you know, also reached a sort of influencer community as well. Speaker 3 10:54 That's awesome, man. And then, so from that point to now, what, what's been really key to, to continuing to drive the growth that you've gotten to at this point? Speaker 4 11:05 I mean, I think that the, the biggest challenge of mirror frankly, is just, it's the breadth of the product you're building, original hardware, software and content. It's a, it's a very big business. Um, and it's also a platform that really captures the imagination of a lot of, uh, folks and partners. And so what's challenging is, um, in the face of a lot of inbound excitement and opportunity to stay re ruthlessly kind of focused on our, our vision and our plans and our goals and, and not to get distracted because really to kind of, to kind of get to our destination, we need to be ruthless about kind of prioritizing what we do and what we don't do. Speaker 3 11:47 <inaudible>. So, um, but it has, in terms of what's actually driven a lot of the adoption up to this point, has it been, has it been a lot of just organic growth or have you guys been pretty active in a lot of paid media or what's, what's kind of w if you could narrow down to the most important thing that's driven adoption? Um, what would you say it is? Speaker 4 12:08 Sure. I think there's a lot of things. I mean, I think first it's just fundamentally product market fit. It's a product that is coming, you know, that has a huge market coming at really the right time. Um, so you're, I think we've built something that's really right at the tip of current consumer behavior. So it's not like Google glass where you're trying to change customer's day to day functioning. Most people who see the mirror say both, you know, wow, this is the future and I can't believe I didn't think of this. Um, I think when you have sort of that, um, you know, big market at the right time and the product is really just at the tip of what consumers are already doing and they want it makes marketing easier. Um, I think then, probably in addition to that, you know, it's a premium product, it's a considered purchase, it's a household purchase. Speaker 4 13:03 So just understanding, um, I think early on the importance of, um, brand and establishing, um, brand awareness and brand equity before moving into more sort of direct response tactics I think has been very crucial for us. So we, we knew we wanted, we were creating a, not just a new product but a new category and we really wanted people to, um, to trust us early on. So we did sort of, um, we made some go big kind of choices early. So you saw us within a few months, um, doing large billboards and out of home advertisements, we stood up a retail store quite quickly. Um, we had, um, you know, a large celebrity and influencer presence within a few months. Um, and we made some of those choices with the understanding that we, we really needed to establish brand awareness early on. And then from there, um, you know, we just, we know it's a multitouch funnel and we have to kind of hit people across numerous channels. Speaker 3 14:03 Yeah. I imagine that the, because conceptually it's kind of hard to get your head around what it is that you guys are doing. So I imagine that, um, like that, that store, uh, having a retail store gives people an opportunity to, to really go and experience it a little bit. Um, and, and billboards might be a little harder to convey that, but, but maybe, uh, how, how, how much of you use video for that? Speaker 4 14:27 Yeah, I think it's sort of two different tactics. I think some of, I think the decision to invest more heavily in brand spend early on things like, you know, billboards, um, uh, subway campaigns is about establishing brand trust in a new product and a new category. And then I think the second piece is being aware that the mirror is something that, um, once you sort of see it, you fall love with it. And so knowing that places where we could either put people in front of the mirror or rely on video, we're going to be strong channels for us as compared to, um, things where you just, you didn't have that kind of visual component. So we moved into, um, you know, we moved into television quite early, um, and channels that maybe startups don't tend to go into early in their lifecycle because we knew that once you sort of saw the visual of the product, you would get it and you would love it. Speaker 3 15:22 And so do you have more than one retail store or what's, how, how does that retail store cut fit into the broader picture? Speaker 4 15:29 Yeah, we have three retail stores now. We have one in New York, one in LA and one in Stanford, California. Um, the early stores for us right now are, um, you know, really high converters for us, but they're also channels. Um, they're also sort of community hubs for us. They're places where we bring, um, investors, we bring celebrities, we bring members of the press and members of the mural community together. Um, so right now we're really in the phase of kind of refining and defining what makes the mirror retail experience. Um, well obviously we have just so much, uh, scale still on, on, on our digital channels and that's where more of our focus and efforts are going today. Speaker 3 16:13 Uh huh. And so, um, I mean you've touched a little bit on the, on the challenges, but w what I, I can imagine that when you have a physical good and it's, it's hard to get that first experience, um, without, without actually experiencing it. And obviously the retail helps their video maybe can, can touch on it, brand might create more desire, but it's, but it's ultimately that that experience is going to be pretty hard to get someone to. So what is it, would that would be one of the biggest challenges or are there other challenges as well? Speaker 4 16:43 No, I mean, I think, um, I think we're fortunate that we're coming in a market moment where folks are familiar with connected fitness and many people have investigated options or, or purchased other connected fitness options. So they are all already sort of bought into the idea that you can have a great workout at home. They've always wanted to work out at home and have tried or do or dabble. But now they really believe that it can happen. I think that combined with, um, putting them in front of, uh, be it a store or video based advertising where they can, uh, that can really kind of peak their interest, um, where they, they can you get sort of that wow factor of this thing is both the future and what I've always wanted. Um, and then I think the last piece is when you, when you start to, when you build a product that people fundamentally love, they want to share it. And so we, we reached a point reasonably early on our lifecycle where I think the customer flywheel really started to kick in and you see people sharing on social commenting on ads. Um, passing post-workout selfies that they create to friends and family members asking for all codes, things like that. And then, you know, the member base really starts to help to drive the engine. Speaker 3 18:00 Yeah, no, that, that makes a lot of sense. So how, how big is the overall team now? Speaker 4 18:05 Um, the team is about 75 and then we have additional part-time folks who help us across member experience in retail. Speaker 3 18:12 I assume that you didn't start with 75 people a couple years ago, so there's, there's probably been a lot of kind of adjustment as, as the team's grown. What, um, what, how of kind of the role shaken out over time and what are some of the growth challenges there in building up that team? Speaker 4 18:29 Yeah, I mean, I think I'm in the early days, uh, you know, the team, there was a lot of sort of scrappy generalists. People were wearing a ton of different hats as we sort of kind of tested into what worked and what didn't worked. Um, I think we then moved into a phase this past year where we were really, um, building out more senior leaders on the team, uh, folks who have done this before, you know, still scrappy, still hungry, but, um, people who, uh, really can own their functional silos. And now we're kind of moving into more of a scale phase where we're hiring more mid level and junior folks just to support, support the growth. So you're seeing more junior, mid level engineers, more member experience team, uh, channel managers on the marketing side. Um, now as we kind of move into more scale phase, Speaker 3 19:20 and then as far as the growth side of things, do you, do you have, do you, for example, do you need to do much, uh, customer touch in these sales? Or is it the price points right at that, that point where it seems like people would feel more comfortable if they had a bit of, of customer touch, but, um, how, how much have you found that's important? Speaker 4 19:39 No, I mean we don't have a sales, uh, sales team, our sales organization, um, at mere we have a member experience team who, you know, Hansel handles questions and inbounds and things like that. And it's a very high touch onboarding process from delivery and installation to within your first 90 days. We want to be, uh, you know, uh, available and active and helping you find the content that you want and learning how to, how to use the mirror, um, to, to suit your goals. Um, but we are, we're not really driving folks into a, into a sales structure. Speaker 3 20:15 Okay. That's great. And then, um, so it sounds like you've got a lot of kind of traditional brand building marketing skills on the team and that you're doing more of the kind of digital conversion marketing. Now what does the, what does that team look like? Speaker 4 20:32 Yeah, so we have, um, you know, a brand team that's focused on, um, a lot of creative production and creative ops. So the mirror is a challenging object to photograph and videos. So probably a higher touch. We a higher touch kind of creative process. And obviously because brand is so important to us, we enjoy owning the creative really in house. Um, and then our digital team is, um, you know, small but mighty and they're managing everything from Facebook, Google thing, um, television, um, and then testing it to new channels. And then we have, you know, email, sort of, uh, acquisition and retargeting efforts and engagement efforts that are sort of shared across the two teams. Speaker 3 21:16 Sorry, a lot of the, those digital parts are going to be pretty trackable obviously. But, um, on the, on the branding parts, do you feel like you have a pretty good sense for what the ROI is on those efforts or is it more feeling like you need to, you need to have faith that if you build the strong enough brand, then you're going to get the response in the channels and, and, but it's a little bit more on on gut or do you find there's a way to, to, to validate that gut with numbers? Speaker 4 21:43 Yeah, no, I mean I think it's, um, I think it's more just, uh, in the early days sort of the budget was more heavily weighted towards things that were less directly trackable. And then once you feel like you reach a certain level of brand awareness, you certainly continue to apply that same brand ethos to all the direct response efforts that you're doing. Um, but you shift more of your budget to more directly trackable, uh, exercises. Um, so while we might have done New York times ads in the early days and more billboards, those efforts become more controlled during sort of crucial times of year for us. And more of the budget starts to get allocated towards things where we can do more direct attribution. Um, so I think the more of a life cycle, a life cycle thing. Speaker 3 22:32 Yeah. It's a, it's, I mean it's so interesting with this business that it feels like you, um, some of some of the lower risk ways of bringing a software company to market of just, you know, that that small MVP and iterate around that and primarily digital channels to, to test and scale that you've, you've had to have a lot of faith along the way from kind of get getting everything right for that launch and then you starting with the branding and now moving into more of the more, more attributable, uh, channels that are out there. But uh, I mean it's, it's good. It feels like it's gotten you to this point. Do you think that there's any other way that you could have gotten here or do you feel, do you feel like that that for launching a, an innovative hardware product that you have to, you have to basically have a different playbook that includes getting it right, getting that experience right and having more of a, a brand push in the beginning to get things rolling? Speaker 4 23:28 Yeah. I mean, I think, uh, my bias may be from having watched so many hardware products, you know, launch via Kickstarter pre-sale and sort of struggle to kind of gain momentum is that, um, if you're building something new, uh, and it's a premium price point, you're really, you can't sell on specs. You've got to sell on experience and selling on experience requires a stronger investment and, and real momentum at launch. Um, then you can kind of build efficiency over time. The positive of our business model is, you know, we are a SAS business with really high LTV and so, uh, we are, we are able to invest more upfront in acquiring our customer knowing that once you bring us into your home, um, you're going to be in our family for, for a long time. And so, um, I generally would encourage folks building innovation products, premium products, physical products, especially ones where you're, you're asking someone to put, put you into their home, that you, you get it right at the star. You don't ship fast and integrate and you, you invest in the start in creating, um, an experience that people are excited to buy into. Speaker 3 24:41 Yeah, no, I, I think it makes sense. I actually, um, interviewed or, or actually I think we had a, the CEO from ring present at one of our conferences or a while back and it was, it was really interesting just, just how much, how much just sort of mission-driven, big, big push has been critical for building that business. And, and, and, and it definitely seems to be something that's more in the, in the hardware space. Obviously they're a much sort of like a impulsive probably purchased then, then you guys would be from a price point perspective. But uh, it's, it, it is interesting. So have you found as the company has grown? I mean probably in the beginning it was, it was a lot of tech people obviously as you were, as you were getting the, the, the initial product out the door, have you found that it's, it's hard to keep everybody on the same page as you've, as you've moved from a handful of probably pretty tech people to, to more of the content creators and marketing and the different cultures that end up coming into a company as a driving that alignment. Speaker 3 25:40 Has that been difficult or has been pretty, pretty easy for you guys? Speaker 4 25:44 I mean, I think the, the benefit of having a, you know, built a business previously and made mistakes and learned from those mistakes as I, you know, I realized early on that sort of my, in my last business I didn't really have a clear kind of North star as it related to mission and vision. And I, you know, our company culture definitely had values but they weren't clearly are articulated and disseminated. So that's actually sort of an exercise that we did at the very beginning of our lifecycle. And I think that that has been, um, incredibly unifying for the company as a whole. Um, everything from hiring to how we set our yearly goals and our KPIs, um, and we choose projects that ladder up into those. So for us, I think people, um, you know, we still sort of take things on and then, you know, later look back and say, that didn't really, that wasn't really the effort versus impact of that initiative and serve well, it didn't make a ton of sense, but I think everyone in the company kind of understands what we're building, why we're building and we do it. Speaker 3 26:44 Hmm. And how would you describe the mission of the business? Speaker 4 26:48 Yeah, so our, our, uh, mission is to build experiences that connect people to a better version of themselves. Um, our ultimate vision is to have a mirror in every home. Um, and we have really a sort of a series of core values for how we work that we think are in service of those goals. So, um, I think unlike a lot of startups, you know, one of the main ones is we believe that better is better, that the difference between 99% and a hundred, uh, is ordained. And that if it's worth doing, it's worth doing. Right. Um, and as a result, you know, another one of our goals means that we have to really hack away at the end essential. Um, and so doing less is part of our ethos as well. Speaker 3 27:32 And so that's something that, that you communicate a lot with the broader team about and, and everybody, everybody feels like they have a pretty good understanding of, of that mission and those company ethos. Speaker 4 27:42 Yeah, I think so. And I think we're, we're very transparent, you know, um, we have yearly goals and then every quarter we're, uh, really careful and to ensure that every project that is underway is still laddering up into those goals and the KPIs make sense. And I think, um, everyone on the team can kind of identify what those things are. Um, so I think having those things sort of set up the executive level helps to ensure that there's consistency across the company. Speaker 3 28:09 And then, and then how are you able to tie in really growth and progress with that mission? I mean, a great growth can be painful. There's obviously, especially when you have fulfillment and a lot of the other challenges and customer support, not like all the things that happen with the messiness of growth. If, if people feel like that growth is, is serving the broader mission, a lot of times they can, they can be pretty excited about that. So how have you been able to balance those two things? Speaker 4 28:34 Yeah, I mean, I think that the biggest thing is, um, one of the central learnings from refined method with my fitness studio where we ha we did not have the budget for marketing. There was no digital marketing. The business was a bootstrap business where client one had to refer a client to and studio wanted to pay for studio two. And so the way that that was able to occur with, by being obsessive Lee customer centric and every single way. Um, and so to me, how you sort of way, way initiatives as they relate to growth or stability is you put the customer at the center and if, if fundamentally you're serving the customer, um, then I think you make the right choices. Speaker 3 29:19 And so bet then everybody knowing that this, this longterm goal of a mirror and every house, it's just all of the, all of the steps moving in that direction is, uh, is, is, it feels good. It's progress against, against that goal of the have a mirror in every house. So why don't we go through a little bit of just the, the approach that you go from, uh, when someone first finds out about mirror to where they become a raving fan. What, what's that kind of general general journey like? Speaker 4 29:47 Yeah, I mean, I think it's, you know, as I sort of said earlier, it's a, it's a more of touch process and we understand that, that, um, we need to peak your interest. So we need you to see the product and, uh, or hear about the product, uh, in, from the press or from a celebrity or an influencer. And just think to yourself, wow, that's cool. I want to learn more. Um, I think there is a phase of education where we move into really ensuring that you understand, um, what the product does, how it will serve your needs, um, really, uh, getting you sort of comfortable with the purchase. Um, and then I think kind of the final piece in the closing piece frequently is, um, some amount of social proof, be it reviews or knowing folks in your network who have a mirror and love their mirror. Um, UGC, just really understanding that you're joining a community of, of happy and satisfied, uh, members. Um, and so I think it's, it's multi, it's multiple touches to sort of get you to that point. Um, you know, excitement, education, and then, uh, sort of that, that safety as you make the decision. Speaker 3 30:59 I assume that a pretty small percentage of people who end up purchasing had ever actually touched a mirror before. Is that, is that a correct assumption or is it, is, is there enough of them out there that they will have seen one in the wild before they ended up purchasing one? Speaker 4 31:14 Yeah, I think very few, very few few folks have seen the mirror before they purchase it. Speaker 3 31:19 Wow. So that's, I mean that, that's a really, I mean I may make sense in the journey that you talked about how you have to take them through each of those Gates. Just given that you're, you're making an investment in something that you haven't physically touched before is pretty, uh, pretty, pretty interesting and challenging. And then you also talked about just the, the power of referrals in, in the business in general. Um, so it's at everything from kinda, you mentioned reviews right now, you mentioned that the sort of celebrity side of things and then, and then what about just even people who really enjoy it and they're telling their friends about it, how do all of those parts work together on driving that kind of referral engine? Speaker 4 31:56 Yeah, we're at a phase now where we have sort of enough critical mass of units that it makes sense for us to build out more formal ways of folks, you know, referring their friends. So building out referral via the mirror app and the websites and people can kind of have the tools to, to share their love of me or, but in the early days it was really fundamentally inbounds. It was people who had the product, who loved it, who said, Hey, here's my friend Sally. I told about it. Uh, she wants more information or I posted this thing on my Instagram and I've gotten so much inbound interest. Do you have a referral program or an affiliate program? Um, so really like our members sort of came to us and said, we want to share the mirror, love, give us the tools. Um, and then now, you know, we're at a point in our lifecycle where there's enough of those folks in place that we're building more formal, a more formal referral program, um, because that flywheel really is there now. Speaker 3 32:51 And then what about on the influencer side, and it sounds like it started out pretty organic. Did you have any sort of really, um, uh, less organic efforts on the, on the influencer side? Speaker 4 33:02 Yeah, I mean the, the sort of the celebrity or influencer effect, um, was not really intended. We, we did a little bit of early seating on the celebrity side and just interestingly, it was one of the first communities to kind of demonstrate the network effects of mirror, you know, you had celebrity one seeing it in celebrity two's house and then buying it or a stylist telling a lawyer, telling an agent, telling a celebrity. Um, so the word kind of spread within the celebrity community, um, organically and in a way that wasn't really intended. Um, and, but those are now relationships that we are fortunate to have and we cultivate it. So, um, you know, folks like Gwyneth Paltrow and goop were instrumental in our brain. Tracy Anderson, who's a celebrity trainer onto the platform as part of a content partnership, uh, or Ellen, you know, because she loves her, me or chose to feature it on the, on the Ellen show during her Christmas special, um, wasn't really a part of our, our kind of launch strategy. But, um, it I think sort of speaks to the fact that once you kind of have the mirror, you're, you want to talk about it. Speaker 3 34:08 Right. Well that's, that is amazing that to have so much of that be organic, there is a, is really a Testament to having a great product as well. Um, it sounds like you've, you've been a trainer, so you're probably a little more dedicated to fitness then than a lot of us humans, um, myself especially where it's, uh, you know, it always requires that big push to, to build a habit around exercise. And then separately it's a big push to build a habit around a new product. Um, but both of those are pretty big challenges. Um, and when you take the intersection of the two of them building a habit around using near, um, obviously they make a big investment, which is a good start, but how do you, how does someone go to the point where they actually have a habit built around using the product? Speaker 4 34:56 Yeah, I mean, I think the biggest thing, and frankly it was an evolution for me in my career as a fitness professional, from being a professional dancer who made my living off of exercise to a studio owner where I worked out every day as part of my job to then fundamentally just a busy tech professional who had to sort of figure out how to fit fitness into my broader day in life. Um, is I think the realization that, um, you know, 1% of the population will wake up every single day and workout. And those are frequently folks who are more athletic, maybe competitive in nature, they're metrics oriented, and then there's the other 99% who really just sort of struggled to show up. And I think for those folks, um, it's really less about the destination. It's less about, uh, pounds loss, strength gained. Um, and it's more about creating a immediate experience that is rewarding and gratifying, that makes you feel good about yourself. Speaker 4 35:59 And so I think kind of, um, as my own orientation towards fitness shifted, um, it helped me to really build a product where we prioritize creating an experience where you have fun, feel good about yourself, feel like you've learned something like you're accomplished. Even if you know, that far off goal of five pounds of fat lost or strength gained, um, it doesn't ever happen. Maybe it will, maybe it won't. But it's, I think it's shifting the focus and the um, um, and the emphasis of the experience into, uh, into the now that I think has been really important. Um, and we, we sort of oriented around that as a product. So, you know, it may be super, the most efficient workout you may do might be 90 minutes of high intensity interval training. But, um, I want to try to get you to do five minutes of meditation, uh, so that you really get into the habit of spending five minutes a day taking time for yourself. Because I think that that is going to build momentum. Uh, whereas trying to get you to commit to sort of the 90 minutes of the most perfect workout, um, it's just a much higher bar for most people. Um, and so I think that's the, that's sort of how we think about, uh, making mere members, uh, engaged and building a community that people love. Speaker 3 37:20 If the journey is a rewarding enough journey, then people are, are going to want to be doing it more often. So you just mentioned about like the, um, the meditation piece. Do you guys have that type of content as well or is it, is it all exercise content? Speaker 4 37:33 We do. We just launched a few weeks ago meditation in partnership with Lulu lemon who were, um, you know, also fortunate to, to count as a investors in Mir. And it's been incredibly exciting to see, um, uh, particularly, uh, like a lot of beginners try meditation for the very first time and the reception's been really, really positive. Um, and I think it's really just because all we're asking of you is to, uh, show up and sit quietly, which, um, you know, everyone can do. Speaker 3 38:02 Right. And I guess it's not a far stretch from what yoga is and just kind of a, it's a, it's kinda all, all of these things are about, um, you know, mental health, physical health and balance. And it makes sense that it would all be part of that. So one, one last question before we wrap up. Um, what do you feel like you understand about growth now that maybe you didn't understand a couple of years ago when you were getting started and not necessarily what you would do over again, but just something that you, you feel like you've got a, uh, a stronger handle on. Speaker 4 38:33 Yeah, so I think my, uh, the biggest thing I learned about growth, I think I learned from my first business. We built, um, one of the very first boutique fitness studios in Manhattan before there was soul cycle and flywheel. And it was really the right market moment. And I think we built a great product. It was a product that people really loved. Um, but we didn't market the product. Uh, and we didn't capitalize the business, frankly, such that we could really take advantage of the market opportunity and the product we had. And instead I spent a long time really just optimizing, optimizing, optimizing, and optimizing on the product and the experience. Um, and so I think my, my learning from, from that, that I've sort of taken into mirror, you know, you have to have, if you have the right product and it's the right market moment, you need to be aggressive about investing in growth, um, early in your life cycle so that you can capitalize on what you've built. And so I think we, um, I spend less time kind of optimizing and over optimizing the product and relying on the product to just sell itself and more time realizing that, um, kind of, uh, growth requires effort and, um, that's something that I'm now comfortable with. Speaker 3 39:49 Yeah. I mean, that's, that's one of my big takeaways from this, this whole conversation is that while you've, you spent a lot of time nailing in the product and getting that, that product experience, right. It sounds like you guys are really deliberate about the customer journey from, from consideration and an interest and, and isn't that cool kind of product to building that confidence to where they're ready to pull the trigger and, and ultimately become engaged and dedicated to using it on an ongoing basis. And it's a, it takes a lot of, um, a lot of kind of intuition and, and understanding about the customer, uh, and the journey that they follow and making that decision. But it sounds like you guys are doing an awesome job with that. So thank you for everything that you've shared today. It's a, it's, it's an exciting business and a really different business than, than probably anything that I've looked at so far in on this podcast. So I'm excited that we had John, and thank you for being so open and sharing the journey with us. Thanks so much for having me. Speaker 1 40:49 <inaudible> Speaker 2 40:54 thanks for listening to the breakout growth podcast. Please take a moment to leave us a review on your favorite podcast platform and while you're at it, subscribe. So you never miss a show until next week.

Other Episodes

Episode 51

July 07, 2021 00:49:49
Episode Cover

Atlassian Offers a Masterclass in Growth; Senior Growth Product Manager Shows us How

Atlassian is the powerhouse behind popular productivity software brands including Jira, Confluence, Bitbucket, and Trello. Their solutions help more than 170,000 businesses, and in...

Listen

Episode 12

January 23, 2020 00:35:04
Episode Cover

Viral B2B Growth for Miro’s Freemium Collaborative Whiteboards

In this episode of The Breakout Growth Podcast, Sean Ellis interviews Yuliya Malysh, Head of Growth and Self Serve Business at Miro, a B2C2B...

Listen

Episode 39

January 06, 2021 01:05:27
Episode Cover

From Fear in 2020 to Hope in 2021, Sean and Ethan Discuss the Transition Over Coffee

In this week’s episode of The Breakout Growth Podcast, we (Sean and Ethan) invite you into our virtual living rooms for a cup of...

Listen