Bringing Innovation to a Crowded Space: How This Startup is Tackling Mobile (and Winning)
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A saturated market sector or crowded niche is no reason to assume you can't innovate your way to top-dog position. Rather than think you can't possibly dethrone current market leaders, double-down on creative marketing, talent acquisition, customer satisfaction, and internal product building. One such company innovating their way to king-of-the-castle positioning is NYC-based Button, who have built a proprietary technology that gives brands a scalable approach to mobile partnerships, facilitating consumer discovery and commerce.
Many of the world's industry leaders have already taken to Button, including Foursquare, Walmart, Uber, eBay, Ibotta, Buzzfeed, Hotels.com, and many others.
Button's business is built upon the Japanese philosophy of omotenashi - anticipatory hospitality at the highest level. As Button's co-founder Stephen Milbank describes it:
"We aim to provide our partners with the highest level of customer service and create software to anticipate a user's intent so that they have magical purchasing experiences. This philosophy also translates to how we recruit talent and the experience we try to provide candidates as we move them through the hiring process. At each interaction, we attempt to anticipate their needs and provide the highest quality interaction."
This kind of anticipatory excellence is what is needed to stand out in a crowded market sector. From the way your brand develops products and services to the way you develop company culture or engage with customers, suppliers, press, or investors, each component of your brand's growth needs to be based upon an unrivaled dedication to excellence.
Supporting Top Talent
One example of this commitment to excellence is how Button handles their talent relocation process. Since a number of new employees need to be relocated to New York City from other locations, Button goes all-in on providing an exemplary welcoming process. They use multiple tools like Lever, Pana, Abacus, and Foursquare to make a new recruit's arrival in NYC as seamless as possible. They have even been known to use Drizly to deliver celebratory drinks like champagne or NYC's Hudson Rye to new arrivals -- touch, Button.. touch.
Button is so committed to wowing talent acquisitions that they are building their own candidate app to show new recruits the power of Button integrations with companies like Uber, Hotels.com, Caviar, and Buzzfeed. This willingness to go above-and-beyond with recruiting is a shining example of how brands can set themselves apart from competitors in a crowded space.
And once you join the Button team, you can expect the same support both in and out of the office. The company has created an all-star range of benefits, including 18 weeks of paid parental leave (for all parents), unlimited vacation with a $500 stipend ($1,000 for those with a family), daily catered lunch, quarterly company retreats for some off-site brainstorming, fully-paid medical insurance, and much more.
Button has made a concerted effort to stand out in multiple ways in the mobile partnership space; their commitment to excellence hasn't gone unnoticed.
Voted one of the top 50 Best Workplaces in the U.S. by Inc. magazine in 2017
Voted a best place to work in New York and the U.S. by Fortune magazine in 2017
Voted the #2 best place to work in New York City by Crain's in 2017
Have raised more than $34 million in Seed, Series A, and Series B funding from powerhouse investors like Norwest Venture Partners, Redpoint Ventures, Greycroft Partners, DCM Ventures, Accomplice Ventures, and Gary Vaynerchuk's VaynerRSE.
Considering Button was only founded in 2014, it is clear their commitment to innovative excellence is reaping huge rewards.
Listening to the Data
Button's commitment to innovative thinking as part of a growth strategy is a growth hack other businesses would be well advised to follow. According Button's 2017 Index: The Mobile Consumer which was developed in collaboration with App Annie:
64% of mobile users polled would be more willing to purchase through and/or install a new application if they were prompted to do so by a source they trust. Yet when you investigate where mobile app marketers are spending their advertising dollars, you discover that 57% are spending their advertising budgets solely with Facebook and Google.
64% of individuals surveyed indicated they have never or rarely intentionally clicked on a mobile ad
55% of those surveyed indicated they have never downloaded an app or made a purchase immediately after seeing a Facebook advertisement
Individuals are twice as likely to install an app recommended by a trusted source as compared to a social media ad, and are 4.5 times more likely to install an app recommended by a trusted source as compared to an ad found via a search engine browser
Their data makes it clear that not following the herd and thinking differently about the technology they're building, innovative marketing, and unique customer acquisition efforts can lead to significant rewards. Partners not only have a new way to approach their overall mobile strategies, but are seeing significant benefits from the platform. According to Button:
Hotels.com has seen 30% higher spending in-app compared to mobile web over the past month
Ibotta has integrated more than 50 leading mobile brands into their app (incl. eBay, Groupon, Hotwire, Hotels.com, and many others), all of which are powered by Button. They're now on pace to drive nearly half a billion in mobile spending for the year
Since doubling down on app users with Button's technology, UK loyalty brand Quidco has seen 8x more revenue driven from app users compared to mobile web
If you are attempting to grow a thriving business in a crowded market sector, learn a lesson from Button and opt for innovative thinking in everything from the way you market your company to how you acquire, on-board, and connect with your team members. You won't stand out in a crowded field by doing the same thing as every other company.
Be willing to think differently and behave differently if you want to stand out in a sea of sameness.