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1 / Defining the problem and planning the strategy

Ok so, day one of a design project. Where to begin?

Let’s start with the project’s problem statement: How might we help small businesses monitor the effectiveness of their advertisements and offer solutions to improve their marketing strategy?

Normally this statement would be one of the results of a kickoff meeting, where I would work with a client to understand their business, their ideas, and define their goals for this project. In this case, I found a list of design prompts online. But this one works really well because:

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1.	It defines who will benefit from our solution
2.	It's specific enough to give us a clear place to start, but leaves room for a range of different solutions
3.	It focuses our project on having an impact. If we can answer this question, we will have a solution that will be desirable to our ideal customer

So, why marketing analytics? Well, I think it will be interesting to design a data-driven solution for people with better things to do than deeply understand their data. How can we give them clear, actionable insights so they can run their business and get on with their day? I also think this is probably an issue many businesses are facing now, whether they’ve been financially impacted by the pandemic and trying to boost their sales, or shifting a brick and mortar store to an ecommerce platform. Analytics are probably more useful to them now than ever.

So, where to start? Well, first let’s define what we’re hoping to learn:

We have a pretty firm budget of $0, so we’ll have to be pretty lean here. Luckily the internet is rife with advice for SMBs (small and medium size businesses) about maximizing their online presence and utilizing analytics, so we can start by doing a good amount of secondary research. Usually secondary research refers to analyzing scientific studies, but the core goal here is to find out what experts already know about this field.

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•	What other products solve this problem?
•	What other products do small businesses use in general?
•	Who leads marketing in small businesses?
•	What does a typical workday in the life of a small business owner look like?
•	How has this changed post-Covid?
•	How do the needs of SMBs differ based on scale, location, industry, where they advertise, who their customers are, what they sell, and how they sell it?
•	What do small businesses want to know about their ads? What information is useful and actionable for them?
•	Is there a niche in this problem space that we could uniquely address?
•	Who are our main competitors going to be?