Ratio Fellows.

Case Studies

Traditional marketing doesn’t work anymore, building a micro-monopoly does

“You helped us package and sell the Nimbus Halo after we tried different ideas and spent thousands on ads that didn't generate any sales."

Lihang A - CEO of  Nimbus (Y-Combinator 2020)

Motion

Results: 10x revenues within two months to series A revenues
Micro-Monopoly Strategy: Knowledge Moats

Motion is a YC startup in the productivity category. Where users can organize their calendar, block social media, and organize their browser tabs. All in the goal to increase focus time and productivity at work.

Positioning and Product Work

When we first started working with them, we tried many different angles, most of which didn’t stick or work out for us since the productivity app market was a very competitive space. One of the pushbacks we were getting from users is, “we don’t need another productivity app to work longer hours.” So we decided to combine this negative feedback on productivity apps and the book from Cal Newport on Deep Work into a new hypothesis that “we’re the all-in-one app that helps you avoid working longer hours by cutting distractions and helping you attain deep work” or “The all in one tool that helps users attain deep work.” The strategy worked very well, and we embedded this philosophy into the product (onboarding, new features, etc., all to accommodate this new direction).

We call this strategy knowledge moats, and it’s different from content marketing or just surface-level communication since you sort of find knowledge in the market that belongs to your brand. Your product embodies that knowledge to a point where they work well together. Brands like Clickfunnels do this very well, including Drift, both of course very successful startups.

“It’s amazing how much time they spend with you to help your company grow, they really know what they’re doing! Highly recommend the program.”

Mykyta Samusiev- Co-Founder Sdushoy

Nimbus

Results: Fully validated product, with profitable CAC’s, repeatable pre-sales
Micro-Monopoly Strategy: Process Moats

YC startup building EV’s in the micro-mobility space. They didn’t manufacture their products yet, just had built one to test it out and raise money based on their demo model. Their biggest goal was to validate that there is demand for the vehicle before going into manufacturing it at scale.

Positioning and Product Work

This is an interesting case study since Nimbus tried different ad agencies before coming to us, they couldn’t presale their cars and validate their product. Checking their landing page before joining our program and after will showcase the strategy we went with really well. 
At first they took the route of selling an electric car with the BS pitch of “the future of mobility” and discussing our green it is, or showcasing all the features of the product (battery life, speed, etc.).

All of which didn’t work. If you think about mobility in terms of first principles, people care about getting somewhere and being safe in the process. Because if you can get somewhere within a few min but have a higher likelihood of dying well that’s not a good idea. 

Their vehicle looked like it’s fast (same shape of a motorcycle), but didn’t discuss the safety elements to it (AI maneuvering to avoid accidents, and metal frame unlike motorcycles). So I combined the two most important aspects of what consumers look for in a car (speed and safety), and removed everything else (green, battery life, etc. it’s in there on the page but deep below). The end result was a title like you see on their home ““I was tired of listening to the same songs while in traffic, Nimbus helped me cut my commute time by 38%” nothing about green or the future of mobility. 

Ivy Cosmetics

Results: $0-70K/month in revenue with 8x return on ad spend within 6 months
Micro-Monopoly Strategy: Contrarian Marketing

Anti-aging direct to consumer brand, with trendy products in the category and no-name brand. They sold an instant lift product that lasts for about 8 hours and various moisturizer creams.

Positioning and Product Work

With Ivy Cosmetics, it was tough to stand out from the competition. The anti-aging category is very competitive. We tried hundreds of different ideas and strategies, which all failed.

The most recurring theme we would get with our data is feedback from women who will constantly repeat something along the lines of “prove it! Show me how your cream erases wrinkles” or “we heard this pitch on a cream being able to help my wrinkles fade a million times, it all sounds the same!”. So based on this feedback, we decided to take an honest, contrarian approach by leaning on the negative feedback and telling it like it is. We came up with the pitch, “We can’t solve aging skin. No one can! but we can help reduce wrinkles for a few hours a day”, or “Our products can’t solve your aging, no products can, but here’s what our products can do for you… (will change based on the specific product)”.

The approach of communicating honestly that we can’t do anything about their wrinkles or that most anti-aging products are BS (including our own), but here’s what it can do… worked incredibly well and was refreshing. The results were instant, and we could scale our campaign very profitably within a month after finding this angle.