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 (YC W20)

Results: 10x revenues within two months and Series A-level revenues
Micro-Monopoly Strategy: Knowledge Moats

Motion helps users achieve elusive deep work and maximize their productivity by organizing their calendar, blocking social media, and organizing their browser tabs.

Positioning and Product Work

Motion needed to differentiate themselves in the crowded productivity app market, so we immediately got to work testing dozens of angles. Users' primary pushback was that they "don’t need another productivity app to work longer hours.” We decided to synthesize this generalized anti-productivity app feedback with Cal Newport's book "Deep Work." 
We produced a new hypothesis. We would be “the all-in-one app that helps you avoid working longer hours by cutting distractions and helping you attain deep work” by being “the all in one tool that helps users attain deep work.” The strategy worked well, and we embedded this philosophy into the product (onboarding, new features, etc., all to accommodate this new direction).
We call this strategy the "knowledge moat," which is different from typical content marketing or surface-level communication in that it deploys a contrarian, brand-specific insight across both strategy and product.
How? We learned a broader dissatisfaction with the vertical we were in and grew Motion by turning it on its head.
Brands like Clickfunnels and Drift also deployed this strategy exceptionally well.

“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 (YC W20)

Results: Fully-validated product, profitable CACs, and a repeatable pre-sales strategy
Micro-Monopoly Strategy: Process Moats

Nimbus builds EVs in the urban micro-mobility space. They came to us with only a prototype and sought to validate demand enough to raise venture capital, improve product, and scale.

Positioning and Product Work

Nimbus came to Ratio after numerous agencies failed to presale and validate their product. 
During their initial brand audit, we saw that they were pitching an ultra-green product offering "the future of mobility" and numerous differentiating features that made them appear more good, but by no means great.

This did not work because it did not address the core job-to-be-done or any actual consumer pain points.
If you consider mobility in terms of first principles, people want to get where they're going quickly and safely with minimal compromise between the two.

Therein lied Nimbus's problem. Their product, the Halo, looked fast. In fact, it looked like a motorcycle. To address the consumer's knee-jerk reaction that it looked too dangerous, Nimbus needed to emphasize safety as well as its engineers had. Up to this point, Nimbus had not emphasized its unique metal cage and AI maneuvering to avoid accidents.

Ratio then combined the two most important aspects of what consumers look for in a car (speed and safety) and buried everything else (green, battery life, etc). Nimbus's landing now emphasizes that it "allows you to avoid rush hour wait times by sliding through traffic...and has safety features that will allow your mother to sleep better at night."

Ivy Cosmetics

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

Ivy Cosmetics is an anti-aging D2C brand with trendy products and yet no-name brand. Ivy sold an instant lift product and various creams.

Positioning and Product Work

Ivy Cosmetics, like Motion, occupied a crowded and highly-competitive field. We tried hundreds of different ideas and strategies, which all failed.

The most recurring feedback we received was “Prove it! Show me how your cream erases wrinkles” or “We have heard this pitch on a cream being able to help my wrinkles fade a million times; it all sounds the same!”.

Based on this feedback, we took 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 [a given skincare product] can do for you…"

The refreshing acknowledgment that Ivy Cosmetics couldn't do anything about their wrinkles or that "most anti-aging products cannot actually reverse aging (including our own), but here’s what it can do…" worked incredibly well. The results were instant, and we scaled our campaign very profitably within a month after finding this angle.