Customer Discovery (Users): Interviews (Face to Face)
The team went out this week to interview potential users. The following are some of the leading questions for users of renren.com who spent their undergraduate in China.
1. Pain points validation:
Have you organized events before back in your college in China? Are the normal distribution channels (newsletters, etc) a big hassle for you? What was the biggest headache about organizing events?
2. Value Proposition validation:
Do you think an app on renren.com will be beneficial to you when you organize events?
Would you want post event analysis?
What will be the killer feature for you?
Would offering ticketing as a service be useful for you?
Our Insights (from 20 interviews)
1. Pain points validation
There exists problem of reach of advertisement with current channels, but the more you organize, the better you are at getting people. Current channels include BBS, an online school forum where people log in to find activities around the school, QQ, which is similar to MSN chat where activity groups can be formed, FeiXing, a mass SMS tool, and the traditional methods of posters and banners. Students in China colleges also live in dorms, so word of activities usually spread quickly.
However,the strength of current channels vary across the different colleges that we have interviewed. For example in Peking University, BBS school forums are very active, but in other colleges in WuHan Province, BBS school forums are usually lacking in user traffic. Also, with all the current distribution channels, user management is non-existent. The ability to pull of a large scale event with many participants usually also requires certain skills to work the advertisement channels through personal contacts and relationships. Finally, there currently exists no channels at all to reach to students in neighboring colleges, and this problem is very prominent in big cities like Beijing, Shanghai where the colleges are close and nearby.
Other pain points
Perhaps a unifying pain point amongst all the users we have interviewed is the pain point of financing their events. It is usually difficult for a student body to secure sponsorship for their events, and presents itself as a major pain point we can service.
2. Value Proposition validation:
The idea of an events organization application on renren.com is very well received by all whom we interviewed. They like the idea that the events that they organized will be able to get a further reach just by being available to all those on renren.com. Post event analysis would be extremely helpful too for future events, especially in the getting of contacts and feedback from participants in a well organized manner. If sponsors recommendation can be provided, that will be awesome. However, online ticketing is still a relatively new concept amongst China colleges, and it is not in the student’s behavior to purchase tickets online, and hence would not form a strong value proposition.
A word of caution from a few whom we spoke to: Renren.com is usually cluttered with applications that are usually not of the serious nature, and is still mostly used only as a mode to maintain friendship contacts. A serious application like ours in events organization thus run the risk of being lost amongst all the other non-serious applications which might result in a low pick-up.