While talking to potential customers during the research phase for Qurate Hub we started to realise that the real pain point for a lot of marketers wasn't the act of publishing or creating their content but instead planning and organizing their campaigns and content.
A lot of marketers and marketing agencies were using Google Sheets or Excel as current tools didn't fulfill their needs. This caused issues with collaboration and organization of tasks across teams. The use of these tools also made it almost impossible to prove ROI. We felt this was an area we could move into.
We began by researching other marketing tools, most of which claim to be a full end to end solutions. It started to become clear that a lot of these tools are overwhelmingly complex and assume a high degree of knowledge from customers.
We then interviewed some marketers of various experience levels. This revealed that many companies employ a marketing process but these very rarely have any structure or goal to them. If they do have a goal it’s very hard to prove if that goal was successful. Most businesses know they should have a marketing process but don’t know where to start. As a small business trying to market your company can be a daunting prospect.
Helping small businesses to get started in marketing seemed to be an area that very few products were operating in. We decided to create a series of foundation applications that not only provided the tools to get started but actually taught users how to become marketers. These tools would then help to give clarity to the content you create. They would help to decide what type of content, who it was aimed at, at what part of the buyer journey should the content be targeted and what the goal of the overall campaign is.
We started with the planning calendar, this was a logical place to start as all the other tools would be linked with this. We wanted to get a working tool out there quickly to test the idea so set an internal deadline of 2 weeks. I began with some very rough wireframes which we discussed and iterated as a team. Once we were happy with the idea, I used the Qurate Design system to design the necessary components. This came together really quickly as we already had a lot of components and patterns we could reuse.
This process took around 1 week, the following week was dedicated to building the product and testing and iterating as we went. During this period I worked closely with the developers. We worked out a lot of issues and edge cases as we went along. This meant we could build something really quickly. At the end of these 2 weeks we had a working product. It was basic in it’s capabilities but was a very good base we could build on top of.
Content topics can be created inside Planner on a kanban board then added to a calendar if desired. This allows you to work simultaneously on planning your content and adding them to campaigns.
Tags can be created and added to content topics, everything can then be filtered by tags, making it a very flexible way of having different calendar views. We didn’t want to have too many constraints, this way we could see all the different ways customers used these features.
Users can link the foundation tools to the calendar so for example they can associate a persona with a piece of content. The persona creator would be coming next.
This project really underlined the importance of listening to your customers and remaining flexible and open to ideas. We set out to prove an assumption but ended up discovering a much larger problem in a less saturated market. This opened up a lot of new business potential.
Up to this point Qurate Hub is purely a desktop app with very little need for the functionality to be available on mobile devices. So this would mean working for the first time with mobile styles and interactions. The Qurate Design System did not yet extend to mobile devices and so this had to be taken into consideration and seems an excellent opportunity to start creating mobile styles.