Leave a comment
Get the GH Bookmarklet

AMAs

 

Lomit Patel is the Vice President of Growth at IMVU, responsible for user acquisition, retention and monetization. Prior to IMVU, Lomit managed growth at early stage startups including Roku (IPO), TrustedID (acquired by Equifax), Texture (acquired. by Apple) and EarthLink. Lomit is a public speaker, author, advisor, and recognized as a Mobile Hero by Liftoff.

Lomit's new book called Lean AI, which is part of Eric Ries' "The Lean Startup" series is available at Amazon. The book provides practical advice on how startups can scale up growth significantly faster when you combine a lean team with the judicious use of artificial intelligence and automation. With this book, companies can learn how to run tens of thousands of simultaneous marketing experiments across all their digital channels with a constant focus on delivering real business value to their organizations -- without the overhead of manual processes or intervention -- to usher in the new age of Autonomous Marketing.

Ask him anything related to user acquisition & retention (or not like how to write your first book, being a world traveler, thriving in startups and his favorite soccer team).

Here are some  of his latest articles to help start the conversation:

IMVU Growth team results from using AI + Automation:

  • 3X increase in ROAS

  • 3X decline in CAC

  • 100% payback in UA spend within 30 days

 

  • GN

    Gustavo Nunes

    5 months ago #

    Hi, Lomit. Awesome to have you on for an AMA!

    How do see AI enabling brands to deliver personalized content and customer experiences at scale?

    • LP

      Lomit Patel

      4 months ago #

      Hi Gustavo, Another great question. The best part about leveraging AI is that it helps you surface insights on your customer data in realtime to make it more actionable to truly deliver personalized content and customer experiences at scale. However, the way for brand to put those data insights into practice requires automating a lot of the processes and touch points to delivery the personalized content and experiences to customers at the right time.

      Here is a good case study that brands can follow of how IMVU do this during on-boarding and customer lifecycle to increase LTV. https://growthhackers.com/articles/how-to-apply-machine-learning-to-re-engage-users-and-increase-ltv

      2 Share
  • LP

    Lomit Patel

    4 months ago #

    Alright! This was awesome and thanks for all the great questions. I'm going to sign off now but feel free to connect with me on LinkedIn (link below) and keep in touch. Thanks!

    https://www.linkedin.com/in/lomitpatel/

  • LG

    Lily Grozeva

    5 months ago #

    Hi Lomit

    Thank you for putting the time and energy at this uncertain time to share your experiences with the digital community.
    With IMVU being so innovative and futuristic product what role in your acquisition channels you would attribute to the organic channels - organic traffic from Google, free referral traffic from niche websites and online communities, etc.
    I am trying to get a sense of how SEO would be useful to innovative business models.

    Thank you and take care.
    Lily

    • LP

      Lomit Patel

      4 months ago #

      Hi Lily, you're welcome and another good question. We do a lot to foster organic growth as that is a key part of our overall growth strategy. The most important thing is to set the right expectations with the executive team upfront that this is a long game and not to expect immediate return like with paid UA, to ensure you have the runway to successfully execute on it. We provide and share SEO results regularly to the management team so everyone can sees the organic traffic trends moving in the right direction.

      The general focus for ASO is always running lots of ASO A/B tests around key components like icons, screenshots, keywords and copy. On SEO, we focus a lot around content creation focused on the most relevant keywords like

      In SEO, we primarily leverage a blog to consistently post new regular articles focused around relevant non-branded keywords that perform well for us. We use our paid SEM and Apple Search campaigns to help us continue to identify the right keywords to focus for SEO. Outside of content, we also continue to incorporate other best SEO best practices like faster load times, etc. that Google values. One thing that helps short-term is using paid UA to help amplify our organic content through native placements with partners like Quantcast and Outbrain.

      2 Share
      • LG

        Lily Grozeva

        4 months ago #

        Thank you, Lomit, for sharing. Using PPC and SEO to feed insights for content development is overlooked tactic in my opinion I'd love to know more and dig deeper there. Same applies for sponsoring organic content in content networks.
        These would be interesting follow up topics to learn more about from you or on my own.

        Thanks again, and stay healthy.
        Lily

  • MK

    Manasa Karpagam Kumar

    4 months ago #

    How should we design our content strategy to acquire customers during a crisis/pandemic?

    • LP

      Lomit Patel

      4 months ago #

      Hi Manasa, this is a good question. In my experience, you have to always be testing many different content messages and creatives to figure out what is going to work best for your business. This is the time to test new relevant creative that can be more empathetic and relatable to your potential customers during a crisis/pandemic.

      At IMVU, leveraging a positive and uplifting creative content strategy is working well across all the entire customer journey and lifecycle to acquire and retain new customers right now.

      1 Share
  • AP

    Arpit Patel

    5 months ago #

    How long would you say it took IMVU to achieve the results you're seeing today? Has the current pandemic changed your buying strategy?

    • LP

      Lomit Patel

      4 months ago #

      Hi Arpit - This is a good question. We started seeing positive results on our KPI CAC and ROI within 30-45 days once there is enough training data to help the AI intelligent machine get smarter (when comparing the AI "Intelligent Machine" managing campaigns vs. the old control way with more manual human management). Over the past 18 months, our CAC has gone down over 3X and ROI gone up 3X. The best part is we still continue to see positive trends in the results and haven't flatlined yet.

      When COVID-19 hit, many advertisers suspended their buys just as a natural, knee-jerk reaction to uncertainty. And because we’ve entrusted AI intelligent machine, we were able to let the system learn how best to cope with the massive changes impacting each of the individual ad-buying platforms (Google, Facebook, etc.). In fact, we saw our customer acquisition costs drop, and our revenue accelerate significantly by not making a human decision to pull back in the current crisis. Therefore, no big change in the buying strategy except we are spending a lot more now and getting even better results against our KPIs.

      1 Share
  • MA

    Miray Alanlar

    4 months ago #

    Hi Lomit,

    Super excited for the AMA!

    How we can stay at the top mind when users are getting tons of push notifications during this unprecedented time where they spend most of their time on apps? What would be the best engagement strategy to start working with?

    1 Share
    • LP

      Lomit Patel

      4 months ago #

      Hi Miray - you always have good questions :) This is a challenging time because everyone of us is getting bombarded with notifications and emails. I would recommend not to batch and blast, but use your customer segmentation data wisely as the best engagement strategy to only target your active customers who may find these notifications/emails helpful with only sending relevant personalized messages.

      The risk is without using a robust segmentation/personalization engagement strategy, you’re just going to annoy a lot of people who are either going to tune your out or worse turn off your notifications. Either way, you will diminish the effectiveness of leveraging this channel. It's always better to send less relevant need to know messages than too may frequently nice to know messages.

      1 Share
  • RM

    Results Marketing

    4 months ago #

    What are the best places to find great talent to hire as an employee or independent contractor?

    • LP

      Lomit Patel

      4 months ago #

      Hiring great talent is always challenging. The best places is to tap into your professional network on LinkedIn to get referrals, post on relevant job sites/message boards or work with recruiters (based on your budget and timelines to fill the role).

      1 Share
  • NA

    Nataly Avanesova

    4 months ago #

    Hi, great to have you here,
    What's the growth key to a transactional type of product with $100 aov? Would be glad to hear your suggestions in how to build a 100M product.
    Thanks:)

    • LP

      Lomit Patel

      4 months ago #

      Hi Nataly - it's great to be here and another good question. The $100 aov is more of a considered purchase than an impulse buy. The growth key is find the right target audiences most likely to buy that product and test different value propositions to figure out what resonates best with those user segments/personas. You also need to spend more of your budget on retargeting/re-engagement to help you convert more of the prospects who show interest in the product but don't buy right away (which is typical with more considered purchases).

      To build a $100M product business is always exciting and challenging. The keys to success include having a great product that has strong product/market fit, hire a great team, raise enough money to support your growth efforts, implement the right customer acquisition, retention and monetization strategy to ensure the business is sustainable for the longterm.

      Building a strong community is really important as they become your brand evangelists to help spread the word of mouth for organic growth to integrate with the rest of your growth efforts. The key is to get better at increasing your velocity of learning to figure out what works and doesn't quickly across the entire business functions and customer journey by leveraging data, AI and automation.

      Here an article that might be helpful:
      https://growthhackers.com/articles/the-age-of-customer-acquisition-3-0

      1 Share
  • CM

    Catalin Matei

    4 months ago #

    Lomit, how would you make the differentiation between marketing, advertising, product marketing and growth? To me, the job-to-be-done is always to help companies grow, how you do that might be 100 ways, from advertising (internet, tv, etc), to marketing (events, direct sales, etc) to growth (acquisition, monetization, retention accross all channels?!). How do you see this? What are your thoughts on it?

    • LP

      Lomit Patel

      4 months ago #

      Hi Catalin - this is a good question because most organization comprise of many different cross-functional teams working help support growth, but are not aligned/incentivized to focus on how their contributions impact business growth.

      My thought is to try removing the silos approach by setting up incentives for teams/individuals bonuses to encourage everyone to work well together with share business goals that impact growth. Ultimately, every successful organization has one dedicated team (which is now known famously as the growth team) who are solely responsible for always thinking about growth and working cross-functionally with the different cross-functional teams to help them execute on positively impacting those key growth metrics on the business. This approach works better because they are thinking about growth all time and responsible for the entire customer journey and funnel to have the biggest impact on growing the business.

  • CY

    Connie Yiu

    4 months ago #

    any advice for startups and smaller businesses on how to use AI for growth?

    • LP

      Lomit Patel

      4 months ago #

      Hi Connie - This is another good question. The first thing is to ensure you have all your data integrated into a centralized place like a CDP, so you're able to provide any AI solution with good data to work with. There are many ad platforms (e.g. Google and Facebook for paid UA) that already have some form of AI built into their platform that you can leverage quickly with the right data setup in place. However, if you're spend more than $200,000 per month on UA and use many different partners for UA, then you should consider leveraging an AI intelligent machine SAAS platform that is more customized to your business to help you manage better scale up your UA growth without the overhead of manual processes or intervention -- to fully tap into Autonomous Marketing.

      Here is an article that you might find helpful on the different levels of AI capabilities you can consider:
      https://growthhackers.com/articles/lean-ai-the-secret-to-app-growth

      1 Share
  • AK

    Amey Kanade

    4 months ago #

    Hi Lomit, Thanks for doing this. How do you typically work with Product Marketers in your team? What do you expect from a PMM team member.

    • LP

      Lomit Patel

      4 months ago #

      Hi Amey, you're welcome and another good question. We work very closely with the product marketing to help us with developing creative assets for UA and promoting different marketing product features to our customer base. Our best performing ads feature the product experience (e.g. different virtual avatar social shared experiences within the IMVU app). Therefore, PMM and our creative marketing team are key partners in the development of all our different creative assets like videos, images, social media posts, etc.

      We love to share the data and insights on how different creatives and product features perform with them and expect them to help us continue to come up with new creative ideas for us to continue to test, iterate and learn from. We have found creatives assets to be a key lever for our AI intelligent machine to leverage for A/B testing to help drive better performance against our KPIs.

      1 Share
  • LO

    Listen On Repeat

    4 months ago #

    What is Lean AI?

    • LP

      Lomit Patel

      4 months ago #

      Lean AI is an innovative process to scale up growth significantly faster when you combine a lean team with the judicious use of artificial intelligence and automation. It enables growth teams to run tens of thousands of simultaneous marketing experiments across all their digital channels with a constant focus on delivering real business value to their organizations—without the overhead of manual processes or intervention—to usher in the new age of Autonomous Marketing. Conducting experiments at scale improves the likelihood of finding successful experiments, some of which you’d never have taken the time to test in a pre-AI world. Incremental experiments that otherwise would have been sidelined for cost or complexity are now valid for observation in the world of autonomous marketing.

      Here is an article that you may find useful on Lean AI: https://growthhackers.com/articles/lean-ai-the-secret-to-app-growth

      1 Share
  • TT

    Thusitharan Thanabalasingam

    4 months ago #

    hmm nice post

SHARE
35
35