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Mat joined JUST EAT in 2009 and set about establishing the company as the leading brand in takeaway around the world, resulting in one of Europe’s biggest tech IPOs for a decade in 2014. Mat has had a long history leading online brands and has previously worked for The Financial Times, toptable and gameplay.com. In 2012, Mat led the global launch of JUST EAT’s brand campaign to ban home cooking, ‘Don’t Cook, JUST EAT’. Mat is now busily building a new hairdressers app; ROCK PAMPER SCISSORS where the team are striving to build the default hairstyle app for 'Uber's children'.

Growth hacking as a discipline tends to lean logically towards data led experimentation. This can be short sighted - the biggest 'unicorns' of the old world became no.1 through building a brand. Sounds expensive but not if you are smart and brave. I'm happy to discuss how startup brands can enter markets dominated by leaders but by employing challenger brand approaches, take on the big boys not at their own game - but by redefining the rules.

You can follow me on Twitter: @matbraddy

I will be live on July 5th starting at 930 AM PT for one and half hours during which time I will answer as many questions as possible.

  • AA

    Aldin A

    almost 3 years ago #

    Hi Mat!

    Thanks for doing the AMA Huge fan marketplaces so excited to learn from you!

    1) What, in your opinion, are the key metrics for an online product driven marketplace business such as etsy? What about service marketplaces such as rock pamper scissors and just eat??

    2)What analytic tools do you use? Can you explain your rationale for each of them?

    3)How do you go about figuring out the optimal transaction rate for a marketplace? Start too low, and if you try to increase it everybody will be up in arms. Start too high and you can't attract sellers (or at least they'll be dissatsified). Any advice on how to figure out your take rate and strike the right balance?

    4)How do you think about loyalty programs in the context or marketplaces? How have you thought about them at just eat and rock pamper scissors?

    Thanks

    • MB

      Mat Braddy

      almost 3 years ago #

      " What, in your opinion, are the key metrics for an online product driven marketplace business such as etsy? What about service marketplaces such as rock pamper scissors and just eat??"

      There can be an almost endless list of metrics for marketplaces which can be confusing. I prefer to think about 'how is this market is going to move online?' then work down from there. For example with Just Eat it was a combination of the market advocating itself and brand that was driving customer behaviour change. Brand is more obvious, but the market moving itself online is one I often see startups forget - so for example at Just Eat the restaurants are branded, many have street blade signs attached, and most put the JE logo on their menus. All these ‘signals’ let customers know that the restaurant is happy to endorse the app. And these items don't cost much in investment - they are earned with hard work. So with our new project, Rock Pamper Scissors, we are constantly talking to London hairdressers and trying to solve their real problems with tech so that, one day, they endorse the app and marketplace because they love what it does for them.

      2 Share
    • MB

      Mat Braddy

      almost 3 years ago #

      "How do you go about figuring out the optimal transaction rate for a marketplace? Start too low, and if you try to increase it everybody will be up in arms. Start too high and you can't attract sellers (or at least they'll be dissatsified). Any advice on how to figure out your take rate and strike the right balance?"

      Always a tricky one - also should you charge to sign up in the first place. I’ve worked with dozens of marketplaces over the last decade and one thing i can see consistently is the importance of ‘partnership’. Too cheap, or free, and the suppliers will not really value you. Too high and you are a parasite and they’ll never go out of their way to help you move the market online. It’s good to talk to suppliers before you start, understand their pain points and their margins and set a fair price which both can agree to as such. Which obviously isn't easy. So you test in your MVP period and find a biting point. Then you’ll probably change it again after 6 months :-)

      2 Share
      • AA

        Aldin A

        almost 3 years ago #

        How do you set the expectation and understanding that the transaction cost can change so that they know it can happen and aren't taken aback when it does?

    • MB

      Mat Braddy

      almost 3 years ago #

      "How do you think about loyalty programs in the context or marketplaces? How have you thought about them at just eat and rock pamper scissors?"

      Hmmm. Well I am not a big believer in loyalty schemes personally. They are distracting to build and distracting to run. If you don’t have one, why are you wasting time on developing a band-aid to get loyalty rather than spend the same effort understanding your customers real problems and developing the product to address them? Solving a real problem gets real long term loyalty, a loyalty scheme feels like a cheap promotional cheat.The other fundamental issue I have with them is that you can easily end up only rewarding customers that would have used you 5 times anyway but at a huge cost to the marketing budget and tech. Who really gives enough of a monkeys about your business to actually care about this new scheme? Your currently highly engaged customer. Casually aware customers won’t give a flying Farage. (Or Trump depending on which political clown your country is infested with.)

  • SA

    Shaker A

    almost 3 years ago #

    Hey Mat,

    Thanks for taking the time to be here. Appreciate it.

    1) As a marketplace scales, matching the appropriate buyers and sellers becomes critical, just because there's so many of each in the marketplace and not everyone is perfect for everyone else. One way is to build a recommendation engine to help connect the appropriate parties. Did you build a recommendation engine? If so how far into Just Eat's life did you build it? What else did you do to ensure the appropriate parties had a higher chance to connect, other than recommendations?

    2)What was your process for identifying the restaurants you wanted on the platform, to convincing them to giving you a shot? How did the seller acquisition process work at scale? How does the process work at RPS?

    3)For both Just eat and RPS what factors do you focus for retention on the buyers side? The sellers side? Are they the same or do they differ?

    4)Removing frictions is a big part of creating a better user experience. Did you do anything like get rid of the min order fees from restaurants or get rid of the delivery charges? If so how did you convince the restaurants to accept it? How do you identify what frictions can be removed and what friction you have to just live with?

    Thanks

    • MB

      Mat Braddy

      almost 3 years ago #

      "As a marketplace scales, matching the appropriate buyers and sellers becomes critical, just because there's so many of each in the marketplace and not everyone is perfect for everyone else. One way is to build a recommendation engine to help connect the appropriate parties. Did you build a recommendation engine? If so how far into Just Eat's life did you build it? What else did you do to ensure the appropriate parties had a higher chance to connect, other than recommendations?"

      We didn't have a recommendation as such; what we did was understand over the years what the most important factors were for the customer to have a great experience. In The case of food delivery it was a combination of time to delivery and quality. Good food delivered fast. Obvious but then how to calculate that? So back in the day we used ‘driving time’ combined with recent reviews of the supplier to order the recommendations.

    • MB

      Mat Braddy

      almost 3 years ago #

      "For both Just eat and RPS what factors do you focus for retention on the buyers side? The sellers side? Are they the same or do they differ?"

      It’s kinda the same thing in that we are trying to be a very useful conduit between the clients and the hair stylists. So if we are doing a good job introducing a client to a stylist then they will naturally rebook that stylist, which is fundamentally what the stylist also wants - repeat business.

    • MB

      Mat Braddy

      almost 3 years ago #

      "What was your process for identifying the restaurants you wanted on the platform, to convincing them to giving you a shot? How did the seller acquisition process work at scale? How does the process work at Rock Pamper Scissors?"

      Well at scale, after the first 4 or so years, we really got into local data mapping of potential takeaway clients vs our supply. We could see an obvious relationship between the % of a local market it terms of customers that had used JE vs the % of Restaurants active. So we then got scientific about targeting areas by opportunity. With Rock Pamper Scissors we are in the baby years still so we are using a much simpler version of the same method but going after a certain demographic. In both cases we are building a marketplace of businesses which are not sat at desks all day so in both cases shoe leather remains the best way to acquire.

    • MB

      Mat Braddy

      almost 3 years ago #

      "Removing frictions is a big part of creating a better user experience. Did you do anything like get rid of the min order fees from restaurants or get rid of the delivery charges? If so how did you convince the restaurants to accept it? How do you identify what frictions can be removed and what friction you have to just live with?"

      Well that’s the beauty of a marketplace - the internal competition it creates between suppliers to be top of the pops. If you have 2 excellent Thai restaurants with great scores and one is being more generous than the other with delivery charges etc then the market will sort out the winner. Your role is to share success stories to help all your partners improve their offerings. The tide that lifts all ships.

  • RB

    Ry B

    almost 3 years ago #

    Hi Mat,

    Great to have you here!

    1) I'm intrigued by the notion of challenger brands. What factors do you have to consider when creating a challenger brand? How can startups enter the market by employing challenger brands? What does 'redefining the rules' mean to you, and how do you go about doing it? How can you create them cost effectively in a smart way?

    2)How does customer service differ for a marketplace? How closely do restaurants and just eat work on customer service issues?
    Does customer service at rps differ from Just eat? If so, how?

    Ex. Someone has a bad experience on just eat and Customer Service decides to give them their money back. Would that be a decision in conjunction with the restaurant or is that Just eat' s call alone? In that scenario where a refund is issued does Just eat alone absorb the cost or is it absorbed in conjunction with the restaurant?

    3) How do you get users to build the habit of visiting the site, if users only use the app occasionally by it's very nature (ex fashion shopping site/app )? If the frequency of usage is infrequent it's harder to get them to build a habit of coming back to the site. What types of things would you do to make sure the site/app are top of mind when they do want to (for example they want to but new clothes)?

    4)What stops someone from recruiting the the restaurants/stylists on just eat/rps and creating a competing service - similar to what
    we've seen with Uber and Lyft vying for the same drivers? How does just eat/rps 'lock-in' their supply side? What is it
    that makes them defensible product?

    Look forward to hearing from you.

    • MB

      Mat Braddy

      almost 3 years ago #

      "I'm intrigued by the notion of challenger brands. What factors do you have to consider when creating a challenger brand? How can startups enter the market by employing challenger brands? What does 'redefining the rules' mean to you, and how do you go about doing it? How can you create them cost effectively in a smart way?"

      Almost all startups are challenging something - this past week I've mentored a dog walking site, a cool mortgage assistant app, and a site specialising in Erectile Disfunction. Yup. Erectile Disfunction. Don't laugh - it happens to the best of us.

      All in their own ways trying to change the existing way things are done in their space with new ideas. The thing I like to point out to them is that no-one gives a shit about their great idea - just explaining 'what' they do will just get a mental shrug - in one ear and out the other. Simon Sinek TED talk covers this well; you need to find your emotional story for people to care about - your why. But how? I believe the best method for doing that is the challenger brand methodology laid out by Adam Morgan in 'Eating the big fish'.

      So redefining the rules to me means having that great story that tells itself. For example when we started this new project, Rock Pamper Scissors, we thought it would be enough to be a cool brand that appealed to men as well as women - but it got a shrug from all stakeholders. Once we worked harder on the problem we realised it was all about making hair stylists into local stars - and everyone went 'oh yeah - of course its a person that cuts you hair not a business'. This makes us a thought leader in PR and on social - and it redefines the rules in a way that makes the previous attempts to move this market online look obviously wrong.

      2 Share
    • MB

      Mat Braddy

      almost 3 years ago #

      "How do you get users to build the habit of visiting the site, if users only use the app occasionally by it's very nature (ex fashion shopping site/app )? If the frequency of usage is infrequent it's harder to get them to build a habit of coming back to the site. What types of things would you do to make sure the site/app are top of mind when they do want to (for example they want to but new clothes)?"

      Well one place to start is to look at the whole cycle of decision making and consider where your mobile web lives and where the app lives. Apps that are purely transaction are OK but really you can achieve that easily with mobile web. In the case of haircuts for example there is a lot of anxiety around what hairstyle will suit me. Folks ponder this for a few weeks before they book - what can we do with an app to help them get inspiration and ultimately book the correct stylist?

      In terms of you point about them remembering you exist when they are in the market, this is where having a very strong brand story is crucial. If most of your marketing is on-the-nose 'we do this' stuff then you can get good roi and pat your growth hacking back. While it is running. But what about the month after when budget is tighter? Will anyone remember that basic 'we do this' ad? At Just Eat we campaigned to ban cooking. A slightly naughty thing to do. If you saw those ads and PR you had to have an opinion about it - you couldn't ignore the provocation. Forcing you to think is then brilliant ROI because we've accessed a different part of your brain, broken past your auto pilot. So the many months when those ads were not running folks still recalled the brand, so when they saw our PPC etc vs competitors we'd still win as we were the one they remembered.

  • LS

    Logan Stoneman

    almost 3 years ago #

    Hey Mat! Thanks for joining us today. I'm always interested in the origin story for startups. Can you tell us why you decided that Rock Pamper Scissors was going to be the problem you would solve? Was it something you had thought about for awhile or an epiphany?

    • MB

      Mat Braddy

      almost 3 years ago #

      “Can you tell us why you decided that Rock Pamper Scissors was going to be the problem you would solve? Was it something you had thought about for awhile or an epiphany?”

      Well it struck us as really weird that businesses on the high street that you need to book couldn't easily be booked online. Previous attempts focused on salons, and when we thought about it we realised this didn’t feel right - we realised our personal emotional connections were always with the people that cut our hair. The salon is important, but the person was higher up. The more we talked to clients the more we understood their problems around hairdressing were also to do with stylists - be it booking accessibility, talent discovery etc. So that was our big epiphany - it gave us a purpose & mission which gets investors, suppliers and clients excited to talk about our app.

      2 Share
  • AP

    Adam Paciorek

    almost 3 years ago #

    Hi Mat, thanks for doing this AMA and sharing your knowledge and experience!

    Couple of questions from me:

    1. What are the most controversial or unorthodox growth hacks you have seen working well for startups?

    2. Has anyone trained you in digital marketing? Who would you say is your biggest influence?

    3. What are the biggest mistakes and myths you see in digital marketing? What are the biggest wastes of time?

    4. What are your favourite books or resources on growth marketing and startups? If people had to teach themselves (quickly), what
    would you suggest they use?

    5. If you were to launch a startup and aim to get first 1000 paying subscribers, what would your plan be? What if you had 8 weeks to achieve that?

    Thanks!

    • MB

      Mat Braddy

      almost 3 years ago #

      "What are the most controversial or unorthodox growth hacks you have seen working well for startups?"

      I’m always inspired by companies that ‘earn’ their growth rather than buying it. Especially those that use ‘old school’ techniques to get conversation going. I met the founder behind village.co recently and those guys are launching in one small area of London mainly through getting to know their community in real life. Yes - actually speaking to people! Crazy bastards. They’ve built connections with parent groups and use a old shop as their office in the area so they are a visible part of the community.

    • MB

      Mat Braddy

      almost 3 years ago #

      "What are the biggest mistakes and myths you see in digital marketing? What are the biggest wastes of time?"

      The biggest myth, and this is all just imho, is that digital is enough to get long term growth. For me I see digital as a goal hanger - ppc or a banner click etc is benefiting from work done elsewhere in the marketing mix. If you just relied on PPC for example you can only win the business that is already searching. But many startups have a new concept - hardly anyone is searching for their service yet. I believe it’s crucial that startups can articulate their stories first before diving in.

      • AA

        Anuj Adhiya

        almost 3 years ago #

        "I believe it’s crucial that startups can articulate their stories first before diving in."
        Are there any examples of startups (that you haven't been involved with :)) that you believe have done this well recently?
        What specific aspect(s) stood out to you as to what/how they did it?

    • MB

      Mat Braddy

      almost 3 years ago #

      "What are your favourite books or resources on growth marketing and startups? If people had to teach themselves (quickly), what would you suggest they use?"

      Er! You are asking someone that’s taken 20 years to scrape together a tiny amount of knowledge. What I would say is books are not often the answer - I learn the most from peers. Get involved in startup founder nights etc and talk through your ideas. You’ll always find someone that has already tried this or that and inspires your thinking.

    • MB

      Mat Braddy

      almost 3 years ago #

      "If you were to launch a startup and aim to get first 1000 paying subscribers, what would your plan be? What if you had 8 weeks to achieve that?"

      Start small in one geographic area, be super clear who your target is (read about Minimum Viable Segments), and get out there and do it old school by talking to people and doing street work. Digital channels are great longer term but personally I've always struggled to kick off new ideas online. You'll also learn more through chatting in person with your clients...

      2 Share
    • MB

      Mat Braddy

      almost 3 years ago #

      "Has anyone trained you in digital marketing? Who would you say is your biggest influence?"

      Self taught I guess - came out of uni the year that Alta Vista first started having pictures on the web and been knocking about since.

  • GA

    Greg Aubert

    almost 3 years ago #

    Hey Mat,

    I'm part-way through reading 'Eating the Big Fish' after seeing your recommendation on another blog post.

    I'd like to know your thinking behind the challenge you're mounting with RPS.

    First off, do you think of yourself as targeting the chains like Toni & Guy, or the leading online aggregator - Treatwell?

    Now for the challenge itself. There are eight credos in the book (listed below). Probably not time for all of them :p , but it'd be great to hear the most important ones you're deploying for RPS's approach.

    I work as a Performance Marketer, so this challenger brand approach to growth is great new knowledge for someone like me. Cheers!

    - Intelligent naivety
    - Building a lighthouse identity
    - Take thought leadership of the category
    - Create symbols of re-evaluation
    - Sacrifice
    - Overcommitment
    - Using communications and publicity to enter social culture
    - Become idea-centred (not consumer-centred)

    (For anyone who's interested, there's a short explanation of them all in this slideshare: http://www.slideshare.net/eatbigfish/the-8-credos-of-challenger-brands)

    • MB

      Mat Braddy

      almost 3 years ago #

      Hi Greg - we are not challenging any perceived competitors because they are not the establish way people book haircuts. We are challenging telephone booking. There are lots of issues with that to tackle. On the salon side they have retention issues and problems with people no showing up + they miss out on out-of-hours booking requests because they are shut.

      On the client side there is no source, online or off, which helps them discover the best stylist in their area for say a Bob haircut. This is an issue - not all hair stylists are the same and have had the same training. You don't go to a Indian restaurant and order a pizza, but we do that all the time with haircuts.

      So we are challenging these problems and trying to take thought leadership in the category. As we get more investment we'll then bring a lot more of the credos into play. At JE we used all of those points to get growth and that turned out OK ;-)

  • AA

    Aldin A

    almost 3 years ago #

    Hey Mat,
    Two other questions about marketplaces.

    1) The act of buying is very transactional. How did you make it about more than just buying a product/service? How did you build engagement at just eat and rps?

    2) what problems have you faced scaling the two marketplaces and how have you overcome said issues?

    Thanks for doing this!

    • MB

      Mat Braddy

      almost 3 years ago #

      "The act of buying is very transactional. How did you make it about more than just buying a product/service? How did you build engagement at just eat and rps?"

      Brilliant question - I really believe in all businesses having a strong sense of purpose. It's clear to me that marketplaces can improve markets through transparency for clients and creating healthy virtuous competition between suppliers. How 'purpose' @ JE was to 'Empower customers to love the takeaway experience' - sounds dull but every word meant something for us that added meaning to our platform. Empower = share data and info, Customers = we knew whose side to be on in a dispute, Love = deliver experiences that exceed expectations etc etc.

      With Rock Pamper Scissors we really believe that hair Stylists are hidden talented stars hidden away as an after thought on other market places. We want highlight the great ones near you and help them grow their regular client base etc.

      2 Share
  • ES

    Edward Stephens

    almost 3 years ago #

    Hi Mat,
    Awesome to have you on. A couple of questions from me.

    1) What does a post 'uber for' economy look like to you? Do you think some of these models fundamentally haven't got the economics to last and do you think given the data and supply chain control these companies have that they'll be exceptionally hard to unseat?

    2) Do you think in an effort to avoid losing market share that a lot of these companies will have to expand beyond their core offerings to stay competitive and achieve growth?

    3) What have been your proudest moments for unlocking growth and most cost effective wins?

    4) What excites you about Londons tech startup scene. (I direct the brokerage at UK's largest Angel network) so I would love to hear your take!

    Look forward to hearing from your.

  • AA

    Anuj Adhiya

    almost 3 years ago #

    Hey Mat - Great to have you on!

    Not sure whether this is a cultural thing or just among the folks I know but everyone seems to have their own preferred hair salon - and maybe even a preferred hairdresser within that establishment.
    In other words - the person cutting the hair matters - unlike an uber where it's irrelevant who's driving the cab.
    From my personal experience - I will drive 10 minutes to a hairdresser I like vs even bothering to try the one right down the road.

    Do you find that to be the case within the UK as well?
    If yes, how do you get folks to overcome that barrier and get them to pick someone (who could perhaps be better than what they're used to) over what's tried and tested?

    • MB

      Mat Braddy

      almost 3 years ago #

      Yes thats very much the case - although it's not 'everyone' - about 50% of folks are loyal to a hair stylist. This creates a churn problem for the stylists. So we look at life like a dating service - use our app to get inspired by real haircuts done recently near you, then you can see the real stylist that did it and when they are next available.

      But the real problem we are focused on solving is how to make life better for stylists with their existing clients. No market moves online unless its suppliers want it to - you have to focus on their problems. For example did you realise that hairstylists get a lot of texts out-of-hours asking for appointments? Thats when us clients think about booking things but the salon phone is off = hassle. If we give tools to solve this to the stylists then they get less evening interruptions and more loyal clients.

      Our main mission is long term relationship building for the stylists, not new client growth. Groupon tried that with varying levels of success and certainly not a lot of love from suppliers - our main mission: Do such a helpful job that the stylists bring the market online. Marketing etc will then just be icing on a cake that is already growing. Thats the ultimate growth hack ;-)

  • BW

    Brand Winnie

    almost 3 years ago #

    Hi Mat!
    Can you talk about an experiment (win or loss) at RPS or earlier that provided you with some great insight or learning?

  • PD

    Pranav Divakar

    almost 3 years ago #

    Hi Mat,

    Thanks for doing the AMA here!

    What are the 3 things you did to acquire your first 1000 customers for ROCK PAMPER SCISSORS ?

    • MB

      Mat Braddy

      almost 3 years ago #

      Oh I wish I could post pictures. Hang on....

      https://twitter.com/matbraddy/status/750382116257554432

      THAT!

      Old school - we went out and worked the streets of Leeds. We leafleted, got involved in student nights, did protests besides the busy roads. Anything to get the buzz going. Old school :-)

      • PD

        Pranav Divakar

        almost 3 years ago #

        Now this is Old school & Inspirational ! Thanks for sharing !

        Just want to know how long did you guys do this for ? & how much time did it take to acquire 1000 customers?

  • PD

    Pranav Divakar

    almost 3 years ago #

    Another one.

    Does giving offers to customers help in the long run ? Do you have retention even without the offers?

    • MB

      Mat Braddy

      almost 3 years ago #

      Well if you are an online marketplace then it's important that you are not more expensive than calling directly - so you need to run the same offers the business is offering normally. Beyond that I don't personally like running our own offers. You create a false success reading - you'll get offer hounds using your service for that offer but not becoming very loyal. True retention and loyalty comes from focusing on solving a real problem better than the old way the user solved it. Ordering food on an app is a lot better than calling up someone in a busy restaurant with language barrier issues for example. Having live availability of your fave stylist is a lot better than getting into a game of text message tag to find a slot you can both do...

  • MB

    Mat Braddy

    almost 3 years ago #

    RIGHT - that went quick - hope you found it useful folks! I'll swing back later in the week if there are any more Qs. Seeeeeeee-ya.

  • SF

    Simon Fishman

    almost 3 years ago #

    Hi Mat!

    What did you learn from your Toptable days that you were able to apply to fuel your success later in your career?

    Cheers,

    Simon

    • MB

      Mat Braddy

      almost 3 years ago #

      Ha. Hi Simon. I think we both know the answer to that one - work with great people ;-)

  • DD

    Dan DiGangi

    almost 3 years ago #

    Hi Mat,

    Thanks for taking time to do this AMA!

    - Do you have any tips on targeting segments of small business owners and start ups? I feel like the hardest part of employing our growth techniques has been relevancy to the potential business owners. No alignment = little incentive to engage with us.

    - Also, what do you think would be the ground game for finding the above customers? After lack luster results with paid advertising (to push our first initial customers), I'm ready to take a new approach and start finding more prospects offline.

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