This January, we’re celebrating the 4 year anniversary of the founding of the company that is now Simply Measured.
We spent our first year as a company under the business name “Untitled Startup”; working out of coffee shops, throwing half-baked products on the web, and learning many of the lessons that helped us get to where we are today. We’ve spent the past 3 as Simply Measured; the company that you know today.
Reflecting on the journey, I decided to go back to the initial pitch deck that we put together 3 years ago, as a 3 person team, for this piece of vaporware that we called Simply Measured. This was a pitch deck that never even saw the light of day, but instead serves as an awesome artifact of the initial unpolished problems and solutions that we saw in the social marketing space.
I didn’t dig through my hard drive searching for these old presentations out of nostalgia, but rather to evaluate how true reality has been to our initial vision; that initial problem and solution that launched us on our way.
Things of course change, especially in the social media space, and still being 100% accurate in our initial assessment of the problem space is probably a bad thing. For starters, there was no Instagram to even mention in that presentation, a channel that is now amongst the most important to our customers. Social advertising was a banner advertisement on a profile page, and a hashtag was for Tweetchats instead of integrated media campaigns. The world was a very different place.
Regardless of all the developments that we definitely couldn’t see coming, I certainly hoped that we’d learned enough along the way over the past 3 years that our understanding and assessment of the market and our solutions would be much stronger and clearer.
So let’s take a look, using some embarrassingly bad visuals from that actual deck…
In the first revision of our presentation, we asserted that “Getting Data is Scary & Difficult”.
Status today? Still true. Potentially even more difficult than it was back then, as the data sources and channels that a marketer needs to measure only continue to grow. Export to CSV is still in many ways the salvation for digital marketers (well, those who haven’t yet discovered Simply Measured). Even today, companies are still investing in multi-month dashboard projects that result in the actual users saying, “This isn’t good enough. Just give me an export to CSV button and an Excel license”. I actually left my previous company after experiencing this first hand; so many lost months on something that didn’t actually satisfy our customers’ core needs.
Back to the deck, our solution to this problem was “Easy, Flexible Data/Reporting”. The details of our initial vision were definitely much more data heavy than they are today. It wasn’t until much later that we were really able to attack the almost impossibly hard platform problem of doing more than just allowing our customers to skip CSV hell and yet still work in the tools that they know. Today’s Simply Measured is about getting you from data to deliverable, providing flexibility in reporting, and making you an all around measurement superhero. We’ve definitely stayed true to our initial solution, but it’s also evolved, and become about allowing you to turn your social data into a story that is simple, beautiful and accessible for everyone in your organization.
Moving beyond flexibility and access to data, the other problem that we identified was that “Marketers Need to Answer Hard Questions with Data”. We definitely didn’t realize back then just how true that statement was going to be in the future. We certainly didn’t visualize it in an overly serious way…
Over the past 3 years, reporting on marketing campaigns and efforts with data has evolved from a nice to have to an absolute need to have. These days a digital marketer without reliable measurement and reporting, a marketer who doesn’t rely on data, isn’t a marketer.
We’ve obviously changed quite a bit to solve much more than we aimed to back then, and much of that is because our customers have grown with us, in most cases leading the way. The needs that our initial customers had when we showed them our initial UI mockups have grown and evolved.
Today we’re focused on giving you the most complete view of your social media activities available, taking you from the raw data all the way to insightful dashboards and stunning presentation (all while letting you continue to kick butt and take names with tools like Excel and PowerPoint).
So what’s next?
You tell us. We’ve built our roadmap based on your needs as marketers and business users. As we continue to build out the social and content marketing reports that fuel your brand strategy, your feedback is imperative. Just as it was when we were Untitled Startup, our vision is to build things that make your life easier.
Cheers to another 3 great years.