By adaptive - April 27th, 2015
London’s Geckoboard has made a splash by liberating relevant numbers, charts, and data from your computer or device and getting them out for some real-world sharing. That is, projecting them onto a wall or wherever a company’s employees can see them to help visualize their goals and accomplishments.
The company has gone global, 60 percent of its customers are in the US, without spending a penny to land big-name corporate clients. So who better to talk about this expansion than Sofia Quintero, Geckoboard’s head of growth. She shared insights into the company’s rapid growth, word of mouth marketing, and literally projecting success in San Francisco with OMM’s Robert Gray.
OMM: In your own words, not marketing speak, how would you describe Geckoboard to someone you meet on the street?
Quintero: It’s a place where you can look at metrics and numbers that matter to your business. The way I describe it to people on the street is it’s like a dashboard on a car: you don’t need to know everything that’s happening under the hood, just that you have enough fuel, water, how fast are you going, and a few other pieces of info to drive a car. From our perspective it is the same for clients, to visualize a couple of data points, metrics that will help them get a direction to focus on. It’s a guiding star for businesses.
OMM: How does it work?
Quintero: Most of our customers use Geckoboard on a big screen on the wall. It helps people to be aligned.
They take sources, plug in to Geckoboard to see the numbers that matter and share with the team. If you know metrics, numbers matter to you.
For third parties, if you’re using Facebook advertising or something, you take the third-party tools and you plug them in to Geckoboard, and visualize the numbers you want to see in one place. Some companies will build integrations with other systems; we make it easy for them. You can upload spreadsheets and Google docs to visualize it. We help people add data.
OMM: Where is the biggest savings for users?
Quintero: There’s value across the board, efficiencies, no reports are needed--you can see all the numbers in one place. Another is alignment, once Geckoboard is in the organization, teams can really relate to what’s going on so they’re more inclined to be on the same page. Decision-making—instead of making decisions next week on what happened this week, you can make decisions in real time.
OMM: What’s the story behind the name?
Quintero (laughing): There’s no gecko. Paul Joyce, our CEO, was trying to find a name that was memorable that people would recognize. He thought a good name will help, but as long as people can remember it or it can help build a brand, it doesn’t matter.
OMM: How has growth been for Geckoboard, both internally and externally?
Quintero: When Geckoboard launched, there was great need for a business to have an easier way to access data in the cloud. In the last 18 months, we have doubled our customer base, and the number of employees has grown to 26 people from seven in the past three years.
OMM: Still, you have some pretty high-profile companies…including BBC, Pinterest, and Pearson. What are you doing for these guys?
Quintero: Most of the time, there's a strong need to improve communication between teams at fast-growing companies or fast-growing brands distributed around the world. We are trying to give them the tool to have multiple teams around the world to understand what's going on in an easy way to digest data.
For Pearson, they’ll have multiple dashboards in multiple offices around the world. For most large brands, they do have strong intent to be transparent but aren’t, to allow people to understand what’s important for the business, to allow decisions to be made as easy as possible.
OMM: How do you land these household name clients without having spent a single cent on marketing so far?
Quintero: It’s because there is somebody in the organization, a small team or leadership, that believes that Geckoboard is important. Thanks to word of mouth and growth, we now have those references.
Content marketing has been a strong force to create awareness and build our brand. Between content marketing and word of mouth, they have been drivers of our growth. These brands (our clients) are very motivated to stay at the top and create transformations inside of the brands.
Our focus has been on retention and understanding the value of data. Not that we don’t think marketing is important, but at this point we wanted to focus on what’s driving customers to use Geckoboard and that’s the value. The journey so far is to learn and understand customers. It hasn’t been about growing super fast but around building sustainable biz.
OMM: Plus you get free advertising as companies display Geckoboards on walls inside their office, right?
Quintero: It‘s better for the company for it to be on the wall, but eventually it’s a way for us to grow within an organization. Large organizations will start with Geckoboard in one department, they want to see all metrics in one place but once it’s on the wall, people from other departments will walk by and say, “I want one.”
In San Francisco somebody tweeted they were walking late in the evening and saw Geckoboards on the wall in offices. It is advertising for us, as soon as there’s a dashboard on the wall it’s the beginning of sharing that relationship with a company. It’s the way forward.
OMM: What are companies really divining from big data and how are they actually using Geckoboard in real time?
Quintero: Customers from all verticals, industries use it. We have coffee shops, tiny businesses using dashes and Geckoboard. In London, (coffee chain) Shoreditch Grind uses it to measure the speed in which they serve customers. They want to serve people in less than four minutes. It’s visible to customers, and they are trying to see the trend--have we delivered in helping them?
Grind tracks individual employees and customer satisfaction, monitoring social media; also inventory, how much coffee they need to order, supplies in general. It’s about customer service and supplies. A company managing logistics and transactions can have Geckoboard in the warehouse showing how many items delivered, what customers are ordering.
In media, magazines focus mostly on traffic and web analytics, shares, and engagement. Newsrooms are tracking different articles produced by different journalists, which ones are shared more, to decide what kind of content to produce next.
The U.S. Government is using a dash for logistics to be more efficient.
As long as you know the numbers that really matter and what you need to see constantly, you can use Geckoboard to maximize those.
For all the latest mobile trends, check out Mobile Commerce and Banking Summit 2015 on April 20-21 in London and The Open Mobile Summit 2015 on June 29-30 in London.