Case study: Outbid

OVERVIEW

Outbid was a live event auction site. As a start-up, traffic and user growth were the key objectives to focus on. Uncovering user demand and converting that into usage was the responsibility of my team.

PROJECT SCOPE

In any start-up, the scope of the role exceeds the definition. Though I was functionally part of the marketing team, my designs shaped the UI of the site as nearly every aspect of the site was marketing driven to increase usage and time-spent.

My role

I joined Outbid as part of the marketing team. My role as the visual designer entailed design of marketing patterns used in site takeovers, landing pages, auction design, newsletters, and advertising.

the work

THE DESIGN OF MARKETING

Framing up a brand entailed evaluating every touch point Outbid had with customers, then delivering a consistent marketing position.

STYLE GUIDE

I authored the Outbid brand style guidelines, covering our color palettes, typography, imagery, brand voice, and logo usage.

NEWSLETTER DESIGN

The Outbid newsletters were a vital part of the marketing strategy, and enjoyed a 15%+ open rate. I set forth a design pattern, particularly through type treatment, that primed each week’s featured auctions.

CHARITY AUCTIONS

One of the most successful campaigns was the targeting of non-profit charity events. In true startup fashion, not only did I develop the campaigns themselves, I created the landing pages for each event.

These were some of the more inspired projects during my time at Outbid, which wasn’t hard to instill, as many of the organizations were addressing notable special needs.

the results

FLAME OUT

As did many a startup, Outbid shuttered its doors after a year of feeble revenue. While marketing managed to drive hundreds of thousands of users, revenue remained elusive.

FINAL THOUGHTS

“Nothing kills a bad product like good marketing.”

I dedicated myself to Outbid as only other early-stage employees would understand. It was not my first startup, but it it was the first where I was part of a cohesive, talented team that continually delivered the traffic and users as outlined in our marketing goals.

Outbid is where I came to learn about the importance of product management and diligent research. It is where I began to formulate critical thinking about management and the impact of experience over enthusiasm.

The design methods I learned while there centered around “meeting users where they were at,” which means that empathy and honesty are required of marketers. As a designer, it stands as where I learned that situational design always wins over conventional design thinking.