In the hope of achieving product virality, most products and brands take the spam route. Desperate for audience attention, they tell stories no one really cares about.
Revolut never resorted to that. From the very start, they knew that when someone uses their product can often be the same time where they share how it made them feel.
In the first part of our series, we uncovered how Revolut relieves big customer pains through experiences that create measurable gains. Then we delved into their culture, highlighting how their “hard-and-fast” way of working drove massive growth, but also caused challenges along the way.
This 3rd part of our series unveils how the most successful neobank out there has embedded the sharing of their experience into their product, how they instilled virality at the heart of their brand and how they’ve come to master product promotion. Included is the special BottomUp Skills podcast episode fully covering Revolut’s massive virality.
#1 Working in small, autonomous growth teams
Before we dive into Revolut’s growth marketing techniques, let’s take a quick look at the structure of their growth teams. Very much like Skunkworks or Agile, Revolut works in small groups with a bold goal.
Such teams are autonomous and cross-functional. For instance, a country manager leads a team with only 1 marketer, 1 business developer, 1 communications manager, and 1 community manager.
If you look at the skills across such team, you will discover that altogether they cover:
- Brand and story
- Products they have to offer and what’s going to grow
- Key messages
- Community engagement and activation
All these skills combined result in an organically-grown community of ambassadors and advocates, who naturally spread the word about their Revolut experience because they love to share a story that creates value and feels personal at the same time.
#2 The power of a pre-early adopter user segment
In only 5 years, Revolut generated 10M users, and did not rely on paid media to achieve that. What they managed to do is to create a snowball effect.
They started with the “innovators”, which were in fact the “pre-early” adopters and represented 2.5% of their total customer base. In spite of being just a small segment, “innovators” have a large influence on other people. And that’s the snowball effect you need to increase the number of more mainstream customers.
Revolut used “innovators” as the vibrant segment, an archetype to focus on as a prime customer – which is a common design thinking practice. By first focusing 100% on the innovators – even though they would eventually make only 3% of the customer base, Revolut naturally attracted the early adopters and, eventually, the majority of mainstream users at incredible speed.
This approach is especially life-saving when time, money, and resources are limited – as it often happens at the start of any new product.
#3 Baking marketing into the product
By placing marketing in the product, there’s zero need for paid advertising.
“Innovators” are usually people who love traveling and having fun. Revolut intersects beautifully with their behaviors:
- When you travel, you often make currency transfers;
- When you go out for lunch or dinner with friends, you often split the bill.
Revolut handles these things beautifully by making it quick, easy, and natural. This means that each time you make a currency transfer or split the bill with a friend or teammate, it’s so effortless that you feel great about it. It becomes your way of doing these things, so you naturally share this experience and turn into an advocate.
#4 Creating scarcity
Revolut has not been shy of using classic marketing-launch tactics such as the waitlist. The waitlist always stirs your interest and makes you curious. It’s been done before – Dropbox did it too, making lots of new companies sitting on the waiting list, enabling them to manage system usage. Without too many concurrent users, Dropbox was able to manage server load more easily, but also create a buzz around their service.
Revolut’s waitlist simply created scarcity. In psychology, the scarcity principle says that opportunities seem more valuable when they are not easy to get. When a dress you like (but not necessarily love) shows the “only 1 item left” message, suddenly you feel you need to get that dress. When you want to book a hotel room for your vacation, and they say “only 2 suites left”, “3 people made a booking today” and “4 more people are checking this suite”, you feel the urge to get it first. The harder it is to get something, the more you want it.
By making their product exclusive to the people on the list, Revolut sent the message that the product is not easily accessible. By limiting growth to a specific category, Revolut built up demand, and that undoubtedly helped enrich their customer base.
Next week we come back with the last episode of our series revealing what made Revolut’s business model so profitable. Or sign up to BottomUp Skills to gain free access to the end-to-end case study on the Revolut innovation, which inspired our innovation series.
About BottomUp Skills
The BottomUp Skills platform is created and supported by the QUALITANCE global thought-leadership team for innovators, makers, and creatives who want to sharpen their skills in innovation, design thinking, and technology. Usually, such courses are exclusive to our clients such as Ford Motor Company, News Corp Australia, Breville, and many others around the world. Now, we have opened the paid subscription courses and made them available to everyone for life.