How Centresource and AthleteBiz are changing sports marketing
Our engagement with AthleteBiz is a textbook example of product development, as well as the custom web development that can bring business ideas to life. At the beginning of our engagement, AthleteBiz wasn’t a company or website. It was just an idea - and a big one, at that. Here’s how we turned this idea into a reality.
The AthleteBiz platform enables professional track and field athletes to market themselves in innovative ways. Athletes can use the site to share updates, offer inspiration and build their personal brands. In turn, fans can use AthleteBiz to connect with athletes in a social setting, follow their journeys and hire them for engagements ranging from sponsored content to coaching and speaking opportunities.
Jack Wickens, a member of the US Track and Field Foundation’s (USATF) Board of Directors, saw a growing number of USATF athletes who were struggling financially. He began to develop an idea for a website that would allow athletes to augment their income, while also being able to train full-time and continue to pursue their Olympic dreams. How could USATF turn their ideas into a successful product that addressed the needs of their customers?
Ideation & Strategy
USATF knew what their product needed to accomplish, but didn’t know what it would look like or how it would work. In our strategic kickoff, we helped our client transform their ideas into an actionable blueprint to create a minimum viable product (or, “MVP”). This MVP would allow AthleteBiz to focus on the “essentials” of their product. They now could launch their site quicker, while also building a stronger foundation from which they could grow their product over time.
Before we thought about the product’s aesthetics, we first needed to think about its guts. To start, we considered the one common element that every successful product puts first: its customers. What are the user stories we need to satisfy? How will visitors experience the site? What does the path from arrival to sign-up look like? For AthleteBiz, we also needed to think about the athletes, since they would need to be able to manage their own, individual pages.
Once we understood what the product needed to do, we could begin to think about what it would look like. We started with basic wireframes and, through quick iterations and client feedback, quickly moved on to more robust mock-ups of the larger platform. The design phase was where we able to finish the conceptualization of AthleteBiz and (literally) give color to USATF’s idea.
Product specs and a pretty design are all just words on a page until you code it and bring it to life. Our development team started by turning the visual design into a comprehensive site map. With a complete list of “everything” that needed built, we used Ruby on Rails to offer a custom development solution tailored to AthleteBiz’s specific needs.
To ensure the successful launch of the AthleteBiz platform, we did more than just deploy code. Our pre-launch checklist included: vigorous testing of all site features and functionality; QA checks across browsers; and, applying a robust analytics framework so we could measure what AthleteBiz’s users were (and were not) enjoying on the new site.
Measure & Iterate
The initial site build was just “Phase 1” of the AthleteBiz product development lifecycle. As this MVP gathers baseline data and customer feedback, AthleteBiz can use these insights to identify opportunities to improve and potentially expand their offerings. Thus, by starting small in the short-term, AthleteBiz can make better product decisions and increase their likelihood of long-term success.
AthleteBiz was able to move start-to-finish from ideation to launching their product in just 8 months. In the first 90 days after launch, the site is exceeding pace to pre-launch benchmarks for athlete sign-ups.