CabForward’s℠ Lean Dialog Practices
One of the most difficult challenges of bringing an idea to market is understanding what real value the potential buyer will see in the product. You can’t merely assume that you know what the value is, you have to find out whether the end user will consider it worthwhile. Market research is all about identifying your potential consumers, talking to them to discover what their needs are, and shaping your product to meet their needs.
Lean Customer Development
Craft a statement or two that establishes how your product is different than your competition. This statement is called a Unique Value Proposition, and is at the heart of branding a product. It establishes how your product can stand out from the competition. The key is understanding the problem you are trying to solve, and then designing your product to provide the features and benefits your customer needs.
Study the branding used by your competitors. What is the Unique Value Proposition behind their product or service? What features do they provide? Focus on the benefits they promote. Users value the benefits more than the features. If you can solve your customers’ problem with a minimal viable product that provides a real benefit, you can get to market much more quickly, start earning revenue, and then improve your product to reach a much broader market.
It’s also important at this point to begin identifying, building and testing a significant path, or channel, to your early adopters. You can use free resources like social media or a blog, for example, that don’t require any investment other than your time, or you may choose to invest in promotion and advertising to get the word out about your product. The correct channel, or channels, will depend on your application and its prospective early adopters.
Digital marketing is the use of sources like Internet tools and mobile phones, and can employ either pull or push messaging. Pull marketing requires the consumer to actively find the marketing content, often via web searches or following a link. Push marketing is where the marketer sends the content to the consumer as an email or through Websites, blogs and streaming media. In each of these users have to link to the website to view the content.
Both push and pull message channels can be used in a campaign. For example, an email campaign can include a banner ad or link to a content download. This approach enables a marketer to maximize both types of marketing, and is often best illustrated in Content Marketing which utilizes a combination of Site Content, Search Engine Optimization (SEO), and Social Media. This approach to introducing your product incrementally tests various features or benefits of your solution using feedback generating channels like blogs, white papers, and webinars. These let you gauge which features or benefits generate the most discussion and subsequent traffic for more information.
Keep in mind that this early stage minimum viable product is not ready for the mainstream. You will be targeting early adopters at this point, which requires clear and specific messaging about the problem you can solve. Then you will solicit feedback from those users to learn what features they find useful, and those they don’t. This information will help you improve your product and appeal to a larger consumer group.