You should validate your market before starting to build a product or service.
I’ve said it.
One of the biggest banality ever.
But it will surprise you how many companies dive headfirst into developing an MVP or a new market before validating the idea they have.
Whether you are a startup, a small business, or a corporation, validating a product idea should be of the utmost importance before disembarking in a target market.
The goal is different, of course, while startups want to build their MVP, SMEs and Large Enterprises want to see if their product would be a good fit for a new market in terms of features and price point.
The market validation process allows you to “hit the ground running” because:
- For Startups: You will have a product market fit for your MVP (minimum viable product).
- Potential clients will already know about your existence and that your solutions can solve their problems (I will explain how to do this few lines underneath 👇) so they will be ready to buy.
- You will save time and money on trial and error experiments, money that you can invest in Marketing and Brand Awareness.
So, how do you validate your business idea and, consequently, the market?
You have to talk to your target audience.
It’s as simple as this.
However, there are cemented practices in place that make this simple task look insurmountable such as:
- companies do not listen to their current clients.
- companies do not invest in creating accurate, and useful, client personas.
- companies follow the HiPPO “highest paid person’s opinion”.
Yes, I know you have heard so much talking about “client personas” by self-appointed marketing and UX gurus that you can’t stand it no more.
The problem is that the most common practices have it backwards. You don’t have to create 1,000 personas to satisfy every need of the market.
You need just a couple of user personas:
- the buyer of your service/product
- the user of your service/product
A lot of times these two personas differ. You have to entice one and convince to buy the other.
And what do you have to do to create personas? Talk to your target audience.
Now let’s look more in details in the steps you should follow.
- Define the assumptions you have towards the market.
What do you think the market needs? Who do you think you should talk to? In which position do they work? In which industry?
- Find out where the “watering holes” are and how many people aggregate there.
You need to know where your potential customers aggregate and how many they are. Be it a social media platform or a physical meetup. i.e. LinkedIn is a great platform for B2B companies.
- Divide your audience in two.
One will be your test group on which you will examine your assumptions (i.e. is X a problem for you?), the other will be a control group to whom you will ask general questions (i.e. What do you think the market needs?).
- Find the best way to reach out to them.
We have found LinkedIn as the best channel to reach out to our target audience and we have developed our streamlined method. Get in touch with me if you want us to help you.
- Ask why as many times in a row as possible.
You need to get to the root of the problem. Many “surface problems” may come from the same deep-rooted problem but have different manifestations. You have to be like a doctor, you have to cure the disease, not the symptoms.
- Ask them if they want to be contacted once the product is ready
- Compare the answers from the two different groups.
Did they give you the same answers? Are the problems the same? Are their problems the same of your current customers? Are the marketing channels the same? Etc.
- Build your MVP (if you are a startup) or make the fine tuning necessary to an existing product or Service.
Follow these steps, and you will skyrocket your future conversion rate!