MEng students test the market with Booxby, Lenme, and Springboard
Silicon Valley veteran and lecturer Martina Lauchengco shows MEng the importance of product-market fit.
For the past several years, Martina Lauchengco has taught the Berkeley Master of Engineering’s E270G: Marketing & Product Management spring boot camp course. In this course, students gain exposure to a wide variety of product and marketing approaches, technologies, and business models. This year’s class immersed themselves in the business mindset by examining the product market landscape for three real-life companies: Booxby, Lenme, and Springboard.
Over the course of ten days, students analyzed, brainstormed, diagnosed, and offered recommendations of each business’s product marketing efforts to date. In their collective research, the class directly interviewed, surveyed, and tested 2,268 people virtually! Due to the remote nature of learning, the added geographic diversity of this year’s sections greatly enhanced learning and testing opportunities. The two sections engaged in market tests as illustrated by the sample below:
- Pricing games where participants paired a dollar value with things like company names
- Showing videos or doing usability tests with competitors after a survey to probe the ‘say’ vs. ‘do’ gap
- Interviewing small business owners, then changing positioning for the same test done in different countries
- Running polls on Reddit and in Facebook forums
- Visiting a Payday loan location in person to see who had real need for fast cash
At the conclusion of the course, Martina shared these collective insights and more with the three companies to consider in their respective strategies.
One of the teams assigned to Booxby, a Bay Area-based software company building artificial intelligence to aid the monetization, discovery, and protection of written content, gained deep value in their market research. In addition to in-store observations, they conducted dynamically adapted market tests based on various geographic locations, proving how marketing is so contextual. “Our whole team gained a new appreciation for market tests and just how valuable they can be in crafting and testing market hypotheses,” added Nick Callegari, MEng ’21 (ME/Product Design).
Martina Lauchengco is a Partner at Costanoa Ventures, SVPG partner, and a UC Berkeley lecturer. She has spent over 25 years as a marketing & product executive at Microsoft, Netscape, and Loudcloud. Connect with Martina.