So, you have an idea. What next?
Pretotypes, MVP, Product-Market Fit, and Customer Journeys.
I have an idea every time I have beer, which is pretty much every day. I am sure you have your moments of the day when you are blinded by this idea that grips you. Then as the beer settles, you start thinking about the resources you will need, the risk you will have to take, the money (yours or friends) you may sink and the idea slides. The good news is that thanks to some geniuses you can actually test your idea cheaply and quickly.
Let’s start with something I had written a few months ago:
Pretotype is a term invented by Alberto Savoia, author of the book 'The Right It: why so many ideas fail and how to make sure yours succeed'. The name is a combination of the words 'pretend' and 'prototype'.
It's a way to quickly and cheaply collect data. Your own DAta (YODA). I wrote about the importance of that in Launching a new idea? First Get YODA
So, for every hypothesis you want to test, you build a pretotype, decide go-no go parameters and go to your target audience with it and collect YODA.
Read about how to fail quickly and cheaply.
The more familiar term in this game is MVP or minimum viable product. This is a step ahead of a pretotype, as this is actually going into the market with the bare essentials. It’s obvious that all products are launched with the consumer in mind. But you will be surprised by how many ideas are launched with a feature-first approach (let’s add that because I can build it in an hour). This article implores you to build a MVP for your customers, not for you.
Okay, we have reached a stage when we have proved to ourselves and our early investors that our idea has legs, we have launched our MVP. What is the most important thing after that. The much talked about Product-Market Fit (PMF). This is the holy grail. But how do you know you have PMF? Lenny Rachitsky educates us on how to know when we have it. PMF i.e.
So, we got our initial positive signals of PMF, all is good, more funds have poured in. We now have to grow. Oh. Okay. You brainstorm with the team and you have a list of a dozen ideas to try out. You are about to experiment with them all. Because you can. No harm in trying all out with some allocated money on each and pick the one or two or three that work the best. Makes sense.
Actually, there are very few ways to grow. And you can learn from the experience of X number of startups.
In our experience, founders are often surprised to learn that there are very few routes to scalable new customer acquisition. For consumer companies, there are only three growth “lanes” that comprise the majority of new customer acquisition:
1. Performance marketing (e.g. Facebook and Google ads)
2. Virality (e.g. word-of-mouth, referrals, invites)
3. Content (e.g. SEO, YouTube)
There are two additional lanes (sales and partnerships) which we won't cover in this post because they are rarely effective in consumer businesses. And there are other tactics to boost customer acquisition (e.g PR, brand marketing), but the lanes outlined above are the only reliable paths for long-term and sustainable business growth.
Read all about it in this long and engrossing article.
Now that you have picked your lane, you would like to think about a few terms you would be hearing all the time and wondering why marketing folks can’t talk in simple English. Terms like personas, funnels and customer journey maps. Beneath the hyperbole is the simple truth that hasn’t changed for decades in marketing-customers have to be made aware of your offering, they consider various brands and when they are ready to buy into the category, they make a choice and purchase (hopefully your brand).
But as we live in this world where to communicate with others you need to speak in their language, you may as well learn the jargon. Read this eloquently titled piece: Customer Journey Mapping: A How-To Guide to be fully armed.
That’s it for this edition. Have a lovely weekend and if you are a football fan, enjoy the Euro.
Till next time.