Thoughts, ideas, and lessons learned from real-world customer engagements and interactions...
Last week I had the opportunity to once again present the “Accelerating To First Customers” session at the Lead To Win program. As always, this fantastic program had some of the greatest new companies in Ottawa participating.
One of the key things that I cover in this session is how to get crystal clear on the true target market for your product or service. This is one of the core fundamentals of any business no matter their size, maturity, etc. It does not matter if you are a start-up who is going through the Customer Development and Lean Startup processes or if you are an existing company that has some great sales results already on the scoreboard. If you do not get this step right, then the list of potential problems ranging from spending precious marketing dollars on marketing to the wrong audience all the way through to even developing a solution that is not truly needed by the market can present itself. The ripple effect of this core mistake can be felt right across the whole company and the problems will present itself in many different forms.
I have done previous posts on this topic so I will not repeat any of these. However, there are two sources of additional information that I have come across and I wanted to share regarding this topic. First, if you are a follower of the Lean Startup and Customer Development methodologies then you may have heard of Giff Constable who is the CEO of a new upcoming start-up company called Aprizi. If you are not familiar with him then be sure to check out his blog. He just did a recent post entitled Targeting Matters! which I think is worth the read.
Second, during the recent presentation that I did with the Lead To Win program, I had them conduct an exercise. The exercise was simply to write to themselves a thank-you letter from one of their hypothetical customers. I first learned about this item from the Lean Startup Wiki and a post Kent Beck did on his blog Three Rivers Institute. This was a great tool to not only help to get people approaching their solution from the customers perspective (the only one that matters), but also to begin identifying the true target market for their solution. In this letter they were asked to write it from the perspective of their “ideal” customer, and were to focus on the benefits (not features) of the solution that they provided to the customer. I found that this was a great tool.
So, are you 100% crystal clear on your target market? If you are not sure, then now is the time to get clear. One way to find out is to write yourself a hypothetical thank you letter from one of your customers.