📄 Business Fundamentals, Pt2 - Research before marketing

So you have this particular skill, or offer, you know it really works for people and it solves their problems, and you know there’s a need for it.

Logically, the next step then is to get out there, show it to people, kick up some dust, and offer that sweet thing of yours.

Because hey: "It’s good, and they need it!”, right?

Wrong.

Going back to step 1 in this Business Fundamentals series: you need to do things in the right order.

And stepping out to market your products or services needs to happen after you validate your hypothesis on what people will buy, with your market. Never before.

I’ve been guilty of getting this wrong so very many times, it’s not even funny.

Like when the lockdowns happened, and I decided to create a complete system for anyone to pivot from offline marketing to online.

Because hey, I saw a need, it was real, and it was dire:

All kinds of speakers and consultants suddenly had their real-world meetings and gigs cancelled, and they needed a way to keep landing their sales. And I had some pretty powerful ideas for making that happen.

Except I didn’t validate my premise, or USP, or avatar, but instead I went straight into building a solution.

Not a very good idea, because it was only after months of developing and building and marketing, that I realised:

What I built is far too complex for people to buy. Basically, everyone who saw it told me it was awesome...

And, almost everyone suggested that I chop it into smaller trainings, because it was such a large and complex system.

(Effectively, the size and scale of it meant that a buyer wouldn't only buy a solution, but they'd also be 'buying a problem' - in this case, adoption-cost.

What I should have done first, is talk to people, ask what they’re up against, ask what they need and what they’d want to pay for.

In other words: I should have done market research first, and only start building after that.

If I’d done that, I’d have built something far simpler and far easier for a buyer to implement.

This isn’t to say that what you’re trying to get out there and sell isn’t right or ready or sellable.

It means that unless you measure your theory about what people want to pay for, against what the market tells you they’ll buy, you’re guessing.

It’s inefficient.

You might be marketing to the wrong audience.

Or using the wrong messaging for the right audience.

Or you might be talking about solving problem X, which people may want solved, but they’ll resonate a lot more with secondary solution Y - which you happen to not mention. Oops.

Or, you'll get what I got: Crickets, just because I didn't research properly.

Anyway:

Never build or market a solution, before first getting market feedback on the questions:

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