Love Your Customers - Not Your New Start-up Concept

Chuck Rutledge : Now Market It
Chuck Rutledge
Sr. Mktg & Biz.Development Executive who excels at identifying, and capitalizing, on opportunities that drive revenues & growth. Introduced new products and services, and opened up new markets for Fortune 500 companies & start ups.

Love Your Customers - Not Your New Start-up Concept

One of the challenges facing start-ups is that they are typically based on a product/service concept hatched from the imaginations of the founders. The vision is pursued, but often with little or no customer feedback before being introduced to the market.  There are certainly some products and services that have instant appeal and grow in a viral manner.  But too often, the vision falls short of addressing critical customer needs.  In fact, it likely has significant deficiencies – like flaws in the product’s value proposition to the customer, its competitive differentiation, or in the company’s ability to deliver a “whole product.” 

The desire to overlook product deficiencies and become emotionally connected to an original concept simply impedes the development of a successful solution that will meet market needs.  It is important to get a new product or service in users' hands, listen carefully to their feedback and adapt!  Many start-ups who follow this approach end up doing something entirely different than was originally planned, yet are very successful.

A business ideally is continually seeking feed...

A business ideally is continually seeking feedback from customers: are the products helpful? Are their needs being met? Constructive criticism helps marketers adjust offerings to meet customer needs. 

However, companies that stick to a new concept in the face of a lack of customer interest find themselves continually try to modify other aspects of the marketing mix to make it work.  The lack of willingness to give up on the idea as originally conceived often delays adoption of a new product or service, and can ultimately result in complete failure.

Companies often try different approaches to market the same inadequate solution.  Perhaps they attempt to identify a different customer or target market, they modify the website, change the pricing, or modify promotional channels.  The unwillingness to be adaptable and maintain objectivity about the value proposition stands in the way of market acceptance.

The inability and unwillingness of a company to listen carefully to prospective customers results in spending valuable time and money modifying their messaging, promotion, pricing etc., in an attempt to find the right message to the right customer that will make the bad concept work.   Marketing by trial and error will waste time, resources and ultimately will not generate results.

Time to market is critical – utilize primary market research and customer feedback to understand the acceptance of your value proposition.  Then test it with customers.  But then, BE READY TO RESPOND! The earlier this feedback in incorporated into the concept, value prop and marketing efforts, , the more efficient your marketing effort and the greater the likelihood of success.

What are your thoughts?

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