Making a good idea great

After some first hand experience, including a 54 hour startup weekend, I’m now clearer than ever about what it takes to make a good idea great. I suspect you all know the answer. It’s in marketing textbooks, talked about all the time, and should be part of what we do, but so often don’t. I’m talking about the need to validate your idea with your target market.

As marketers we should be delivering a product or service that responds to what the customer wants. Too often the idea comes from ‘the top’, is what ‘group think’ suggests, or is the ‘flavour of the day’.

Where’s the customer in any of this? More often than not the customer is represented by …. (fill in your own words based on your experience). Too often it’s too easy to rush the product/service, offer, or just as often only hear what we want to hear. How many times have you seen research interpreted to suit the outcome desired by the client/product champion?

The mobile space is a case in point. There seems to be lots of companies feeling the need to develop a mobile app. Smartphones are a growing market for sure. But you would have to be sure that your target customer is part of the 18% of mobile users whose phone is a smartphone. Even if so, is the app you’d like to produce something they want, and are willing to pay for, or even if free, use?

Research indicates that most popular mobile destinations are news and information, weather reports, social networking, search and maps. Does your idea fit into one of these categories? If not then consumer testing is even more critical.

Confirming the risk of developing an app is this article that might help with your broader online strategy: Some very quotable comments from the article and discussion include: “Building your own app is not the only way to reach your consumers”, “No one wants to download an ad”, “Build ‘em and they will come”.

So back to testing against your target market. There’s some off the shelf research that’s a good starting point e.g. the latest TNS Digital Life Study, but your customers are your customers. So validate your idea with them. If you have a broad range of customers then target your research into the segment/s that matter most.

Go 2 Market principle: what will make a good idea great is customer demand. So who better to ask about meeting that demand than the customer!

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