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How to Avoid Product Failure using Market Validation

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This presentation is a talk by ProductPlan co-founder Jim Semick given to a class at the UCSB Technology Management Program. He describes the process of Market Validation for new products - the idea that you can test whether customers will buy your product before you build it.

In the talk he describes how he learned the process of market validation after being a part of as startup that spent $10M developing and launching a product that no one wanted. Through that failure, he learned how to first validate product concepts before building and scaling - He has used the process successfully for many products and services, including GoToMeeting, GoToMyPC, AppFolio, and ProductPlan (http://www.productplan.com)

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How to Avoid Product Failure using Market Validation

  1. 1. Validate or Fail: How to Avoid Product Failure using Market Validation Jim Semick, Co-founder of ProductPlan Presented at UC Santa Barbara Technology Management Program Market Research for Business (TMP 144) Fall 2014
  2. 2. Most new product initiatives fail or become the walking dead.
  3. 3. Why do product teams and entrepreneurs miss the target so often?
  4. 4. Most fire first, then aim. Product focused on problems not worth solving Product lacked a compelling value proposition Business model wasn’t viable
  5. 5. Market validation reduces the risk of missing the target. Discover whether customers will buy before you build and launch.
  6. 6. The $10 Million mistake that Market Validation could have prevented
  7. 7. Great idea. $10M spent building it. No buyers.
  8. 8. Major Pivot
  9. 9. GoToMyPC We validated our market before we built the product
  10. 10. Our validation for GoToMyPC Focused on customer problem, not product Found problems worth solving Learned the MVP we needed to build Identified early customers who would buy Nailed business before scaling
  12. 12. First: adopt the Zen of Market Validation My assumptions may be wrong. My opinion is irrelevant – I learn the facts from customers.
  13. 13. Write a testable hypothesis for the market segment, problem, product, and business model Think like a scientist.
  14. 14. Conduct 10+ discovery interviews to uncover problems 10
  15. 15. Ask open-ended questions For example…
  16. 16. “Why?” “How are you solving that problem today?” “What is frustrating about your current solution?” “Where is solving this problem on your priority list?” “If you solve that issue, how would things be better?”
  17. 17. 20 Conduct 20+ Product Validation interviews
  18. 18. The Product Validation Pitch 1. Tell them their problem 2. Your solution to the problem 3. High level features / prototypes 4. What your product won’t do 5. Proposed pricing 6. Gauge willingness to buy
  19. 19. Iterate your hypothesis as you learn
  20. 20. Track your interviews Are you improving your success rate?
  21. 21. Summarize What You are Hearing Summarize What You are Hearing
  22. 22. Additional Validation Landing pages to test acquisition Surveys Pricing tests Prototype reviews Secondary market research Competitive research
  23. 23. Thank You! www.productplan.com Try it free for 30 days