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New products are introduced in the market almost every day, but not much is heard of the majority after the initial buzz surrounding their launch. It’s too early to classify a product as “good” when no one is buying it yet. Marketing should be a part of the product prototyping and development stage and not an afterthought.
In today’s digital society, relying solely on traditional marketing tactics isn’t sufficient. Martech comes to the fore in hitting the right notes. It’s critical to examine how developers, designers, and marketers can come together to reduce the number of products that fail in the market.
Creating the prototype for your product helps you to visualize its look and functions through interactive product models using inexpensive and disposable materials such as 3D or prototyping on paper (POP) to represent live versions of products. And in the case of web apps, prototyping can also be done through wireframing.
At this stage, the design team and the development team can brainstorm, and make unanimous conclusions before the product is developed. Let’s discuss how you can leverage marketing technology in product prototyping.
1. Collecting and understanding critical consumer data
According to a report by McKinsey Global Institute, around 25 to 45 percent of new products will fail. Products of manufacturers who sit in the comfort of their offices, and draw conclusions based on their assumptions of market trends make a chunk of that percentage. For a product to be successful, it has to meet consumer needs. One sure way to ascertain that is the infusion of consumer data gathered via marketing technology in AI-led prototyping. There is a high level of accuracy as human errors are largely reduced.
Below, we’ll explore different tools you can use to gather data that’ll help developers understand consumer expectations of a product even before releasing a copy to the market.
Tools, surveys, and data for superior prototyping
Prototyping plays a significant role in how well your customers would embrace the final product. But the efforts developers put in the prototype stage can be better optimized with current and reliable data.
A data-driven strategy can only be achieved through marketing technology efforts that may include the following strategies:
Surveys: Use surveys to find out the percentage of people that cannot do without your product. According to Sean Ellis, founder of Growth Hacker, if it’s less than 40%, then it hasn’t achieved product/market fit. He recommends engaging users that have had an experience with the product at least twice within two weeks prior to poling.
Below are some popular go-to tools effective at conducting successful surveys:
- Google Forms
- Zoho Survey
Beta-testing: Use beta-testing to acquire data on what features your users would prefer to have in the final product. During the prototype stage, your marketing team should analyze and compare data from beta-testing with data from other polls such as surveys and market research.
For beta-testing, I found the following tools highly-reliable:
Market research: It’s essential to understand the market completely before shipping. There’s an opportunity for marketing to inform the direction of product development based on findings from market research.
There are also some interesting martech tools that will help with your marketing research, such as:
- Social Mention
- Google Keyword Planner
- Think With Google
2. Understanding and guaranteeing product/market fit
Without product/market fit, the efforts of the development team become wasted. In this situation, the marketing team can come to the rescue by providing the design and development team with data that’ll help determine product/market fit. With data, you’ll avoid wasting precious time and resources on a product that won’t last long in the market.
Specifically, from what industry-leading experts propose as how to measure/understand when a product has achieved product/market fit, I’ll be drawing from three industry-leaders on the subject:
- Consumers are actively seeking it: Dan Olsen, author of ‘The Lean Product Playbook‘ defines product/market fit as the stage where a startup has built a product that consumers actively seek out.
- Your users are disappointed if it goes away: On using surveys to query your users, in his Startup Pyramid article, Sean Ellis proposes that if at least 40% of surveyed users are not “very disappointed” if the product were to disappear, then you don’t have product/market fit.
- Your users become your evangelists: Defining it as the holy grail of the startup life, Ayodeji Onibalusi of Effective Inbound Marketing says, “you know that you have a product/market fit when your product is on the mind of your users at minimum, once every week, and they are happily telling others about it as well.”
How to use popular martech to determine product/market fit
For a startup to achieve product/market fit, they must rely on metrics drawn from tangible data. What your marketing team is able to extract from users should be the guide here.
Gone are the days when ascertaining market fit required several months of costly field research. Martech simplifies the hitherto tedious process of reaching consumers face-to-face to obtain their buying behavior data. In a few hours, you can reach hundreds of targets leveraging the following digital tools:
Google Analytics: Google Analytics helps marketers to track usage and look deeper into the behavioral characteristics of segment users, and would be ideal once you’ve acquired enough customers post-launch. Essentially, it serves to handle measurement. This is ideal for users that have at least a large quantity of hits to their app/website. In G.A use the following data segments to measure the marketing/fit of your products:
- Bounce rate: Use data from this segment to find out how many of your users leave your website immediately they land on it – thus the bounce-rate. Your bounce rate should be low to keep your customer conversion-rate optimal. Data gathered here should help to improve your UX and CTA’s.
- Time on Site: How much time customers spend on your users spend on your app and website determines how much value they find on it. The longer they stay in your app or on your website, the higher the likelihood of your product reaching product/market fit. If your time on site is low, look at means to improve the quality of the content and UX.
- Returning visitors: Use this segment of Google Analytics to find out how many of your customers actually return to your website. A high number of returning visitors tells you that your products have become part of your customers’ daily lives. If your returning customers are low, you and your product team may have to go back to the drawing table and address areas your product is lacking in satisfying customers. This can include adding more features.
- Pages per visit: Also, the number of pages each user visits when they land on your website can tell how interested they are in your product. If users think your product or offer is valuable to them, they want to learn more about your company and find out other products that you offer. Through the pages per visit section, located in the “Behavior Segment” in GA, use this data to discover if your content needs improvement. Some options would be to add more depth to the content and improve the graphics to keep users interested in visiting more pages.
CRM (Hubspot, Intercom.io): Use Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software to communicate with users easily, emailing users within segments to get their feedback on features and use their responses to inform changes. Ideally, this should be done with select users – early adopters, those that opted for the beta version of your product. You want to do this before the product finally launches.
Mixpanel: Use Mixpanel to get deeper metrics on how users interact and engage with your product and what areas get the most attention.
Case Study: How Superhuman used martech and experience to reach product/market fit
Superhuman is an email experience startup that aims to take out the complexity of managing multiple users on a single email account. TechCrunch writer, Lucas Matney called it as a “luxury app icon to have on your phone,” and this is because it’s an invite-only app.
Superhuman used a combination of marketing technology and experience to reach product/market fit. When Rahul Vohra was hitting a brick wall with Superhuman after two years in production, the expectation would have been to just ship and let the market determine the fate of Superhuman, but he wasn’t going to do that.
In the words of Superhuman’s CEO Vohra, “Inspired by Sean Ellis’ approach, we set out to measure what the responses would be for Superhuman. We identified users who recently experienced the core of our product, following Ellis’ recommendation to focus on those who used the product at least twice in the last two weeks.”The survey eventually polled between 100 and 200 users and asked “How would you feel if you could no longer use Superhuman?” allowing participants to choose from “a) very disappointed, b) somewhat disappointed, and c) not disappointed.
When the first responses were analyzed, just 22% opted for the “very disappointed”, and it became clear that Superhuman did not reach product/market fit. But what Vohra discovered changed the fate of Superhuman.
The importance of MVPP and martech in managing expectations
To see success with marketing technology, having a minimum viable product prototype (MVPP) is important. Before you write any line of code, make sure you have a prototype that can support the measurement and analytics tools shared earlier. It’s easier to give your customers what they want if you put a prototype in their hands and start testing what they’ll eventually love to have. Instead of trying to create a desire in users, product development can rely on data to meet consumers’ expectations.
Use product prototyping and mockup tools that support data integration
The market is awash with high-quality prototyping tools.
I’d recommend the following tools to help with your prototyping because of their wide scope of integration with other tools:
Invision a design studio suite, with its app-prototyping at its core. It is designed to be collaborative in nature. With teams given the ability to work on prototype mockups and deploy changes from the app while working together.
- Design Studio
- Team collaboration ability
- App prototyping
Invision comes with several pricing plans, which are: Free at free; Starter at $15/month; Professional at $25/month and Team. $99/month and Enterprise.
- Allows direct access to raw codes
- Prototyping ability
UXPin offers developers a suite of design and prototyping studio. There are three pricing plans with UXPin which are – Starter at $9.0/month, Advanced at $29.0/month and Systems at $49.0/month.
While not a prototyping tool directly, Prototypr connects you with an array of tools you need to conduct your product prototyping and designs. This tool is offered free.
- Connects you to several prototyping tools
Going from design to development is seamless when the right tools and data are used to capture user engagement and experience with product prototyping. Feedback from data will help developers to refine the product and achieve product/market fit.
While creativity is intuitive, it can be standardized with data. Modern-day marketing thrives on data. Harnessing the acquired data with marketing technology gives positive outcomes as opposed to working with your feelings.
Marie Miguel has been a contributor and a writing and research expert for nearly a decade. You can also find some of her articles on Yahoo.com, TheMighty, GoodMenProject, and many more.