ON THE WRONG TRACK

The three most common mistakes in product marketing

Number 1. Not listening to clients

Which is the best way to market a product – follow the client's wishes, or blow your own trumpet? Given that your client might not know software development inside out, he might not be able to make the right decisions. On the other hand, your client might know something you don't. Go figure.

The most common cause of death for products is the absence of a market. But does it mean that there is no market whatsoever? It sounds a bit strange, but no, it doesn’t. Remember, has anybody wanted a new iPhone before 2007? Exactly. Let's put it like this - there should be a fine line between your way and the client's vision. For all we know, creating a new market from scratch is not a walk in a park, but that's not impossible either. Well, if you have an Apple-sized budget on your hands, of course. If not, relying solely on market statistics is hardly an option.

Have you heard of a fancy term for justifying your product’s existence, called problem fit? It can be determined by monitoring both your competitors and the market. Still, any effort to solve a solution fit issue will eventually make you host at least a couple of Skype calls.

The clearer your questions will be - the better. Every answer you get will help to define the problems your product is supposed to solve. Plus, you're going to have a different point of view at your disposal, which is something that can't possibly harm, can it?

Try asking a bunch of personal questions at first, something like:

How old is your client?

What industry does he/she work in, and for how long?

What are his/her company’s goals and KPI/OKR?

Then move on with a jobs-to-be-filled approach, asking the following:

What is the purpose of the product?

Why does your client consider the product important?

How does your client see the product marketed?

Number 2. Ignoring that less is more

Suppose your product is passing the A-stage. Your business is doing just fine. As a successful businessman, you already know how to not run out of steam. You should grow, doubling, tripling and quadrupling your rates over time. How to achieve it ASAP? By attracting more clients, of course!

Your aim is at that sweet spot, right at the center of the shooting target, where the heart of your ideal client lies. Naturally, you want a top-earning client in a top segment with an acquisition cost you can afford. Suddenly, the next thing you know is nobody needs your product. Facing a bankruptcy filing, you ask yourself why did it happen this way?

You thought - the bigger the client, the sweeter the payday. As a result, you forgot to analyze your target audience according to the market segmentation. By limiting the expectations a notch, you could have found the right people for your product. Lesson number one kids - sometimes less is more.

Number 3. Not scaling-up

Say, you were asked to predict the success of the two different products. Which one would you choose - a poorly marketed good one, or a properly marketed, but mediocre? If you picked the latter one, you were right. Because no matter how good the product is, what’s the use if no one has heard of it?

Regardless of the marketing approach, a bad app is still a bad app. Hey, at least everybody knows about it. Spending additional money on promotion is painful. Especially when at the start of the campaign it took only 500 $, now, when the product is on the market, this figure suddenly becomes ten times larger. At this stage, the product has already stopped its growth, so throwing another 5000 $ in bites.

Marketing a new product is a tricky thing with lots of things that can go wrong. For instance, poorly held email campaigns can easily become a spanner in the works. Also, not explaining the features in the product's description clear enough is another common mistake. That's a theme for another article, I guess.

The most probable cause of the demise of your product, regardless of the money put in its promotion, is simple - someone had let things slide. The right way to set up a marketing campaign is to test first, then optimize and gather the crops.

The testing stage doesn’t pay off. Sometimes, it takes more that one test runs to get a glance at how to market your product. It’s not about how much you spend, but where you aim.

And it takes time to find the right aim.