Validating a product can be one of the most difficult challenges to overcome for new businesses. Today’s hypercompetitive markets are quick to punish those who make mistakes, which is why most businesses fail within the first two years of operation.
The issue with product validation stems from inexperienced entrepreneurs designing products that don’t have a clear audience in mind. Without a clear and substantial target market to sell to, these products are doomed before they launch.
Even the most confident and stalwart business moguls make mistakes. Even good product ideas can fail if they aren’t marketed well. The best way to avoid a failed product launch or similar disaster is to get an outside look at your decision-making process.
In this article, we will outline the various ways you can utilize real-time crowd-sourced feedback to promote better product outcomes for your business.
What is Market Validation?
Market validation is the process of identifying and developing an audience for your product. Without a substantial customer base to sustain your business in the short and long term, your business is sure to go under. That is why firms both large and small invest in market validation activities.
Market validation involves conducting research and outreach to identify any potential demographics that are interested in your product. Surveys, product demos, focus group testing – these are all functions of the market validation process.
While many large and mid-sized businesses employ in-house marketing teams to drive research campaigns and conduct analysis, many small and independent companies – that is, the majority of businesses out there – cannot afford this luxury. That is where crowd-sourced feedback platforms come into play.
Crowd-sourced feedback platforms can be utilized in a variety of different ways to bolster your marketing research output, such as through data collection, research analysis, customer outreach, consulting, and testing.
What is Crowd-Sourced Feedback?
Crowd-sourced feedback refers to insights and helpful critique that is generated from the public. It is the driving force of change. The encouragement and criticism offered up by real people who come from different backgrounds and offer up unique perspectives.
Today’s digital world enables businesses to get in touch with thousands of customers – both potential and actual – to get outside performance feedback on their ideas.
This feedback is often instant – delivered to the researcher as soon as a customer submits their answer. The flexible nature of these tests and surveys allows for the limitless exploration of different topics and concerns. Diverse swaths of customers can be called upon to answer questions about the latest in home decor, fashion, photography, art, marketing, e-commerce, digital design, and more.
An added benefit of using crowd-sourced feedback platforms is organization. Having all your feedback concentrated on one platform allows for clearer analysis and helps keep your research on the right track. Today’s crowd-sourced survey platforms are built with ease of use in mind – so users can comfortably manage their research profiles.
Tips for Designing a Product or Idea Validation Survey
- Develop a clear idea of your target audience
Clearly defining your target customer base is one of the most crucial elements of the market validation process. Identifying what common demographics your customers share (i.e., their income, lifestyle, or beliefs) will enable more effective feedback generation. Modern marketing involves targeting extremely small segments (known as “micro-targets”) with niche designs to facilitate effective messaging. The more specific and targeted your designs, the more likely they are to resonate with your customer base.
- Focus your testing
Ideally, each of your product idea validation tests will only target one specific topic or element of your concept. Not only does keeping your surveys focused help your audience members to better deliver feedback; it’s simply good research etiquette.
Research surveys that ask respondents to answer multiple questions with only one response are confusing and deliver poor-quality data. These are known as “double-barreled” questions.
Ex. “On a scale of one to ten, how would you rate our business on its cleanliness and atmosphere?”
Ex. “How important is it to you that our product is easy to use and affordable?”
To overcome the problem of double-barreled questions, simply break each question down into two distinct queries. This keeps your answers focused and is less likely to confuse your audiences.
- Continually test your ideas
Feedback generation is not a one-and-done activity. It is an ever-present part of the idea development process.
These platforms do not always produce the most predictable results. To promote the best outcomes for your business designs, you need to regularly invite feedback on your work. Depending on what audiences you interview on a particular day, you could receive different insights on your work that you may not have been given if you were to query a different set of audience members.
Crowd-sourced feedback tools like Helpfull enable business to tap into thousands of audience members across the United States. Through digital surveying and other forms of testing, customers share their thoughts and experiences with businesses in real-time.
The best practice for getting crowd-sourced feedback involves regularly inviting audiences to critique your work, not just before your product launches, but afterwards as well. Calibrating your performance according to the feedback you receive from your core audiences is one of the most effective tactics for maintaining a successful business in the long-term.