Market first and product last

This is a guest post by Rex Chan, your fellow developer and our long-term customer, in which he explains the reasons of his failure to launch a new product and gives some good advice on how not to make the same mistakes.

Hi all! Following was my failure story…

In year 2009, I had completed development my product "Outlook zip helper" (Outlook addon with handling zip/unzip attachment capacities) and tried to promote it. And I asked myself several questions, how and where to promote it. I came up answer was "web marketing". Then I studied books and web content around "web marketing" topics. I believed If I do it well for SEO of my website, landing page and video marketing. Then my product must well known and earn money. I tried to launch my website and promoted it via SEO. I hoped and pray customer will come and buy it. I think you know the result, "No Customer". I failed to launch my product.

In year 2010 to 2012, I googled around case studies, books about "How to launch software product". I found a book "Start small and stay small". The author (Rob Walling) told me the truth about right path to launch product "Marketing first, Product last". I realized that I made serious mistakes, "I missed out validated product idea before development", I wasted 3 years to develop no one wants product.

In year 2014, I attended "Bootsart" course for learning "LEAN Startup" to further solidify my launch software process.

In year 2015 to now, I restart my journey and using new approach to launch product.
Following are my steps:

  1. Find target customer segment (My target is ETSY's seller).
  2. Study target customer pain and needs (I study ETSY's forum and jot down their pain).
  3. Competitor analysis (Study existing application ETSY's seller using and what application target for).
  4. Develop several hypotheses to validate product problem/product idea fit.
  5. Proceed experiments to see whether hypotheses right or not.
  6. If right go further (develop product).
  7. If wrong, find root cause why, i.e. wrong customer segment, wrong customer pain or wrong traction channel to reach customer.
  8. Final action, proceed or give up.

I am sharing this with you as it reminds us that don't make my same mistake again. We re-think product launch cycle, i.e. "Marketing first, Product Last", make sure validated product idea before any development and niche market for your product.

Thanks for your reading
Rex Chan

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