If you are a startup founder of an early-stage startup, you are probably wondering:
“How do I validate my startup idea?”
You have to validate the idea that a new minimum viable product you are about to build, has a chance of surviving.
By surviving, we mean that your company will find real people that will be willing to use that product or service in exchange for money.
This is a problem that established businesses and (even) large corporations have to deal with before deciding on launching a new product/service.
The validation process that we’ve just described is called market validation—which simply is:
“Market validation is the process of determining whether your product is of interest to a given target market.”
It is of paramount importance to validate a product concept or product idea, in order to determine if it worths spending time and resources to build it.
In this article, I am going to help you understand:
- What is market validation,
- Why market validation is important,
- What is validation in marketing,
- How to validate a product concept.
Let’s get started.
Most businesses believe that the validation process comes after the launch of a new minimum viable product or new service.
But, the truth is that by the time you’ve created a minimum viable product that nobody is willing to pay money for, you’ve already set yourself up for a tough time.
According to CB Insights, 42% of startup businesses fail because there was no market need for their products and services.
I know that there is a question that pops-up in your mind:
How can I validate my product concept?
Well, this is a question many founders have and surprisingly enough, they all make the same mistake:
They build a product, without validating their product concept first.
Wouldn’t it be great if you could know that there is no market need earlier and thus wouldn’t have wasted your time and resources?
Validation marketing is the element that can make the difference between a successful product launch and a somewhat disappointing one.
If you want to know how to validate a startup idea, you need to understand that there is a gap between what businesses want to create and what potential customers want to buy.
This gap can be closed with validation marketing.
You may wonder how.
It’s simple: by testing an idea before investing time and resources on it, we can save ourselves from wasting time and energy that we could use somewhere else.
Validation marketing can help us test an idea, long before we start building something new.
Why build a new minimum viable product when you can showcase one?
This philosophy can be applied to not only minimum viable products but (as we mentioned earlier) in almost every business idea.
Validation Marketing: Definition
Validation marketing is the validation process of a new startup idea, product concept or minimum viable product that can lead to trustworthy results on whether or not we should move forward with this idea or product.
As I mentioned earlier, finding real people to test a new product or service is one thing—having the same people become paying customers is another.
Validation marketing helps us understand not only if our idea is solid, but also helps us know what the best ways and channels to market to our target audience after we’ve built our product are.
To iron out the wrinkles, we should understand that validation marketing is a validation process that plays a significant role in the success of a product or startup after it’s initial launch.
Knowing your target market or target audience and having conducted thorough market research is, of course, important—it is not enough though.
The way from idea initiation to product launch, and then to product-market fit is long, and validation marketing is the element that can shorten the distance.
The example that follows will help you to better understand how to validate a startup idea.
Validation Marketing Example
Now, let’s wrap things up with a quick example:
Let’s assume that the startup called x has conducted market research and wants to launch a minimum viable product called y to cover a specific market need.
But, according to the product team, launching such a product would take 6-8 months.
Now, if you’ve ever worked with a startup or even founded one, you’d know that 6-8 months is a long time.
This startup could use validation marketing to put it’s minimum viable product into a test, before deciding to move forward with such a demanding project.
The question that arises here is:
How can the startup called x achieve that—how can it find out if there are potential customers who will be willing to pay for the product y?
Let’s break down the validation process for this particular example:
- Come up with a name for its minimum viable product and define the critical branding elements,
- Design a Click-through landing page that will allow visitors to gain early access to the minimum viable product,
- Design a Thank You page where visitors will land once they click-through the landing page,
- Design a drip Email campaign that will inform all visitors that the product is not yet ready and that they will be notified before the launch,
- Send traffic to our landing page using Facebook Ads, LinkedIn, Quora Ads, Google Ads or any other paid acquisition channel,
- Monitor results and analyze the findings.
Based on the campaign results, startup x can decide on whether spending the next 6-8 months to build a product y is a good idea.
This procedure is a standard tactic in the marketing world, and it helps us understand if (at the end of the day) our idea is stable or not.
It can also help us better understand our target audience, find the best target market and decide on the traction channels and mediums that could work for promoting our minimum viable product.
Validation Marketing Applications
As I hope it is evident by now, validation marketing is beyond market research—validation marketing is what we need to ensure that the product we are going to build or the startup we are about to launch has a chance to survive.
Let’s see some of validation marketing’s basic applications. Validation marketing can help you:
- Find the right target market for your product concept or idea,
- Find the right target audience for your product or service,
- Find the right messaging for your product or service,
- Find the appropriate branding for your startup idea,
- Find the best traction channels to market your product once it is officially launched,
- Find the right title for your product or startup,
- Find the best features to include in your minimum viable product,
- Find what the best creatives for your educational material (think the cover for an Ebook) are,
- Or, even find the right time to reach your audience.
Most startup founders and initiators of ideas need someone (or something) to show them the ropes—
They need someone to help them understand how to validate their startup idea.
Have no doubt about it: validation marketing is what can point you in the right direction.
And, as you can you can understand, validation marketing has many applications, from helping you pick up the right cover for your startup’s next Ebook, to helping you decide if an idea for a new feature for your SaaS is validated or not.
At this point you may be wondering:
Is validating a startup idea or product concept an absolute validation indicator?
Absolute not; accurate yes.
Startup businesses and large organizations are trying to innovate through new products and radical services, and spend tons of money on marketing and advertising—but what is missing from the equation is the word “process.”
Is this the right way to validate their product concepts?
The reason why most minimum viable products remain minimum viable products is that most of these companies (call it a startup or established business) don’t know that finding someone who is willing to use your product for free doesn’t necessarily make them a customer.
Validation Marketing is not about getting some early traction—
It is about asking the right questions, to the right audience and get the answers that will allow you to test your product and business ideas long before you decide to put effort and resources into building something new.
Validation marketing is the future of marketing, and you don’t want to get left behind.
Now I turn it over to you.
Have you ever tried validation marketing to test your startup idea or product concept?
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