Recently, I helped a start-up with a go-to-market strategy for their product B-Tonic. When I joined the team, they had been working on the product for a few months, but now it was time to market and grow the platform. This is what I learned from the process.
1. Many small experiments over a few large campaigns
As a marketeer, you want to reach the right audience with the right message. Using the principle of the build-measure-learn loop you will decrease the time of finding the ‘sweet spot’. But before you start looking for your audience, you need to determine which channels are most successful to reach them. Therefore, the first step is to find the right channel as fast as possible, at the lowest costs. Small experiments on multiple channels will help you find the one with the most traction and where your main audience is located. The next step is to withdraw your investments of the lagging channels and upscale your investments in the right channel. When thinking about (waterfall) marketing plans, this is often neglected.
The experiments that failed might seem like a loss of your marketing budget, but that isn’t the case. You bought valuable information about the channels that don’t work for your product, at a relatively low price.
When I launched the first online campaigns, it didn’t give me the traction and information that I hoped for. It wasn’t for multiple rounds of tweaking and refining my campaigns until I had significant insights that brought me closer to my target group. And I’m still discovering.
2. Problem-solving is a team effort
In a traditional team structure, an escalation finds its way to the top of the hierarchy, following that the solution is brought down for the team to execute. While in the agile way of working, every team member is responsible for his own domain and has his own challenges to deal with.
Therefore, agile problem-solving requires accountability from each team member to flag possible problems and obtain the needed resources from within the team. Resulting in collaborative thinking to find innovative solutions to the issue.
During our project, we had a daily standup in which each member briefly shared their individual progress, what they plan to do today, and complications they are experiencing. The standups helped in recognizing the complications in time, and with the joint forces of the team, a solution was found before an escalation of the issue.
3. Launch the product fast and learn on the way
In traditional product building, you make sure the whole customer journey is thought of. This means that every interaction with the customer is equally giving thought and energy to. Unless the product is finished from A to Z, it won’t be launched.
From what I experienced when joining the agile team was that only the first stage of the customer journey had been thoroughly defined. Next steps were not yet on the agenda, nor a fully developed retention strategy was created. Why? Because we wanted to develop our product based on customers feedback rather than our predictions.
Surely, there were some ideas for the next steps, but we had the strategy of involving our first users in the product development. With frequent user tests and continuously collecting feedback (via email, telephone and face-to-face interviews), we shaped our product according to actual customer needs instead of assumptions. This strategy requires flexibility of the team and the resources to quickly implement changes to the product. It is an ongoing process to continuously develop your product with validated insights from your customers.
Based on my experience I learned that agile development is effective to keep pace with your fast-moving customers. Frequent and accurate customer insights are needed to continuously iterate a product or service in the right direction. However, the team needs to have the resources and flexibility to effectively react on those customer demands.