Category Archives: Marketing

Startups need to understand their core product value

The Lean Startup teaches us to roll out MVPs (Minimum Viable Products) as soon as possible and to iterate based on customer/user feedback until we find something that people want. That is a great methodology, however how often do startup founders really understand exactly why users are using their product.  Founders don’t spend time identifying what their users are gaining from their product and what their core product value is. The answers to these questions are far too often skimmed over and missed in exchange for optimization of users, revenue, k-factors or even new product/feature creations. Understanding exactly where you fit in the market, what value you are offering to users and how they are responding to it are important metrics to be measuring.

It is often very difficult to measure true product or market fit. How do you definitively identify why users are using your product as opposed to a competitor’s? How do you find out what users are gaining by using/purchasing your product? The key here is to truly understand your users by implementing surveys, customer cohort analysis and even speaking to users directly.

The first thing you need to determine is who you should be talking to. You want to find out who your most engaged customers are and why they are so engaged. To do this you can ask them this question:

How would you feel if you could no longer use “this product”?

  1. Very disappointed
  2. Somewhat disappointed
  3. Not disappointed
  4. N/A – I no longer use it

For this purpose you are interested in the people who select “Very disappointed”. This means for these users, your company and product is doing something right and they are gaining real value from what you are offering.

Once you have run this survey and identified who your most engaged users are, now it’s time to identify why they are engaged and what is engaging them. Segment your users to only the users who selected “Very disappointed” and get them to answer this question:

What is the primary benefit you received from “this product”?

You can start with an open ended question where users enter in their answer. As soon as you see some trends turn them into multiple choice answers and change the format of the question so your data will be a lot more meaningful. This will provide you with your “must have experience” and “aha moment”.

Once you have identified what people love about your product you can then go into why that benefit is so important to them. Ask your users this question:

Why did you select that benefit as your favourite? 

Leave this question open ended and the answers you’ll get back will provide you with huge insight into what you should be optimizing. It will tell you what type of users you should be optimizing for and what product changes you should be making to ensure you improve and maintain the “aha moment”. 

How To Market Successfully at Expos

I have exhibited and been to many trade-shows and expos. I have studied how they work, the behaviour of both attendees and exhibitors and have come up with some tips on how to successfully promote your business by exhibiting at trade shows. Firstly the attendees are coming to trade shows and expos to be sold so it is ok to wear your salesman hat in this situation. Go out and really sell your product or service as these people are hear because they “want” to hear about it. Secondly the other exhibitors could be a potential customers or clients to market to. Spend some time speaking with them, find out about what they do and tell them what you do.

I have come up with 5 tips to successfully promote your business at expos:

1) Run a competition in exchange for business cards
This is a great way to attract people to your stand. I exhibited at a recent technology expo in Sydney and we gave away an iPad. We had a huge 27″ monitor with a static image fed from my laptop which read “Leave us your business card to win an iPad”, accompanied by an image of an iPad. This acted well in capturing people’s attention which then gave us time to speak to them. This obviously also give us leads to follow up on which is very important to any business.

2) Have staff who know your product/service well and engage with the attendees with enthusiasm and confidence
There is nothing worst than having prospective customer or client at your stand talking to someone who can’t answer their questions with confidence putting your business in good light. You need to hire enthusiastic staff who are willing to engage with people walking past your stand. Get them to hand out flyers and speak to as many people as they can explaining what you do and how you can help them. I feel that this is more important than having fancy furniture and lights in your stand. You and your staff need to be manning your stand and always “hustling”. Make the most out of your time at the expo and engage with as many people as you can.

3) Speak at the event and drive people back to your booth
When negotiating with the expo organizers try to always get yourself a speaking opportunity. This is a great way to reach a large crowd to tell them about your business and how you can help them. Try to hype up your presentation and get as many people as you can listening to you. We exhibited at a recent event and gave away free promotional T-shirts to anyone listening to our CEO speak. This attracted a sea of people which in turn attracted even more. Once you have your huge crowd be sure to direct them to your stand for more information and get your staff to engage with as many people as they can. The attendees listening to your presentation can be seen as more qualified leads as something in your presentation must have interested them. You staff should be there engaging with them and trying to direct people to your stand.

4) Offer an incentive for attendees to take action immediately
Depending on your business it may be a good idea to offer an incentive for attendees to take action right there on the spot. This will help maximize the ROI from exhibiting as you are giving the attendees a limited time frame to be able to take advantage of a special offer. For example if you run a web design company you can have an offer where anyone who signs up for a website at the expo will receive an hour of SEO consultation for free, valued at $125. Offers like theses encourages people to take action and you as exhibitors will also be seen to be giving more away.

5) Follow up with emails and phone calls
It is very important to follow up with all the leads you gained from the event. This will remind them of who you are and what you do and give them another chance to engage in your services or purchase your products. You can follow your leads up via a carefully crafted email sequence perhaps followed by phone calls. The follow up strategy will change depending on your resources and type of business however it is very important to to have one.

These are a few tips to help you to maximize your level of success at expos and trade shows. A lot of the time they can be very expensive and can be a waste of time and money if you don’t go in with a plan of what you want to achieve and how you are going to achieve it.

I hope you have found these points useful. Would love to hear your thoughts and perhaps experiences  with expos and trade shows.