We tend to make assumptions because we tend to think that we can predict the future based on the past. When it comes to launching a new product though we are rarely right. We design and discuss, we come up with prototypes and iterate, we go agile, we speak to potential customers, we do surveys and we analyse and then analyse some more. But no matter how much market probing we do, we may always be a million miles away from what the market actually needs.
Take First Parallel for example. First Parallel is a mobile game authoring tool. We are now at alpha stage and we know that our timing is spot on! Integrated AR features, 360o media, location-based content, the lot. Everything that anybody in tech is talking about now and all that without the need for any high-end programming skills. So all we need is buzz but grabbing the attention of the design crowd is not the easiest of tasks. At the same time we want to control the early adoption so that we can better manage expectations. Remember we are still at alpha so we can’t start giving out demo licences yet.
The obvious choice was to go for a game design service approach. Let’s do everything in house and let people see the output of the tech only. That way we can control the quality of the games that are associated with our tool and at the same time get people interested about the platform that is brewing! So we spent days reshaping the go-to-market strategy, edit the website content to make it obvious that we can also deliver games, retarget the adverts to include brands rather than just design agencies, and the list goes on. Everything to get those first projects in and win some time (and possibly cash) until our beta release.
And then disaster strikes! In the shape of a website design award! First Parallel website got listed here http://www.csswinner.com/details/first-parallel/12002 and as a result also here https://muz.li, both very popular with people in the design industry. And just like that the First Parallel website went from 2 unique hits per day to 2,000! This alone resulted in over 60 inbound leads in a couple of days only. We were shocked (and unprepared) for this kind of interest and as if this wasn’t enough another revelation dawned on us. None of the inbound leads was asking for a mobile game built for them, everybody wanted to have a go at the platform. So much for the market probing, the customer oracles, the strategy gurus, the tarot card reading, everything went in the bin! Why? Because our website looks great!
- So what have we learned from this:
- Influencer marketing eats traditional digital campaigns for breakfast
- You may think you know your customers but they probably know you better
- Never strategize before you see the early signs of your marketing
- Spend you marketing budget wisely because sometimes you may not have to spend it at all
- Always build a great looking website!
See you out there!