3 Rocking Hypotheses to Target Customers & Create Killer MVPs Minimum Viable Product

This post is part of a series, 12 Steps to Begin Developing and Executing a Basic Digital Marketing Strategy."

3 Rocking Hypotheses to Target Customers & Create Killer MVPs

Develop a set of hypotheses to test your assumptions before you build an extravagant solution. This will help you determine market fit for your product or service with reduced upfront cost. In this step, don't get extremely deep. This is a quick way to create hypotheses based on your assumption, ideas, & experience. 

You’ve made some initial observations. You’ve done a little research. You've defined the customer challenge. You think you know the answer... Now you can develop a few hypotheses. Your set of hypotheses can be different, but I’ve proposed 3 below to help get you started.

Hypothesis #1 – Define your target customer.

A. Customer Base –  If you don’t have any current customers, move to B in this section.  If you already have a customer base, deep dive into their data. Who are your best and worst customers, why? List their defining characteristics and interests. Write out customer personas … aka descriptions of those customers

B. What are the market demographics – What is their Age, Location, Income Level, Industry, Occupation, Ethnicity, etc.

C. What are the market psychographics – What are the defining Attitudes, Values, Beliefs, Interest, Hobbies, etc.

D. Who is the competition – Keep this simple. Who is their target customer? Who are they overlooking? Is the overlooked customer a viable target? (More in my next post)

E. Combine this information and write out a basic customer description. It’s OK to have several customer descriptions. We’ll go into that in a later post on Customer Personas.

Hypothesis # 2 – Define your customer wants, needs, desires, and nice to haves.

A. Write out what you believe are your customer needs. Be as specific as possible. What's that one thing they truly need? What's the one customer need, if solved, will get you a spot at the table? For example, when you prepare to go to work, you need something to cover you from the waist down.

B. Write out what you believe are your customer wants and desires. Again, as specific as possible. This is an add-on to their need. It’s essential, but not required. So continuing with the example above, I need something to cover me. I want cotton based material because I work in a hot environment. I desire to have brown as a color because I work outside in a dirty environment.

C. Write out your customer’s “nice to haves.” Building from the previous examples, I need something to cover me from the waist down. I want cotton. I desire a brown color because it helps to hide the dirt and dust. I’m a carpenter. It would be nice to have some extra pockets to hold nails, screws, and my pencil. It would be nice to have an extra strap that can hold my hammer. AH HA!

Hypothesis # 3 – Create a minimum viable product (MVP) that will match your customer's needs.

If you haven’t already figured it out, the example MVP might look something like the world famous “cargo pants.” Or would it?

Now, refer to the information gathered during "Defining Your Customer’s Challenge." Package it along side your HYP 1 + HYP 2, and develop a minimum viable product (HYP 3) to test at a later date. 

This is a modular approach. Don't test anything yet, that will come in Step 4 when we test through "Voice of Customer." With each step we'll continue to refine. Taking too much time is our enemy. But, we don't want to build a red polka dotted Ferrari when your customer will only pay for a blue Ford Focus.

Hopefully this post helps. Come back next week for a deeper discussion on Step 3 – Using Open Source Competitive Intelligence to Analyze the Competition. Sign up for my newsletter. Don’t forget to provide feedback, what do I need to clarify? What would you add or change? Also, don’t be scared! Share this post with your friends and networks. I look forward to hearing from you!

Stewart Swayze