What are some go-to-market research ideas before building new software?

Question

What are some of your go-to-market testing/research/analysis ideas before building new software?

I’ve always struggled with getting past the “gate keepers” when trying to call businesses and perform market research. Even if you tell these people that you are NOT here to sell them anything, but just looking to take a quick poll, they don’t have a reason to help you and most will let you know exactly that. I’m curious 1) what are some good ways that startups get around this and 2) what are other great options for surveying a market about their current industry solutions?

Answer

Without knowing the use case you’re trying to solve for and the persona you’re targeting, my suggestion would be that you need to look at better channels and options.

  1. Reach out the people directly via social media. You’ll get many people who ignore you and a few who will be happy to give you a few moments. This could be LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, etc.
  2. Join communities and groups where these people reside online. Start getting involved in those communities and start building relationships (slower ramp). These are forums, FB groups, Slack groups, etc.
  3. If you have a little budget, spend $500 to drive your target customer to the survey
  4. Create a blog post (or a series of posts) around the topic you’re trying to solve for (ex: email sucks). Share the problem, why it’s top of mind for you, how it affects others, etc. Ask others to share their thoughts via a survey at the end. Share that content in those key channels and communities (from #2)
  5. Reach into your network. Is anyone in your target audience? Do they know anyone who’s in your target audience? Can they connect you?

I could probably list many other options but it really does depend on who you’re targeting. Every audience is different and connecting with them can vary.

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