Using Market Validation to Prevent Ready, Fire, Aim

Entrepreneurship is one of the most exciting and challenging jobs one can imagine. It’s not for the faint of heart. But applying a human-centered approach and mindset can significantly increase the likelihood of success.

That’s why  Kevin Solchenberger turned to Territory for help.  He had a dream of a new product that would make project estimation simpler, faster, and more reliable – at the end of the day, corporate sponsors really want to know which projects to bet on. Solchenberger believed he could develop a product/company which that could make the project estimation process better by:

  • Increasing Transparency
  • Accountability
  • Collaboration

The Ask

Collaborate to develop the new company’s value proposition, design the product feature wireframes, and test product value and pricing assumptions with a target audience. The overarching goal from all these activities was to bring a set of possible buyers together to pressure test the product concepts.

The Solution

Through a series of iterative discovery and design sessions, we worked with Solchenberger to hone the value proposition and draft the plan for testing ideas and assumptions.  The process began with getting clarity on the buyer personas, determined to be CTOs, PMO leads, CIOs, and lead architects who were key influencers. Together we aligned on an understanding of what the target audience was seeing and experiencing in the world, and the key needs to be addressed.

With a picture of the persona, we then mapped possible objections, barriers to a sale, and the “aha” moment of solution truth that would swing the buyer’s decision. Through ideation and iteration, we refined and polished the product’s value proposition and the set of key features to be discussed. With that knowledge, we were ready to embark on the overall goal to gain marketing validation for the concept.

We then reached out to a set of prospective buyers in the area and offered an evening of great food and wine in exchange for hearing our client’s new product idea. The evening was held at a well-known restaurant in Atlanta, and attendees were treated to a sumptuous meal and opportunity to network with their peers.  We presented the product concept and value proposition to attendees, then the group was given the chance to voice their opinion on the overall value proposition, as well as the key feature set. And of equal importance was determining if they would buy the product and what business model resonated for them.

The result for Solchenberger was to garner direct feedback on all aspects of the product, gaining actual market feedback that could be used to refine the business plan and move into prototyping. And critical to advancing product development and fundraising was the data he could offer investors on the validation of his product-market fit and assumptions.

Territory and Solchenberger have advanced to the next phase and are busily building a working prototype. Stay tuned for an initial product launch!

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