This week, we’re going to be doing a 3-part series on validating your product ideas. We’re going to cover why you always want to do this, how you can start building a target audience from scratch and give you some insight on how to make the most of the customer research journey.

Part 1: Why you need to validate your app and product ideas

When you look at some of the biggest and best product introductions in recent history, one theme is clear — businesses who take the time to validate their ideas before building are the ones who succeed. Whether you’re developing a new app or building something more tangible, it’s crucial that you rely on more than your own assumptions and preferences.

One really great example of this is the iPad. We can all remember a time, not long ago, when these devices simply didn’t exist. How on earth did Apple predict this insatiable tablet market and position themselves as the solution? It’s called market research and validation. Interestingly enough, there was another technology rolled out at the exact same time that totally flopped. Do you remember the netbook from 2010? Me either.

If you want to accurately validate your new product or app idea, and uncover what you need to know in order to truly predict whether you’re going to be a success or not, there are 3 pillars you need to focus on throughout the validation process:

  • Are you solving the right problem?
  • Are you solving the right problem at the right time?
  • Is your solution the right solution?

Below, we’re going to dig into each of these sections to explore how you can go about answering the questions because that’s where the real challenge presents itself.

THE VALIDATION PROCESS

Every organization is going to do things a little differently, but there are 3 core beginning steps to tackle when working through the validation process.

Step 1: Can you understand and articulate the problem?

You need to begin with a crystal clear understanding and description of what the real problem you wish to solve is. If you can’t create an elevator pitch that makes sense to all age groups, it’s likely you don’t actually understand the problem yourself.

Step 2: Identify your target market

Once you’re 100% sure on what problem you solve, you need to find and define the market of people experiencing this particular problem. In this early stage, you want to be as specific and narrow as possible with your buyer persona. You can expand on this and eventually have multiple personas as you grow, but start with one as your foundation.

Step 3: Get feedback from this market

Once you’ve clarified your problem and identified your target market, it’s time to conduct market research. You need to speak to these people to find out if your solution meets their needs. When your product or app doesn’t already exist in the marketplace, this can seem impossible, but I assure you that it’s not.

Part 2 of this series, released later this week, will explore what steps you need to take to build out that target audience when you’re starting from scratch. Getting feedback from your target market is the only sure way to create the product they truly want, so that’s where we’ll be focusing for the remainder of this series.