A product designer should identify a market opportunity and develop a solution for the identified problem. Many startup product designers fall into the trap of endless innovation without considering the required marketing efforts. For example, when they use an idea evaluation matrix, their idea screening criteria list does not include marketing efforts.
In my journey through life, I worked as a software engineer, a marketing strategist, and a product designer. So in this article, I share my approach to idea evaluation with you.
I consider four types of ideas based on the marketability and innovation. Before starting the design of a new product, I discuss this with key people such as my cofounder, client, or our investors.
I used the parasite as the symbol of the clone idea because this type of business idea lives on the innovation of others. In countries with closed markets, investors and media favor the startups cloning American/ European businesses. Because in closed markets, foreign companies can not compete usually. For example, in my country, Iran, the secret formula for creating an idea is:
Iranian+ a successful western company such as Iranian Youtube
I don't think cloning others' innovation is honorable, but investors believe investing in innovative ideas is similar to donating to charities in closed markets. They may pay a little to charities, but they do not invest in charities.
This approach demonstrates to future investors that there is a market for your new product, but also it means that you are competing with more prominent companies. So your new features should provide cutting-edge technology. An AI-driven word processing application that aims to compete with Microsoft Word can exemplify this type of idea.
For the marketing stage, you can use micro-targeting services. Furthermore, your company may need to allocate money for employing more traditional advertising methods to attract conservative customers.
Let me explain it with a real-world example. When canva.com launched, around 10 million graphic designers around the world were using Adobe Photoshop. It implies that there is absolutely a market for graphic design applications; we called it a known market, but entering the competition would be harsh for newcomers.
Canva.com and similar projects such as Over (It became GoDaddy Studio) targeted non-graphic designers. Smart Targeted Ideas can benefit from paid and organic media. They can use both traditional and non-traditional advertising techniques, and it would be easier to convince the potential investors in contrast to the previous type. And if you are curious about the total users of Canva.com, I should tell you that 30 million users create graphic works in this app every month. This is the magic of smart targeting,
Dramatic innovations disrupt the current norms and change human life forever. Technologists like us love to spending time on game-changing ideas.
And what will happen if an idea is technically implementable in a short period with minimum costs? Caution, watch for the innovation trap! Launching a disruptive idea is more than technology and knowledge; it requires that a thousand things work in the right direction.
As Kotler said :
The boldest level of marketing occurs when a company introduces a product or service that nobody asked for and often could not even conceive of. No one in the 1950s asked for a Sony Walkman, a Sony Betamax, or a Sony 31/2-inch disc. Yet Sony, under its brilliant founder and chairman, Akio Morita, introduced those and many other new products that since have become everyday staples. Morita summarized his marketing philosophy in these words: "I don't serve markets. I create them” (Phillip Kotler, Kotler on Marketing).
In other words, the marketing message becomes more complex when we want to present a totally innovative idea. For example, micro-targeting services such as App Store Search ads may work well for launching a new download manager, but they may not be effective in the same way for advertising a dating app for pets!
Pure innovation usually faces no direct competitions, and It has enormous growth potential. It would be interesting for editors to publish articles about these ideas for free. But let me tell you a bitter truth: many creative applications will die in the Appstore's blindside; there are many innovative products in the Producthunt that are not featured. Do not underestimate the marketing and PR efforts. Earning organic media is not a straightforward process, and it becomes more challenging when you do not have access to the ecosystem.
There will be a time when we must choose between what is easy and what is right. -Albus Dumbledore
Finally, before creating the idea evaluation matrix, you need to discuss the marketing aspects with the stakeholders. If you are an entrepreneur and you wish to launch your own startup, you should ask your self following questions:
Although I think that each organization should have its own idea screening criteria matrix, I suggest the following factors to be in any idea selection effort:
Access to earned media
Word of Mouth Potenitial
This process is not limited to initial idea selection. For each iteration, you should use idea evaluation again, because it allows your organization to align marketing effort with development activities