Note: Reproduced from LightCat's blog

Goal

In this experiment we tried to validate whether focussing on very-early stage founders as a target market would be the best idea or not. The choice affects product features, copy around key benefits, and growth channels.

Context

LightCat is clear that it is going to serve startups that need to find product market fit. However, that market needed to be segmented further, specifically to focus on first 500 paying customers. The possible segments are: early stage founders with just an idea, seed stage startups with some early traction, seed stage startups with good traction but looking to improve growth metrics, startups with series A and more.

Method

In this experiment, we asked the subscribers whether they are

A: building a new product, or  B. are trying to grow an existing product.

Additionally, we asked them if they were founders, marketers, product/ux people, or none

Observations

  • Number of subscribers polled - 43
  • People who said they want to build new product: 16 (group A)
  • People who said they wanted to grow their existing product: 25 (group B)
  • (2 of the respondents said they were just checking us out)

Segments by role: founders: 26, marketers: 8, product/ux: 1, none of these: 8

Segments by goals:

  • Group A (building a new product) 16 respondents:  founders: 7, marketers: 2, product/ux: 1, none: 6
  • Group B (grow existing product) - 25 respondents: founders: 17, marketers: 6, product/ux: 0, none: 2

Inference

We concluded:

  1. Most of our subscribers are founders looking to grow an existing product
  2. People looking to build a new product, are highly likely to be founders (duh..)
  3. Marketers are more likely to be concerned with growing existing products (double duhh..)
  4. Interesting insight: Disproportionately higher number of marketers were interested in finding product market fit. (the tagline was "Understand your customers" and the page talked about getting to product market fit)

Insights

Our original assumption was that we should focus on early stage founders without customers. This led to a product architecture which promised to get the polls filled out for them, as they did not have customers to poll.

However, we discovered that most of our subscribers are NOT very early stage founders, or if even if they are, they are more bothered about growing their product than building the right one. In hindsight, this is not surprising - most founders have an idea of what they want to build, and also know how to get some basic traction. It's the pressure of real, inexpensive and preferably steep growth that they worry about.

Secondly, and a bit surprisingly, marketers bother quite a bit about product-market fit. They obviously are looking for the best ways to sell, which would mean knowing the real pain points.

Bazingaaa....

The two propositions are highly correlated.

Decisions

Based on the above, we should:

  • Stop bothering about serving very-early stage founders, and focus on startups that have "some" traction.
  • Our language should be about growth (preferably sustainable, or driven by PMF)

Edit: finally we changed our website to talk about "repeatable growth". We removed the promise of getting polls filled no matter what and instead started to build a widget that can be embedded in a product or website. (this approach still needs to be further validated)