Go-to-Market: It’s all in the Product
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Photo Credit: CC-by- Ricardo Martins

Going-to-market is the point of ignition for our businesses. This post is dedicated to startups with sites and applications in the realm of “social”.

Photo Credit: CC-by- Ricardo Martins

Photo Credit: CC-by- Ricardo Martins

‘How to go-to-market?’ is often the one billion dollar question.  Needless to say that it often makes us uneasy, especially when we’re being grilled during a presentation as we try to show how our mega bombastic idea is the next big thing.  It can even be said that the process of going-to-market is a startup all by itself, precisely because it’s the billion dollar question.

Going-to-market is the point of ignition for our businesses.  This post is dedicated to startups with sites and applications in the realm of “social”.

I often hear entrepreneurs answer the go-to-market question with the following answer: “we’ll send our App to bloggers, release a YouTube video that will generate millions of users and we’ll hire a PR firm”.  Assuming that you manage to get all of the above going, and that’s a big IF, then let’s think about the above strategies using the following analogy: Your startup is a car, and bloggers, videos and articles are pushing you to help jump-start your car. If you managed to get a big and burly crew of helpers to give you a good push, you may manage to get your car to roll for a few feet, but at some point your helpers will have to let go.  If your car starts up quickly when you turn over the ignition, then it can drive off quickly.  If not, it will stall.  The best option though, is to turn over your ignition without the help of a jump-start crew, and drive off smoothly on your own.


Let’s first realize that potential for going-to-market lies within the product and not necessarily in some outside factor.  The way the product is shaped and the relationship it produces with the users is the key.

 A little history:

When we just started rolling out software, it was full of features.  Companies, and especially their engineers, took pride in the amount of complexity and features they managed to squeeze in.  We later found out that it takes users a long time to adapt and discover even the most minuscule amount that the software had to offer.  We then started hiring product managers so that they would interpret the market need and then fight with R&D over the features.

Even the design took a massive turn.  From software looking SAP like (sorry SAP), design became friendlier, sexier, even minimalistic.

Then Steve Jobs dictated to us the next step: everything works under one button and it’s damn pretty.  So standards were set higher again and so were established the following basic premises:

  1. Websites/Apps must be beautifully designed

  2. There should be a minimum amount of features that give users a full experience

  3. Users must intuitively understand the features

Realizing that in today’s ADD and ADHD world everything must be quick, we often have about 1.5 minutes to capture the user and sell the product.

Today the bar is set higher again – we’re in a relationship with our users.

The Relationship Stage:

In today’s day and age, we’re living with the “Rock Star” effect (thanks FB).
The rock star effect allows each user to be a rock star within the virtual world, since it’s all about love.

Here is a short synopsis:

FB – allows us to spread out likes for every possible thing that others have to say, post, share etc.  FB went so far with their love for us, that even when deleting a friend from the list, it does so discreetly; it does not actively notify the deleted friend.  Moreover, we learn to be weary of deleting friends, as we cannot gain them back once deleted.

Twitter – your fan club follows you everywhere you go.

YouTube – more than liking, sharing and commenting, users created a mechanism of reply, whereby as response to your videos, users imitate you and then add their own touch.  As we know, imitation is a form of flattery.

Pinterest – in addition to liking and commenting, your pin is repined easily.  Pinterest created a mechanism that would re-pin pins across users;  it’s their form of flattery.

The bottom line is that users are now accustomed to the virtual world supporting them immediately. Simple features of share and comment are just not enough if they are not supported by an environment that consistently manufactures them. Therefore, your product, especially if its in its initial phase, should be considered in terms of the psychological reinforcement aspects it provides, the emotional outcome of each feature, rather than its pure technical aspect.

The manifestation of your product:  Some tips for the “hands on” approach:

  1. Immediate support of positive reinforcement- Map out your features and translate them into the emotional outcome.  If a certain feature does not provide total and immediate reinforcement and support, it may cause the user to be disappointed or feel “unliked”, beware.  This especially holds true if you’re asking your users to do something active, such as share, post things, ask questions etc. Make sure in such a case,  active users get the immediate positive feedback they’re looking for.  Otherwise, users may feel frustrated and bail out quickly.  Thus, keep your users together with the constant push to make them feel like Rock Stars.

  2. Immediate value – immediacy is crucial.  Since you’re in the initial stages of selling and proving your product, make sure to provide your users with value as soon as they start using your site or App.  Immediate value may be: knowledge, info, entertainment, fun, fulfillment of curiosity, browsing, connecting/communicating with people, saving time, saving money etc.

  3. If you can’t provide immediate value – then putting things in a coherent order for them is also a significant value, especially if your startup is in the business of teaching your users to do something, like how to play an instrument. Users often like a step by step reinforcement learning mechanism. A progress bar and/or simply cheering when small milestones are achieved, often eliminate frustration and provide users clear and set goals to try to shoot for.

  4. An extreme concept – don’t be afraid to push your concept to the limits.  In today’s society, where (almost) every possible idea exists and the emotional bar of excitement keeps rising, extreme is good since extreme draws attention.  You should really avoid being another bland site or App, even if your idea is basic.  Your business should radiate an extreme story.

  5. A purpose – your business should derive from a certain emotional reason that acts as your basic notion.  Customers/users have a stronger connection to emotional things because of the story that gives it a special value.  For example, if two stores online sold the same items at similar prices, but one promised you that 10% of your purchase will be offered as a donation to an organization that supports kids in Cambodia; and proved it.  Who would you rather buy from?

Simon Sinek called it “Find your why”.  Here is a link to a powerful lecture: http://www.ted.com/talks/lang/en/simon_sinek_how_great_leaders_inspire_action.html

  1. A bonus feature/inherently viral feature – it order to faster ignite your startup, think of a motivational factor that will cause the user to push your app further.  The best way would be to include  an inherently viral feature – a feature that would activate the value of your business only if used by a least one other person, other than the original user.  Some examples:

DrawSomething – where one user needs at least one other person to guess what he drew.

Viber: you need another person to call.  Both must have Viber

What’s app: group messaging. All must have the App

Bizzabo: a bit of a different example, works differently, but still works.  You can see the attendees at a certain gathering, which gives you the interest to join in and start communicating.

 As always, you are welcome to comment and question.


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Emma Butin

About Emma Butin

Emma Butin is a technologically challenged geek. She loves everything that that is served in a no brainer effort. Emma’s obsession is to take big ideas and compile them into one button. That’s why she is working with start-ups right from their early stages distilling products to one button.
In 2008 Emma Founded Kryon System, an international award winning software company with patent pending technology. In June 2013 Emma released her first book (in Hebrew) “About Economics and Love.” Today, Butin also teaches “strategic entrepreneurship in hi-tech” at the IDC Herzliya and engages in speaking around the world.

Find out more at www.EmmaButin.com
Find out more at www.EmmaButin.com

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