Find Early Customers In Forums

Written by Sean Murphy. Posted in skmurphy

“Communities already exist..think about how one may help a community to do what they want to do.”
Mark Zuckerberg

As a rule of thumb if you cannot find a forum (broadly defined) that has already collected a chunk of your prospects–a target rich environment–then one of three things is true:

  1. You are in a nascent market where there is little agreement on the terminology or problem definition: people have the problem but don’t realize that there are others like them. This is the least likely situation.
  2. You are not using the language or terminology that your prospects are using to describe the problem or their needs. You are failing the “shibboleth test” (see Judges 12:6) so you cannot find them on-line. This is less likely.
  3. You haven’t looked hard enough. This is the most likely situation. Ask your current prospects what magazines, trade shows, on-line forums, etc.. they consult to compare notes with peers and find out about new solutions.

We spend a lot of time looking for communities of practice devoted to the problems our clients’ software or services target.

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