Newsletter May 2017: New Market Exploration

Our May 2017 Newsletter features four articles on new market exploration, one of the most difficult customer development challenges that entrepreneurs face. It requires strong interview, observation, and sense making skills.

Newsletter May 2017: New Market Exploration

This blog post summarizes our May 2017 newsletter: you can subscribe to the monthly SKMurphy newsletter using the form at the right.

New market exploration is one of the most difficult customer development challenges that entrepreneurs face. It requires strong interview and sense making skills. It also requires a commitment to carefully observe and document customer behavior–with a willingness not only to “go and see” but to have the imagination to ask “what if” to explore what could happen if you would remove one or more constraints imposed by the status quo. Entrepreneurs must see underneath the surface behavior of prospects and their self-reported problem descriptions to understand the cognitive model for a task or job to be done by your product. Developing a first prototype–or even what you think may be your first product–does not mean that the need for further interviews and imagination goes away, if anything it’s just the next basecamp for further exploration. New market exploration requires not only the confidence to form a vision of a solution but the willingness to be surprised and to admit where your mental map does not match the actual territory, integrating new “ground truth” to improve your product and business model.

Newsletter May 2017: New Market Exploration

Binoculars by Edith SotoCustomer Development:
Scouting a New Market

There are no undefended markets. Established markets are characterized by entrenched competitors who have strong brand identify and deep customer relationships. Although Bill Hewlett always strove to “attack the undefended hill,” the reality is that any market worth having is at least lightly defended by the status quo of current alternatives.

“We’re riding out tonight to case the Promised Land.”
Bruce Springsteen “Thunder Road”

Discover how…


Don't let the miminum crowd out the viable by David AycanWe Have a Prototype. Can We Still Do Customer Development?

Product-market fit is not a ratchet: competitive response, new entrants, changes in technology and customer preference require ongoing customer development. You will need to continue to do customer development–and customer discovery for that matter–even after you have a first prototype, an MVP, early customers, and an established niche.

Markets and competitors don’t stand still, no product-market fit is permanent.  Discover how…

Mr. Know-it-all, SchmexpertBill Meade: Customer Developments and Schmexperts

The schmexpert–half schmuck, half expert–knows enough jargon to be dangerous. Real customers, real products, real context will protect you from schmexperts and from many other factors that confound of your customer development. The more inconvenient it is to get good customer development information, the more protection you have against getting fooled.

Check here…


Customer developmentCore Skills for Customer Development

The core mission for customer development is early customers, early revenue, early references. All of these reduce risk, demonstrate traction, and make subsequent sales efforts easier (and for bootstrappers, keep the lights on). The key skills required are lead generation, negotiation skills that create a relationship not just complete a transaction, project management, and the ability to triage or focus for effect.

Learn more…


Sign up for an Office Hours Session to Make Sense of What You Have Seen and Heard.

Office Hours ButtonAn early market can be like a combination lock, you may have discovered one or two of the keys to opening it, but it’s hard to assess partial progress. Exploring a market it’s like listening to 15-20 second snippets from songs you have never heard before, you have to make sense of what a number of folks are telling you: little sounds familiar and it’s hard work. If you are having trouble making sense of what you have learned from your initial early market conversations, please sign up for an no cost no obligation office hours session and we can help you make sense of what you have seen and heard. If you are preparing to scout a new market and would like a briefing for a descent into chaos, you are also welcome to sign up for an office hours session.

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