Yesterday I had a chance to pick Steve Blank’s brain for about an hour and get some thoughts on customer development and start-up marketing.
Here are some take aways.
1. Think about if your start-up is entering an exisiting market or creating a new one. For example, the marketing for Handspring and the marketing for Palm were very different. Handspring had to differentiate itself in an established PDA market while Palm had to educate the world about the existence of product that was not well understood. If Palm had implemented Handspring’s ‘differentiation’ marketing efforts, it would have made zero sense to customers. Why would I care about a PDA with more memory when I’m not yet even aware of what a PDA is?
2. Think about if you are differentiating on price or features. Understanding what your customers want is key to understanding how to communicate with them.
Steve Blank teaches Entrepreneurship at Stanford and focuses on agile customer development in start-ups. Here are some good sources for more things Steve Blank.
1. Fours Steps to the Epiphany – by Steve Blank available at Amazon
2. Audio from his Stanford Course on Venture Hacks blog post
Thanks again for the time and advice Steve!