90% of all start-ups fail. Of these, 35% fail because of a lack of customer desirability: a lack of market need for their product.
Establishing desirability is a vital part of any innovation and development process. Without this, you risk building a product that users neither wanted nor asked for.
Read on for a guide to validating desirability: the first in our new four-part series looking at the biggest risks when building a product, and how to avoid them.
What is desirability?
While we described desirability earlier as “market need”, there’s actually far more to it than this. Testing desirability goes beyond simply understanding user needs. In addition, it requires you to prove that your idea:
- Uniquely solves a problem or addresses an opportunity that your intended users care deeply about. A strong understanding of this problem or opportunity is critical in ensuring that your “solution” addresses it fully.
- Is something that users need, as opposed to something they would like.
- Makes users want to switch from their existing solution(s) due to high levels of pain or frustration.
- Is at a price point that matches the scale of the issue.
- Addresses the needs of many users, not just a few.
User research is key
Without solid user research, determining desirability can be a challenge. One way to achieve the answers you need is to conduct qualitative research: collecting and analyzing non-numerical data to understand your users’ motivations, beliefs, attitudes and desires.
There are many ways to conduct qualitative research, depending on your access to participants and your available time. One option is to join online communities and forums where you know your target users congregate. Here, you can monitor conversations for mentions of the problem or opportunity that your product aims to address – or even get involved in conversations to test the water.
Alternatively, if you have a database of prospects at your disposal, consider running either focus groups or one-on-one interviews to better gauge desirability. The former will allow for discussion and get a wide range of views from a number of participants, while the latter will allow you to go into more granular detail.
Fake door demand test
For a more quantitative (measurable in numbers) approach to testing desirability, a fake door test can be incredibly revealing. This type of testing is used to assess market demand for a product or feature, and can be used even before this product or feature has entered the development stage.
It involves inviting your prospects to use your new product or feature – via an email newsletter, a pop-up, a CTA (Call To Action) button or some other means. When the user clicks on the invitation it takes them to a landing page that explains that the product/feature does not yet exist, but that it could well be coming in the future. On this page, you can provide prospects with more information about your proposal, as well as give them the option to sign up to be notified when further developments take place.
Setting up a fake door demand test involves six key steps:
- Decide what you are looking to test, and form your hypothesis
- Design the test and how it will run
- Design your landing page
- Create your ads, newsletters, CTAs, or other content that will direct people to the landing page
- Create your follow-up content and messaging
- Analyze the insights.
By analyzing how many people click through to the landing page – as well as whether they sign up for updates while they are there – you will be able to gain an understanding of product/feature desirability.