Four lessons I’ve learned from product–testing

Giraffes developed long necks to reach the leaves which grow high up on tall trees; the long neck gives giraffes an advantage over other animals which cannot reach to graze at a high level. In a similar way, product-testing gives a business the opportunity to adapt and improve its offering. I tested my new format, the marketing clinic, last week. Here’s what I’ve already learned from that first trial morning. Some of these lessons will be applicable to most

• Trust your instincts – I was certain that meeting people face-to-face would be right for me and my potential customers and I’m now fully reassured that I was correct to think this
• Stick to your brand values at all times. My brand emphasises its approachability, so meeting over a cup of tea to discuss business marketing issues gives an appropriate air of directness and affordability, which I hope will allow any SME or sole trader to feel welcome to ask questions
• Don’t rely on technology without testing it first. I had set up a system whereby attendees could register their interest in attending online, via a registration form on my website. In reality, this approach worked less well than I’d hoped, so instead of collecting the background information in advance for me to prepare a considered response, attendees spent too much of the valuable appointment time explaining their current situation and marketing concerns. This glitch can be addressed by adapting the registration process, in light of the experience
• Be well prepared – some of the systems which I would like to have in place for a smooth experience of theses clinics will have been fully developed by the next clinic, if I choose to hold another
• Specifically, I will have in place the mechanisms for a) follow-up feedback forms and b) issuing each attendee with their personalised prescription after their appointment
• The process of development will permit me to listen to my potential customers and ensure their satisfaction over time

Details of the next marketing clinic can be found on (once a date for the next one is agreed)!