New Digital Products and Services: An Elegant Solution to a Problem That Doesn’t Exist?
Digital marketing is often focused on the tools and tactics for communicating to your target audience. However, marketing should play a role in what is offered as well as how it’s offered. This is very true of digital products and services that are often planned and developed without a clear understanding of what the target demographic really wants or needs.
Development of applications as products or delivery of services via digital media has become much more widely accessible to trainers, consultants, and professional services. Unfortunately digital offerings have not advanced to a point of on demand development so a “sell it then deliver it” model is not practical. So if an idea surfaces on using digital delivery for a product or service, it’s important to do some homework on the level of demand and if the intended delivery platform meets your target market’s needs.
How can this be accomplished? There are a lot of well vetted processes on surveying large target demographics and sophisticated techniques to analyze that data for the best development and profitability. However, most of those techniques are unnecessarily complicated for smaller training or consulting firms that want to deliver a digital product or service to a select group.
Instead of a complex process, do a simple survey or checklist call to get client or target prospect feedback. This has three advantages. The first is that you can test the idea on those you hope will use it. This avoids creating an elegant solution to a problem that doesn’t exist. The second advantage is development improvement because target prospects can share their suggestions on how they’d like to use the product or service or features they’d expect to see. The third is that it serves as a teaser to your target market. Getting a sense of how the product or service will benefit the target prospects will help generate a buzz for them and their connections that might also benefit from your digital offering.
It’s not uncommon for a trainer, coach, or consultant to respond that they can’t ask their audience about the offering they intend to deliver because they might steal the idea. The truth is that if your target audience has the capability or knowledgebase to so easily steal the development of your product or service, then it’s likely not a viable solution to be offering them.
As technology continues to evolve in making these digital products and services more affordable and simpler to develop, it will be more and more tempting to build without a go-to-market plan. Rather than guessing at what your target audience wants, approach them with the idea. This will avoid a lot of wasted time and effort and ensure that your market needs your new digital product or service.