Too many founders miss the point of early-stage market research.

Too many founders get this wrong.

Pre-launch market research isn't about trying to determine exactly what % of the market is interested in your product/service.

It's about identifying your lowest-hanging fruit segments.

Say you survey 1,000 general population consumers to get feedback on your new personal finance app. Say you learn that 95% of them would download your app.

Ok. Great. You've learned nothing.

Because no, 95% of consumers are not going to download your app. Unless your app's name is Facebook.

Instead, it's better to present your idea in such a way that people have obvious reasons to say no. Like, put the price up front. Or explain that it doesn't work for people who don't bank in the US. Whatever. Just lead with that.

Yes, it means fewer people will express interest. But...

It's more accurate than "tricking" people into thinking they want your app.

You'll be left with a cohort of respondents that share some common characteristics -- dynamics you can use to target your marketing later on.

In case this is too confusing, consider these two pitches:

"We did a survey, and just about everyone wants this!"


"We did a survey, and new moms are 14X more likely than the general public to want this!"

Which do you think is more compelling to a seasoned investor? Which leaves you with more action items? Which one helps you toward finding product-market fit?

  1. 2

    Good point, Nick. Seems fairly obvious, but a lot of founders miss that. It might be that the fear of rejection/hearing possibly negative feedback blocks our point of view.

    1. 1

      Yes, I see that all the time.

      Founders get upset that only, say, 10% of respondents are interested in their idea.

      Well, if you targeted a broad audience, that's an amazing number! They key is asking the right questions, so you can learn what makes that 10% different than everyone else.

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