Testing Assumptions with Customers
When you are testing the assumptions you generate in the Assessment stage of the ACE Methodology, you have to first define and verify them through research in the Confirmation stage. This means asking a lot of prospective customers the three critical questions: 1) do they really have the problem you think they do?, 2) do they have an urgent need to solve it?, and 3) does your product seem to offer a compelling solution? The customer investigation process is an important part of designing a successful product.
To do this, you have to ask people these questions, either in-person or virtually. Conducting face-to-face interviews is best because you can judge their reaction and ask probing questions. In Startup Assembly Manual, we discuss the Seven Steps of customer investigation; it’s a sales process structure.
Virtual interviews need a different strategy. You have to test your marketing message through a web site or social media to get the answers to the questions. The best method I’ve tried on the web is where your home page has a random redirect function to four different pages. Each page has a different message, which basically asks the three critical questions in a different, stressing a little different value proposition, and a “learn more” button. You test the efficacy of the marketing message by tracking the number of “learn more” click-throughs.