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The first rule of Fight Club…. 27 March, 2013

Posted by varoom in Marketing Plans, Strategy.
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At a recent key note speech at the Bristol Sizing The Market event hosted jointly by the BCS, IET and South West Founders, I talked about novel ways where an early stage company could do some useful market research when sizing their potential markets. This covered ways in which you could dig down into parts of the web where information is not readily indexed by search engines, ways in which you can use online images to inform your market research and mining data from governmental reports. Formal market research either in report form or paying for targeted research are options not normally open to funding challenged enterprises.

I ended my speech with the saying, taken from the movie of the same name, what’s the first rule of Fight Club…is..Not to talk about Fight Club. What this means is that you should not talk about your product idea when sizing your potential market.

This raised a few eyebrows as some pundits’ claim that getting your product out and into the hands of customers sooner is better for your business and not disclosing your product appears to run counter to this.

Firstly I agree with the advice that getting early engagement and feedback from customers is vital for every early stage business. This feedback allows the product to be improved and become more fit for purpose.

However during the market research phase of a business, before the product even exists, you must not reveal your product concept to the market place. Doing so only risks a competitor starting a competing product development before you are ready and at the time of market research you don’t have a product, yet, to put into the hands of potential customers.

In the market research phase…. Don’t talk about Fight Club (your product idea). The purpose of this market research phase is to validate your understanding of the demand, gather some quantitative figures that allow you to put a business value on the market.