Beta as a Product Marketing Exercise

A recurring theme of my conversations with folks in the past week has to do with Beta products and what the goal of beta testing is really about, particularly when you are talking about bringing a new product to market.  My point of view on this is that beta testing is as much a marketing exercise as it is a development exercise. The traditional view of beta products is that Beta is about testing specific features of the product to make sure they work in the customer’s environment.   A better way to think about beta testing is to think about is as a period where you are testing the set of assumptions you made about the customer problem and whether or not your product solves that problem in a way the customer understands and values.  The shift in thinking has a big impact on both what you include in the beta product and what you do with your customers during the beta. Here’s a comparison of the two approaches: Traditional Beta Who Manages the Beta: Development Product: As feature-rich as time and money allows, but testing is incomplete.  Essentially the product you plan to release at the end of beta when testing is complete. Data Collected: What other systems are in the environment for compatibility or integration challenges, number of failures and the conditions under which the failure occurred, scalability, and usually some general feedback around ease of the use and the UI. When to Exit: When internal testing is completed (i.e. the Beta runs for a set period of time unless a serious unsolved defect is found), when...

Product/Market fit and Market/Product fit

Gaining early market traction as a lot to do with getting the right products for your market but it’s also important to define who the early adopting customers are in that market. The way you construct your value propositions, your call to action, how you attract early customers and possibly the look and feel of your early product will be influenced by what you define those early segments to be.

Pre-Launch Marketing for Stealthy Startups

Just because you aren’t ready to talk about your product or service, doesn’t mean that you can’t start engaging with your market. Pre-launch is the perfect time to spread the word about your point of view on the market you intend to serve.

Android and Google and Branding

Android is often thought of as a Google brand – it isn’t – and there are interesting signs that it will become very distinct from the Google brand in the future.

Do You Act Like Your Slogan?

Software companies worry about piracy. They worry about people who use their products in ways that are against the terms of service. It makes sense to guard against that. But those measures should never be at the expense of the experience of your best customers.

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