No Pain, No Gain

Let’s talk about customer bases, shall we?

We came together last week after “getting out of the building” for the first time to survey our community. While we reached a decent amount of individuals, we discovered that if you don’t ask the right questions then you’re going to end up with even more hypothesis to test. We have more data, but it wasn’t focused enough for us to really understand who we’re trying to reach.

For the purpose of this arts venture, I’ll be substituting “audience” for “customer” from here on out. We had a lot of discussion last week. A lot of talking, theorizing and assuming. I’m finding it challenging to stop make assumptions. I’m a girl who likes to take risks. I like to listen to my instincts and trust my gut reactions. More often than not, it has served me very well in my life and in my artistic endeavors.

One week of surveying potential audiences, and I’m realizing the importance of gathering data before drawing any conclusions. We need to ensure that whichever venture we decide to move forward with, it fits the needs of our market. Before we left class, we agreed that this week we had to gather more qualitative data. It’s not enough to know that someone is interested in attending an arts market. We need to know why they’re interested. As entrepreneurs we need to discover what our audience’s pains, gains and fears are, and how they affect our product market fit.

What gains are we providing the audience by offering our product? What makes them happy? What goes beyond their expectations? What would make their life easier or better?

What pains/barriers would keep the audience from purchasing our product? What are their big issues, concerns and worries? What do they find too costly? How are their current solutions underperforming?

What does our audience fear? What basic needs are you helping your customers satisfy?

It was fascinating to see how a line questioning would change as I asked who the final decision maker in the household was. For most of the teens surveyed, it was a parental figure. The undergraduate students that I spoke with considered themselves to be the final decision maker. (For some freshmen, this was a role that they were still adjusting to.) Regardless of the answer, it made me realize that we will have to tailor our marketing plan to fit the needs of multiple audiences.

See that? We have so many more questions to answer than we did last week, and I hypothesize that they’ll keep coming as we share our findings tomorrow. My biggest takeaway from this week’s adventures (while getting out of the building and talking to people) is that regardless of which venture we move forward with, we’re going to be dealing with a multi-sided market.

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