"But then I was still too weak in my execution to be able to say it in something other than words, and now I say it less in words and more silently in work."—Vincent van Gogh to Theo van Gogh on or about June 16, 1883.
Moving From Words Into Results and Execution
As we move into testing market acceptance of our proposition, we transition into a phase where we speak far less about strategy and far more about early results and findings. This is ultimately where many involved in the development of the offering become a bit withdrawn and introspective as they begin to read early results and craft insights from data.
Most importantly, this is the first point where we begin to derive some beginnings of real market insight for the offering. Where we no longer talk about how much potential the offering has, but begin to see very early snapshots of how much potential the offering may indeed have.
There can also be a tendency at this point in the process which does not serve us well, and that is our somewhat unconscious confusion of "initial performance" with "final judgment." When seeing these terms opposed to each other, the contrast is quite evident, but I believe there is a strong tendency for those two ideas to be mixed in the thoughts of even the most intrepid innovator at this point.
Here's how this happens:
Given the amount of time and effort we have placed into our offering up until this point, and the fact that those higher up in the organization have now likely been apprised of the strategy we have elected to pursue first, there can be a certain tendency to feel as if this is "it," this is the only shot the offering will have to sink or swim in the marketplace. You might think you will return with results of conjoint analysis that show the combination of features which will create either a resounding success in the market or a total failure. You may believe that your Van Westendorp meter results may be similarly conclusive.
Supporters in the organization will knock on your door and ask how the results are looking.
Doubters in the organization will knock on your door and ask you how the results are looking.
Both will see evidence of their respective views in whatever you say.
The fact we must never lose sight of is that while we are beginning to see live feedback on the offering, we are pre-Beta at this point. The offering will likely undergo many, many revisions between now and commercialization. Many will be minor, some may be major, but we are starting with the most practical and informed view of the offering to be tested and beginning there.
This modeling and proposition testing is a transition for the offering into very early phase market research, not an "end point" or otherwise "locking in" decisions or strategy.
Remember the Insight Mindset. Remember that things shouldn't be clear at this point. Promising projects will have more questions than answers in early phases. Every result is a victory, and brings us closer to truth and innovation.
A Precursor to Beta
Regardless of your view of the various methodologies (and stated preference modeling, in general), you may find the utility of these methodologies to be that they offer an initial starting point of data from which you may further refine the imminent Beta offering. Stated preference methods typically have a very short time period between deployment and findings, and using commercially available software, are generally inexpensive. You could consider one or more of the stated preference methodologies to act to one more pass at testing assumptions before Beta, allowing us to monitor for any significant disparities and disconnects from other data.
For example, if we thought our price was going to be $500, an expert judgment placed it closer to $100 and a Van Westendorp meter placed the bounds at $50-$150, we have a significant point of disparity on which to discuss and make a conscious decision.
If our goal in developing the offer is to act from the most conscious and well-informed standpoint possible, stated preference models can offer us the ability to add a generation of data to our decision making quickly.
Because we are taking this data as "information under advisement" and not "rendering final judgment," we are able to use methodologies where we may not have 100% confidence in the results matching the actual realities of the market.
Stating Our Goals for Stated Preference Methodologies
To refresh ourselves, our goals for this Lesson are to:
- articulate the strengths and limitations of the stated preference methodologies;
- discern where stated preference methodologies are most valuable;
- evaluate concept development scenarios for best fit with the various stated preference methodologies;
- describe the types of insight each methodology can reveal.