He said a sentence that has stuck to me forever. "The only question that matters is when you say 'What is your Visa card number?'" Meaning that until the moment of truth when money leaves your customer's wallet, everything your prospective customer says is bullshit and not worthy of building a business on. He was completely dismissive of market surveys, etc. Waste of time and money.
He brought this thinking into physical products, too. His basic "build a business" model was:
1. Make a flyer. See if you can get an order. (Similar to the "dry test" idea). AKA the landing page.
2. Iterate until . . .
3. . . . you get nibbles and interest. Then make a mock-up. (You've gone from two dimensions to three dimensions).
4. Continue iteration on the marketing front until you get an order. (I.e., the customer gives you his/her Visa card).
5. Then and only then manufacture ONE of your products, even if it costs you $5,000. It's cheaper than manufacturing a bunch of units to get your unit cost down below $200.
6. Iterate based on experience, refine the product, get another order, etc. etc.
Even antique guys are smart. :-)
Sincere apologies to N. Bushnell if I mis-remember this. It was a long time ago. But the "What's your Visa card number?" question stuck. Life is either bullshit or jellybeans, and in business I tend to treat things as bullshit until a prospective customer puts his/her wallet on the line.
Real relationship with a customer start when he actually gets to try out the service you are offering. That is the real reason why trial -> paid conversions are usually low. In a landing page MVP, you are not validating your idea, you are validating your ability to convince for a particular idea. It is quite easy to get false positive or false negatives here.
Rather, what I prefer is to get hold of people and email/call them to actually hear about their pain points. Old school but works like a charm.
Those landing pages are time savers.
We are planning to start working on really improving the ebook, the site, and adding other features that we think people who buy the ebook would be interested in. We have three ideas that we want to try out, and my partner is in favor of the Dry Test Method for each of these three, while I am leaning towards trying to build an MVP of one or two of these features/products and seeing which gain the most traction.
Anyone have any thoughts on what they think is the best approach? Note: Our audience is mainly international university students and young professionals.
But that's if you ideas are more content.
Keep in mind in SEM you are reaching out to potential customers, not existing ones.
I'm probably a minority, but your reputation with me is toast if I find out you ever did dry testing.
The whole idea behind a MVP is to get worthwhile feedback about the product. Feedback in the form of customers actions. Will people actually buy this? Will they respond to what I'm doing? Can I get traction?
None of those things can be answered with a submission form on a landing page.
I have long agreed with the author here. While there are answers to be found in dry testing... it takes a prototype to really solicit any truly meaningful answers about a product. At least in my experience.
That is not what MVP is. MVP is the simplest version of a product that will allow you to iterate. That is something that can be used.
The landing page, the MVP, the iteration, the improvement, the pivot etc.. are all part of the Customer Development Methodology which Eries Ries is also known for.