How I Used Data For Product Development

by Andy Brudtkuhl on February 23, 2011

I shared with everyone my launch of a printable games company and how we found our first niche in baby shower games. As I build this company I have decided to share as many details as I can – from research to revenue (which we finally generated!).

As I mentioned in my lightbulb to launch post, getting the website up (about 4 hours) was the easy part – I build websites every day. The hard part was deep diving into a niche that I knew absolutely nothing about. I didn’t even know a market for printable baby shower games existed until the lightbulb flashed. How do you start a business with no subject matter expertise? 

I used data. If you follow along with me online you may remember a podcast episode about Data Driven Marketing. The idea is to use data (from analytics, search, social) to identify and execute strategies for a business.

In this case I used data for defining a product development strategy in a market I knew nothing about (more on mastering the unknown later).

How? Well….

Crowd Sourced Data Gathering
As I mentioned I knew nothing about baby shower games when starting this venture – I just liked the model. So where the hell do you start? My first task (and first expense) was outsourcing this initial data gathering. I needed to know what baby shower games are played. I hired a couple researchers on ODesk (you could use Mechanical Turk or CrowdFlower) to source a list of baby shower games from the web.

The cost? Around $10. The Results? Hundreds of baby shower game ideas.

Okay I have data … Now what?

Analyzing Data
I took the list of potential baby shower games and plugged it into Google’s Keyword Research Tool. Using this tool I could see which games had the highest demand and lowest competition. Using a few similar metrics as data points I was able to pinpoint the best products to have designed first.

Example: Let’s say you have two product ideas… A widget and a watchamacallit. Using the aforementioned tools you figure out that….

Widget: 100,000 Monthly Searches, $1.00 Cost Per Click (CPC), High Competition
Watchamacallit: 60,000 Monthly Searches, $.39 Cost Per Click (CPC), Low-Medium Competition

Which product should you make first? Well, the watchamacallit because the barriers to entry are far less while maintaining a decent amount of search potential.

If your product idea has less than 1,000 monthly searches – nobody is looking for it. Why create a product nobody wants? For $10 and an hour of research on baby shower game search and advertising patterns I was able to vet my idea. Not bad.

Not only was my idea validated with this research, I was able to create a prioritized list of games to design. I can now create baby shower games that are in the highest demand. That’s extremely valuable information to launch with.

What’s Next?
  • Free is huge (see free baby shower games)
  • Perfection is the enemy of production (just put something out there)
  • Getting out of the way (automation)
  • E-Commerce SEO
  • Easy mistakes to avoid
  • Importance of design
  • Social early and often
  • AdWords Optimization
  • What do you want to learn?
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