Marketing is all about encouraging prospects to select your product, right? Maybe not!
From another perspective, marketing is all about deselection. When you help prospects decide what they don’t want, then your product might become something that they do want.
If you want to successfully launch a product and find the ideal customer profile for your growth marketing strategy, then you can’t be afraid to say no to yourself or help prospects say no. That means charting a course and sticking to it without getting distracted by money and grand ideas. It also means honing in on your ideal market and customer so that eventually, you see more yeses than noes.
The best way to form a strong go-to-market strategy that truly considers the customer? Trust that data is king. Start by testing your strategies with as many people as you can, so that you can eventually niche-down and become world-class! Build strong relationships, embrace change, and find the right audience, and the positive results will follow.“I'm a firm believer that success and significance follow the path and speed of relationships”
Launching and Growing a Product the Right Way
In this week’s Growth Marketing Chat episode, Alejandro Rivas-Micoud, CEO of Userlytics, reveals some key takeaways from his own entrepreneurial journey:
- Timing is everything, so save your money until the time is right to launch your product
- Let your passion and personality guide your direction
- A good user experience will differentiate you from competitors
- Talk to customers to figure out what they want
A strong growth marketing strategy comes from staying focused, strategically saying no, and preparing for whatever might come.
Watch the full interview for more lessons from an expert on how to ensure your growth and revenue marketing start out strong... and stay that way.
In this week’s Growth Marketing Chat episode, Rick West, co-founder and CEO of Field Agent, takes a deep dive into the importance of launching a product the right way, which includes:
- Finding the right product-market fit
- Testing out your product with current clients AND strangers
- Seeking out the ideal customer profile
- Embracing pivots in your go-to-market strategy
- Staying away from “shiny objects”
- Building a strong network
Your growth and revenue marketing strategies will flourish when you stay focused, trust data, and adapt to changing landscapes.
Check the full interview for more expert insight on how to find the ideal market and customer that will ensure your business’s success.
NICK: All right. Today, we have a very exciting guest, Rick West, co-founder and CEO of Field Agent. Field Agent is a marketplace for retail solutions, helping brick and mortar and e-commerce brands. Rick, welcome to Growth Marketing Chat.
RICK: Nick, it is a pleasure. Excited to be here today.
NICK: Thank you for joining us. So Rick, maybe we can start by having you tell us a little bit about your journey and kind of what led you to start Field Agent. What was the opportunity you saw in the marketplace that you were able to fill?
RICK: Sure. So as we're talking through this podcast, and whether you're listening or watching, think back in the day from where you came. So I came from the corporate world and was really trying to understand how to get into this entrepreneurial ecosystem that was out there. And at one point in time, Nick, I was managing five LLCs, five. What happened though is after about seven, eight years or so, we came upon the very first solution to a problem that we could scale and that was Field Agent. Now, think back in the day, this is pre-selfie. Okay. No front facing camera, the iPhone 3S which was the rage and three megapixel camera, outrageous camera, right? So this is January, 2009.No front facing camera, no video.
And we trying to solve a problem, which is how do we get inside of people's homes, inside of retail, to be able to get insights and observations as opposed to literally flying all over the country and all over the UK and flying to Canada, how can we make that happen? We thought there's gotta be someone that's using this really cool iPhone to make that happen. And Nick there wasn't. And so we sat around three or months later, Googled again, right? You're on your phone, trying to figure this out. And we thought we're gonna be like those guys that said they invented Instagram or invented TikTok, but just too busy to execute it.
We're gonna look like fools at the next party we go to if somebody else does this. So while we're managing five LLCs, we work nights and weekends again. And we launched Field Agent that very first app in iTunes that paid someone cash to do a task. And the first one to use geolocation and metadata to validate where data was coming from, where a photo was coming from. So that was in April, 2010,two months before Uber, before a lot of these other guys that are out there playing in this gig economy. So we were early in the space, but when I talk to entrepreneurs, I wanna remind them the premise behind to this is that we solved a problem and we used technology to solve the problem. We didn't use technology to do something cool. It was really meeting a need. And since we were users of that tool, it did became apparent to us, Nick, that we could scale this thing. And haven't looked back since.
NICK: Incredible. And you kind of touched on this a little bit. Can you expand a little bit more on, how did you stumble around the product market fit? Did you try different things? Did you do audience surveys, user testing? How did you stumble on the product market fit that then enabled you to scale up?
RICK: Yeah, there's two key things there, maybe three. We'll stick with these two right now, but because I came from a shopper marketing shopper research background, we had clients that were purchasing our boutique services. And what we figured from that is that they were the perfect guinea pig to say, here's this new product we have. And all they were concerned with is what did the data look like? It's that equivalent, you having a conversation with your child or some young person and said, Hey, how does electricity work? All you have to understand is when I turn the light, it works. And what they started to realize is that we were able to bring data to them in hours versus weeks or months, it just amazingly quick.
So the first thing on the product market fit was did they like that data? Was the data coming in was robust. The second part of that product market that really got into, could I expand the use from a simple quantitative take a picture to maybe instead of sending in Rick or Nick, maybe I send in a female 18 to 35 and I could ask her opinion. Maybe I could have her buy product and try it, and do ratings and review. So we started to take that initial product, which is data capture and started to kind of take that left to right and started to grow our products that way. And we started that with a core group of customers that became kind of that beta test for us. Now where I caution people is to remember the last thing any of us wanna do, Nick, is to ask our mom, dad, aunts, uncle, boyfriend, girlfriend, what they think, because our baby's always beautiful. It's the worst thing you could do, right?
So as we were working with these clients to begin to engage and get feedback, well, we started realizing pretty quick we had to quickly talk to strangers and that's when the real product market fit came in, cause we knew it wasn't a favor, they weren't helping us because they've been our clients for three years. Once that happened, you know this because you're in this business, you had to understand the difference between a favor and a feature. And so while the core product made sense, we started getting all these customer requests in. And if you are an entrepreneur now listening to this, you might choose to do a favor for a big client but that doesn't mean it's a feature for the masses. And we learned pretty quick, we probably did way too many favors and treated them as features. And it's like, why isn't everyone else using this? And we're like, wait a minute. We didn't truly did our research. We were just doing all these favors to make clients happy. And that was a real learning moment for us, probably about 18 months in that we had to really step back and look for product market fit for the mass, as opposed to kind of favor market fit if you will, for our big clients over here.
NICK: Yeah. No, totally makes sense. And of course when you're just starting out and you're in that position, you want to be overservicing those big clients. But you have to kind of keep them happy while also keeping an eye on the prize and the long term vision.
RICK: Yeah, absolutely.
NICK: Has your sort of target client, your perfect, as we call them the ideal customer profile, has that changed since the beginning?
RICK: Yeah. I think if you look at the kinda the, the ICP for us, it started out in this classic account based marketing piece, right. You get a large client and you go left or right and deep, and it's pick the school of thought, but that's kind of where you go. What we started to realize really within the last three or four years, was that for us to really get a larger TAM, to really be able to go drive it, we had to make sure that our product, which is really kind of a services model was ready for the masses, the 90 to a hundred thousand SBEs that are out there. How do we really scale that? And that's when we made the decision about two years ago to go down a product led approach.
And that product led approach allows us to have a marketplace so that the average person can come in, look at a product, make a couple of clicks, answer a couple of questions, go to a cart and check out. So that B2B eCommerce feel, kind of the Amazon effect that's coming in that's making us all wanna shop a certain way, that's when we started realize we could actually scale for a different type of client because there are larger clients that quite frankly are always gonna want an account manager. They want to engage. And there's nothing wrong with that. If you're listening to me now, do not overthink that. But you can't scale a thousand account managers to go get the next 90,000people, it doesn't work. So you have to do product-led approach.
And so what we figured out was that we're gonna take the most amazing features and just take our experience and take that service, productize it, put it into marketplace. And I'm telling you, Nick, that the amount of scale that we're seeing today is kind of crazy. We're really starting to grow because we've made it easy for anyone to come in and click, see, just like they were buying something on Amazon. That's been really cool to see.
NICK: And that's kind of where you guys are now, right? This is the most recent kind of iteration, and now you're really seeing the result of this kind of, is it fair to call it a pivot?
RICK: I think from a product standpoint, the data and the products would be the same, our go to market. So if you listen to Sangram and the MOVE and kinda where the go to market piece is, as the CEO coming in, our go to market approach has pivoted. And that approach now is to say, shop the marketplace, don't schedule a meeting with me because we realize that people are busy, people that have grown up in this digital age are saying, Rick, I just bought a Tesla, I just bought a TV and I didn't have three meetings to buy the Tesla and I didn't have a salesperson call me to buy the TV. I just spent three grand and 50 grand. And why do I need to make three phone calls and two meetings to spend $500 to do this? And we're like, exactly. So the pivot for us was that more of a platform fit, and we don't have all the right UIUX friction. We haven't completely figured that out yet. So really, really confident with the problem market fit, really, really confident with the product market fit. But the platform right now, we're really putting our arms around that, cause we're not as clean as we need to be, but for the average person coming in, they're like, totally get it. Click, click, cart, move on. It's fantastic.
NICK: Yeah, no, that's great. And I wanna give you a lot of credit for continuing to confederate and remain adaptable to the market forces. Because I think the companies that innovate, that are constantly committed to innovation are the ones that are going to grow and scale in this climate.
RICK: You have to, you absolutely have to. And that's where we go back to that, we're iterating up for favors, we're iterating for features. And when you go from product market fit to the platform and you start to look at the marketplace, see that's a completely different type of expertise and skill and you can't take it light and say, oh, let's just replicate what Amazon did. Let's just firstname.lastname@example.org let's look at REI. Well, that's not a B2B experience. And so there aren't 50people lining up saying, we know how to do B2B eCommerce because our B2B eCommerce can take you to a cart. The current experts are B2B click to demo, B2B, click to interview or click to salesperson. I wanna go B2B click to cart and they're like, oh, you mean B2C? I'm like, no. B2B is going down the same route. And there aren't 50people lining up saying, that's what we do today. So we're a little bit early. It feels like the early days of Field Agent and with this platform market fit.
NICK: Yeah. No, I'm really excited to see you guys roll this out. You mentioned a few times kind of your different business philosophies, different kind of strains of thought that have affected, or maybe have helped you influence your decision making over the years. What are some of these sort of skills that you had to teach yourself to really get to this point?
RICK: I think if you're a founder out there today and you've already started or you're working for the man and you're trying to get out and you've got these great ideas in your head, I learned early on, and if I look at where I think we've been successful, is that we've done a really good job creating rails and staying within the rails. And what I mean by that is one of the worst things you can do as an entrepreneur is to chase shiny objects. It's just, you do not have the time, the money, the resources to go chase, chase, chase. Now within rails, you can be completely creative and chase a bunch of shiny objects within the rails. But when you say, yeah, my product is this, and here's my focus, and I start changing just to chase money and chase shiny objects, it's the kiss of death, man, I'm telling you bad, bad, bad. So we learned early on stay really, really focused. And the other thing is, I learned this in working with brands, shopping for brands, the real art is helping someone deselect, not select.
So you say, oh yeah, well this have choose this color or choose this. No, no, no. The most of the processes are, I want to deselect. I'm going into the ice cream aisle and then all the ice cream, then I want to deselect and go to chocolate, then I want to deselect and then get into a brand and deselect and get into a size. And so what we started to look at is that letting your yes be yes and your no be no, don't live in the world of maybe. Cause Nick, there is nothing worse than talking to a potential customer or engaging a partner when they say, well maybe, probably, I think. So we realized pretty quickly we needed to say no and we needed to say yes. And so that deselection, if you're a design person, it's the art of editing, right. I've got 10 things, but ten is too messy. So how do I edit down to two amazing. How do I deselect the two amazing. So within our rails there's an art to saying within the 10 possibilities of things in the rails, how do you deselect to the two or three, and go AB test and drive the heck out of those. There's some art to it, but there's also just some, just basic fundamentals of saying, man, be practical, stay true, stay within rails and deselect. And I'm telling you, if you're listening today, it's a game changer for you, it clears your head, it allows your team to be focused. They know what you're gonna do. And so that's my encouragement to someone listening today, really, really work hard on that.
NICK: Kinda the less is more approach.
RICK: It really is. And that's hard. Listen, talk to any designer, to edit down is really hard. But as a CEO, that's the same thing you've gotta, and then your team's like, oh I can now go drive that to scale it as opposed to wonder what next big idea Rick has today. And I can't get anything accomplished. So it's hard when you're creative. It's hard when you're the founder, it's hard when you're this idea person, but be creative within your rails you set.
NICK: The art of saying no more than saying yes.
RICK: That's correct.
NICK: Amazing. Love it. I, myself, I've encountered this and I kind of struggled with, because there's a few different niches and industries that we service and we love working with all of our clients, but at some point we have to decide, okay, what's the best that, what do we do best, and what do we do second best and really have to start niche-ing down. And that's when you become world class, that's when you become the best.
RICK: And Nick, in our case, what we provide to people is that everyone has an opinion, right? And you say, oh God, the CEO wants to do this, when in our world, your world, we're simply saying, Hey, here's 10 pieces of ad copy. In three weeks we're gonna come back and the winner's gonna be the winner. Yeah, but man, my boss really loves this one. I said, Hey, our data that we collect are gonna tell you what the best display is. We're gonna do concept testing. We're gonna push it out to our agents, the 2 million downloads we have out here. And I'm telling you if two or3000 people love A versus B, I appreciate that your boss loves B and it's his baby, but you know what, data is king. So what it's interesting and to the world we live in Nick, is that it's such clarity to let things win because you know we can push things out and within days and weeks we get it so much data back. We can see heroes. And I think that's saved a ton of entrepreneurs, if they listen to that because the data is king, it's so, so true. And it takes some pressure off me to always be right. Because I can't always be right. My gut, I mean, I got us to where we are. And if my team, it feels good, It's like, Hey, Rick had a great idea, but it wasn't what hethought it was gonna be, and I'll say, great, let's move on. And so it's kind of freeing.
NICK: And kind of related to that is of course the different channels. You've scaled this company to an incredible growth over the past 10 years. What are some of the, sort of the growth channels that, or some of the acquisition channels that were most successful for you guys?
RICK: Yeah. I think for us it was going that left right path for us. And so we tried to stay again within kind of those rails. And so while we started out data collection, we realized that as we guarded more scale with more people downloading our app and engaging is that we really started having enough agents so that we could create personas to understand what a female 18 to 35or what a mother of two, or what a person that loves soccer. We had such scale. We turned this data into not only what people did, I could now tell you why they did it because they had the scale to be able to get enough people to answer those questions. And then once you start to move and you realize, gosh, I can actually get that person to do something for me, I can get them to buy a product.
They're like, well, how do you do that? Well, instead of talking to grandma and sending out free sample and feeding people at Costco, like, don't do that. Let me come in, and I'm gonna find Nick, who is a core consumer of a very specific beverage. He's your target consumer. I know him. I have him. Let me engage him with the new product. And they're like, wow, that's kind of game changing. So for us, as we go through channels, it kinda goes back to the ABM approach. We may have started out in operations and sales, but then we started say, gosh, how can I now service the marketing world? How do I service the brand world?
So our product iteration went across left to right within a company, as opposed to saying, well, everyone wants to know truth, so I'm gonna convince the brand person to do an audit, the marketing person to do the audit. Well, that wasn't what they were looking for. But yet the same technology allowed us to meet their needs as well, going left to right. And so that's been a really, really important piece for our team to see is that as you get new people within a company asking for something, so e-commerce comes in. Well, what is our solution for e-commerce? With the-commerce, gosh, we could do rating and reviews. We could do photo shoots. We could engage in a certain way, as opposed to saying, well, let's go figure out the next product. No, let your customers tell you what you're looking for. And the blessing we have is that we had the infrastructure and scale to go left to right with them.
NICK: Game changing. Well, that's awesome. And Rick, I feel like Ican speak to you all day about this stuff. But unfortunately we have to wrap up and I want to finish with kind of one final question, which is, is there something actionable, and you dropped a lot of gems here, but something that our audience, our entrepreneurs can implement over the next week, the next two weeks, something actionable that they can kind of plug into their playbooks ASAP.
RICK: So let's talk specifically with the, kind of that solo entrepreneur, the founder, the person that's on it, trying to figure something out. Listen, I'm a faith based person and I understand that that's all about relationships. So most my point to them is, is that faith follows the path of relationships. I'm a firm believer that success and significance follows the path and speed of relationships. And if I've learned one thing in my career, Nick, is that I think I could do it on my own. And I've got five friends over here that I haven't talked to in six months. I am naive to think that letting those relationships go and just calling in a favor is gonna really do me any good. It is hard because you're working and it's hard because you're so focused, but you've got to look to people that have either been in the place you've been or someone that can come alongside you, that you can process things with.
Or to be honest with you, just to be bold enough to say DM Nick, and say, Hey, Nick, would you mentor me through the next phase? And Nick, you'd be surprised how quick either Rick or Nick would say yes, for a period of time, not for 10 years, but for a period of time, I'd come along aside some budding entrepreneur. So my push to them this week, go to LinkedIn, go back and look at your history, go engage two or three people and ask them specifically, could you help me do this? I'm telling you, it's a game changer because their fresh eyes and their perspective is gonna completely change or reinforce where you think you're going. And I think as entrepreneurs, we just overlook that cause it's too easy to lower ahead and work.
NICK: Yeah, no, I love that. Work hard, but don't neglect your network. You can't do it alone. Nobody's done it alone. Nobody ever did it alone.
NICK: Oh man. Rick, this is truly a pleasure. Thank you for sharing your time with us. Where can people find out more about you and about Field Agent?
RICK: I think the easiest thing, I'm a LinkedIn guy. So find the Rick guy, the Field Agent guy. And just DM me, would love to engage with them. But if they're looking for a marketplace, if you go to FieldAgent.net, in FieldAgent.net you can check out what's going on there, but then click on the shop, it'll take you right to the marketplace. And just play around with their products, I'd love to have your feedback, especially on the platform standpoint. See what people think. And then take a look and let me know. Would love to hear about it.
NICK: Appreciate it.
RICK: Man you bet, Nick. Look forward to talking next time. See you.