In yesterday’s post, we casually mentioned Tinder as an example of how a successful app is both great product and great marketing. Nothing just sells itself. There are lots of wonderful products that die a quiet death because nobody knew about them.
“Marketing” might be a misnomer, because technically product is part of marketing. What we mean is a go-to-market strategy: price, single-minded proposition, awareness building and distribution strategy. Not only do you need product-market fit, you need an effective way for product and market to find each other.
Take Snapchat as an example. Snapchat, despite being the same essential product from inception, puttered along at first without any traction. In fact, Bobby Murphy, one of the co-founders, got a full-time job elsewhere while the other, Evan Spiegel, returned to finish his final year at Stanford. The two had basically given up on Snapchat. Then they got their lucky break: Spiegel’s mom introduced the app to her popular niece who went to a school where Facebook was banned; soon, all the students there used Snapchat. Murphy and Spiegel saw the numbers and realized they had a hit, and that the way of achieving it was through teens and schools. The rest is history.
Note: the big break wasn’t a product change, it was simply marketing.