Why building an audience is better than building a product

by | Growth tips | 0 comments

I recently got off a call with a startup founder who was going for a second round of funding.

At the time of the call he had…

  • Active daily users in the low 4-figures
  • Email subscribers in low 5 figures
  • Past funding of low-mid 6-figures
  • Decided a new funding round was needed of 7-figures plus

Wanna know the craziest thing?

He had exactly $0 in revenue.

And yet the entire call was focused on the features he wanted to implement in his tool.

My best efforts to turn the conversation to engaging the unengaged email subs to see what he could build to get them to use the tool daily (or better yet, pay fo rit) were constantly ignored.

Needless to say, we didn’t end up working together.

The problem here is one that I’ve seen time and time again across 10-years of helping brands with marketing and growth.

There’s too heavy a focus on the tool rather than the audience it servces.

And that stifles growth.

Audience > product

90% of my career successes can firmly be pinned on addressing an audience’s needs.

And I can say, with absolute certainty, the difference between the brands I’ve worked with who…

  • End up growing something that makes real money
  • Are constantly stuck at low income and scrabbling around to break free of low-4-figure months

… is a simple differentiator.

Brands who grow quickly are focused on their audience over the product.

Seems counter-intuitive, right?

Sure, product is important to them, but they let the audience guide them on how to improve the product.

Then, you end up with a product that people actually want rather than one that’s built around what you think they want.

The successful brands I’ve worked with and that we’ve seen when breaking them down for the Business Breakdown Newsletter are all focused on…

– Growing an audience of ideal customers
– Serving that audience in any way they can
– Listening to their audience’s feedback and desires

Focusing on your audience gives you the ammunition to grow something really special.

It gives you a tonne of resources to use in improving your product and making it the thing people actually want to pay for.

👉 You have the feedback to improve the product in ways that’s actually useful to the user.
👉 You already have advocates that will help you spread the word and attract more customers.
👉 You build a presence and brand that will persist through tough times.

Audience > product.

Great ideas aren’t born in isolation. They come from interacting with your audience and understanding how you can help them.

Spend time with your audience whenever possible.

  • Go to networking events
  • Join relevant online communities
  • Get current customers and audience members on the phone

Do whatever you have to to research your ideal audience.

They’ll tell you what would make their life easier, and they’ll tell you how you can make your offer better suited to their needs.

Just like that, you have an idea and a product that solves a real problem for an existing audience.

Noom’s 9-figure revenue came after the owners noticed an issue within an existing audience of people looking to lose weight.

They solved the problem and a 9-figure revenue was born.

Audience > Product.

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