Blog Archives

The Value of Talking to Your Market

Greetings, DMIers. I’m glad most of you fund the Sticky Test exercise helpful in brainstorming your initial product concepts. It’s interesting to see the direction that everyone is moving in.

When we did the Sticky Test many of you reported that the “Unexpected” and “Story” traits were a challenge at this point. For the story component, take a look at Entrepreneur’s Five Blueprints for Your Brand’s Story. Good one to bookmark for future reference.

Monday we’ll be focusing on conducting original research with your potential market. This research will help to identify if your customers experience The Problem in the same way that you. It may also help to determine if your idea is just that — an idea — or if there is potential to make it something more. This is a crucial stage for any entrepreneur.

Be sure that you take a look at Mashable’s How to Solicit the Customer Feedback Your Startup Needs before class.

The NiemanLab is also fantastic source to dive into. Remember that your final concept must have a significant news element built into it. As you continue to develop your idea think about how you’re going to include traditional journalistic elements: news storytelling, generating original content via blog posts or other news content formats, perhaps partnerships to showcase great content from other journalists. And, some of you are looking at localization issues – how can you build a hyperlocal news element into your idea?

Lots of great stuff to contemplate this weekend.

Best,
@DebraJChico

Image Source: Realistic Shots, Creative Commons Zero license

Find Inspiration: Entrepreneur’s 100 Brilliant Companies to Watch

Good afternoon DMIers. I hope you had a fantastic Labor Day weekend and are ready for week 3.

Tomorrow we’ll be diving into your digital media product concepts with Homework 1. We’ll be putting each product concept to the Sticky Test and brainstorm options for further development. We’ll also review Homework 2 and 3, which require you to start identifying details about your competitors and your market.

Here are some resources to help you find some inspiration in your work:

  • Entrepreneur’s 100 Brilliant Companies to Watch in 2016 highlights innovators across a wide range of industries including fashion, health, business services, tech, recreation and food. This is a great resource for a quick dive into entrepreneurs in specific industries you’re passionate about. Who knows, you may find a competitor or two in this feature.

Enjoy exploring your industries and fine-tuning your business ideas.

@DebraJChico

How to Conduct Research with Your Market

Happy Sunday DMIers: This week we’re continuing our focus on primary research. Your draft research plan is due Thursday and should include:

  • A description of your product concept
  • Clear identification of your market
  • Your introduction: how will you explain what you’re doing to the people you need to interact with?
  • The exact research methods you wish to use, and the exact questions you’ll use via those methods.
  • And, you’ll need to have some type of visual mockup of your product concept

In addition to the resources highlighted last week, you might find these two articles helpful:

Tools To Help Create Mockups

You can use paper drawings of your product concept for our first round of market research, but you might get inspired to dive in further with some of the cool tools you’ll find in the articles below. And, you might find some new app startups to experiment with – there’s fashion, time management, social media and email tools highlighted among many others. Both are found on Medium (an amazing news startup you should explore if you don’t already use it):

We’ll use some of our time in class Tuesday to work on the product mockups.

Enjoy!

@DebraJChico

The Value of Talking to Your Market

Greetings, DMI class. I hope you found yesterday’s class session helpful in brainstorming your initial new product concepts. It’s interesting to see the direction that everyone is moving in.

Tomorrow we’ll be focusing on conducting original research with your potential market on your concepts. This may help to determine if your idea is just that — an idea — or if there is potential to make it something more. Briggs Chapter 5 hit on this point well.

We also discussed the notion of product-market fit. This article from Entrepreneur might be helpful while you start to contemplate your ideas further: 3 Steps to Determine Product-Market Fit.

When we did the sticky test many of you reported that the “Unexpected” and “Story” traits were a challenge at this point. Talking to your market may yield some interesting ideas on those fronts. I found this NiemanLab article that highlights an unexpected element quite well: Soon, publishers will be able to determine when smartphone users are bored and push content at them.

The NiemanLab is a fantastic source to dive into. Remember that your final concept must have a significant news element built into it. As you continue to develop your idea think about how you’re going to include journalistic elements: news storytelling, generating original content via blog posts like The Atlantic is doing, or other news content formats like podcasting, perhaps partnerships to showcase great content from other journalists, etc. And, some of you are looking at localization aspects – how can you build a hyperlocal news element into your idea?

Best,
@DebraJChico

Nice job with the new biz ideas

A really nice range of new business ideas was presented in class yesterday. Since the presentations took far longer than I anticipated, I’m using today’s post to do a bit of catch up and an overview of where we’re going next.

CATCHING UP — Action Item for You

As we ran short of time in class, I feel that those students presenting toward the end were a bit short-changed in idea review. To be fair in grading and assessment I’d like everyone to give me access to your presentation files (i.e. Prezi, Haiku Deck, etc). Please send me links/access via my email: dejohnson@csuchico.edu.

If you included your presentation links in the write up you sent to me via email prior to class, you do not need to resend the presentation link.

Blog Front: I will be fixing the link problems with your personal blogs that were mentioned in class. Blog 2 grading will be done by noon tomorrow. I’ll be sending grading notes to your email. See the DMS Blog handout for this week’s blog topic.

WHERE WE’RE GOING NEXT

Now that everyone has a new business idea or two or three, here’s an overview of our next steps:

Customer Profile

This is a new document I just added to the website and class dock in the Mac Lab. This is a brainstorming tool, and not a required homework assignment. If you choose to use this form it will help you develop content that is required in several upcoming assignments.

You need to start creating a detailed description of your market — who is it that will purchase this new product you’re creating? Through my many years of PR work, I have found that it helps to identify demographics and psychographics, but also to gather images that help paint a photograph in your mind of your customers.

I strongly encourage you to get photographs of individuals you perceive as prospective customers (these can be stock photo images that help you visualize your customers). And get images of the wide range of customers you may have — primary and secondary. Having those solid images fixed in your head can be very helpful as you move through your product development process.

Homework 2 (Deadline: Monday, Sept. 16)

This assignment gets you to start planning both primary and secondary research. The customer profile exercise above will help you with the primary research aspect. As will the Briggs’ text chapters identified in the course schedule and the Mashable article you’ll find linked there.

The secondary research component focuses on your perceived competition.

During Monday, Sept. 16 class we’ll be brainstorming how to conduct primary research with members of your market. We’ll most likely do this in small groups based on industry focus.

Homework 3 (Deadline: Monday, Sept. 30)

With this assignment, you’ll execute the primary research plan you created in Homework 2. You’ll be testing your new business concept with members of your market. This initial testing can provide important insight into your idea as it stands now and where it might go in the future.

Where Do Great Ideas Come From?

Collaboration is key during this whole startup process. Take a few moments to check out this video by Steven Johnson illustrating how innovative ideas come about.