Yesterday I was on the phone with one of our amazing entrepreneurs building a really neat new mobile app experience. His team is a few weeks away from launching their first alpha version, and he asked me for some advice on how to go about it.
After establishing that during their alpha phase he and his team should focus solely on the product and not sweat questions concerning distribution, marketing, partnerships and the like, we talked about what to do after they have reached their initial product/market fit.
As his product requires a large(r) install base, fast customer growth is of the essence for his success. In a situation like this I focus the vast amount of my energy on three key groups:
Power Users – Who are pushing your product to the limits, expose hiccups and bugs and provide invaluable insights on getting to enhanced product/market fit.
Influencers – Who are feeding your word-of-mouth marketing, get people to not only try your product but (in the best cases) to become zealots themselves.
Multiplicators – Who has the ability to put your product in front of a large audience; this is typically done through partnerships.
Pretty much all other groups I mostly ignore – not because I want to, but because time and resources are (unfortunately) limited and we, therefore, must make compromises.
As my dear former colleague and storyteller/evangelist extraordinaire Asa Dotzler once told me about the early days at Mozilla: You have to focus on those people who can and will make a difference – even if that feels unfair to the rest of us.