< Back

Stop guessing and start validating - define your target market.

“Lack of market need is the most common reason for startup failure. In 42% of cases, failed startups created a product or service that didn’t meet a real felt need in the market.” source

For all startups, market validation is one of the most important early stages. Before launching a product or service, you must ensure that it truly meets the needs of a well-defined customer group. Startups often rely on too many assumptions, generalize their own experiences, or simply do not clearly understand their target market, the customer needs, or the competition.

Here’s a simple but comprehensive guide to get you started performing B2C market research and validation.

  1. Search your surroundings and find 5-10 members of your target audience.
  2. Schedule in depth interviews with them all.
  3. Start without mentioning your product, and use open-ended questions to try to identify these users pain points.
  4. Slowly introduce aspects of your product and study their reactions to it, without forcing it on them.
  5. If they’re interested, ask them if they’d like to sign up to receive updates (this is an important way to showcase early market need for your product).

If you’re interested in an easy, more data-driven validation technique using social media forums, check out our resource here.

Pro tip: If you’re onboarded onto Acterio, use our interactive Forum to get quick and valuable insights from your ecosystem. Use tags and key words to search the Forum for past related conversations, or pose your own question to start a discussion on the topic. You can also find a pre-made journey that takes you through the steps of market research and validation, with integrated templates for user interviews, tips for best practices, and examples of pain point validations.

Five Easy Steps to Use Social Media Forums to Validate Your Product.

Reading time: 2 1/2 minutes

Market validation is the compass that guides startup success, ensuring that your product or service meets the needs of your target audience. By thoroughly understanding your market, validating your assumptions, and gathering feedback, you can fine-tune your offering and increase your chances of achieving sustainable growth and customer satisfaction.

Although it is always important to go out, meet, and talk to your users, online forums can be a good way to get a sense of direction. Their benefits differ from those of user interviews in a number of ways as they can provide:

  • Unfiltered User Insights: Social media forums provide direct access to valuable insights and feedback from potential customers, helping you understand their needs, preferences, pain points, and expectations.
  • Diverse Perspectives: By reading posts from users of various backgrounds and demographics, you gain insights from different perspectives, identifying patterns, trends, and areas for product improvement.
  • Real-time Market Intelligence: Social media forums offer real-time discussions reflecting current sentiments, industry developments, and competitors' offerings, allowing you to make informed decisions and adapt your product strategy accordingly.
  • Pain Point Identification: User posts reveal common challenges and frustrations, helping you address them and differentiate your product with unique features that directly solve their problems.
  • Cost-Effective Research: Social media forums offer a cost-effective approach to gather insights without expensive surveys or focus groups, enabling startups to validate product hypotheses with limited resources.

Here are five simple steps to get you started. Run through these steps several times, refining your key words, and keeping an open mind to different themes. The first round is likely to bear more surface-level insights, but several iterations can lead you to more interesting, in-depth revelations.

Be aware of the many biases in online forums, but use the thousands of insights to investigate potential users and sentiment around your topic.

  1. Write down 5-10 keywords related to your idea.
  2. Find related forums by searching on Reddit, using subredditstats.com, or creating an audience on gummysearch.com (a third party tool that helps you discover communities on Reddit, search it effortlessly with advanced filters, and easily summarize and extract key insights).
  3. Start scrolling through these subreddits, and look for emotional keywords that highlight pain points.
  4. Extract all relevant comments and group them. Dovetail.com is a great software that visually organizes and groups insights.
  5. Use your visual maps of insights to identify patterns and trends. Play around with different categorization and see if the emerging patterns match your past assumptions and product market fit.

If you’re working on startup success, subscribe to our newsletter here. We’ll be in your inbox every other week with founder advice on yet another important topic.

Aleksandra Lyubarsjaka