Don’t Fall in Love with Your First Idea — Improve Your Product Idea’s Market-Fit with Multivariate Testing

There’s nothing quite like that feeling when you first stumble across a new idea. In those moments of inspiration, the clarity and excitement about coming up with something new and compelling is an adrenaline rush! It feels like the start of something really special.

What we’ve experienced though, and we’ve seen it across our client base, is that it becomes difficult to let go of that first idea because of the novelty you experienced when it was conceived. We have an emotional connection to it and sometimes that blinds us from certain aspects that may not be as strong as we might have thought. We can very easily just start running with the idea, without spending the time to analyse it skeptically and look for potential weaknesses.

This leads to sub-optimal results because it’s exceptionally rare that your first idea is going to be completely formed in its most enlightened state.

Good product development relies on robust testing and validation to ensure that the idea deserves the time and resources you plan to dedicate to it. You have to put your new idea through its paces.

The Power of Multivariate Testing

The best way to perform the necessary testing on a new idea is to run it through a selection of multivariate tests. This is the simplest and most effective way to validate all the different components of the idea and ensure that it actually meets the customer needs that exist out there in the market.

The basic principle of a multivariate test is that you split your web traffic across multiple variants of the same idea, to see how the subtle changes affect the user behaviour and eventual conversion. What you’re trying to identify is what impact each variant has on the metrics that you care about — so you can optimize each component for product-market fit.

For example, you might create several different landing pages for the same product, and methodically vary the pricing, the sales copy, the images, etc. before measuring the effects on traffic and click-throughs. This is especially powerful because it gives you very granular data about how each aspect of your product’s presentation is performing so you can easily identify the things that aren’t resonating with your target audience and the ones that are.

When you do this well, it forces you to make decisions from data, rather than your emotions — which is a much better way to develop products. You’ll find that it can transform that initial seed of an idea into something much more powerful because you’ve taken the time to validate what parts of it have the biggest impact on the customer.

What Can You Test in a Multivariate Test?

Theoretically, the world is your oyster here because you can test almost any component of your offering to whatever level of detail you would like. But to help you get started, here are some of the more common variant types that are useful to test:

  • Pricing. Your price is a measure of your value proposition, and it can be a rather tricky psychological puzzle to find the optimal price that accurately signals the value you are creating for your customer. By performing a multivariate test on your pricing, you’ll be able to get a much better understanding of how elastic your customer demand is and how they value the offering from their perspective. But note that it’s not only the price itself that you can test. You can also test the way that different packages are set up, the pricing models that you use, and much more.
  • Branding. Whether you like it or not, customers will form a first impression of your product based on the visual branding they encounter. So, it’s well worth testing your graphic design, logo, color scheme, fonts, and everything else that makes up your brand because subtle improvements here can make a big difference to how your customers interact with your site. It’s only through data can you find room for improvement so you can get to something that engages your specific target audience from the get-go.
  • Feature Set. You likely have plenty of feature ideas to run with, but it’s important to prioritize them according to what will maximise your product-market fit. By varying the feature set and testing how customers respond, you’ll get a much better understanding of what actually adds value to your customer and what is a waste of resources. This is worth its weight in gold for helping your deploy your resources as effectively as possible.
  • Copywriting. Sales copy is designed to persuade your customers to engage with your product and it is an art and a science to getting this right. When you run a multivariate test on the copy, you can identify places where you could be clearer, more engaging, or use different language — all in service of attracting the attention of the right target audience. Subtle changes here can make a big difference, but you can only get there through data.

Those are just a few of the opportunities available to you, but hopefully, it gives you a sense of what is possible with multivariate testing. The only limit here is your imagination. It’s a game-changer.

We Can Help!

Here at Horizon, we’ve built a really powerful idea validation platform that can help you to run these sorts of multivariate tests on your ideas. We’ve gone above and beyond to create something that makes this product validation as easy as possible, collecting the data in a very intuitive interface that you can use to make smarter decisions.

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Written by
Nikara is experienced in digital business development, she used to work for Vodafone in New Zealand and is now crushing Business Development & Marketing efforts at Horizon on our mission to redefine how to build products that customers really want. Niki has won the People’s Choice Award with one of her ideas in the past. She has always been passionate about launching successful digital products herself, by understanding very early what the target market and consumer needs are. Now she wants to leverage this experience at Horizon.
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