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Are you listening to the market?

Posted by Ilise Benun on

Yesterday's NY Times had an excellent article entitled, "Jilted in the U.S., a Site Finds Love in India," that clearly demonstrates the idea I am constantly harping on: that "everything flows from the market."

It's the story of 3 Jewish guys who started a dating site in New York but found that most of their traffic was coming from Asia. Here's the relevant part:

“We didn’t pay any attention to it at first. “We thought, ‘That’s interesting — now let’s plan our next event in New York City.’ ”

But by June, they couldn’t ignore the traffic from Asia — specifically India, which by then had more visitors than any other Asian country. Ignighter was gaining hundreds of users a day, mainly from New Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad and Chennai.

“In January 2010, we made the decision that we are an Indian dating site,” Mr. Sachs says. And now, with almost two million users — and 7,000 more signing up daily — Ignighter is considered India’s fastest-growing dating Web site.

It's not all that unusual for start-ups to find that their market isn’t what they intended, said Sean Marsh, co-founder of Point Judith Capital in Providence, R.I., and an investor in Ignighter. But not all entrepreneurs choose to listen to what the market is telling them, he says. Read the rest here.

Are you listening to the market?

In the beginning, it's hard to tell if the market you've chosen is the right market for you … because it’s all a bit of an experiment. Each market must be tried and tested thoroughly. First, don’t give up before you’ve engaged the market. Ask yourself: Have I tried hard enough? Have I persisted long enough? Is the market viable? Viable enough? These are the questions I seek to answer when working with clients, both privately and in the marketing groups. There is no formula, no rules to live by.

But keep in mind, when you first choose a market, you’re doing it based on your interests, past experience, and educated guessing. Once you start to get involved in the market—that’s when the real knowledge begins. Are you paying attention to the voice of that market? The nuances, needs and segments within that market where your services become even more viable?

You should be willing to be flexible … because the best fit will often make itself clear, if you’re paying attention.

This article is the perfect example. Had the dating site guys continued to pound the pavement in the New York market, and not paid attention to the viable and thriving market in Asia, they could have forgone a lot of business.

Are your ears open to your market?


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