Derek Sivers

Test marketing

2000-04-01

If you want a bigger company to help you some day, imitate what food companies call “test marketing”.

When companies create a new product, before they try to release it to the world, they want more proof that it will be a success.

So first they’ll release it only in a small city like Albany. They ask customers for feedback, then make improvements based on that. They repeat this process until it’s a local hit. Then they test it in a few more small cities until it’s a local hit there, too.

Only after it’s a proven success do they get the financial backing to release it to the world. The investors are confident because it was a hit in all the test markets.

So think of what you’re doing with your music as test marketing.

Whether you use a physical location or a virtual community, test it somewhere small first. Ask people for feedback, then make improvements based on that. Repeat this process until it’s a local hit. Then test it in a few more places until it’s a hit there, too.

Show this proof to a big company, so they can confidently invest and release it to the world.