We had done some market research before we launched Alacra Pulse back in February, but without a prototype or a product to demonstrate you’re really developing in the dark. In the seven months since the release, I have had dozens of conversations with prospects and customers about their challenges both as a result of the market environment and the changes in the information landscape. The main problem that we’ve heard about is fewer research and information dollars to meet growing research and information needs. In other words, there’s more stuff to find and track but fewer people and tools to do the work.
We knew it would be difficult to launch a new product suite in a terrible market, but the more we were told how bad things were the better Pulse began to look, especially since we went the freemium route as I described in my previous post. We’re providing a cost-effective solution to problems we heard over and over again from our information professional customers:
- We subscribe to a bunch of expensive market intelligence products and we need to cut costs.
- The research team has been eliminated. Everyone is on their own and they don’t know where to look past Google.
- Sell-side research: deteriorating quality, diminishing quantity and its two weeks old when it’s available to us.
In speaking directly with end-users at financial institutions and professional service firms, we heard a different set of issues. Bankers and consultants were more confident the business environment would turn around for them. Their recurring objective was customer acquisition and their major complaint was filtering.
- Anything that gives me an excuse to pick up the phone and call a prospect is worthwhile. But it has to be different than what everyone else gets.
- If you can provide good filtering I’ll talk to you. Right now the signal to noise ratio on what I’m reading is terrible.
- It’s become so easy to fall behind the customer. And that’s the kiss of death.
The “everyone is on their own” theme strongly confirmed that Pulse needed to be positioned as an end-user tool, so we focused on the end-user’s comments, keeping in mind that there was little money to be spent: we need to provide solutions which are cost-effective with a high signal-to-noise ratio. More on that in the next post.