Building Mind Share

I listened to a founder speak today. He said something that stuck with me:

“Mind share precedes market share.”

It’s simple but powerful.

Lots of people build great solutions that don’t get used. It’s the if you build it, they will come mentality. Unfortunately, it’s not that easy. People must know your solution exists before they can use it.

So how do you get mind share? Many approaches involve marketing skills. I have zero marketing skills, so I won’t speak to any of them. One approach that doesn’t require marketing know-how is doing customer discovery before you build your solution.

Take time to understand the problem by finding and listening to people who are experiencing the problem. People love to talk about their problems. If you listen, you’ll hopefully build rapport with them, and they’ll remember you in connection with this problem. Once you solve the problem, you can go back to these same people. You’ll likely be considered a trusted person, and they’ll give your solution a shot. If it works well and they’re happy, you can ask them to introduce you to other people experiencing the same problem. It’s a slower way to build mind share, but it’s effective.

If you’re a founder, consider periodically thinking about how you’ll build mind share before you can build market share.