Nets or spears
Once you’ve chosen a big ocean, and the wind is in your sails. Half the battle is won. Now you just need to capitalize on the opportunity.
How will you actually capture these fish? Will you use a net? Or will you go spear hunting?
Having a great product is useless if you can’t get into the hands of your customers. This is the distribution question.
Innovative distribution models are the secret sauce behind some of the world’s best success stories. It’s what Amazon, Google, and PayPal all have in common.
Amazon, Google, and PayPal have basic value propositions e.g. pay for ads to get front of your customer, buy a new TV, and spend money. Basic value propositions aren’t what’s needed. Powerful distribution models are.
Google’s value proposition is boring as hell (buy ads to get in front of your customers), but the way they executed it was incredibly novel (paying for ads on internet search results instead of billboards).
Amazon’s value proposition is nothing new (buy your favorite books), but the way they executed it was (buy your favorite book online and receive it the next day).
PayPal is the same. Spend money. Nothing new. But the way they leveraged network effects to get viral distribution meant they could get to a critical mass far quicker than their better funded competition.
In my opinion, innovative ways of attracting, capturing, and retaining customers (aka distribution models) are the most exciting parts of a go-to-market.
We’re seeing an exciting new method evolving today with product-led growth which is creating exceptional amounts of value for companies like Zoom, Slack, and Dropbox.