Marketing Strategy · Customer Acquisition

If you invented a service for urban high-rise dwellers, how would you bring that product to market?

Sharon McCarthy Chief Marketing Officer

May 21st, 2016

I'm looking for tactics you think might work to reach this customer group.

Sam McAfee Building better technology leaders and teams

May 21st, 2016

Hi Sharon,

Typically, you test a business model by first talking to customers. You need to validate that your service invention actually solves a meaningful and painful problem for your target customers. The least risky way to begin testing it is to actually talk to them.

I'd recommend a few simple steps.

First, create a "business model canvas", or something like it. Make sure you list out all the possible customer segments, problem statements, channels where you can reach them, and then a cost and revenue structure (a strawman, usually. You'll refine it later).

Next, mock up a quick "persona" of your target customer. This is a way of stating in advance what your assumptions are about the customer's demographics, behaviors, and problems.

Next, conduct problem interviews. Do it in person. You can probably find customers by hanging around the shops and cafes near high-rise apartments. I have done this before for other consumer product ideas. You simply approach people, validate that they live in the towers, and ask if they want to be interviewed. Easy.

Once you have validated that you have a real problem that your service can solve, it's possible to start designing a very rough MVP of the service for further testing.

That is how I would approach it. I do lots of these projects as part of a structured MVP-testing process. Let me know if you need help.

EDIT: It is neither hard nor expensive to interview enough people to validate your idea is worth taking further. It just take time, effort, and a thick skin. It's best with a note-taker with you, so you can interview and he/she can take notes. You'll get better insights if you don't have to do both. A great resource on interviewing customers is Talking to Humans, by Giff Constable.

Andrew Chapman Publishing Entrepreneur and Author

May 21st, 2016

A little hard to answer without knowing more about the service, but your ticket is to get connected with the onsite management. It's too costly to reach everyone in such buildings individually, but if you could get the onsite reps to vouch for you, that's your best leverage. If it's something experiential and it's practical, doing demonstrations at the larger buildings would be good. If there's a way to share some of the revenue with the management, that's a great partnership incentive. And going even higher, you'd probably want to look at national- and regional-level management companies. For example, here in the DC area, there are several that manage dozens of residential buildings each. You might want to arrange an informational meeting with as many as you can to determine what they suggest. I know this is all fairly generic, but that's about the best I can suggest without knowing more. Oh... one more came to mind... trying to partner with or connect through bike-sharing and car-sharing services. A lot of the people who live in urban high-rises use these, which gives you a shot at getting your message/service in front of them.

Matthew Durrett Creative leader in strategy, ideation and management.

May 21st, 2016

Offer a free service to individuals that allow you to brand their window space for a limited time and place brand advertisements on the outside of high rise buildings. -- Taylor Durrett

Sidney Sclar SID the SECURITY PRO at

May 21st, 2016

Easy question to address.
If you have a product or service that fits the needs of the Leasing office in the high rise, present it. Renters are not big takers of monitored security systems. Leasing offices and Renters moving into a new home like the peace of mind available with Sid the Security Pro.

Adryenn Ashley Multiple exited startups as Advisor, CEO Loly (AR Dating), TV Host/Producer

May 21st, 2016

I would launch in NYC. I would focus on the downtown and other high rise condos, make the doorman your referral partner. [image: photo] *Adryenn Ashley* Social Media Influencer, Wow! Is Me, Inc. 415-420-5627 | | | Skype: wowisme <#> Achievements: 1 Million Comments in 1 month; 400,000 clicks to sales website in 1 month; over 60 Million video views in 1 Month. We start viral conversations that get seen, talked about and shared.

Don Carli Director, Infolio Customer & Market Insights

May 25th, 2016

Can you flesh out the persona of prospective customer and their purchase decision journey more fully? Other than the fact that members of the service's target group are urban dwellers... can you describe their unmet needs, occasions of use, demographics, and psychographics?

Pieter Iperen Entrepreneur and CTO

May 21st, 2016

Speaking as a target audience member. Most buildings now have newsletters and community events. If the product is a really good product you might be able to reach out directly to building management companies who may help you promote it. 


May 21st, 2016

How many cities/buildings/tenants are you planning to reach. I may have an idea.

Shel Horowitz I help organizations thrive by building social transformation into your products, your services, and your marketing

May 21st, 2016

I could think of many things to add to the excellent advice you've received--but the suggestions would vary a lot depending on what exactly you're marketing. You don't have to put out your whole business model, but you'll get better advice if at least you tell us what problem the product solves, if not what it actually is.

Scott Elrod mHealth technologist☁ex-COO/CIO@Cloud 9-tech for behavioral health■ex-CIO@AmeriDoc(now Teladoc) healing 1.5M patients

May 21st, 2016

Circle around the MOTIVE team. It is a startup accelerator here in Dallas focused only on technology for the real estate industry.