Resources > Articles

Beta Program Testing: Beginner Marketing Guide

program

A successful beta test program accomplishes three goals.  The first is to get greater test coverage.  The second is to get market feedback.  The third is to prepare your organization to support the new product. All of these goals should be considered when planning a beta program and are equally important. From the engineer’s perspective the beta is a way to move the product into the hands of potential customers who will use the product in wide range of environmental conditions that could not be simulated in the lab.  But a beta program should never be a substitute for good testing practices or usability testing.

program
Photo By Markus Spiske on Unsplash

You still have a responsibility to provide the best testing you can and the UI should be baked.  It doesn’t have to be perfect, but ship a buggy beta you may have a very difficult time finding beta customers for the next release. From the marketer’s perspective the beta is a way to get customer feedback of what is liked about the product and what needs to be improved.  It’s also a way to validate market research and assumptions about positioning.  Funny things happen when a product gets into the hands of customers.  New uses for your product will be discovered and some things you thought were really cool (and differential) will get lukewarm response.

Be prepared and be open minded. From a customer support perspective a beta is a way to interact with customers in a relatively forgiving environment to gain experience handling common issues.  Often developers want to be the ones with direct contact with beta customers.  The upside is direct feedback.  The downside is once the product ships those customers will know who you are and may expect to reach you directly when they have problems.  Using customer support as a first line of defense enables the development team to be more effective in the long run. Beta tips:

  • Don’t use a beta program as a substitute for good testing practices
  • Involve development, QA, customer support and marketing
  • Have someone with a good market understanding take the lead
  • Don’t flood beta customers with new releases
  • The beta program will always take much longer than you think it will
  • Require registration for all beta customers
  • Give beta customers something for their efforts
  • Reach out to customers for feedback, including making phone calls
  • No feedback = failed beta

Other articles on beta programs:

Other Resources in this Series

Most Recent

Optimizing product management budgets
Article

How to do More With the Same (or fewer) Resources in 2023 with Segmentation and Targeting Updates

Six steps to a data-driven understanding of your best-fit buyer. Improve the efficiency and effectiveness of your marketing programs by shifting your focus (and budgets) to best-fit personas and ICPs. 
Person working on project management software on a tablet
Article

10 Tools for Product Managers 

The right product tools can make it easier to manage your team, but there are hundreds out there—so how do you choose which one is right for you?
Purchasing on a mobile device with a credit card
Article

8 Distribution Strategy Examples For Product Teams 

A distribution strategy is a blueprint for how your company delivers its products to customers. Here are 8 methods and helpful examples. 
Magnifying glass emphasizing the word data
Article

Going Beyond Win/Loss Data

The true value of a win/loss program comes from unfolding the narrative behind that data. 
Article

Comprehensive Approach to Win/Loss Analysis 

Win/loss analysis is all about capturing intel about the buying process from the buyer’s perspective. And yet, so often companies struggle to understand why prospects make the buying decision they do.

OTHER ArticleS

Optimizing product management budgets
Article

How to do More With the Same (or fewer) Resources in 2023 with Segmentation and Targeting Updates

Six steps to a data-driven understanding of your best-fit buyer. Improve the efficiency and effectiveness of your marketing programs by shifting your focus (and budgets) to best-fit personas and ICPs. 
Person working on project management software on a tablet
Article

10 Tools for Product Managers 

The right product tools can make it easier to manage your team, but there are hundreds out there—so how do you choose which one is right for you?

Sign up to stay up to date on the latest industry best practices.

Sign up to received invites to upcoming webinars, updates on our recent podcast episodes and the latest on industry best practices.

Training on Your Schedule

Fill out the form today and our sales team will help you schedule your private Pragmatic training today.

Subscribe

Subscribe

Training on Your Schedule

Fill out the form today and our sales team will help you schedule your private Pragmatic training today.