Marketing is an integral part of nearly every business’ success, especially the realm of software. It is a vital tool necessary to spread the word about a product. However, as Amazon is currently discovering with their Fire Phone, no amount of money can turn a mediocre product into a success story. This rings true specifically when the product is marketed to the wrong audience entirely.

Indeed, it is important for businesses in the competitive world of software to create and sell a product that fulfills a need and caters to a group of people. No one needs a program that is redundant, such as an app that keeps track of one’s daily shampoo or toothpaste consumption. It is easy to tell if those items are low, and when they are, consumers go to the store and buy more.

Another example might be a program that keeps track of how often a person runs into walls or trips on curbs. That type of app neither fulfills an important need nor caters to a group of people. Moreover, it performs an irrelevant or redundant function. Something that serves no purpose.

Now, an app that caters to a wide group of professionals might be something that keeps track of certain word usage throughout the day. For instance, how many times a person uses the word “like.” Such an app could be useful for college students, professors, motivational instructors, preachers or the average person looking to improve his or herself.

In the world of marketing and business development, Growth Hackers aim to streamline products until they reach “Product Market Fit” and achieve a “Value Proposition” (Holiday, linkedin.com). Essentially, this means that a business or product is completely in-sync with its consumer base. In other words, it fulfills a need for an established market.

Amazon spent its time and money marketing their new Fire Phone as a high-end smart phone, when it actually had mediocre specs. Moreover, its semi-3D technology selling point was a gimmick. This also betrayed their consumer base, who purchased cheaper yet reliable products, such as the Kindle and Kindle Fire. Not only did Amazon create a redundant smart phone in an established and highly saturated market, but they also marketed it to the wrong set of consumers.

These are hard lessons to learn. Large and small businesses alike need to utilize the Socratic Method and base their products upon customer feedback. Starting with a “Minimum Viable Product” and working their way towards something complete and whole. Something that fulfills a want, need, and desire in a significant portion of the population.

To do this, look towards companies like Snapchat and Instagram. They tweaked their apps until large numbers of young people wanted to use their products. They listened. Take their example and run with it. Don’t measure the toothpaste.