Examples of building an audience while in stealth mode


I'm trying to explain to a friend about building an audience before the product is built ... even while still designing the application.

Examples of this might include, opening social media accounts and/or a blog, and start adding value to the world immediately, then when your product is complete, you've already built your engaged audience.

Unfortunately, he doesn't really 'get it' and asked for an example of a company doing this. Fair enough, but even though I've seen it done before, when he asked, I kind of drew a blank.

Can anybody provide an example of a company which is currently building an audience even though they don't currently have a product yet?

Marketing Audience Building Example

asked Mar 27 '11 at 14:48
John Mac Intyre
1,086 points
Top digital marketing agency for SEO, content marketing, and PR: Demand Roll

3 Answers


One of the companies that in the last week sort of caused a twitter storm is http://dabble.in/ @wedabble in our office at least 4 people were signing up and interacting with them, without a clue about what the "product" was going to be.

They have followed a simple and now becoming a tried and tested method:

  • limited information on site, but enough teaser material
  • Create an invite scheme which encourages people to interact and tweet for quicker access in the future.
  • Once you hooked them, engage with them openly on social media channels
  • complete your product and open it to small tester group of die hard fans
  • let them swoon all over it and publicise it
  • expand

now from what I can tell dabble has only reached number 3 on that list and companies can work on products as vapourware until they have reached critical mass of people to start developing. Indeed we have in the past announced a product "concept" via social media, encouraged people to express an interest and to talk about it and only when we felt there was demand started to concentrate resources on it, it is a high risk strategy if people think they are being duped.
answered Mar 27 '11 at 19:06
Tim Nash
1,107 points
  • LaunchRock made a big splash at SXSW offering a way for start ups to collect prelaunch email addresses. Being prelaunch themselves, in self-referential fashion they are using it themselves. – Kenneth Vogt 13 years ago
  • Here some more info on Dabble.in http://www.hawaiiweblog.com/2011/03/23/dabble People are speculating that it will be a design sharing website similar to Dribble. Some of the guys behind Dribble launch Performable which had a blog before they launched the actual product. – Mike Walsh 13 years ago


My feeling is that the only way to do it is to have an audience via another capacity.

What I mean is if you have already been a successful entrepreneur, or have done something extraordinary, people will wait with anticipation for your next thing. That way you can give small previews and teasers.

But most people have not done anything that extraordinary to make others await with anticipation. For that reason, only very few people can get an audience without a product.

In fact, even with a product, most people still can not get any decent amount of attention. :)

answered Mar 27 '11 at 15:13
1,821 points
  • Thanks for the feedback. I edited my post to further clarify what I meant. (see the second paragraph about social media accounts) – John Mac Intyre 13 years ago
  • Yes that is what I had imagined the possible approaches. Is there a specific niche for the future of the product? I have a few thousand Twitter followers between all my accounts - I can help you promote your stealth idea, and you can see for yourself how effective your proposal is if you'd like to give it a try :) We could post the results here for others to see. – Genadinik 13 years ago
  • Well I definitely appreciate the offer, but I'm mostly just looking for an example of somebody already doing this to provide my friend. – John Mac Intyre 13 years ago
  • A great recent example was path.com (a social network for only the top 50 closest friends). The reason it was so anticipated was that it was founded by Dave Morin who was one of the top guys to make Facebook as successful as it became. – Genadinik 13 years ago


Because you need to open up a dialog with people who may actually pay for this software. You sit in a social situation and an accountant friend mentions how horrible the sofware they have to work with is because it lacks a particular feature. The typical programmer with aspirations of being an entreprenuer has bells go off in their head and runs home and builds some application. A month later, you show it to your accounting friend and they reluctantly inform you that your application is not what they had in mind. What a waste. You could have drawn the main screen on a napkin and they would have pointed you into another direction.

At balsamic, they even blogged about getting the company incorporated and other steps before going live.

answered Mar 28 '11 at 10:50
Jeff O
6,169 points

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