How to Make the Product Your Customers Really Want
July 10, 2017
It’s what every business wants – to create an innovative, smash-hit product that brings real value to customers whilst also generating huge profits for the organisation itself. However, in the emerging technology sector, so many businesses launch products that fail to hit it off with the markets that they are intended for. When this occurs, some companies are able to learn from what went wrong and try again. In other situations, investing company resources in developing an unsuccessful product can mark the end of the business as a whole.
With so much at stake, how can you make the products that your customers really want?
1. Create value
The first step is to recognise that customers want products that bring value to them. Whether your product is intended for businesses or individuals, it is crucial that what you develop solves real, tangible problems for your market. Products that fail to make a mark are often those that deliver little actual benefit to the customer. Whilst this might seem basic, it is crucial to create something of value to an identified customer. An innovation that is full of brilliant features is irrelevant to your market unless it meets their specific needs.
2. Know your customer
So, your product must bring value to your customer by solving one of their problems. But how do you know the kinds of problems your foreseen customers experience? How do you know which of these is most pressing? The one challenge that they would most like solved? The answer here is simple. You need to speak with your foreseen customers and ask them. The easiest way to find out your customers’ problems, challenges and requirements is to conduct thorough market research. Reach out to your network of industry contacts and any previous customers or clients that you may have. Meet up for coffee or arrange a phone call and discuss their business challenges. It is very difficult to develop an outstanding product out of context of the market for which it is intended. Build up a picture of who your market is, and what exactly they want and need.
3. Be relevant
So far, you have learned about the problems that your end users and customers experience. However, it is not enough to simply seek the opinions and experiences of those that you know. In order to create a value proposition that satisfies a large enough market to deliver significant business results, it is important to widen the lens. Be sure to look closely at wider industry and market trends in addition to consumer buying patterns and the social, economic, and political context that your innovation will operate within. This process will not only help you to identify the most valuable benefits of your innovation, but also give an indication as to how your product should be priced and marketed.
4. Bring your customers and end users on board
Many companies will conduct thorough market research, competitor and industry analysis, and use this to inform the development of their product. Few, however, consider collaborating with their foreseen customers throughout the development process. Bringing your customers and end users onto your project, therefore, can truly set your product apart from the crowd. By choosing to collaborate with potential customers and end users in this way, you will be able to gain valuable insights into your target market that you might not otherwise have gained. You may also gain your very first customers and brand ambassadors in the process.
5. Avoid complacency
Once your product has been developed and launched, don’t become complacent. The product itself is only one aspect of customer experience. Regularly seek detailed feedback from your customers about the product and its features, and ask them how they think it could be improved. Take a holistic approach, and regularly review your customer service and support models, in addition to your systems security. Outstanding customer service can go a long way in ensuring repeat business and loyal customers.
Huduma Limited is an emerging technology consultancy company based at Harwell Campus in Oxfordshire. Huduma specialises in helping businesses and project consortiums to take a strategic approach to commercialising their innovations.
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