Deirdre Breakenridge identifies a problem in the market and how you can determine whether your product or service features will be the solution to this problem.
- In 1909, Henry Ford, the creator of the Ford Model T car, said, "If I had asked people what they wanted, "they would have said faster horses." A critical piece of your go-to-market plan is defining your customers' problems and then validating your product. It's true that your customers have problems, but they think only in terms of what they know, not necessarily what you're capable of delivering in the form of a new product.
Faster horses may not have led to the automobile industry as we know it today. You have to think outside of the box and also pick up on the silent calls for help to solve a customer's problem. The process begins by asking people the right questions to draw out the problems your customer is trying to solve. You want to make sure you interview enough customers, evaluators, and target users to establish problem-solving patterns. Five to 10 interviews per subset of your market should provide you with sufficient data.
And remember, when you're interviewing people, sometimes problems are unspoken. For example, when a major TV manufacturer was conducting research on the size, shape, and affordability of TVs, the company uncovered another issue: people constantly complaining about how they lost their remote controls. This was the perfect opportunity to develop a remote control finder that launched in the market that same year. So, what questions would you ask if you had the opportunity to speak with your market? Here are three questions you can ask if you were interviewing business owners who don't have the time and who need products to be more efficient.
Number one, what takes you the most time when it comes to your work? Number two, what do you love to do the most and what would you outsource? And number three, what causes the most frustration during your workday or work night? Once you've identified your problem pattern, now it's time to further validate the problem by asking yourself the following. Will customers care about this problem in the long term if it's not solved for them? And, are they looking for an immediate solution and your product answers their calling? Next, think about how deep the problem runs.
After conducting interviews, you should collect quantitative survey data that shows a large portion of your target market is asking for a solution to their problem. You're looking for validation which shows the interviews you've conducted reveals only a tip of the iceberg. Lastly, you want to be sure your customers will pay for your product. In other words, if you can answer yes to the urgency and market pervasiveness questions, then you can move forward knowing people will be willing to make a purchase.
Now, your product has been validated not just by the boardroom, but by your customers, evaluators, and potential market users. Your market is looking for solutions, not more products that don't meet their needs. Let your customers share their problems, whether they're clearly identified or silent needs you draw out. If you do, then you'll receive your product validation and be able to move to the next part of your go-to-market plan.
- Building your go-to-market (GTM) plan foundation
- Assessing whether you need a marketing or GTM plan
- Entering new markets with a competitive advantage
- Developing your product vision and message
- Setting your product price at launch
- Setting up your channel strategy
- Driving better channel performance
- Evaluating KPIs and metrics
- Storytelling and the customer journey