If you really want your business to succeed in a market where there may be significant competition or alternative offers, you need to build your product right.

A product that your customers truly want is going to be more successful than one that only meets half their needs. One way to ensure you meet their needs is to build your product around your client.

Find out more about building your product around your client in this blog post.

 

Why Do You Need To Build A Product Using Your Client’s Needs?

The end user of your product is the most important person in the business chain. Without their purchases you cannot run a business. A client is more likely to purchase a product if it entirely solves a particular problem or adds value to their life without any drawbacks.

Products which have flaws or are not designed to align perfectly with the lifestyle desires of their intended audience may sell, but their sales performance will never be optimal.

Building the product with the end user in mind is perfect for maximising potential sales.

 

How Can A Product Be Designed Around A Client?

Building a product around your target customer sounds difficult, and to an extent it is: it requires significant market research and knowledge of your industry. One of the first steps that you should do is to conduct market research.

Market research can be conducted in several different ways. The first is to hire a market research company. Often they have a vast database of customers who they can ask for opinions. The major problem is that this can open to abuse and results may not be accurate. Hiring a market research team can also be expensive.

Conducting the research yourself is a great option. You could ask consumers on the street what they think, attend trade fairs to ask attendees, host a focus group or organise online surveys.

The main objective in the market research phase is to find out what the major issues are with your target audience and what they would be likely to purchase to solve the problem. During these initial stages you are looking to ask questions and listen intently.

Set your questions so they are open-ended. Research demonstrates when people are asked: “Would you like X?” They are likely to answer yes. This is because they want to please the quiz master. This can skew your results.

Next you’ll want to go away and sit down with your product design team to come up with a few solutions. Then go back and get feedback from your customers on the designs you have made. From there you can adjust certain features of your product based on the feedback consensus.

Repeat this process several times until there is a general agreement your product solves the problem.

 

Common Mistakes Made When Creating A Product Designed Around the Clients

Several common mistakes are made when businesses create new products, even if they do it with consultation with their target audience. Here is a list of the common mistakes and how you can avoid them.

1. Not asking enough of their audience

Sometimes businesses believe asking a small proportion of their intended audience is sufficient. This is the biggest mistake. Populations, even in a demographic like a target audience, are very diverse. Asking too small a segment their opinions can sometimes hide the true problem within the market.

To combat this you need to ask as large a population as possible. At least 100 people should be a good starting point.

2. Being too leading in the questioning

You might have a good idea of what the main issues are within your industry. However, you target audience may have a different opinion. Asking leading questions such as “Do you think X has an impact on your Y” is a leading and closed end question. Both styles can give inaccurate results.

Instead, concentrate on open-ended questions, which give no clues as to what you want the recipient to say, for instance: “What do you think has an impact on your Y”. This way you can get more accurate information on what the target audience really thinks.

3. Concentrating solely on focus groups

Focus groups are excellent for collecting information. However, there are also inherent disadvantages. The major one is a dominant speaker situation. This is where one person in your focus group is too dominant and therefore, either no one else has a chance to speak or they all agree with everything the dominant member of the group says. Studies have shown individuals are likely to agree with a dominant personality to gain social favour.

Avoid this by using three or four different methods of collecting data on what your customers think.

4. Being too attached to a solution

This is very common with business leaders. Essentially if you already have a solution in mind you consider that to the best option. Often you are unlikely to want to change the idea, even if consumers don’t like the idea.

In this scenario, the analysis of the research is sometimes skewed to match the perception wanted by the business.

This needs to be avoided; otherwise the solution you have created will not align with your audience’s need and will sell poorly. Go into any meeting with a clear head, knowing that you may have to abandon certain aspects of your product.

 

Conclusion

Building a product around your client allows you to maximise your chances of creating a successful and best-selling product. To start building, you first need to include the thoughts of your target audience. Collect this information by holding surveys, focus groups and other market research to discover what problems they suffer from. Then go and design your product with their thoughts in mind.

 

Action Steps:

  • Start plans to build a new product for your market.
  • Ask your target audience what problems they suffer from.
  • Design a product around their needs.
  • Return to your customers to know their thoughts on the product you have designed.

Jake Burdess

Director at Aflua
This post is by Jake Burdess, the founder of Aflua and HEROIC. Jake is an English designer who lives in New Zealand with his wife and three kids.

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