The 3 Questions We Must Ask To Build A Winning Product
“The strength of brand loyalty begins with how your product makes people feel.”- Jay Samit, Digital Media Innovator
Building a product is tough. The intersection of the hard work, late nights, and relentless focus required can lead us to lose sight of critical guiding principles. Teams sometimes get strategically distracted when faced with the daily pressures of managing sales, operations, product, investors, and whatever fire drills pop up. A successful team, however, never loses sight of the customer. Products are, after all, all about the customer.
A product that successfully addresses an unmet customer need is a winning product, and we must keep the focus squarely on the customer when developing it.
The following three questions can help maintain this focus:
1. How well do I understand the intended customer?
Products solve problems. They need a reason to exist. We must make sure the product is not just a solution looking for a problem, but a solution to a clearly identified, real problem.
Talking to potential users and customers early in the product development process is critical to zeroing in on the product’s potential value proposition.
We may find ourselves modifying the original idea as we learn from customers and that’s exactly the purpose. We turn our idea into a winning product with the help of our customers.
We must, however, resist getting lost in the customer research and data. When we stick to our intuition and vision and use our knowledge to improve our initial idea, we move towards a better product.
2. What is the minimum number of features that I need in order to build to a minimal viable product (MVP)?
It is critical to put an initial solution in front of customers as quickly as possible in order to get the aforementioned input. The feedback is exceedingly valuable once customers experience our product versus imagining it as a theoretical concept. We want to position ourselves to benefit from the feedback as we are building our product, not after we have built out all the features. The essence of the user experience must be evident.
At the same time, we must be careful not to compromise on the product experience too much for the sake of MVP. If this happens, the MVP will not represent our vision, and ultimately the feedback we collect will not be relevant. The MVP must represent the initial product with the minimum number of features that allow it to be tested for validation.
3. How is my product better at addressing the customer problem versus alternatives?
In addition to understanding our customers, we can learn from other companies who have — even if unsuccessfully — tried to solve the problem that we are addressing. This helps avoid unforeseen pitfalls we might encounter later in the product lifecycle.
It’s important to assess the alternatives with an open mind. How are customers solving the problem today without our product? Will they be better off with our solution? It is important to offer enough incremental value to customers that they are willing to try our new product, even if it requires a significant behavioral change.
When combined together, these important questions will help us create a value proposition that compels customers to try our product and positions them to be delighted by their experience.
This article was written by Avenue Group Collaborator Abhishek Bisarya