Signs You’re Doing Too Little
There are several simple sense-checks that can help you know that investing a few more days on customer research would be worthwhile. If one or more of these signs exist, you should revisit your previous interview notes or perhaps schedule a few more customer-interview sessions to drive that last bit of insight you need before moving forward. Here are some possible deficiencies in your learnings that you should consider:
- Being unaware of your target customers’ journey from start to finish—Building an appreciation for your customer’s end-to-end journey is probably the first thing you should do. If you’re still unsure about all the steps customers should take, how customers’ emotions vary, who they’re interacting with, and what tools they’re currently using along the way, you should keep learning until you’ve laid out a clear—and preferably visual—customer-journey map. This can help you to better define where precisely in that journey your solution should fit.
- Not knowing how customers who are adjacent to your core target look or how your target customer base breaks down—Establishing personas can help you differentiate important characteristics among similar user types. By outlining their actions, needs, behaviors, and desires, you can better define exactly what target users you want to win. As generalizable as user actions might be, no market is truly singular, so make sure you draw out distinctions and similarities within subgroups of consumers to better define whose needs your product is really addressing.
- Not having a particular customer’s voice in your head—You must capture the experience of a single, identifiable customer who you think epitomizes your target user and use that customer to rally your team. The power of specific user stories is immense and can be highly effective in pitching your venture to others. Building a new venture is tricky because the path is full of distractions and possibilities. The voice of the consumer can be your compass. Revisit your research until you’re able to pull out enough customer verbatims to ensure user centricity among your team.
- Being unsure about how customers would describe the problem in their own words—Consumers tend to have different mental models and concepts that they use to explain the same problem. To ensure that you optimize all your copy and marketing for customer conversions, you must speak consumers’ language. So avoid using jargon and complex constructions. Use consumers own words wherever possible.
- Lacking adequate ways to gauge how customers perceive your competitors—Before you design and build anything for your audience, there’s so much you can learn from what they think about products that already exist in the marketplace. So make sure you’ve had ample opportunity to ask consumers about what products they’ve seen, heard of, or used before—the competitors playing in the same arena. Ask consumers for their thoughts about those solutions—and why they did or did not enjoy using them. If they’ve never tried those products before, why not? What would change their mind about a product?
- Being unclear on how the problem you’re solving compares to other painpoints in your customers’ lives—It’s crucial that you grasp how the painpoint you’re focusing on solving stacks up against your audience’s other relevant circumstances and issues. Do they care enough about this painpoint to give you the time and money to solve it? Or is there a more important problem on which you could and should be focusing?