STEP ONE BEFORE YOU START WITH DIGITAL PRODUCT DEVELOPMENTJune 06 2019 5 mins read
Do you really want to succeed in your business? Yeees?! Alright, let’s take a look at one of the first steps you can take to truly change the way you sell your product! It really doesn’t matter whether you have a digital or an offline business, there is one thing you should never forget:
Incorporating users into the development process brings X times more revenues.
ONE COMMON MISTAKE
So many companies, especially startups, are making a mistake that is costing them thousands of dollars annually. They are forgetting to identify the real needs of their customers because many entrepreneurs believe they have invented an extraordinary product. In fact, in 99% of cases, this is sadly not the case.
Many companies spend a huge portion of their budget on marketing and sales. After a few weeks, they realize their revenues are lower than expected. Where’s the problem? Have they forgotten something? Perhaps marketing is not everything. Maybe focusing on development is also not the only important thing. It looks like it’s necessary to start from the basics at this point…
DATA VS. ASSUMPTIONS
Do you know the feeling when you are struck with an amazing idea? It is like an explosion in your head. People are often eager to bring their idea to life as fast as possible after such inspiration strikes.
So what’s wrong with that?
Nothing is wrong with releasing a product fast. The problem is to succumb to the pressure of time and forget important steps.
Product owners and developers often assume that they know what their customer wants. After long meetings of brainstorming with your team, many brilliant ideas can be generated and that is essential to the product creation process.
My friend once told me, “Paper can take everything,” meaning that almost anything can look good on paper. A tangible product is a different story, though.
A team can create a complex written plan and roadmap, then they want to produce their product immediately because the ideas and features are so amazing that customers will surely love it. Now stop! How do you know? Do you have any proof? Are the features supported by real data?
If you do not have answers from the potential users of your product, ask yourself: “Am I really willing to spend thousands of dollars on product development based on a few people’s experiences who will never pay for my product?”
In most companies the product development process looks like this:
- An idea (Amazing idea!)
- Brainstorming on how to improve the idea
- Developing the ideal customer target group
- Brainstorming on how to adapt the product for potential customers
- Product development
- Launch: Marketing and sales
- …oh, why aren’t the sales numbers as huge as we expected???
- Begin with customer research and testing
- Optimize product
- Marketing and sales
- Good results
Let’s change just a few steps:
- An idea (Amazing idea!)
- Lean startup testing with real people
- Transforming the idea based on the results
- Developing the ideal customer target group
- Customer research with real users from your target group
- Product development and testing with real users and optimizing the product
- Launch: Marketing & sales
- Great results
- …and again, optimizing and testing to get even better results
The first thing is to outline your potential customers early in your product development process.
Contacting and understanding real users in your product development process shortens the time needed to launch the right product.
HOW TO OUTLINE POTENTIAL CUSTOMERS IN PRODUCT DEVELOPMENT FROM THE BEGINNING?
User research before your product is developed
User research helps companies make better business decisions and decreases the risk of project failure.
User research gives you insights into the customer’s overall behavior. User experience (UX) research gives you insight into how users interact with your product or service.
Thanks to user research we are able to understand customers deeply and we can more accurately determine their crucial needs. Finding their real needs is essential for product development, marketing and sales. If you can anticipate your user’s needs before they even realize their need, your business will grow like never before.
Qualitative user research
It is always a good idea to conduct qualitative user research. Including real people into the process will reveal valuable-qualitative insights about customer behavior.
Not rarely you will be surprised how different are the perspectives of various people. It is connected with their previous experiences. As I already mention do not rely only on your own experiences.
Better some research than none.
The most commonly used methods for qualitative user research:
- Focus groups
- Card sorting
Focus on people who represent your target groups! You need to know their thoughts.
It is necessary to ask about previous experiences with similar products to yours. Only then can you gain rich insight about their behavior and disposition towards the product. It may seem tempting to ask the user directly what they want. This may not turn out as nicely as it sounds because often a user has no idea what he or she wants. That is why we are there as the specialists building the project and providing direction.
Quantitative user research
If you need a larger amount of data about customers, there are two well-known possibilities to gather that.
If you want to have a lot of respondents, focus on the simplicity of the questionnaire. A good way is to use checkboxes or scales with concise questions.
There are a plethora of ways to distribute your questionnaire. The most popular way is to host it online. Thanks to social media, you can easily reach hundreds of people very quickly. Quantitative user research can give you a direction, but do not overestimate the results. If you want to understand the real needs of your customers, focus more on qualitative research
Always offer something valuable to the interviewee
- It could be your product or a free subscription
- A book, e-book, free courses, tickets to an event, etc.
- If you are researching the masses, offer them 15–100$ for one interview
..just be creative and you will find the right value for your interviewees for sure. Think of it as the first user testing :)
Continue to the next phase
Today’s article is about the steps you should take at the very beginning. Once your prototype is formed, do not forget to continue with user testing and user experience research.
The main thing you should remember from this article is:
Include your potential customers into the development process. It will help you create the right product in a shorter time with less budget waste.
More info about customer research, user experience research, and testing will be in upcoming articles. Follow us and don’t miss out on special tips for improving and growing your business.
Managing Partner & Growth Hacker
Finalist of the Startupper of the Year 2019 in the Czech Republic. SDGs Czech 2019 winner with Mavimi. Winner of Masters Gate CZE 2017 in the category of small and medium e-shops with Raj kovani. Ondrej helps companies grow faster, thanks to hacks and digital opportunities. Do you want to grow faster? Write to firstname.lastname@example.org.