How to Use Customer Development for Your New Idea

Here is the transcript for the video on customer development.

Hello there, Mike Grabham here again today. Today we are going to talk about the thing I think is the most important process of creating a great product or service. And that is the customer development process. Now that process happens before you ever build a product. Now I want to be clear here, it happens before you build a product. So whether it’s a product or hardware or software or service, doesn’t matter. You should be talking to customers before you build the product.

So it’s really simple, we should be doing a couple of things at the same time or one right after the other. So I would recommend doing the customer development interview process first, and that is talking to the customer face-to-face. They’re not relatives, they’re not your friends, they’re people that you don’t know that you can get some quality feedback from about your product. You should be asking these people things like, what do you like about the product? What do you hate about the product? What would force you not to buy the product? You need to learn the things that these people are motivated by.

And at the same time, when you’re doing those customer interviews you should be asking them questions about what do they do online? Where do they go online? What do they read online? What do they like, all these things, we should be learning those things because remember, we have to market to these people once we have a product. We learn things by talking and, by interviewing 25, 50, 75 people, and I say 25 at the minimum. 75 or 100 people is much better, but 25 at the minimum you have to interview.

Now, after that’s done, then you can start what we’ve talked about before … placing ads as if the product exists, placing ads and start marketing to potential customers. So whether that’s Facebook or LinkedIn or Instagram, whatever you choose, really doesn’t matter. But we have to create the ads. Now, when we’re creating ads to market to people, we start with the audience first. We don’t create an ad and then look for the audience.

We identify the audience and create the ad, the reason why we do this is because to think about it. If you have an ad that is for a 35 to 45-year-old woman, that ad is going be different if your target audience is a 35 to a 45-year-old man. It’s just that simple. You’re going to have different text, you’re going to have different images, you have different messaging, it’s going be different if you’re marketing to a woman than you are to a man. So it’s important to choose the audience and then create the ad based on the audience you’re marketing to. And if it doesn’t work, you just change the audience and then you change the ad.

But you should be learning that when you’re talking to these customers face-to-face, right? So you can do this dual-action of both learnings about marketing and learning about how to build a product. It should be happening at the same time.

And then going and marketing to people and trying to sell the product again before it even exists. So you start to learn what you can charge for it, where you’re marketing, what it’s going cost to acquire customers, you’re going to start to learn all these things before you ever have a product. So, those are my tips for today.

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