Last, but certainly not least in this 3-part series, comes the section on actually conducting product research with those who have self-identified as interested in your product, or who have already become early adopters.
If you missed the first 2 parts, you can loop back to those below:
Once you’ve gone through the process of clarifying your problem and identifying your target market, it’s time to conduct your market research to ensure you’re solving the right problem, at the right time, with the right solution. We started off saying that was your ultimate goal, and we’re coming full circle on being able to achieve that as we work through these steps.
Once you’ve gone through the process of building out a list of people who have told you they’re interested in what you’re doing, you want to ensure you maximize that opportunity by getting the information you need from them to create the best possible product. This customer research is exactly how you will ensure you’re developing what your customers want and need.
In addition to building a relationship with these people and better understanding their wants and needs, you also want to include them throughout your MVP process. As you’re developing, testing, and tweaking, these are the ideal candidates to provide feedback and let you know if you’re going in the right direction.
In order to make the most of this opportunity, here are some tips and tricks to help you ascertain the most valuable information as you’re conducting product research.
Fight confirmation bias
As humans, we are all guilty of hearing and seeing what we want to. Confirmation bias is when we subconsciously give more weight to those things that align with our own beliefs and perceptions. Avoid the urge to seek out evidence that validates your beliefs around your product and your ideal customers.
If you really want to get smart about the validation process, you need to think of it differently. Rather than seeking validation, approach it as testing. You are simply looking to either confirm or deny something, and either way, the outcome will be scientific in nature and not an emotional endeavor. When you can truly conduct your research in an unbiased and objective manner, you will uncover the truth. And remember, this isn’t about getting confirmation that your product rocks — it’s about uncovering the innermost problems and desires of your customers so that you can create the solution they need.
Ask the right questions
It’s important that you pose the right questions, in the right way, if you’re really going to uncover the information you’re after. It’s incredibly common for confirmation bias, as mentioned above, to seep into this process as well. Don’t ask presumptive or leading questions in order to find the confirmation you’re looking for. When you push people in one direction, they have the tendency to go there whether they mean to or not.
Instead, ask open-ended questions that leave room for the customer to create their own narrative. You want to uncover what struggles your customer is dealing with, what their desires are, and understand how your product fits into that mix. How can your product get better and make things even easier for them? How do they wish it would funtion? You can’t expect people to tell you how to give them what they need, but you can expect them to recognize it when they see it.
Never stop testing
Remember that conducting product research is an ongoing process and that this process should be incorporated into your regular business activities. If you want your product to continue to deliver superior results, you will need to have an ongoing conversation with your clients to ensure your products grow and change to meet their evolving needs and wants.
That concludes our deep-dive into product validation. I hope this 3-part series has clarified the steps you need to follow BEFORE BUILDING your product, to ensure you’re solving the right problem, at the right time, with the right solution!