Use customer development to better your product

Customer development is importunate because what customers tell you and what they actually do are two different things.

Using customer development to better your product

Anita B. Newton
Anita B. Newton

Anita B. Newton has 20 years of experience helping large marketing organizations such as P&G and Sprint and small companies like Zave Networks, which has since been acquired by Google, grow. She currently runs marketing at startup Mighty Green Solutions, a CPG company that makes eco-friendly products and improves the customer shopping experience. Today she brought her expertise to the Lean Startup Conference in San Francisco as one of the participants in the Early Morning Talks.

Netwon talked about how crucial it is to know your customer. When they were doing product development for the Mighty Handle, they used the web to learn about their customers. In fact, they used three key sites: Amazon, Facebook and YouTube.

For starters, they decided to focus on customer reviews. They would comb through Amazon comments looking to answer three questions:

  • Why did you buy it?
  • What did you use it for?
  • Would you recommend it to a friend?

LionessMagazine_Using customer development to better your productBased on the data and feedback, Newton said the product packaging changed. However, the 12 responses they managed to get simply was not enough.

So the team decided to purchase some advertising on Facebook using different images to learn which product image resonated with them, because you cannot rely solely on the reviews and survey answers of consumers. Why?

Behavior can change when someone is watching. For example, she asked the audience to think about when they go shoe shopping and the store clerk asks you to walk in the shoes. She said you don’t walk how you normally would because someone’s watching. In fact, she joked, my daughter walks like a model. She said asking your customer feedback questions is the same thing.

“What customers tell you and what they actually do are two different things,” Newton said. “The antidote is watch them, don’t ask them.”

She also shared that it is important to target customers based on what they love, not vice versa. When Mighty Handle started their marketing campaign on YouTube, one of the things they discovered was that their customers loved Enrique Iglesias. In fact, their hits went up whenever Enrique was associated with their advertising.

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