The key to product innovation is listening. All entrepreneurs want to succeed; however, the business landscape is littered with failed startups that did not adequately listen to the market and their customers. In order to compete in this shifting landscape, it is critical that you listen, actually listen, to the problem your customers are having and tailoring your solution to solve it.
“Every company in the world claims to be customer-centric, but are they really thinking from customers’ point of view? To become truly customer-centric, companies need to look beyond their products and services to the problem the customer is trying to solve.” (Harvard Business Review, Are You Really Innovating Around Your Customers’ Needs?)
Identify the Problem
“Often customers have difficulty articulating the problem they are trying to solve. Therefore, it is critical to dig deeper to understand the root cause of customers’ challenges.” (Harvard Business Review)
By digging deeper into the customer’s problem or challenge, you will be able to develop your product to get to the heart of the issue. This will force you to look beyond your product and give you an understanding of the root cause of the problem as well as the market you are launching into. From there you can be sure that your product solution is designed to solve this pain point for your customers.
Listen to Your Market
Once you have a product idea, get out there and start talking to your target market about it. Product innovation doesn’t happen in a vacuum. An understanding of the market will provide insight into the competition, best distribution methods, customer acquisition and manufacturing. A good first step is to figure out if you will be launching into a new market, an established market or a re-segmented market. (Read more: Knowing Your Market Segment)
Once you understand the market, start talking and listening to your potential customers. Ask your target customers if they would use it, how much they would pay for it and what they would change about it. This feedback is critical and a great way to not only begin the introduction of your product, but also a way to get information that will make your product even more suited to your customers’ needs.
Many entrepreneurs and startup founders skip this step because they fear negative feedback, don’t let that fear hinder you from this step in the product development process.
Adapt Your Product
Once you have received feedback on your product, now it’s time to adapt your design. Take the feedback from your target market and put it into action. The better suited your product is to address their need, the more successful your product will be.
We understand that changing your initial product idea can be hard in the same way that pivoting a business is hard. Shifting from what you thought customers wanted to what customers actually want is challenging for any entrepreneur. However, long-term success is the goal, and you want to build a product that people will buy.
If you are ready to build a new and innovative product, the first step is to listen. True innovators know how to listen to the market and potential customers even in a crowded marketplace.
3D Innovations is a Product Development Company – from the 3D Design to a fully functional 3D Prototype & Product.