The scene plays out in meetings throughout the world … bright minds sitting around a table, exploring how to build the next “can’t miss” product. After multiple iterations of “it should like this … work like that … cost this much …”, the question comes, “ … well … what do YOU think?”
And after several “let’s go around the room” cycles of THE question … an internal idea hatched inside the company suddenly becomes a meaty project, and the race is on to go fast and get-to-market. Multiple iterations of THE question ensue during the tactical work, and eventually this “can’t miss” solution hits the street … based on the wisdom and experience of those great minds inside the company. It’s “insights on the cheap.” and while the “go-fast” effort can be exhilarating, it has the same odds of success as playing roulette, and in many cases, a larger financial investment than what you’d put down in the casino.
REAL insights and research are absolutely essential to sound strategic planning and related execution. The practice of “going around the boardroom table” asking THE question should be included as part of insights and planning cycles. But to really solidify the value proposition, businesses of any size and shape should ALWAYS allocate some resources (time, money or both) to capturing opinions of those who REALLY matter … those who actually BUY the product … or simply put … ask the customers.
Here’s a checklist to consider for launching new brands:
- Focus on simplicity and clarity of your offering
- Work to ensure alignment, both with the market AND with your internal teams
- Interview your internal stakeholders – typically one-on-one to avoid “group-think” feedback
- Customer focus groups are important, but not essential; rather, in-depth interviews will help you capture important market feedback
- Online surveys will help you get precision around your go-to-market strategy in terms of the specific details.
Finally, analyze your data … internal or external … to further understand how the product will be embraced, and hopefully, purchased. It’s an old philosophy, but it’s true … history is the best indicator of future behavior. And that practice plays out through an analysis of prior activity.
So, the next time you’re asked, “… what do YOU think?”, reply with your thoughts, but then remind your team, “… it really matters MORE what our CUSTOMERS think …” Moving to the #TopRight can be fun and exciting, especially if you ask the right questions to the right people.