Top Ten Tips to build products that delight customers


Products that delight or exceed customer expectations are well positioned to succeed in the market place. Adherence to some “design thinking” principles below help Product Managers define and build successful products. With a good grasp of the customer problem, follow the steps outlined below.

1. Great products are built by Product Managers that truly empathize with their customers. In order to do this, get into their skin, walk in their shoes to experience their pain/problem. You can either shadow them or actually do their job. Interview potential customers regarding their tasks – ask them the “why, what, when, how”. Question the complexity or time needed to complete a task.
2. Capture all your learning. Take pictures or videos. Process all the learning. Separate facts from opinions. Get clarification if required. Build “customer journey maps” that tell their story. Capture emotions during the journey map. It will guide you to the focus areas and “key moments of truth”.
3. Ensure that you have a clear definition of the problem you are going after in the customer journey map. Capture the outcomes and align on how success will be measured. Be aware of assumptions, get clarification if needed.
4. Creatively brainstorm ideas to solve the problem. Dream big. Use some brainstorming techniques like “Affinity Diagrams” with post it notes. Unleash the team’s imagination. Be patient and inclusive to diverse ideas.
5. Quickly build a prototype. Use simple tools. Speed and learning is more important than getting it right the first time. At this stage debate, experiment, fail, and learn. Sharpen ideas with feedback, reflection, and adjustment. It saves time and money in the long run.
6. Test the prototype with customers. Get a diverse sample of potential customers to collect a holistic set of opinions. Observe the customer using the product without participating and influencing reactions. Ask open ended questions.
7. Debrief together to share customer responses. Iterate changes in the prototype based on the comments. Take it out for another test drive with a different set of customers.
8. Once you feel satisfied that you have customer validation build the MVP (minimum viable product). Again, don’t wait for perfection. “Go with your gut”. Document all assumptions.
9. Take the MVP for a trial run with beta customers. Perceive customer reactions and learn from them.
10. Launch the product, gather and synthesize reactions, and improve. Repeat the process with another customer problem.

For more information on Design Thinking :

Top Ten Tips for effectively taking a product to market


A Go to Market (GTM) Strategy answers the following 5 questions:

Whom will we target within the proposed market?

What will be our product/solution for prospective customers?

How will we market our products to prospective customers?

Where will we sell our products to prospective customers?

How much will we charge for our products for different customer segments?

A Go to market strategy is part of the Product Strategy definition. (See prior post “10 Steps to create an effective Product Strategy”). The scope of the strategy and plan covers all topics that must be addressed to successfully bring a differentiated, compelling and unique selling proposition to the market that will resonate with your target customers. Below are some tips to create one.

  1. As the product is defined with requirements start a clear and actionable blueprint of a “Go To Market” strategy and plan. Define the KPIs for success of GTM initiative along with revenue projections by location if necessary.
  2. Segment and analyze the target market. For a new product, use data driven information to decide the customer for initial market penetration. Recognize and understand the persona of the decision makers, recommenders and influencers.
  3. Build the collateral: digital, and print. Prepare for marketing campaigns.
  4. If required ensure compliance with legal, and regulatory requirements. Take into consideration any geographical and local needs.
  5. A comprehensive communication plan covers the Website Launch, Roadshow, and other events depending on the product and location. Don’t forget social media to get the word out.
  6. Differentiate and position the product from its competition. Have a pricing and packaging strategy that includes discounts.
  7. Partners need to be ready with training and communication so that they can build awareness, transact purchases, implement and support customers.
  8. Conduct Sales Training and arm the team with collateral, pricing, competitive differentiation information to close deals. Ensure ready relevant material to support choice drivers in the various stages of the buying process. Prepare Demand Servicing and Deal Closure templates.
  9. Build the support strategy, requirements, and training. Train the support organization to handle implementation and end user inquiries. Address all aspects of operational readiness.
  10. After completing the above, measure successes against the KPIs defined and learn using a post mortem exercise to improve for the next one.