The Consumer Matters is the blog of Leslie Grandy, aka Gearhead Gal.  My passion is creating and delivering compelling products that delight customers through simple and elegant user experience design.

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Thursday
Oct152009

Recipes for Product Bakers

As a product design and development professional, I think about the ingredients that make a great product with each roadmap and requirements document. As a customer, I'd rather not know. That gap made me realize something about the some of the flaws in the ingredients I've utilized for gaining customer insight for my product recipe. As a consumer, I may read reviews from strangers on Amazon or Yelp, and over time I may discover individuals that share my taste in restaurants or books. But the biggest influencers in my decisionmaking are folks in my various professional and social and family groups, or as the social media gurus call them, "tribes". People I actually know.

So why do market researchers interview individuals in quantitative surveys or invite strangers to gather and share focus groups? When unprepared for a series of survey questions, I may answer the questions in isolation of the expertise or opinions I'll seek when actually confronted with seeking a product. In a room with other strangers being asked to talk about my lifestyle or product usage, I am reticent to reveal my answers, if the group's answers indicate I'm old or out-of-touch.

Predicting customer behavior is the goal of market research, and most customer-centric product managers would tell you their users' insights are represented if they use qualitative and quantitative research tools to prioritize feature lists. In a new book - the size of a children's book, admittedly - by Alex Bogusky and John Winsor called "Baked In", this approach to developing and marketing great products is considered "old school." They maintain that by integrating your marketing strategy into a product's design from the concept and prototype phase, you close the gap between what you build and the story you tell about it.  The authors maintain that gap creates the undifferentiated oblivion into which many mass marketed, mainstream products fade. Click here to watch a video Q&A with Alex and John in which they explain how they've used their own recipes with the creation of this book. Let me know what you learn that you didn't already know, or if there was a recipe you really liked.

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