Customer Developement


This blog article is based on the 3 Things This Week’s edition dated 30th August 2018. The theme of this edition is “customer development”.

Today when you can get any data about your customers—from which websites they spend the most time on to whether they use Android or Apple—picking up the phone or traveling to meet them can feel old-fashioned, like a waste of time. But it isn’t. Calling and visiting your customers is still one of the best ways to generate real insights—and most startups are not doing it. Why? Because start-ups are confusing data with knowledge. They think if they install this analytic tool or use that growth hack, they’ll have the secret recipe to build a successful startup.”

The bottom line is that the data can tell you what your customers do, but it can’t tell you why they do it.

When you talk to your prospects, you are treating them more on a human to human basis than just a “user” basis.  This creates a connection and an interest in them as “persons” and gets us in a conversation mode no matter how much we dread the idea of talking to a stranger.

Here are this week’s 3 things:

Thing # 1: Tips for Early Customer Development Interviews

Want to know what to focus on early in customer interviews? Read these tips from Giff Constable to get you on the right track.

Thing #2: How to Structure (and get the most out of) Customer Development Interviews

Jason Evanish gives his suggestions for “getting out of the building” and interviewing customers for product-market fit. One of the hardest things in customer development is structuring the questions for customer development, so check out this article to learn how to structure interviews to maximize their effectiveness.

Thing #3: The Art of the Customer Development Conversation

Brant Cooper provides some good principles for interviewing customers.  To begin with, he explains how each of thing such as surveys, automated customer feedback mechanisms, embedded product use analytics, marketing analytics, feature request mechanisms, sales calls, product demo, usability testing & focus groups; while often a necessary and beneficial activity, does not constitute Customer Development. Generally speaking, pre-problem-solution fit, you concentrate on learning as much as you can about the problem, who are the real customer.  At pre-minimum viable product, you concentrate on learning, developing and testing the minimum features and functionality required to solve the problem to a degree the customer will buy.  And, in pre-product-market fit, you concentrate on learning about funnels, testing messaging and positioning, and likely iterating on product and market segment in search of P-M fit.

I hope you find this helpful.  What issues do you encounter during your Customer Development Conversations?