There is often a huge gulf between the way in which a product was intended to be used and the way it actually is. Product designers need to experience first-hand how their creations work in the real world if they are to improve future designs.
If a consumer product doesn’t work well, it is likely to become the subject of online reviews, and any feedback will eventually find its way back to the designers one way or another. At the very least, the consumer experience is likely to (negatively) affect the prospects of repurchase. But for products or experiences which are not so obviously linked to consumer purchase, there are likely to be fewer repercussions. Who really cares if it doesn’t work?
There are times when it’s difficult to separate a product from its surrounding experience. When that happens, it’s critical that both the product and the experience are good enough to lure the customer back for more. A failure in either element can adversely affect the ultimate success of the business.
Whilst products can be designed and supplied to a fixed specification with defined limits, experiences can be more difficult to reproduce. There is a danger that overly-prescribed experiences can leave the customer feeling “processed” rather than being treated as an individual. Front-line staff need to understand the effect they can have on the customer experience. And Head Office staff need to give them the freedom to deliver that individual experience, rather than insisting on following an efficient process.
Great products create emotional attachments. Designers who recognise this and who create that customer bond are likely to have a success on their hands. Those products are easy to market because customers (or users) respond more readily to product benefits than to product features.
Neglecting this key requirement during the product definition phase leaves too much for the marketing team to do, and creates unrealistic expectations that they will somehow pull a rabbit out of a hat.
How often have you seen product or portfolio decisions taken without the support of robust insights?
In the absence of existing insights, gathering meaningful data can be time-consuming and expensive. And with constant downward pressure on both time and cost, the temptation to cut corners is always there and guesswork creeps in. After all, how difficult can it be to guess, particularly considering the amount of information which is already available?
The web provides ready access to a vast amount of market data.
Discussion forums dedicated to the particular product or topic almost certainly exist, irrespective of how niche it is.
Online customer reviews are ubiquitous, instantly available and free.
… and since we’re all consumers anyway, we have our own experience to fall back on.
A good customer value proposition can work wonders for a new product. Indeed, the lack of one can break an otherwise great product. This post presents a selection of products which have successfully used short video clips to grab the viewer’s attention, each with a recognisable problem and clear explanation of how the product solves the problem.
Video can clearly communicate value propositions. And with such content becoming increasingly easy to create and distribute, we will see more of them being used in this way.