Most companies are still inside looking out. They are building products that they think consumers will buy.
Sure, many get feedback from athletes, focus groups or surveys. But most of this information comes from people who have a limited degree of interest or have been incentivized monetarily or with free product. Worse yet, some have never purchased a product from the company. They aren’t your buyers, and therefore it isn’t part of a buyer centric strategy.
As we have often said, there are very few Steve Jobs. There may be only one. He had a Vulcan mind meld with the American public which resulted in a near mythical gift for design and functionality that consumers wanted.
To become buyer centric, a company must learn what buyers really think. Buyers talk about their experience with products in peer to peer conversations, on social media networks and more. But online reviews are really the only direct, quantifiable access brands have to real buyer opinions. In them, buyers write about the performance, their experiences, how they used the product and how the product wrapped into their storylines.
Becoming More Buyer-Centric in Product Development Leads to Benefits Companywide
First and foremost, companies should measure buyer feedback. It is real and actionable. By measuring over time, a company can build a dataset on performance and send it directly the product managers.
Then, product development should design to this information. The result is a compound effect. Buyers are driving the design changes. Those changes lead to higher satisfaction and more positive reviews. More shoppers are reached, and due to the positive reviews, more become customers.
We are in a world where buyers don’t want to be sold to. They want to be empowered to do their own research and make a decision when they’re ready. When it does come time for them to research a product, knowing you’re a buyer centric company who takes feedback seriously will only make them trust the reviews even more. The effect will be cyclical.
Make your product development more buyer centric. The rest of the company will thank you.