I won’t belabor the need for companies to think about the intended customer before they develop a product. As it happens, PR/marketing folks typically are brought into the process after the fact. With that, these are the customer-centric questions we ask before embarking on any plan for a new product or service launch:
- What trend(s) do this new product and/or service capitalize on?
- What would be the ideal behaviors (current situations, issues their facing, marketplace position, etc.) exhibited by the intended customer?
Describe the intended customer:
- Current customers (which ones)?
- Prospects (which ones)?
- What experiences does this offering provide for the intended customer?
- How will the customer financially measure the value of this new offering?
- Does this new offering require the customer to change anything? (i.e. current behaviors, processes, systems, etc.?)
- How will this new offering new be adapted into the customer’s business? Describe training, implementation, conversion, usage, migration, etc.
- What are the next best alternatives compared to this offering? (i.e. what does it compete against – competitors, other offerings from company, and the intended customer’s internal resources?)
- Can partners provide help through co-marketing opportunities, leads, etc.?
- Buying process – which positions at the intended customer company will recommend, approve and influence the decision to buy this new offering?
- How will the sales force be trained in this offer?
- What will be a successful launch? List the target revenue and profit contribution for this offering during the 6, 12, 18, and 24 months?
- How do these intended results compare with previous new offering launches?
What customer-related questions do you ask?