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IT’S EASY TO FALL INTO
THE USUAL TRAPSThe veil has been lifted on ‘segments’ and ‘targeting’ and‘market research.’You’ve heard these terms - and you’re pretty sure you knowwhat they mean.And you might even think that because people get paid tothink about this stuff all the time, that they’re legit.
SEGMENTSSegments are distinct subsets of
your customer base.But you don’t have a customer base yet.So you have to imagine customers.And then try to ﬁnd real people that are like your imaginarycustomers.
BE SPECIFIC.It’s tempting to segment
by ‘customers v. prospects’.All you have tonight are prospects.You might have some idea that it’s‘early adopters v. mass market’ or ‘avid v. casual users’...(but that’s just code for, “we don’t know”) “I dont write to the crowd. I try to write fromInstead, imagine a speciﬁc person. one human being to anotherThen imagine 4 or 5 more speciﬁc people. human being in the second person singular.” - David ogilvY
MAKE A LIST OF ATTRIBUTES...What’s
their job title? What gets in their way?What kind of company do they work at? What keeps them up at night?What industry are they in? What costs them time or money?What would earn them a bonus? How do they solve this problem today?How do they deﬁne themselves? How eager are they to solve the problem?What are they trying to do?How much decision-making power dothey have? http://www.cindyalvarez.com/lean/the-who-and-why-of-your-target-customer
NARROW IT DOWN TO ATTRIBUTES
THAT MATTERSome won’t matter at all.Some attributes will matter because: This kind of person is willing and able to experiment This kind of person is able to make decisions without approval This kind of person is willing to invest money in a solution This kind of person is aware there is a problem This kind of person doesn’t have an alternative solution This kind of person is losing money or customers because of the problem http://www.cindyalvarez.com/lean/the-who-and-why-of-your-target-customer
DO WHAT, NOW?Talk to people.Not
a lot. 5-10 (but you’ll need to make a list of 50 before youstart sending emails & making phone calls)Not in a “facility” or a neutral environment - try to go to theirplace/ofﬁce/where they would buy or use stuff like you wantto make.Not the perfect ‘respondent.’
DON’T WASTE TIME REPEATING YOURSELF.After
3 people, prioritize your top 3 issues or questions.After 5 people, start asking new questions.This isn’t about approval, or getting them to say they ‘like’ it.It’s about learning what to do next.
WHAT SHOULD YOU ASK?How is
your customer currently dealing with this task/problem? What do they like about their current solution/process?Is there some other solution/process you’ve tried in the past that was better or worse?What do they wish they could do that currently isn’t possible or practical?If they could do [answer to the above question], how would that make their lives better?Who is involved with this solution/process? How long does it take?What is their state of mind when doing this task? How busy/hurried/stressed/bored/frustrated?What are they doing immediately before and after their current solution/process?How much time or money would they be willing to invest in a solution that made their lives easier? http://www.cindyalvarez.com/communication/customer-development-interviews-how-to-what-you-should-be-learning
WHAT DO YOU DO WITH
THAT INFORMATION?Be honest: Are these really your customers? Is their problem really painful, or their desire really strong? Does it even exist? Are they really making decisions the way you thought? What do you need to change?
THIS ISN’T (USUALLY) THE TIME
FOR PIVOTS.Talk to your team.Do you need to seek other customers that are a better ﬁt?Do you need to rethinkyour positioning?What would you have tochange to create value?Is it possible to give peoplewhat they want?Do you need to dosomething else? * You shouldn’t pivot before you’ve even iterated, duh.