Blog Category: Customer Insights (VOC)

Great B2B innovation requires 2 forms of evidence.

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Exhibit A is an attractive market and Exhibit B is a documented need within this market. Most companies do OK with Exhibit A… identifying a market segment that is winnable and worth winning. But most are terrible at Exhibit B. This is being sure of which customer outcomes (desired end-results) companies will be rewarded for satisfying with a new product. Increasingly, companies are using Market Satisfaction Gaps to do this. (See 12 case stories)

More in white paper, Market Satisfaction Gaps

Here’s how to weaponize customer insight for competitive advantage.

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Here is our #1 recommendation for innovation success: Don’t start development stage work without quantitative evidence of customer needs. You can use Preference interviews followed by Market Satisfaction Gaps… or some other unfiltered, unbiased evidence. Two tips: 1) Don’t do this for very small projects, just those requiring 1+ person-year of development. 2) Don’t do this for technology development. Just product development, where you’ve targeted a specific market segment.

More in article, Market Satisfaction Gaps… your key to B2B organic growth

Here’s why you need B2B quantitative customer interviews.

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In B2B-optimize quantitative interviews you ask customers to rate importance and current satisfaction for key customer outcomes. Without these convergent interviews, you’re essentially “guessing” what customers want. You simply cannot trust qualitative insight alone, as we all tend to “hear what we want to hear.” This is called confirmation bias… and the only antidote is to ask customers to think in a structured manner, giving you quantitative data in an unfiltered fashion.

More in Preference Interview Research Report

You fail twice when you skip B2B qualitative customer interviews.

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Without well-executed, qualitative, divergent interviews, you can expect errors of omission… failing to uncover unarticulated customer needs. Are teams criticized for these errors? No, because no one realizes something was omitted at the time of the error. A second problem is the failure to engage customers. You miss the chance to impress them as a supplier that wants to better understand and meet their needs.

More in article, The Front End of Innovation: How much is “too much”?

Do you have too many projects on your “NPD highway”?

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What should be done if highway traffic slows to a crawl? Probably not put more cars on the entrance ramp, right? With every month of delay, a typical B2B new product loses $80K in net present value. So reduce your number of active projects and accelerate those that remain. The best way to kill dead-end projects—or stop them from even starting? Better up-front work. Then your R&D only works on customer outcomes you know they want, not hope they want.

More in white paper, Guessing at Customer Needs

Evidence-based innovation leads to innovation speed.

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If your NPD teams are confident of customer needs, your projects will go faster for 3 reasons: 1) Bad ideas are killed quickly, freeing up resources. 2) Dead-end detours and diversions are avoided. 3) Hesitation—with second-guessing, delays and debates—is squelched. As Netscape founder, Jim Barksdale, said “If we have data, let’s use it. If we have opinions, let’s use mine.” B2B innovators can find the data they need in Market Satisfaction Gaps.

More in white paper, Market Satisfaction Gaps

Why Advanced Voice of Customer Matters

Advanced Voice of Customer vs Voice of Ourselves

Far too many B2B customers are still using “Voice of Ourselves” for product development. Diagnose your VOO vs. VOC behavior in 10 areas: 1) interview scope, 2) interview objective, 3) types of questions, 4) note-taking, 5) interview skills, 6) observation skills, 7) companies interviewed, 8) deliverables, 9) engagement timeframe, and 10) interviewing staff. ... Read More

What’s the most important thing to improve… to drive profitable, organic growth?

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We asked this question of 540 B2B professionals—with over 10,000 years of combined experience. Of 24 possible growth drivers, what were they most eager to improve? Market insight. We defined this as “Obtain market insight proactively to drive strategic decisions (vs. being just customer-reactive).” Just as quality and productivity each had their waves of popularity, so market insight is increasingly sought today. Here’s a short video on one way to succeed: Focusing the fuzzy front-end of B2B product development.

More in research report, What Drives B2B Organic Growth?