Blog Category: Customer Insights (VOC)

Seek to be right, not to be proven right

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“Proven right” breeds confirmation bias; “be right” inspires a search for truth. In new product development, “proven right” seeks to validate the supplier’s ideas; “be right” explores customers’ worlds seeking what others have missed. “Proven right” results in squandered R&D spending and missed opportunities; “be right” in delighted customers, premium pricing, and pleasant financial review meetings.

More in e-book, Leader’s Guide to B2B Organic Growth

Your failed product launch was probably doomed earlier

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Imagine you just launched your new product and the market responded with… one big collective yawn. Was it a poorly orchestrated launch? Perhaps, but it’s more likely your launch was doomed a couple of years earlier by poor front-end work. Our research shows five of six B2B product development teams lack a clear understanding of market needs before conducting B2B-optimized VOC. Without this insight, your launch might be putting lipstick on a pig.

More in article, Your failed product launch was probably doomed earlier

Trust is the ultimate truth serum

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Voice-of-customer interviews don’t really work unless the customer trusts you. You’ll tell your doctor, lawyer or therapist everything they need to know so they can help you. But only if you trust them. The same is true for your customers when you seek information to innovate for them. You build trust with your credibility, reliability, and a sincere interest in their well-being.

More in e-book, Leader’s Guide to B2B Organic Growth

4 Steps to joining the Reliable Growth Club

Reliable growth is elusive, especially for companies pursuing quarterly shareholder appeasement. Join the Reliable Growth Club through B2B customer insight.

Here’s the scene: You are a B2B business leader unhappy with your membership in the Shareholder Appeasement Club and its quarterly meetings. You want profitable, reliable growth so you are free to captain your ship, not some Wall Street analysts. But what should you do—not in the abstract—but in concrete, actionable steps? Before exploring admission ... Read More

Problem as given… vs. problem as understood

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During the Vietnam war, the US was still using its cold war approach of “problem as given”… applying prescribed responses for a long list of scenarios. This was a disaster in the face of evolving threats. Now their protocol is “problem as understood”… developing solutions only after the problem is well defined. Is your company using “cold-war innovation,” or does it place a high priority on learning what customers truly want before developing products for them?

More in e-book, Leader’s Guide to B2B Organic Growth

Always separate your divergent and convergent thinking

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In new product development, keep your mind open to all customer needs before converging on your solutions. Your brain works better this way. It’s why we don’t “judge” ideas during brainstorming. It’s why you like digital photography better than film: You take as many shots as you like (diverge) and later pick the best (converge). When it comes to customer needs, take lots of shots so you can focus on the best later.

More in e-book, Reinventing VOC for B2B

Don’t Confuse Concept Testing With VoC

Concept testing vs VoC

If we bring a prototype to a customer, this is “concept testing.” Something different from  voice of the customer research. But when these become conflated,  we fool ourselves into believing that we’re more customer-centric than we really are. This confusion results from how innovation and new product processes have evolved. In an earlier era, we ... Read More

Are you exploring… or just reading a map?

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Both activities involve movement, but only one lets you get lost for a while so you can see what others have missed. When you develop new products based on sales reports and “validating” your ideas with customers, you’re just map-reading. Put yourself in a position to be amazed by new scenery in customers’ worlds. You’ll need to get comfortable off the beaten path… but you don’t want to go where anything is ‘beaten’ anyway, right?

More in e-book, Leader’s Guide to B2B Organic Growth (Lesson 15)

Do you pursue speed… or velocity?

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The difference between speed and velocity is that only velocity has a direction associated with it. Many in business are focused on going as fast as they can… in any direction. Avoiding solid front-end-of-innovation work because you want to develop your new product faster is a prime example. Sure, you launched your product quickly… but no one bought it, because you failed to first understand customers’ needs.

More in e-book, Reinventing VOC for B2B