Monday, 26 October 2009

A question of gut

Paula Gray from Association of International Product Marketing & Management (AIPMM) argues for the importance of user testing in an article published a month ago;

'Ask yourself how deeply you know your customers and what they want. Do not relegate customers to the status of "data". If you do not get to know your customers well, your competitors will.'

I'm wondering, is there an ideal equation between user testing and PM gut?

Paula blogs how she went to a webinar where the speaker stated that most companies follow their gut instincts and too often, and as such ends up with unsuccessful products.

For a small / medium publisher, understanding your audience may not be too difficult a task. But even if you can 'see' and understand your audience, you need to listen to their ideas when you're developing a new product. Preferrably after you've done your competitor analys and have started thinking about how to develop the product. And if you have time and resources, after product has been developed and launched to further tweak it.

Of course, there are only so many topics you can cover when user testing, the rest - are down to not just expertise and previous experience, but that three letter word which some might not like but I quite do - gut. I think we need to bring some gut back and lose some fear when developing products.

More on this topic
For more reading about understanding your customers, I'd recommend reading about 'Personas' (which are very valueable when a company thinks about its customers and community, Chris Cummings talks about them here) and checking out Carl Knibbs' blog. He blogged about generating product ideas a while back.

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