What is a Customer Need?
What are customer needs and how do you identify, understand and meet customer in the market is to unite your internal teams behind the specific needs of your All of today's most successful businesses take steps to meet customer needs. Many hands-on innovators—product professionals, market Some use this definition: A need is a desire that causes a customer to buy a product. A hospital purchasing manager may not see much benefit in a premium lightbulb Study different customer contexts and understand how they are different. Learn what you need to know about your clients and how to use the business or your market changes, and you can have different USPs for different types of customer. All of these USPs can be effective because they are driven by what the.
Successful innovations must solve market problems. Yet before you can create a great solution to solve that market problem, you must first understand the customer need, and define them in clear, unambiguous language.
After all, how can you understand something you cannot define? To start, what is a customer need or what Pragmatic Marketing calls a market problem? If your response is somewhere between a blank stare and a headache, you are not alone. Many hands-on innovators—product professionals, market researchers, engineers, marketing managers—still cannot agree on what defines a need.
It is not for lack of discussion. Articles, conference presentations and blog posts have tried to define or differentiate flavors of customer needs, using terms like: This proliferation in terminology can leave innovators confused, wondering where to start. Rather than arguing over the right term, I prefer to stick with the most familiar one—customer needs—and define it well. Some use this definition: A need is a desire that causes a customer to buy a product.
If customers buy products to satisfy needs, then needs provoke customers to buy products. Instead, let us consider a more useful definition: A need is an opportunity to deliver a benefit to a customer. This definition contains three components: A benefit could be tangible or functional.
Perhaps it helps a person do something faster, easier or more accurately. It could be intangible or emotional, helping a person feel better or avoid feeling worse. Successful products deliver some combination of functional and emotional benefits.
The mix varies by category. Some industrial products deliver almost entirely functional benefits, while some consumer products deliver entirely emotional benefits. We must assess the opportunity to deliver both functional and emotional benefits, no matter which market we are in.
For example, the programmable thermostat is a common product. Its main product features are clear: Some models offer variable programs for weekends and weekdays or for each day of the week. Others have lighted displays and touchscreen controls. The newest models use the internet to remotely connect to smartphone apps.
These features are merely components of a solution, and a solution without a problem has no value. The features in your programmable thermostat deliver functional benefits like ensuring your home is a comfortable temperature when you arrive from work, preventing frozen pipes during cold days, regulating how much energy you consume and reducing system wear from excessive cycling on and off.
They deliver emotional benefits such as helping you feel like a smart homeowner, perceiving yourself as environmentally responsible and signaling your environmental commitment to guests.
You did not buy a programmable thermostat because it had a lighted screen; you bought it so that you could turn up the heat on a dark, cold night without turning on the lights and waking the infant you just spent an hour putting to bed. The Customer The second lens is the who, the customer who desires the benefit and is willing to exchange something valuable like money or information. A good understanding of needs means identifying and understanding the right customers.
Sometimes, the customer is simple to spot. If you sell a consumer product, your customer is the end consumer, the primary shopper who purchases the product.
Not all customers perceive equal value in a benefit. A hospital purchasing manager may not see much benefit in a premium lightbulb with a lifespan 20 times longer than a traditional bulb.
However, a maintenance manager, whose budget pays union wages to the workers changing lightbulbs every day, may value the same benefit much more. Similarly, demographics, firmographics, behaviors and attitudes also vary by customer. Male consumers may differ from female consumers.
Managers at small businesses differ from those at large businesses. And while one investor may be comfortable with a large amount of risk and volatility, another may prefer security and stability. Even two otherwise similar individuals may hold different opinions. The Context The third and final component of a need is the context, the when or where that a customer desires a benefit. Needs are never spontaneous; they are situational.
A benefit only has value if it solves a problem for a customer at a given time or in a given place. Context helps us explain why a benefit has customer value and how that value may change as the context changes. Of course, not every context is relevant to every product category. As you might imagine, daypart or occasion contexts are more relevant to a foodservice or entertainment business, while life-stage contexts are more relevant to a financial-services business.
In addition, contexts are rarely static, and customers regularly move across them.
Know your customers' needs
What do customers do? It helps to know the occupation of your consumers and what the industries you sell to are trying to achieve so you can tailor your products and services to meet their needs. Why do customers buy? Knowing why a certain product is in demand gives you the advantage to match customer needs and supply the benefits they seek.
When do customers buy? Providing a customer with an item when they want it increases your chances of success and reduces your chances of producing goods that are no longer desired. Studying buying patterns will also help with successful launches of new products and knowing when to offer added value for products that are not very popular. How do customers buy? There are various outlets for people to shop such as online, face-to-face, catalogues and wholesale.
How much do customers spend? Patterns of customer spending give an accurate picture of consumer behavior and shows economic, household, social and market trends. Whom do customers buy from? People buy to solve problems, so knowing who is currently solving their problems helps you tailor your solution strategies. What do customers think about you? If you are giving them exceptional customer experience, they will continue to buy.
What do customers think about your competition? And get regular tips and tricks on topics such as marketing, financing, strategy, and management, so you can start and grow your company more successful.
Marketers should keenly observe the consumer in their natural setting to see or hear frustrations and longings. To understand the prospects true self, doing exactly what they would with the product.
The results of this method can help to modify research and results. A common observational technique is computer cookies that track web views and visits. Market research gathers data to help businesses make decisions about products and services.
This method has many types. Primary, for new information, qualitative and quantitative which are opinion panels such as online polls and questionnaires, testing done by users and secondary research which uses existing information to determine trends.
The best way to test these assumptions is through gathering customer feedback through interviews, surveys and contact forms.
There are many other aspects to customer discoveryhowever focusing on these basic needs is a great place to start. Test Your Hypothesis — Validate or disprove your hypothesis through your target market, potential customers and media.
Avoid centering the conversations on sales.
How Marketing Discovers Customer Needs
Test Your Product Concept — Once the main customer problem has been highlighted, testing can be done to see the relevance of your idea to the customer and the solution it offers. Customers should be engaged in this process, and changes should be made at this stage.
Evaluate Feedback and Plan Next Steps — Based on the information garnered in phases 2 and 3, determine if you are ready to proceed or reevaluate the project. Some companies run out of ideas or money in the numerous years this phase can take.
Sales Funnel or Customer creation phase — Once your product has shown viability and has started gaining momentum with your customers, businesses at this point will need a lot of growth to raise capital and even secure investments.
To ensure the enterprise gets to this stage, marketers need to create a following through advertising or blogging or signs and announcements. And they should also ensure that changes are made early so the products are feasible and valuable to the prospects and they can save on costly recalls. THE FINAL 3 STEPS So far we have seen that your marketing team has to be on the ball with discovering exactly what it is that your customers need, and ensuring through feedback and testing that the products will be viable and well received.
- How Marketing Discovers Customer Needs
- Consumer Needs & Marketing
- What is a Customer Need?
Now if customer discovery is the beginning of the marketing process to pull prospects in, then customer validation is the stage that will ensure they are converted into brand evangelists, and your business model is solid. It is a very crucial step to be taken before you even launch your new products as you can use this process to predict sales outcomes and determine your market position.
Once you have gone through the steps of the customer validation process you can scale your business and create a demand for your product.
Validation of Minimum Viable Product — Simply put, you could lose a lot of time and money not validating your products. Once the need is no longer valid customers will move on to look for what they need at that time. To produce high quality, substantial products, companies must listen to their customers and change little bits at a time. This will ensure customers are passionate about your offerings and you are assured of your core values.