Three steps of Product Research for the success of your product

Would you like to discover the potential of a new product before creating it? Would you like to improve a product based on user experience? Research can help you make the right choices.

Paolo Tripodi


Would you like to discover the potential of a new product before creating it? Would you like to improve a product based on user experience? Research can help you make the right choices.

It may happen that with simple intuition we can think up a new product to bring to the market. That simple intuition is actually the synthesis of many of our previous experiences.

But when the idea of a product is born, we are not sure about its future success. What we do know for sure is that we will need to invest time and money to realise it.

Whether it is creating a product from scratch or improving an existing solution, validating our insights before we start building can help us increase our chances of success and manage our resources intelligently.

At Moze, working alongside start-ups and companies to design and build their digital products, we have experienced that doing Product Research can help the team make informed choices, reducing the risk of going off the road.

In this article, we present some of the most effective methodologies among the ones we usually use.

1. Focus on “Jobs”

Success will definitely not come if our solution does not meet the real needs of people.

The product is usually created from a perception of a problem and an intuition of a possible solution. However, rushing to develop the product exclusively on the basis of our ideas can be risky.

Even if you are in regular contact with your users, their needs are not always immediately apparent.

“It’s not the customer’s job to know what they want.” — Steve Jobs

Map the users’ path

Whenever we, as consumers, experience a problem, we are driven to find a solution

From that moment on, a path begins that consists of a series of events, the epilogue of which is the choice of a specific product or most appropriate solution.

The “Jobs-to-be-done” (JTBD) theory helps reconstruct users’ path towards the choice of a solution, to fully understand their needs.

By interviewing users, we can learn about their current experience in solving the problems of our interest and identify the typical moments that lead to the choice.

Identifying opportunities

By observing this “time line” we are able to test our intuitions by comparing them with people’s motivations, and understand what actions to take to improve and promote our product effectively.

EXAMPLE – Faster buying decision

An Italian robot-advisor offers quality asset management, accessible to a wide audience thanks to its technology and online distribution. The team involved us to understand how to improve the investment experience and accelerate growth.

By conducting interviews, we have reconstructed the users’ path up to the signing of the contract. Looking at the various intermediate moments, we understood why it usually took several months between first contact with the robo-advisor’s offer and the signing of the contract.

By analysing these reasons, we were able to devise product improvements and marketing initiatives aimed at facilitating the choice.

2. Exploring existing solutions

From the interviews, we can understand how much time users spend on the problem of interest to us, where they inform themselves about it and what the solutions are that they currently adopt.

Know your (real) competitors

Defining your market solely on the basis of the product can be misleading. People don’t just choose products and solutions on the basis of their characteristics, but primarily on the basis of their own goals.

EXAMPLE – Define product positioning

An Italian fintech start-up selects and ranks trading talent through an online “gaming” contest. Together with our client, we co-designed a new version of the web product, with the goal of offering a better user experience and thus increasing conversions.

Interviewing users, we realised that it is not the game that motivates them to spend time using the product, but their desire to acquire a status and visibility in the trading community.

Thanks to this information, we were able to effectively orient the design of the product and define a consistent positioning to the purposes of people, doubling the active users.

Finding your market

If our potential users have already found a solution to their problem, and perhaps use the product of one of our competitors, they will have to make a significant effort to choose our solution, to change their habits.

“Your target customers have to love you more than they hate change.” — Erika Hall

By bringing together the products and solutions already used by our potential users, identified through interviews, we can critically evaluate how our solution differs and identify our market space.

Compared to the competitors identified, we can ask ourselves:

  • How do they position themselves? How do they communicate the product?
  • What audience are they targeting?
  • What are the aspects that make them unique?
  • What are the differences between the needs that they meet and those that we want to meet?
  • What do they do particularly well or badly?
  • Based on all this, how do you position yourself in a unique way?

3. Grow by measuring impact

Market competition is driving the emergence of new solutions; regular research can help us direct our efforts and make sure we keep up with the needs of our users.

Getting started is simple

For example, using a questionnaire, we can gain feedback from users on the degree of satisfaction of their needs and on the experience of using our product.

By analysing their responses, we can identify the salient issues and intervene in a timely manner. 

BONUS – Improve a product with the Net Promoter Score

The Net Promoter Score (NPS) is a system used to measure the loyalty of its users.

The system is based on the simple question, “How willing are you to recommend the product/service to a friend?” on a scale of 0-10. According to the answer, users are classified as “Destroyers”, “Passives” or “Promoters”.

To end the conversation, you are asked to specify the reason for your choice.

Thanks to these two questions, which combine quantitative research (first question) and qualitative research (second question), it is possible to identify trends and trace the elements on which to work to solve the frictions in the experience of detractors and improve the experience of promoters, thus also influencing passive users.

In summary

1. Focusing on the “Jobs”
People’s needs are not always immediately apparent: photographing the user experience with interviews can be a good way to systematically focus on the needs we want to meet. 

2. Exploring existing solutions
In the daily experience of users, our product is only one of the potential solutions to their needs. Knowing and exploring existing alternatives, observing them from the users’ point of view, can help us to shape our product and define its positioning.

3. Grow by measuring impact

New products and solutions are constantly entering the market. Regularly measuring the satisfaction of our users is a good practice to evolve our product and keep it effective and competitive at all times.

This post was originally published on Talent Garden blog.

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