Inside-Out Thinking (aka MSU)

by Rick Braddy on November 22, 2009

in Leadership

I just watched a great video by David Meerman Scott called Making Stuff Up, which was a timely reminder for me of how easy it is to fall into the trap of pontificating and projecting important product decisions from our own limited perspectives, in lieu of using “market evidence” gathered from the marketplace as our guiding principle.

Watch the brief video. It hits this nail right on the head:



Instead of Making Stuff Up, we should begin with our buyer personas, get to know these buyers, who they are, how they think, what they like/dislike, and of course – what they WANT and NEED most.

Here’s a good place to start with buyer personas.

So what if you aren’t a large company with lots of customers and resources? It helps if you have a list of potential customers in your target market. You can survey them, email them, have phone conversations or teleconferences, etc. Don’t have a list? Then you’ll need a partner who has an audience you can “borrow” to do your market research.

I have done a lot of market research projects during my career, including face-to-face customer visits, focus groups, customer roundtables at trade show events, customer council meetings, customer advisory boards, as well as more surveys than I care to remember.

The approach you take isn’t as important as just DOING it. Getting the input from current and prospective customers is, by far, the most important thing to do (several times a year). Whenever I’ve spent enough time with customers, it gives me the confidence to make tough tradeoffs, positioning and messaging choices and other product marketing decisions.

Incidentally, if you aren’t sure how to do this, you should seriously consider using the services of Pragmatic Marketing. When I was VP Product Management and Marketing for Citrix, all of our PM’s and PMM’s were trained by Pragmatic Marketing, who did a fantastic job for us.

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