Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Only the Best Products Get Sold!

This is obvious, and yet many product managers do not pay enough attention to it. Every time a product is sold, the buying decision is made on assumption of the best choice made by the customer. Therefore it is always the best product which gets sold. The customer would never go for his second or third best choice. The purchase decision is always customer's first best choice.


Nobody can force the customer to buy anything less than the best according to what he is looking for. There exists no other force, which would influence the decision. Naturally, the customer always chooses the best product.

Still you can find many products on the market, which address the same problem. Yet this is not contradictory to what is said above. The premise states that the customer always decides for the best product for him. Different customers usually make different best choices. This means that customers possess different criteria for selecting the best product. In other words, different customers have different ways of satisfying the same need, but each particular purchase decision is made on assumption of the best product selection for that particular customer.

What does this tell us about product design strategy?

If you want the product to be sold - ever, it has to be designed in a way that it will be selected by at least one customer as his best choice. Not second best or third best! It has to be the best for at least one customer according to his purchase criteria.

Have this in mind when designing a product. It is by far the worst strategy to design a product in a way that it is mediocre in every aspect. Not only it will never be selected in purchase decisions of your customers, it will also mislead your market research. You will detect a lot of interest, a lot of potential, which will later on never be realized. You will always lose, maybe just by a little bit, to the best product for the customer. Think about it, if this is frequently happening to you.

What you should do is think carefully about your product. Is there at least one criteria according to which your product is the best on the market for a customer segment that you are aiming at? You need to be clearly the best! Do not fool yourself by thinking that you can get away by being among top three. On the other hand do not worry, if there are some other criteria and customers according to which you are not very good at.

Sometimes a purchase decision criteria is combined from several elementary ones, like for example price/performance ratio. Nevertheless, it is still a single criteria and it should be considered as such, if you decide that this is where you want to build an advantage with your product.

Remember, being always in the middle is not a good strategy for product development. Find at least one purchase criteria for a product, where you can clearly deliver and present the best solution in the market and make sure you execute that strategy perfectly, then your success will come naturally.