Fitting Your Idea Inside Customers’ Heads

Green Head Idea to Need


For early positive cash flow and sustainable revenue, your product idea must morph so it fits inside the puzzle piece in customers’ heads. Without a comfortable fit with customers’ latent needs and inherent values, your idea faces a resource-burning slog.

What to Do

Build your idea’s value proposition so it fits inside customers’ view of their problem.

You can do this by gathering information in two sectors.

  1. Unearthing both clear and latent unmet needs associated with the problem.
  2. Unearthing inherent values customers see in your idea.

How to Do It

Identify and interview early adopters and lead users.

You need 30-40 interviews to gather reliable information.

  • For analysis of key needs and value issues.
  • For identifying customers who have a problem they wish to solve.

Effective interviews can take place either face-to-face or by telephone.

  • Telephone interviews are quick and cost-effective compared to face-to-face
  • Potential customers are easier to reach by phone and can be more open.

A skilled telephone interviewer quickly places an interview respondent into the role of “Professor”. Meanwhile this interviewer must stay in the role of “Intelligent Pupil”. By keeping this stance during the conversation, the interviewer unearths latent unmet needs and inherent values.

For more information see Outside-In Enquiries: Insights and Practices and Effective Telephone Interviews. For more on the 30-40 rule see “The Voice of the Customer” Marketing Science 12, pages 1-27 (1993)