The Absence of Technical People in Customer Experience

Why aren’t technical people more involved in customer experience activities? We often hear of silos preventing technical people from active participation in upfront market learning work. This is the work that should precede serious resource investment in an innovation project. Inadequate market analysis is by far the number one cause of new product failures, but product problems or defects is a clear number two cause.

Getting Technical People Involved in Customer Experience

It seems to us that the technical people’s active involvement in discovering what customers want would help reduce both of these major causes of new product failures. Not too long ago, we conducted an experiment: A group of eight technical people were each assigned to do a market assessment of their primary individual concept. They spent eight weeks (with process help) in the market space doing disciplined market analysis and concept testing. This included learning product specifications that would be required to transform their concept into a commercial product. Along the way, they learned how to translate their concept into a value proposition.

Discovering the Value of Segmentation

Lo and behold, they recognized different value propositions would be required for different customers (segmentation). The technical people then made a recommendation both to their management and to business management whether to resource for success or to drop the project. By the way, either next step was considered a successful outcome—the former because they had good projects, and the latter because they saved time and money by not working on something that would not result in a successful product.

Their reflections of the experience evolved four main themes:

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