In product management, it is important to understand the needs and wants of the target market in order to develop a successful product. However, it is not uncommon for product managers to “confuse themselves with their customer,” which means that they assume their own perspective and needs are the same as those of the customer. So, you must avoid the Pitfall of Confusing Yourself with Your Customer in Product Management.
What is meant by “confusing yourself with your customer”?
“Confusing yourself with your customer” refers to the tendency for product managers to assume that their own perspective and needs are the same as those of the customer. This can lead to a product that is not well-suited to the needs of the target market.
For example, a product manager who is an avid runner may assume that all customers are interested in a high-end, expensive running watch with advanced features. However, this may not be the case for all customers. And the product may not be well-suited to those who are more budget-conscious or only use the watch for basic tracking purposes.
Why is it important to distinguish between oneself and the customer?
It is important for product managers to distinguish between themselves and the customer because customers and product managers may have different needs and wants when it comes to a product. Customers are the ones who will be using the product and are more likely to have a clear idea of what they need and want from it. Product managers, on the other hand, maybe more focused on the technical aspects of the product and may not fully consider the needs and wants of the customer.
In addition, product managers and customers may have different perspectives on the product. Product managers may be more focused on the technical features of the product. And customers may be more interested in the benefits and value that the product provides.
Examples of confusing yourself with your customer in product management
Here are a few examples of companies that may have confused themselves with their customers:
- New Coke: In the mid-1980s, Coca-Cola launched a new formula for its flagship product, Coca-Cola, in response to market research that suggested consumers wanted a sweeter, smoother taste. However, the launch was a failure, as many loyal customers were unhappy with the change and sales declined. It later became apparent that the company had made the mistake of assuming its personal taste preferences were the same as its customers.
- Microsoft Windows 8: Microsoft Windows 8 was released in 2012, with a radical redesign that emphasized touch-based interactions and a tile-based interface. However, many users found the interface confusing and difficult to use, leading to poor adoption and sales. It is possible that the company assumed that its target customers would be receptive to a more touch-focused interface, without taking into account the preferences of its traditional desktop users.
- Juicero: Juicero was a startup that developed a high-tech juicing machine that required users to purchase pre-packaged juice bags. However, the company faced criticism when it was revealed that the bags could be squeezed by hand, rendering the expensive machine unnecessary. It is possible that the company had assumed that its target customers would be willing to pay for convenience and technology, without taking into account their actual juicing habits and preferences.
- Google Wave: Google Wave was a communication and collaboration tool that aimed to revolutionize email and messaging. However, the tool was confusing and difficult to use, with too many features and a steep learning curve. It is possible that the company assumed that its target customers would be receptive to a more complex and feature-rich tool, without taking into account their actual communication habits and preferences.
The key lesson is to always keep the customer at the center of product development and to continuously gather feedback to ensure that the product meets their needs and preferences.
How to avoid confusing yourself with your customer
To avoid confusing themselves with the customer, product managers can take the following steps:
- Conduct market research: Product managers should conduct market research to understand the needs and wants of the target market. This may include surveying customers, conducting focus groups, or analyzing industry trends.
- Seek feedback from customers: Product managers should seek feedback from customers throughout the development process. This is to ensure that the product meets their needs and wants. This may include gathering feedback through customer interviews, usability testing, or online reviews.
In conclusion, it is important for product managers to understand the difference between themselves and the customer. This is to develop a product that meets the needs and wants of the target market. By considering the customer’s perspective and gathering feedback from customers, product managers can create a successful product that meets the needs of their target market.
Hope this article helped you in avoiding the Pitfall of Confusing Yourself with Your Customer in Product Management.
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