How Do You Know?

How do you know if a product, service or benefit you are in the process of developing is in sync with what your members and other customers want and need?   How do you know whether or not you are veering off-track? Or if operational issues, board politics or competing silos might have diverted you from your focus on those you serve? How do you decide among a flood of competing priorities or ideas for new products, services or initiatives that seem overwhelming?

Here are 11 demand-centered questions you can ask to cut through chaos and confusion and determine priorities; design new products and services, allocate time and resources, and make decisions on the basis of your customer/member’s perspective and without being side-tracked by individual agendas or competing priorities.

11 Outside-In Criteria you Can Apply Immediately

  1. How does it (activity, resource allocation, product etc.) fit with where members want to go, the way they frame their priorities, define value, and experience problems on a daily basis?
  2. How exactly is this issue I want to make into a priority (globalization, unemployment, or other broad challenge or trend) experienced by different customers, at different times, and in different situations on a daily, practical level?
  3. How and where do members/customers feel the  effects of a problem and in what context? Is this problem a subset of   other critical issues and challenges that must be addressed first? Are there relationships that are key to the solution that must also be considered?
  4. What member problem will our new program or initiative help solve?
  5. Why is our solution better than what members could find on their own or from other providers?
  6. What value does it have for members from their perspective? What specific outcomes will they derive through it and how will we measure them?
  7. Does it allow our organization to gain a better understanding of members and the market that will directly help us increase value to them?
  8. Does this activity or allocation of resources contribute to any new capabilities that will increase our value to customers or have been advantages for competitors (speed, flexibility, new partnerships, broader access to content)?
  9. Are we helping our members get and retain their own customers?
  10. Is it contributing to our ability to provide value to our members’ customers, suppliers, employees, or other stakeholders and perhaps expand our pool and categories of customers through them?
  11. Is it helping us access valuable relationships or establish contacts that our members need to meet, do business with, exchange valuable information with, and interact with to succeed? Are there ways to include them in our forums, communities, or member categories and to facilitate cross-industry or other types of conversations? Excerpted from the Demand Perspective: Leading from the Outside-In