Do You Know What Your Customers Seek?

Photo by Benjamin Dada on Unsplash

As a start-up, an organization needs to test waters before taking the final plunge with a finished product. To define your consumer needs can be a difficult task. Although there isn’t a magic recipe, this perspective can ease your product research in ways.

When we talk about start-ups, we immediately picture a bunch of young minds with fresh ideas, booming with enthusiasm, cracking every business deal in a cool hip environment, and making it to the front page of dailies.

However, the ones who have treaded into the start-up business know that there’s a world beyond fancy ideas, glamorous business plans, and opulent funding.

You may have a thousand resourceful contacts to help, on-point logistics and delivery methodology and a brilliant team to work with, but lack of a business vision can fail even the most ingenious of plans.

While the shortage of funds remains the most potent reason why start-ups fail, ideating and crafting the wrong product tops the list for classic start-up failures. There’s no ‘magic recipe’ to climb the ladder for success, but you sure can future proof ideas by accessing their viability.

I can’t give you a full proof way to evade road bumps in your start-up project, but a perspective will help.

Let us date back to the Kano analysis of 1980, where Dr. Noriaki identified some metrics to bring about a disruptive differentiation in your product. Dr. Kano’s approach to product designing is considered a visionary one because it opines against adding unnecessary features to a product.

He stressed that a product with lesser features can cater better to your customer base’s needs — if you base your development and design on robust research. It discards all pockets for profit minimizing, and one can even consider the Kano analysis for avoiding money mistakes and dealing with concerns regarding no market need.

The Kano Analysis identifies 5 attributes that can rake up the demand for a product:

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1. Threshold: As a product designer/ development firm, you need to be highly intuitive to know about the consumers’ needs and put yourself in their shoes. A consumer will not always tell you about specific needs, but the absence of certain features will make them dissatisfied.

2. Performance: You need to ensure your product has all the robust attributes that you competitor has. Some may even be unnecessary. However, your consumers will loathe if you fail to include these widely used features.

3. Excitement: We all love the excitement of receiving gifts, don’t we? At times a consumer won’t even know about a certain attribute, let aside expect it. Discovering such an attribute in your product gives rise to a disproportional delight. However, its absence will not make any difference or lead to dissatisfaction of any sort.

4. Indifference: The presence or absence of certain features are not related to consumer experience. Your consumers probably will not even care about these features but they might be required for some other metrics.

5. Reverse: The wise say it’s essential to know what you want in life, but it’s more important to know what you do not want. As a product developer, you must know what features your consumers will hate. You won’t want to diss them with irritating and unnecessary features.

Kano’s analysis is based on a very practical approach as you can easily avoid the ‘no market need’ problem when including the Threshold attribute and by ruling possibilities of Reverse.

Including the Performance attributes and avoiding the redundant Indifference features, effectively take care of the running out of cash situations. One must remember, a realistic approach to your product feature list is your key to success.

You should base your decisions on features to avoid consumer dissatisfaction and stop burning a hole in your pocket.

Kano’s Secret Key To Success

The Kano Analysis spells 5 steps for successful product ideation:

1. Product Feature List: The analysis says that the first step for product designing is creating a product list. Jot down all relevant features that you would yourself want as a consumer or have seen your competitors provide. However, asking your consumers about their need is always a full-proof method.

2. Create and Identify Personas: Surveys take you closer to your user base. You must design your surveys based on consumers from different social and financial backgrounds for more clear responses. A careful analysis of the personas will tell you a lot more about what unidentified features they may want.

3. Organize a Survey: Your survey must include both functional and dysfunctional questions for the participants. Do not exclude any zeroed down feature in your survey and try to gauge how quintessential each feature is or how neutral the consumers are about the presence or absence of these features.

4. Analyze Feature Types: Collate the answers from your participants and analyze both, the functional and the dysfunctional answers for the attributes. Determine your consumer responses by clearly assessing both pairs of answers to understand if a feature is indispensable if it has the capability to delight your consumers, if your consumers are passive about it or if presence of a feature will diss them.

5. Sum up the analysis: Once you carefully analyze your survey, you will be able to classify the features as Threshold, Performance, Excitement, Indifference o Reverse.

Summing up

A good product will essentially have all Threshold attributes and none in Reverse. To attract and delight your consumer base, add features from the Excitement section. Your Performance features are the ones that the consumers are willing to pay for –so capitalize on them to retain your profit margins and cut down on the Indifference to reduce development costs.

Ideating a product is only a beginner’s step. The successful launch of a product, gaining wide acceptance and popularity involves a lot of calculated efforts. One might even say, it’s risky to balance your own profit margins and customer satisfaction.

However, a seasoned software development partner can be the much-needed mediator. Seek professional planning help when required even if you have the best of ideas, a little perspective never hurts!



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Sarrah Pitaliya

Sarrah Pitaliya


Digital Marketing Head at Creating valuable insights that would help brands and businesses to enhance their sales growth.